Southern Downs and Granite Belt: Warwick

July 30, 2020

Photo By Kgbo – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

Well, I finally got a lovely little ‘winter’ getaway and it was so very much needed.  On Tuesday 14 July we left home headed to a cottage at a winery in Ballandean (more on Ballandean and surrounds in next week’s post).  

On the way, we stopped in at Warwick for lunch and a look around and this is where today’s post is centred.  Warwick is a town in the Southern Downs Region, 130km south-west of Brisbane.  It has a population of approximately 15,380.  Warwick is famous for being a Rose and Rodeo city, and I happened to have lived in Warwick back in 1972 when I was in Year 3.  Dad, who was working as a Bank Manager, was transferred there for a year.  We also visited Warwick a lot throughout my childhood because that is where  my paternal grandmother lived.  For these reasons, there were a few places I wanted to see, namely:  1) the house I used to live in, 2) the house my Nanny used to live in, and 3) the church and school that I used to go to.  There are not many photo’s of the town of Warwick in this post but rather some nostalgic photos personal to me.

Map - Brisbane to Warwick

First we visited the old house that my family and I lived in for 12 months back in 1972.  I recognised it pretty quickly – the structure of it – though it looked very different.  It’s frontage is not as well kept as I remember it, and the front fence was gone.  The garden I remember wasn’t there anymore and the air-conditioning units are new additions.  I snapped a couple of photos through the window of the car (one of which you will see below), and as I did a car (the residents I assume) pulled into its driveway.  I felt like some kind of crazed stalker or something so moved along pretty quickly! haha

The house in Warwick my family and I lived in for a year in 1972 – as it looks now!

We then drove on and next came upon the church and school that I used to go to.  I went to St Mary’s Catholic Primary School.  My memories from this time are very limited. I remember being excited when we moved there by the fact I got to wear a new uniform and had new school books.  Even then I liked new things and I loved covering books! lol  I remember being given ‘milk’ at lunchtime.  Free school milk was introduced by the Menzies government in 1951 and discontinued under the Whitlam government in 1973. Here’s an interesting article about 1951 School Milk introduced by Menzies Government.

St Mary’s Catholic Church, Warwick

St Mary’s Catholic Primary School, Warwick (taken through a car window)

Here’s a trip down memory lane – a school photo from the year I went to school in Warwick. I’m bottom right – the one with the piggy tails making her ears stick out.  Being a ‘shortie’ I was always in the front row for kindy and school photos. 

I have very vivid memories of what the front of Nanny’s house looked like but I knew it would look very different now.  I had heard it was in bad disrepair these days.  I didn’t know what number her house was but felt sure that even if the frontage looked different, I’d recognise the structure of the place.  We drove up and down that street several times and I could not recognise her house, so we gave up and went to lunch.

We ended up having lunch at the Criterion Hotel in Palmerin Street.  We’d come across a couple of cafe’s that looked to have too many people inside for these Covid days whereas this hotel had good Covid safe practices in place.  The tables were spaced far apart, there was hand sanitiser available and they had a contact tracing register.  I also love a good pub lunch now and then, don’t you?!  For lunch, I had a Chicken Kiev and The Tennis Player had a Steak Sandwich.

After lunch we headed off to try again to find Nanny’s house.  While at lunch I had texted Mum who then texted my Aunt (Dad’s sister) to find out what number the house was.  My Aunt knew of course because she lived there as a child (she’s 15+ years younger than Dad was).  Armed with this additional knowledge, I felt sure that this time I would find it, and I did.  No wonder I didn’t recognise it before though.  It looked nothing like I remembered it.  The frontage is entirely different.  The house is a different colour.  The front yard was messy.  The front fence was gone, and to make things a little more awkward, there was a girl sitting on the front steps.  I still managed a snap through the window.  It was, I must say, rather sad to see Nanny’s house like this.  She was house proud and always had it looking neat and tidy.  The house used to be called ‘The Vale’ and had this name on the front of the house. I also vividly remember the patchwork screen thing at the front patio. It was different coloured patchwork squares. Some squares were empty and those ones had a little pot with a cactus in them.  This was no longer there. You can see the patchwork screen on the front patio in the photo below.  The words ‘The Vale’ were on the wall of the house to the right of that.  It was called ‘The Vale’ in honour of the small town of ‘Emu Vale‘ where they had lived previously and where my Dad had grown up.

