About 1950 or 1951 we sold the shop and moved to Maryborough to be near Joan. Mum had been told her heart was not good and so ended our years in the Boyne Valley.
Elsie and Harry were happy in retirement and took to growing very special plants until Elsie died of a blood disease in about 1957. We, Gerry and I, and Harry stayed on, then Gerry (who’d been in the army and got out when we were married), rejoined the Air Force this time. When we were transferred to Ipswich, Dad sold his house too, as well as us, and stayed with Joan in Brisbane. Then almost straight away Gerry and I were transferred to Darwin, Dad who was very unsettled, decided to come too.
In Darwin, he worked on the Roman Catholic Cathedral. After 12 months we heard we were going back to Brisbane and Harry took off for there too. He was in much better spirits then and almost straight away bought a little farm at Caboolture. When Gerry and I were again back at Ipswich we went up there at weekends and we cooked on the primus and slept in the car, and it was like paradise on a cold morning when you could smell the ripe fruit and the air was so clean with all the growing things.
When he built my house, I said “Dad I want sliding doors” and he said “I can’t do that” – but he did. He also built my whole kitchen, including a built-in ironing board – you only had to touch it with a finger tip and it fell into place. He also worked out – although he wasn’t allowed to do the work (regulations by then) how I could put the hall light on or off from all the rooms, so any room could have a light ‘ahead’ of them in the night and then turn it off behind her in the next room she went into.
Harry was so happy – he was really busy building yet another dear little house – there hadn’t been one – and was surrounded with Italian tobacco farmers. He’d met a lot of Italian stone masons on the Darwin job and got to respect them, so he settled in happily at Caboolture and built up a successful pineapple farm.
It was then he met Elsie No 2.