The Brose family were heading to Sydney in their new Buick car.
The Brose family were heading to Sydney in their new Buick car.

Early Days: A road trip to remember

For little Agnes it was it was all too much to take in. Her family were planning a trip to Sydney in their new red Buick. Agnes Godfrey recalled those times when she was a resident in Ningana Retirement Village. Her parents had been living on a farm near Pittsworth but in 1924 decided to sell and move into Toowoomba. Her brother Ted, who had helped on the farm wanted to go north and work in the cane.

Her parents, Harry and Barbara Brose, had some money to spare after they made the move and decided to buy their first car. It was a new, red Buick but her father didn’t drive leaving that to his son Ted. They planned to visit Sydney where her mother had a sister living in West Maitland There were five people to fit into the car. They were her father and mother, brothers Ted and Pat and Agnes herself aged about seven years. Their luggage was on the running board strapped to the side of the car.

They found the roads very rough but by the first night they had reached Tenterfield and stayed there that night in a hotel. There were very few cars on the road but they passed a lot of horse drawn vehicles On the next day they had to negotiate narrow cuttings through the range and in some of these, they had to pull over against the bank to let bullock teams through. She though the bullockies were annoyed at then for taking up some of the road and frightening their bullocks

Petrol was obtained from grocery stores as they were no fuel pumps or service stations then. It came in a wooden box containing two four gallon tins, One of the tins was punctured in opposite corners and poured into the car while the other was strapped to the car for later use. By the third night they reached West Maitland and stayed a few nights with her mother’s sister.

They resumed their journey to Sydney and came to the Hawksbury River. There was no bridge only a small punt to take them across. It held one car and there was a man on either side to wind the punt across with a hand windless

They finally made it to the city of Sydney and Agnes remembered the tall buildings with the tallest being the Draper Stores which was three stories in height. They also visited Botany Bay and the light house.

They were told of the plans to build the Sydney Harbour Bridge and her father was keen to come down and see the opening.

After several weeks in Sydney they began their return journey up the coast crossing many rivers by ferries. They reached Brisbane and the talk of the city was the building of the town hall.

After a tedious climb up the old tollbar road with a boiling radiator, they were back home in Toowoomba after seeing two of Australia’s large cities. The new Buick car had opened up a new world to them.

A few weeks after the trip her brother Ted wanted to clean the car so he backed it out of the shed where it was parked. In the process the car backfired and the fuel caught fire. Agnes ran down the road to get to a phone to call the fire brigade but by the time they arrived the new car was destroyed.

It had given them much pleasure and taken them a long way in the short time they had it, but those times were over.

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