BEFORE (though it doesn’t show the whole house). In front of ‘The Vale’, Nanny’s house in Warwick – probably mid to late 70’s. Back Row: Mum, Nanny, one of Nanny’s Sisters, Dad. Next Row: Sister No 2, Me (in pink), Sister No 3. Front: My Brother. (Sister No 4 wasn’t born yet)


AFTER.  Nanny’s house today. Unrecognisable.

We drove around a little more looking around the town and then headed off back on track for Stanthorpe and Ballandean.  I’ll share all about Stanthorpe and Ballandean including where we stayed and where we went in next week’s post.  There will also be mention of a little cafe we stopped in to for lunch at Warwick on our way home.

Have you been to Warwick? Ever heard of Emu Vale before? Have you revisited a house from your childhood?

Ciao for now,

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  • Reply Lydia C. Lee July 30, 2020 at 7:46 am

    Not been and not heard of Emu Vale…It’s weird going back to see your childhood places. They always seem so dwarfed in time (as in they seemed so enormous when you were a child and you realise they’re quite small)

    • Reply Min July 30, 2020 at 3:45 pm

      Emu Vale is tiny – small population. Yes everything seems smaller when you go back to somewhere from childhood as an adult!

  • Reply Joanne Tracey July 30, 2020 at 8:14 am

    I’ve never heard of Emu Vale but have driven through Warwick so many times, rarely stopping. I love revisiting childhood memories and homes. x

    • Reply Min July 30, 2020 at 3:47 pm

      Not many people have heard of Emu Vale. It’s tiny with a small population. I don’t even know if I’ve been there. Maybe as a child? It’s on my ‘to do’ list. I really want to familiarise myself more with where my Dad grew up. xo

  • Reply Natalie July 30, 2020 at 8:23 am

    Thanks, Min, for sharing this post and your childhood memories. I’ve revisited a house from my childhood before and the new owners let me go inside to have a look. I recognized the tile work and hardwood floor that remained. #lovin’lifelinky

    • Reply Min July 30, 2020 at 3:51 pm

      That would have been fabulous Natalie to have been able to go inside the house from your childhood. It’s funny because I only remember little bits of this house in Warwick that we lived in for 12 months when I was about 8 years of age. I remember the bedroom I shared with my sister. I remembered vaguely what the exterior of the house looked like, and I remember a bit from under the house. I can’t really picture the kitchen, the bathroom, other bedrooms etc. It would be very interesting to see inside. I bet it would be very different now but you never know what memories it could bring back!

  • Reply Deborah July 30, 2020 at 9:07 am

    How lovely that you got to reminisce. I’ve been to Warwick once years ago when a friend worked there but we didn’t do any touristy stuff.

    I love that everyone’s doing some local travel. I’d really like to do a road trip as well!

    • Reply Min July 30, 2020 at 3:55 pm

      I love local travel. I enjoy going places I’ve never been before and learning something new. I’d never been to Ballandean and never had a good look around Stanthorpe before either. There’s sooo many more places in Queensland I’d like to see. I’m not sure what touristy things there are to do in Warwick – I guess because I never visit with a tourist mindset – moreso a revisiting childhood memories kinda mindset. I probably should put the tourist hat on and learn more about the town and surrounds!

  • Reply Vanessa July 30, 2020 at 11:55 am

    I feel like I probably went through Warwick as a kid so that basically means I know nothing about it!

    • Reply Min July 30, 2020 at 3:56 pm

      Warwick makes me feel good. It reminds me mostly of fun family visits to my Nanny’s house. It was always exciting for us kids and there was a park in Warwick that we loved going to!

  • Reply Debbie Harris July 31, 2020 at 10:14 am

    I’ve not been there either but I certainly remember having milk at school! It must have been lovely to go down memory lane by visiting old haunts, I often do the same when I go back to where I grew up – nostalgia!

    • Reply Min August 6, 2020 at 2:07 pm

      It’s always lovely to go down memory lane. Very hard seeing Nanny’s house as it was though and things look so different through adult eyes in comparison to our childhood memories as I’m sure you’d know!

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