During a recent holiday at Caloundra I read your articles relating to Christmas Bells and thought you might find the following of interest:
From the late 1940's through the 50's my family with others from Brisbane, Maleny and Nambour enjoyed camping through the Christmas school holidays at a vacant residential size block in Warne Tce Caloundra. The same families would gather each year in a community of six or seven 12'x12' canvas tents and a large raised wooden floored vehicle garage. Lifelong friendships were made.
Mr father had a 1935 Chev ute which we would load with the heavy canvas tent and home-made folding camping gear and, with the dog atop, Dad driving, Mum, my sister and I in the cabin, we would set off from Brisbane to Caloundra which, from memory, was about a three hour trip up the old road. We were always pleased to reach the mile long straight stretch past what is now Corbould Park and anticipated being the first to sight the ocean as we crested the hill.
The area to the north along the straight stretch was to my memory open grassland and we counted ourselves lucky on one occasion, which was probably 1953, to see Christmas Bells in bloom and stopped to pick some. We had picked three stalks when we were approached by a man armed with a rifle and was accompanied by a younger man. They appeared to have come from a house which would have been where the now overpass reaches the northern side of the main road.
We were in an area between a fence and the edge of the road which the older chap claimed he leased from the government and therefore the wildflowers were his.
He was not interested in taking possession of the flowers we had picked. With a wife and two kids with him Dad could not argue the matter too strongly with an armed man and so was obliged to purchase the three stalks for 5 pounds - a figure which was approximately the weekly wage of a young male at that time.
Dad had the cautionary tale to entertain the other campers when we arrived and he no doubt could see some humour in the event. He passed away in 1959 and we found amongst his papers a memento in the form of a christmas card presented to him from the other campers the year he purchased the flowers. The card was brightly illustrated with Christmas Bells.