Betty reflects on family fishing trips.
Betty reflects on family fishing trips. Scott Powick

Fond memories of going fishing with the family

I HAVE always loved fishing, but it was not until I was married that I got to do a lot of it. Dad had a clinker boat built by a local boat builder.

On Sundays we all went for a full day's outing on the river.

I was fearful on those days. Instead of being able to fish, we kids were off-loaded onto a grassy bank along the way.

I was given instructions from Dad to look after my brothers and sister, before he and Mum rowed away to find a good fishing spot.

I was always scared something awful would happen to one of us.

They were an energetic lot. The older boys went off and did hair-raising stunts like climbing trees, dangling and swinging from the branches.

The younger ones kept taking off into the bush. I had to keep rounding them up and make sure my toddler brother did not fall into the river.

So, to keep them amused I played with them. After a cut lunch Mum and Dad went off and did it all over again. I loved my siblings dearly and they were good kids.

Sometimes though I felt more like their mother than older sister.

When the youngest was three and a half, I received a letter from the government to report for duty in two days at Caboolture.

Dad had that surprise for me and I was shocked and terrified as we lived in the bush.

My heart broke when he left me on the railway station platform and continued on by train to visit his sister in Brisbane.

The younger children didn't understand why I wasn't there anymore and I missed all of my family and Grandma.

I worried my siblings would think I had abandoned them or did not love them anymore.

Just before our youngest sibling was born, our Sunday outings stopped. I think the boat became overloaded. From then on Dad set his nets every weekend.

In earlier days I loved when we went to Littabella where my grandparents had a shack.

Grandma would mind our younger sister so I could grab a hand line and go fishing.

There weren't as many of us at that time. No one ever vandalised or stole from the shack.

My grandparents had beds there and Grandma also had her cooking utensils and ingredients stored there.

I felt very sad when about 50 years later, Bob and I found the place where the shack had been.

Only a corner post remained, lying on the ground at the overgrown camp site.