Allan and Nell Stirling lived many years on the Bunyas and loved to attend local events.
Allan and Nell Stirling lived many years on the Bunyas and loved to attend local events. Contributed

Friends with Joh and Flo

Living next to the rainforest on the Bunya Mountains meant a closer association to the bird and animal life of the area. Allan and Nell Stirling soon became used to their feathered friends.

Friendly kookaburras came for tidbits and used to follow Nell as she took lunch out to where her husband was working.

However the most outstanding of their bird friends was Cobber, a brush turkey.

For years she used to visit the Stirlings and could be rather demanding.

If the door was closed she would scratch on it to get their attention.

If she didn't get something to eat she would fly onto the roof and stamp around over the kitchen. She would regularly peer over the edge to see someone emerge.

One day a stranger arrived at their door and introduced himself.

He explained he had come up the mountains in a blitz truck as the road was rather rough on the Kingaroy side.

Earlier he had tried to come up on a motorbike but the loose soil on the steep climb defeated him.

He reflected how over the years he would view the top of the mountains and wonder what was up there.

Once there, he was at last exploring the place. He said he had heard of the Stirlings were long-time residents and he wanted to meet them.

He said his name was Joh Bjelke-Petersen but they hadn't heard of him. A friendship developed as Joh found the Stirlings interesting to yearn with.

In the following years he called often to see them.

Then one day he had a young woman with him whom he introduced as his fiancée Flo. It was meant to be a fleeting visit but then the heavens opened and the rain poured down.

They were unable to move their vehicle so they readily accepted the Stirling's invitation to stay with them a few days until the roads dried and they could leave the mountains.

Joh Bjelke-Petersen went on to become the State Member for Barambah and later became the premier of Queensland.

He always had been a keen businessman and one part was his involvement with land clearing.

Allan engaged his modern equipment to clean up the damaged rain forest on his mountain top property after which the area was planted with kikuou providing abundant pasture for cattle grazing.

Allan retained sizeable areas of rainforest on his property as it provided shelter green forage for his stock during the bleak, dry winters.

Although he had blocks of land on the Bunyas he purchased another property near Chinchilla and later extended to the Theodore area.

He was away at times leaving Nell to manage at home.

This gave her incidents that were new to her.

One problem at that time was that dingoes had broken into her hen enclosure and killed some of her fowls. She asked one of their working men for help.

He set a dingo trap and waited around that night to dispose of what they might catch. It was a quiet night so he went home leaving the trap set.

During the next night, Nell awoke to the sound of a terrible howling in the fowl pen.

She couldn't bear to leave the animal all night in misery so she loaded a gun and bravely went down to the pen and in the dim lantern light despatched it. It was something she had never done before.

The Bunya Mountains were experiencing more visitors every year and Stirlings began to plan how they could contribute to make the place more enjoyable to all.


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