Ron Bateman

Ron Bateman Lifetime in the Woodford District

8th June 1918 to 7th August 2012

Ronald Herbert Bateman (Blue) was born at The Lady Bowen Hospital Wickham Terrace Brisbane on the 8th June 1918 the first child to Daisy and Bert Bateman. His sister Mona was born 13th September 1920 who pre deceased him earlier this year. The Bateman family moved from Brisbane to Stoney Creek in late 1920 to work on a dairy farm Bert’s father had bought.

Oh one thing dad did not say much about was he had been patted on the head by Royalty. The then future King, Prince Of Wales, Edward or Teddie as he was known was in Brisbane on an Australian Royal tour and on a parade walk amongst the crowd shaking hands etc Teddie approached Dad and patted him on the head as he stood next to his mother in the crowd.

He learnt to milk cows at an early age and when he turned 5 in June 1923 he was milking 4 to 5 cows a morning and after school as well. In these early years of his schooling times were hard but had enjpyed going to school as well as watching the many bullock teams go past the school carrying timber from Bellthorpe to Woodford Sawmill. There were only 3 motor cars in the district at this time and the main modes of transport were horse and sulky, buggy or pushbike. It was a rough ride on the dirt roads.

During this time the local farmers banned together and built a public hall (with voluntary labour) next to the school and over time he learnt old-time dancing to a button accordion as part of the schools activities.

For dads last year of schooling grade 7 he was sent to Brisbane to board with his Aunty Jean and attend East Brisbane State School (next to the Gabba). Although Dad was a reasonably good scholar he found the modern style of maths hard to handle. That much so that although he got the right answer in the end he was wacked on the knuckles by the Head Master when he was discovered working out the answer the long way he had learnt at Stoney Creek not the short way they learnt in Brisbane. This was the last straw – he began to wag school and with his pocket money he’d catch a tram to the city and go to the pictures all day returning in time to Coorparoo around school going home time. However this didn’t last too long as Aunty Jean got the telephone connected and when the school rang one morning to see why Ron was no at school his little game was over.

When Dad came down from the country he loved to play cricket and after playing on the rough dirt in Stoney Creek these smooth grassy wickets in Brisbane were a breeze and soon enjoyed belting the ball to the boundary and bowling out these city kids who thought they could play cricket. Apparently he impressed the sports master so much he had been selected to play for Qld U16 school boy side to play NSW U16 side at 14 years old while wagging school. SO his punishment given to him by the Head Master was not “6 of the best” but being disqualified from the Qld team. He never forgot this. But he absolutely refused to go back to school at East Brisbane and a transfer was arranged to Milton school where he had another cousin going and it was here he finished his school education then returned to work on the farm.

He loved his sport and on weekends managed to play cricket and tennis in the local district. He also enjoyed social dancing and danced for many years. In 1941 he married a Woodford girl Vera Tilney (another pioneering family of the district) and they had 2 sons Bevan born 23rd January 1944 and Gary born 31st March 1954. During the 1940s dad was also a baby sitter for Bevan and Greville (his sister Mona’s son her husband Vic was away in the Army). Mona, Vera (Mum), Viv Runge (from Kilcoy) Mick Wicks and Manny Riddle started a dance band and played for dances for the soldiers and locals. We believe there were up tp 20,000 troops around Woodford and districts so dances became a popular pastime and when Saturday nights came around Dad had one eye on Greville and Bevan who slept behind the piano or under a hall seat and the other eye was used waltzing around the hall. Greville and Bevan had fun, Gary missed all this.

In 1959 Vera left the farm and moved back to Woodford to look after her ill mother and Dad still worked on the farm until 1964 when the farm was sold. Dad then worked for SEAQ electrical company as an electrical tradesman’s assistant. He was there for 17 years and was retired in October 1981 for health reasons. Upon retiring Dad and Mum joined Woodford Senior Citizens club. As well as their weekly indoor bowls games they enjoyed the monthly bus trips around various points of interest. They also went on Christensen’s bus trips to a lot of places in Queensland, New South Wales and also a quick whip around Australia in I think it was in 38 days.

Dad and Mum loved the grand kids visits. Also Dad loved to help Gary with his honey bees – going out to get the honey and bringing it home to extract it. Also Dad used to be called quite often by locals to say they had found a swarm of bees and off he would go with an empty bee box, catch the queen, drop her in the box then take off and come back in a few days to collect them when they had cooled down. It seemed he didn’t mind the few dozen or more stings he got.

In 1995 retirement changed when Vera (Mum) had a cerebral haemorrhage and was very ill and did not return home for 5 months. Roles changed and Dad became the carer for Mum. Their trips became less and as Mum got worse over the next 10 years they were more or less confined to the Woodford area.

In 2005 Mum passed away and Dad had lost his soul mate. He decided to have his both knees replaced successfully in 2007. In 2008 some 16 months after his knee op he had a couple of falls so he moved to Aloaka Lodge in Kilcoy. Here he had a new lease of life, people to talk to all day, some old friends he knew, some new friends he met, morning melodies on Thursdays were a real treat as he loved to sing as well and he would sing his heart out to all those old songs and the sing songs they had. The mini bus trips he enjoyed as well and he seemed to become the talking tour guide. He knew all the places around the district and he would run a commentary as he said the driver was a foreigner (at the time she was the boss lady of Aloaka). She came from NSW or Vic and she knew not much of Kilcoy and surrounds.

He said goodbye to us on Tuesday 7th August 2012.





Thank you Gary for sharing Blue’s eulogy with us.

L to R – Vera Bateman, Viv Runge, Manny Riddle, Mona Woodrow, Mick Wicks. Name of band: The Night Owls
Vera and Ron