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Mt Hedlow


By Toni Philipoom
Mt. Hedlow is described in the 1892/93 Post Office Directory as a pastoral area in the Livingstone County, Port Curtis District, approximately fourteen miles north of Rockhampton by coach.  In 1892 there was a school, a Post Office and various pastoral holdings. 

Today Mount Hedlow is regarded as an area encompassing various mountains and hills or, as a group of trachyte plugs that crop out over an area of about 50 square miles, and not as one specific mountain.  This group takes in lronpot on Yeppoon Road and Mount Wheeler in Cawarral.  It Is believed that lronpot was called "Hedloo" by the local aborigines. 

In 1880 there were 24 school age children so an area of 45 acres was set aside as a school reserve and the parents commenced to erect a school building.  It had an earthen floor, slab wails, shingle roof and wooden shutters for windows. The first teacher to instruct the children of Mount Hedlow in the three R's, was eighteen year old Alexander Boswell.  Most families of that day had neither clock nor watch and so the children were taught to tell the time by the sun and the shadows.  My grandmother knew that she had to have her chores done by the time the shadows were a certain length, so she would not be late for school.  When the enrolment reached forty children, the parents arranged to have a larger building constructed, Over the years the attendance figures would fluctuate and more than once the school was closed.  In the wet seasons the attendance would drop dramatically as the majority of the children lived on the opposite side of Hedlow Creek to the school, and crossing the creek was often dangerous.  The doors were finally closed in August 1920 and the school building was removed to Pandoin. 

The main recreation in Mount Hedlow was the weekend tennis picnics, where the locals would gather not only for a good game of tennis but a social outing as well.  The old time dances held in the Mount Hedlow schoolhouse were well patronised and many would travel all day Saturday to attend, then spend all Sunday getting home again.  The music was usually an accordion and now and then someone would bring along a mouth organ as an extra treat.  My grandmother, who was a beautiful dancer, learnt the art under these primitive conditions.  Her baby sister, along with other babies slept in fruit packing cases under the Buts, oblivious to the music and gaiety around them.  In those days a special licence was needed before a dance could be held. The one day of the year, besides Christmas, that the community really looked forward to was the Separation Day public holiday when a Picnic Race Meeting was held.  It was a time for everyone to let their hair down.  Many a love match was made on Picnic Race Day and, I dare say, many a near, divorce.  It was the special times as well as the bad times that drew the community together as a strong unit.  Everyone worked together for the betterment of their living standards.

On the 2nd May 1898 the following letter and petition wore forwarded to the Education Office in Brisbane by the Provisional School in Mount Hedlow.

"We the undersigned parents and guardians of children attending the Mount Hedlow Provisional School, respectfully request that you will permit an application to be made to the Lands Department for the granting of a portion of the school reserve, namely two acres, for the purpose of a Cemetery.  Also for the sale by auction or otherwise of another portion of two acres which the undersigned wish to buy for church purposes.

The reserve was proclaimed as shown in the Gazette of 1882 folio 1056, and is in a very central position.  So much so that the parents would not like any of it to be withdrawn for other than public uses".

George WHITE
Joseph OLIVE
Andrew BECK
Jane REA
** Daniel SLATTER
Montague BEAK
Benjamin BARRETT


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