Cate Patterson

Posted by on Aug 24, 2016 in Uncategorized

Cate at the Book Lovers evening at Mapleton Community Library, 2024

Book Lovers Talk 14 Feb 2024

The Montville History Group looks at the lived experience of those past and present. Sometimes called history from below, social history looks at the lives of everyday men and women with an emphasis on wider sources and methods than traditional history that looks at ‘great’ events and people.

It relies on oral history, the history of ordinary people, trends that shaped their lives, what they said and did. It turns to documents that are notoriously unreliable and inaccurate in order to help reconstruct the life and circumstances of the ‘everyman’.

In our research for all the books in the Montville Stories series we have gone to the families – with members of a family naturally having different memories, differing views and even contradictory information. Families can provide letters, photos, diaries, journals and memories and hearsay.

When I research at home, I use Trove – the digitised newspapers and magazines section, ancestry to establish possible family relationships and dates, electoral rolls to determine occupation, place of residence and who was living in the same household. I use Births, Deaths and Marriages QLD, National Archives of Australia for war records, Titles Office for records of land ownership, Police Gazettes for criminal offences.

There is always a moral responsibility when writing social history. Like all research it comes down to what is included and what is omitted, from whose perspective the story is told, making sure that facts and opinions are clearly distinguished. Sometimes the writing seems pedestrian and dry because there is a lack of lyrical language, but here it is necessary to keep in mind the readership of these books – and try to strike a balance between bald statements and interesting snippets. Our readership includes the families of those featured in each book, Montville residents past and present, tourists and other researchers.

Book 1

Early Settlers covers 1885-1914 and is largely based on family records and oral histories of grandchildren of the early settlers that were provided to the history group at the Montville Centenary in 1987. Stories were popped in manilla folders with the family name. Sometimes there were photos or photocopies and newspaper clippings or family trees roughly drawn. Sometimes there was a named but empty manilla folder.

This was the time of an emerging nation with federation in 1900, of forced removal of First Nations people from their country and the late opening up of the Blackall Range which had once been exempt from development because of the Bunya Proclamation which recognised the trees’ sacred status for First Nations people. But amidst the political upheaval for the people on the land there were floods and cyclones. This book describes their efforts to translocate farming practices to a new environment establish homes for their families.

Book 2

Fifty Years of Boom and Bust 1914 – 1964

The patriotism at the onset of the Great War in 1914, took 29 young men from the district, seven never returned. Then there was the 1919 Spanish Flu that was rampant in the community, and a shift to monoculture  – citrus, then pineapples and later avocados. These are the years of the children of the first settlers who were claimed by the community and equally relied on community support

Book 3

Fifty Years of Change 1964 – 2014

Two emerging forces drove the changes in Montville for the next 50 years – one was the force of business, enterprise and development, and the other was the community voice.

This book records the players who drove change at this time. We were able to interview these influential Montville people, although some later declined to have those interviews used in the book.

Books 4 and 5 are personal reminiscences by those who lived at Flaxton and Montville in the 1950s. Sawdust and Steam tells the story of the Flaxton sawmill, 1936 – 63 by Gordon Plowman and Home on the Range is the story of Ruth Cuthbertson whose parents were postmasters at Montville at the time the store and post office were burnt down. They are both factual and whimsical told from a personal perspective, filled with anecdotes and insights.

Book 6

Silky Oaks and Camphor Laurels celebrates the otherwise unacknowledged centenary of the Flaxton Provisional late State School 1922 – 2022. Written by Gordon Plowman it captures what day to day school life was like in the 1950s and includes research about the struggle to establish a school at Flaxton.

Book 7

In writing Montville Communities Doug Patterson identified key groups, clubs, committees, organisations and associations that had historically shaped the Montville community and then sought out those that currently contribute to the fabric of community life in the Montville district. In doing so it was easy to see the changing emphasis given to occupation-based associations, to increasingly sports and recreation based groups. One aspect that remained strong throughout Montville’s history was the Progress Association that gave way to the present-day Montville Village Association.

Book 8

The Montville Post Office 1897 – 2022 was a rewrite and update of an earlier history.

It enabled us to include more photos and brief biographies of past post masters especially those in the last 25 years.

Book 9 Part 1 Montville Remembers World War One 1914 – 1919 is a joint venture by Gordon Plowman and myself where Gordon did the research pertaining to the war service records for each enlistee from World War 1 and I researched the soldier’s connection with Montville and what happened after the war.

Two more books are planned for release this year to complete the series. Book 9 Part 2 Montville Remembers World War 2 1939 – 1945 and Montville Buildings.

Writing this collection has enabled the History Group to put into the hands of those interested, stories of the events and the people that have shaped this community. Today they provide a useful reference to what has gone before, so more informed decisions can be made about Montville’s future.

Cate’s Bio

Cate was born in Brisbane in 1956 and spent school holidays with her grandparents at Caloundra. She visited elderly members of her grandmother’s family who lived at Maleny, Mapleton and Montville and was fascinated by their stories of early pioneering life on the Blackall Range.

Cate completed her undergraduate degree majoring in anthropology, history and English. In 1978 she began what has been a career in secondary teaching spanning 46 years. Over the years she has enjoyed the challenge of teaching many subjects across the sciences and the arts.

Cate married Doug Patterson on the Montville Village Green in 1984 and has taught in Sunshine Coast schools since then. After living at Buderim and Maroochydore the couple moved to Montville in 2006 following a whim to learn more about Cate’s Smith family ancestors.

The next six years were an amazing journey of discovery putting together the pieces that made up the overall jigsaw picture of the Smith family on the Blackall Range. With contributions from newly discovered descendants Cate compiled a family history book which captured much of the early days on the Blackall Range. The Smith Family: From Birtsmorton to the Blackall Range was published in 2012 in time to be launched at a massive Smith family reunion in the Montville Village Hall.

At this time Cate was asked to take over the coordination of the Montville History Group, a sub-group of the Montville Village Association. An ongoing request from locals and tourists was for a book on Montville’s history. Three earlier publications in 1987, 1996 and 1997 provided early photographs, a history of the Montville School, and the Montville Post Office.

Rather than try and put together 140 years of history in one book, the History Group decided to break the history into roughly 50-year periods. The Montville Stories Series resulted: a social history, very much told by the locals who have lived in the area. The History Group plans to release the final two books in the series later this year – making 11 books in the series.

Cate discovered how much she enjoyed researching the local history to help families connect with the lives of their ancestors and to learn more about the places that were once integral to the area and has accepted several bigger commissions. The most recent of these is Glenn Lawrance of High Tor, a book about a Maleny eccentric who created a wildlife sanctuary and popular 1940s guest house.

Cate has lived at Currimundi, Caloundra since 2018 and now enjoys the best of both the coast and the hinterland, maintaining her connections with the Montville Community playing tennis, attending events, meetings, visiting friends and continuing her research.