Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Holidays in Bundanoon

Gambell's Springvale Guesthouse. Photo courtesy of Bundanoon History Group

The following is an extract from the biography of Berenice Walters (the Dingo Lady) I am currently writing.

Memories of holidays at the Gambell’s Springvale Guest House at Bundanoon were highlights of Berenice’s childhood in the 1930's. 

The weatherboard house was surrounded on two sides by a wide verandah and enormous Camellia trees. There was a tennis court in the front garden.
The smell of open wood fires, usually surrounded by drying clothes, shoes and boots, flowers, and the exquisite aroma from the large sunken kitchen with its enormous wood range with oxtail soup, pea and ham soup, onions and cakes cooking were recollections that Berenice never lost. Any visitor to the kitchen would see bowls of milk in the process of clotting on the sides of the stove. It was the clotted cream that always received pride of place on the tables. There were bowls of it, for breakfast on rolled oats, for sweets and on cakes.
There were no ensuites to the rooms. Bathrooms were for general use with chip heaters chugging away, and of course, outside toilets. Berenice’s most cherished memory of the bedrooms was the prominence of the heavy water bowl and large jug for washing and water for drinking, and the inevitable fancy potty.
Water was supplied by tanks and Berenice always hoped she was not the only child that had to be constantly watched to make sure she did not turn on taps.
The surrounding bushland, now part of the Morton National Park, with its mountain mists and rain, was a virtual museum of glorious native plants; Christmas Bells and Waratahs in particular grew in abundance.  The majestic beauty of trees, hundreds of years old, of cliffs, valleys and sandstone rocks, caves, creeks and shaded bush tracks, along which the children rode ponies, became precious memories.

Gambell's Springvale Guesthouse. Photo courtesy of Bundanoon History Group

Then there was the farm with its horses, cows, calves, pigs, and chooks; the orchard of stone fruit, and acres and acres of flowers that were supplied to the Sydney markets. There would be buckets of daffodils, hyacinths, tulips, gladioli all masses of colour and beauty.
Wherever their son, Harold, was working, Berenice would not be far away, swinging on the rails of the cow yard, 'helping' to round up the poultry, taking the cows back to the paddock - anything to do with the farm. He must have been a very patient man.
Bundanoon also meant horses and riding. Mr Morris, who had been in the Light Horse, had a riding school near the township. Although barely able to walk, and with her Mum holding on to her, Berenice started what was to become a lifelong love affair with horses.
Berenice’s love of horses remained with her all her life; a passion she passed onto her daughter, Christine, who became a talented rider and breeder of Arabian horses.

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