Chapter three – The final move

Written by Rosie B.

By Christmas 1968 Mum and Dad were in Rubyvale sapphire mining.

I had always thought of a sapphire as just a blue stone but there is much more to it than that. You have to
hold a stone up to the light and look at it from all angles. If it is all blue, with no imperfections, you have a very good one but until it is cut you can never be absolutely sure…

When my Mum and Dad had originally arrived, Dad had got himself a miner’s licence and pegged out his claim; that was all you had to do back then. They had set the caravan up next to a rather large hole and that was that!

It would have been May 1970 that my lad and our two small children all piled into our old car and set off for Rubyvale to join them.

We also took our dog with us, a labrador called Sally and her job was to take a walk around the camp each night checking for snakes and nasty creepy crawlies. She also got very good at finding trapdoor spider holes. My dad would pour kerosene down the hole and my lad would whop the spider with a shovel when it came out!

When it was time for mum and dad to leave Rubyvale, we left too. It just wasn’t the place for two little kids, what with all the giant holes in the ground and all.

We made our way back to Armidale via a brief stint on the Gold Coast.

By 1974, we’d been in Australia for 10 years.

Mum and Dad had sold the sapphire mine. They had pegged it out, worked it out and then sold it for a nice little profit. They then set off for a trip around Australia…

Pretty quickly, they wound up in Hervey Bay. I think my dad fell in love with the place instantly and for once it was his own idea that they stay, with no argument from mum.

!n 1974, Hervey Bay was no more than a little fishing village. It didn’t even have a real supermarket. My dad would take his rod and reel down to the beach or on the jetty and fish for hours.

He didn’t make friends easily, mainly because he was a stubborn old so and so, but he met a bloke on the beach one day and they became firm friends. He moved the caravan to this friend’s back yard and settled down to a bit of serious fishing.

We visited my parents in Hervey Bay for the first time around 1975. I fell in love with the place from the word go.

By hook or by crook, this was where we were going to end up… and so we did!

We visited the region every year, including some amazing trips to Fraser Island (now K’gari).
In early August 1986 we packed up shop in Armidale, sold the house and finally moved to Hervey Bay, where we have been ever since.

Our children have their own families now, including children that are wonderfully talented and accomplished in the things that they love most.

Hervey Bay has, and always will, hold a special place in all of our hearts. I am forever grateful that fate (and the occasional caravan holiday) has brought us all together here.