Wise Humans of the Downs

Wise Humans of the Downs is a special initiative of YellowBridge QLD and supported by the Queensland Government’s age-friendly community grants program.

 

It aims to uncover, record and celebrate the lived experiences and stories of people aged over 60 years across the Darling Downs in south-west Queensland.

 

Our fast-paced, technology-driven, work-orientated world can sometimes exclude and marginalise older people. Many can feel ignored, forgotten or invisible by mainstream society.

 

But older people have rich repositories of knowledge, experience and recollections, which are immensely valuable to all of us. We owe it to ourselves and each other to remember this and advocate for a society that appreciates and includes its senior members.

 

The 30 stories were captured with the help of secondary students from St Mary’s College in Toowoomba. Students sat with our senior participants (including St Mary’s College Old Boys), to listen to and record snippets of their lives. Talking to older people can be a powerful, sometimes life-changing, experience for young people as they learn about the past and how other people navigated their life’s journey.

 

We sincerely thank our senior participants and St Mary’s College for their role in this project and helping us to shine the light on senior inclusion.

 

Read their stories here…

  • There were just five rooms in the Brisbane house I grew up in; all very basic. But these were World War II days and like so many homemakers of the time, mum and dad made do with what they had. ...

  • I had a great life growing up. I went to St Saviour’s College from years one to three and then moved to St Mary’s College until year seven. ...

  • I come from the cane growing town of Ingham in North Queensland. I was taught by the Sisters of Mercy who were very strict. ...

  • I was born at St Margaret’s Private Hospital on the 21 June, my mother’s birthday. I attended Northbridge Public School and later Willoughby Girls High School. I completed my grade 10 exams on a Friday and started work the following Monday aged 15 years. ...

  • I’m the eldest of nine children. My siblings and I went to Central State School in Spring Hill, one of the oldest schools in Brisbane. ...

  • As a young lad I was put in various children’s homes in Brisbane. During the school holidays, for two weeks in August and six weeks at Christmas, I would go back to my parents who lived in Chinchilla. ...

  • I was born in Wales, in a little village in the centre of the Dulais Valley. It was called Seven Sisters, the only village with an English name. ...

  • I am a retired teacher and have spent most of my life in New South Wales. I came to Toowoomba 18 years ago…to die. ...

  • The greatest gift to me is undoubtedly my parents. They loved each other deeply and loved my brother and me deeply – with a God-like love. ...

  • I just missed out on getting a university scholarship so I got a job working on the oil rigs with my school mate’s dad. ...

  • My brothers and I were brought up on a dairy farm at Windera in the South Burnett. We got up early every morning to milk the cows, whatever the weather – we didn’t know any different. ...

  • I had bright red hair when I was young, which is where I got the nickname Bluey. I left school at 15 to take up a job at the local meat works. ...

  • When I attended Toowoomba Grammar School there wasn’t a photographic club. But they started one when my younger brother was there. He joined the club and within a week he brought a small print home. ...

  • My parents owned the old Gladstone Hotel in Toowoomba. They were there for 33 years. I grew up in the hotel which was an incredible experience and very different to the normal childhood. ...

  • One of my earliest memories is when I was about six years old, I was helping dad plant some oats in the cow paddock. I was on the planter while dad was on the tractor when I got my thumb caught in the cogs. ...

  • My father and his brothers worked together in partnership as farmers. They decided to buy farms that were undeveloped and then improve them to on sell. ...

  • I was born in Glasgow on the same day as Prince Charles. My mother received a food parcel from the Queen because it was just after the war and food was still scarce. ...

  • I was born in Mareeba, outside of Cairns. My old man bundled us up in 1955 and brought us all to Brisbane ‘cause my brother was going to be a jockey. ...

  • We moved to Scone in the New South Wale’s Hunter Valley when I was six years old. I had two brothers and a sister and we loved flying kites and bush walking. ...

  • I grew up on a dairy farm at Macksville on the New South Wales coast. I went to the little school at Taylors Arm where the pub was made famous by Slim Dusty in the song, The Pub With No Beer...

  • Dad bought a block of land in Bridge Street and built a house so we didn’t have to go through town to get to school. ...

  • I’ve lived in Toowoomba all my life. My dad was a flight engineer during the war. I obtained my private pilot’s licence, which came in handy during my own engineering career. ...

  • My grandfather was an English officer in India. He married an Indian bride who died when my father was five years old. ...

  • When I was 12 years old, I’d ride my pony to the racetrack at 4 o’clock in the morning, leading two racehorses from the stables to the track. ...

  • I was a good swimmer in my time. I raced against Dawn Fraser once. Her coach wanted me to move to Townsville with him to train for the Olympic Games. ...

  • I was one year old when my father left to fight the Japanese in New Guinea in 1942. When the war finished in 1945, he went to Japan for a few years as part of the Commonwealth Occupational Forces. ...

  • I was born on Melbourne Cup Day in 1932 and my parents named me after the winning horse, Peter Pan. I’ve loved watching the horse races all through my life. ...

  • I am one of eight children – seven boys and one girl. We grew up in Toowoomba but we moved around because my dad was a railway man. ...

  • I am the only son of a hard working train driver who was a very contented man with his lot in life and a beautiful, happy stay-at-home mother. ...

  • I grew up in Clifton and went to the local school there. I dearly wanted to go to College but my parents couldn’t afford to send me away to board. ...

A partnership project

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