Gil and Kate Inwood, Inwood Place
Gilbert Edward Inwood was born on 7 August 1894 at Gravesend, County of Kent, the second child of five children to Charles and Marion Inwood. Gilbert’s father was a very skilled maker of artificial limbs and also the patent holder of the manufacture of the tricycle – three wheeled bicycle.
Catherine – better known as Kate – was born 24 June 1894, the third child of eight children to parents William and May Field and grew up on a farm at Sheering, Harlow, County of Essex. Both Gil and Kate possessed a great spirit of adventure, which, in the early part of our last century, led greatly to the development of our area.
Following courtship, and just after their 20th birthdays, the families celebrated their marriage at St. Luke’s, Bethnal Green, London, on 9 September 1914. Five days later the honeymooning couple departed England on the “Paparoo” for their new life in Australia. Arrival in Australia saw them both obtaining work on cattle stations in the Longreach area.
The joy of the arrival of their first child, Elsia Catherine on 27 April 1917 was shortlived as on the 27 November 1917, Gil was to enlist in the Light Horse A.I.F. following a strong call to go and defend the ‘motherland’. The completion of his training and travel to the front meant he never saw active duty as WWI ended on 11 November 1918 and Gil was discharged on 30 December 1918.
On the 13 September 1919, Gil was to be successful in the ballot for a block of land in the Waterworks Road Soldier Settlement, drawing Lot No. 123 containing eight acres and 14 perches situated in Woomara Road at an annual rental of £4-4/1d (four pounds, four shillings and one pence) per annum for the first 15 years.
Given the sum of £600 ($1,200) to construct a home, pens and sheds, fencing and to obtain stock to establish a poultry industry, it is now history that with the exception of a few settlers of indefatigable spirit, this experiment was a failure. Many settlers just walked away from their properties and the Government leased their properties to others. Strong spirited Kate took over the running of the property and the arrival of Lily Rose on 1 January 1919, Maud Field 31 July 1921 and sons Stanley Charles 16 August 1924 and Charles William 1926, would have kept her busy from early morning to late into the evening.
Kate’s efforts at growing all her own vegetables, making jams and pickles, along with her own bread and dressmaking has become legend among her family. Gil became a telephone technician with the P.M.G. (later Telecom, and later still Telstra) and spent all his spare time working on the farm – which they had called “Burtondale”. Son Stan recalls his Dad spending time breeding Australian Blue Heeler dogs and successfully exporting some to America. He also recalls his father importing Gladioli bulbs from Belgium and for many years the rich soil down on the flat at Burtondale was a blaze of colour destined for the ‘cut flower’ market. Kate was noted for her love of Fuschias, which she grew in bush-houses at the rear of the home.
Gil also sank a well down on the flat – 30 feet deep with log slabs to the side with a sandstone bottom and always had a good supply of fresh water. Gil went off to a vehicle auction of used P.M.G. vehicles and his first purchase, at a price of £3, was an original London Cab. Originally yellow, it had been repainted Post Office red and was used in service taking His Mahesty’s Mail between Brisbane and Gympie. Gil also purchased, at a figure of £5, a 1928 13cwt Morris truck for his good friends John and Joe Hilder, who owned “Mountfield” farm just over the rise.
Being a practical man, Gil soon had chains for traction on the old cab and with someone driving or handling the plough, he would drive up and down the cultivation much faster than his horse could plod. Gil’s crops of corn, sorghum etc. were purchased by the Hilder brothers.
The children were all to attend The Gap School with those sitting for Scholarships to complete Grade 7, finishing off at Ashgrove School. While all the children kept busy with chores at home, the family were involved in local sport and while Dad wasn’t much of a swimmer, the trip to local swimming holes along Enoggera Creek and the Reservoir by-wash, saw the children develop into very capable swimmers with them joining the Valley Swimming Club and Maud going on to represent the State at the Australian Titles in Perth in 1936. Maud also swam in the three mile Bremer River race and become the first female to win the event. The following year she swam backstroke for the entire race.
Gil was to always ride a motorbike and side-car to work and when Elsia commenced work she soon learnt how to save on bus fares by travelling in the sidecar to and fro. Old Settlement Road was only a narrow dirt road back in the thirties and setting off to work one day the side-car decided to part company with the bike – or vice versa – as they made their way down towards the Fish Creek Bridge. Sitting in the side-car as it ground to a halt became a good family story.
Recalling many happy outings and holidays to Burleigh Heads in the old London Cab, Stan also remembers his father being of a very frugal nature. Why register two vehicles when only one is on the road at any one time? Just register one and chalk the number on the other. It was while coming home from the coast and almost home when they were pulled over. An explanation of sorts resulted in a Police visit the very next day. Prior to their arrival, Gil had instructed a young Stan to take the car to the end of the property and drive out of sight, deep into the lantana bush… problem solved!
As parents, Gil and Kate were very proud of their Australian children – Maud serving in the WAAF and Stan joining the Navy aged 16 in 1941 during WWII, and of the children all marrying and presenting them with many grandchildren. Gil and Kate returned to England on a visit in 1955, forty one years after coming to Australia, to meet many of their siblings and their respective families. Over the intervening years the Aussie family members have met many of their English family counterparts.
Kate was to pass away at home on 19 August 1974, just eight weeks short of her 60th wedding anniversary, aged 80. Gil was to live until his 89th year and died at the Hunting Tower Nursing Home on 9 February 1983.
A legacy to folk living here at The Gap was Gil’s habit of photographing life on the farm to send to his family in England, and his writing on the back of the snaps his descriptions of the area. Such was Gil and Kate’s attachment to their farm “Burtondale” that following cremation the family were to scatter their ashes on the farm they loved.
The Gap Historical Society are pleased to have copies of these photographs augmenting their collection of local photographic records.
Source: Reflections 3, Memories of The Gap, © Copyright 2006 by Richard Speechley
Information supplied by son Stan, daughter-in-law Shirley and grandaughter Lyn Smith