Rock Pools and Waterfalls in the backyard – Growing up in 1970s Montville

Rock Pools and Waterfalls in the backyard

by Julia Holloway (nee Pederson)

I have treasured memories of growing up in Montville with my parents John and Jill Pederson and brothers, John and Barry. Originally Mum and Dad had 100 acres at Hunchy Road, Palmwoods. Sometimes Dad and I would ride our horse, ‘Creamy’, up the Razorback Road to Montville State School when I started Grade 1 in 1970.

John Pederson with four-year old Julia on Creamy

At other times Dad would drive the utility instead of taking our horse, stopping to fill washouts with a shovel on the dirt / gravel road as we went. Horses could be tied on the left side of the Montville State School oval where they had plenty of shade next to the reserve. Montville was a magnet for artists, small crop farmers and those who enjoyed the village atmosphere and beautiful surrounds.

John, Barry and I attended Montville State School from Grade 1 through to Grade 7. At that time the principal was Joe Love (1964 – 1977) and later Peter Brodie (1978-1988) and my teachers were Doris Bradley in Grade 1 from the Miniature English Village at Flaxton, followed by Virginia Walden who drove a VW Beatle car. I remember we all sang ‘God Save the Queen’ while on parade every morning, having delicious homemade fare at tuck shop including Margaret Farmer’s tasty wholesome food. It was only a small school of around 30 children altogether and one classroom with a divider in the middle. Sometimes we’d have lessons outside under the beautiful big trees. I still have some of the things I made in craft class. They were made to last! I remember the smell of the ink in the duplicating machine after printing the ‘Montville Views’ and ringing the big brass bell downstairs for recess.

Milk for little lunch would be delivered in little glass bottles with silver caps but it was often warm by recess. I remember thinking the chocolate milky bars we would get at Palmwoods preschool were better. At recess we would play around the magnificent camphor laurel and fig trees, play skipping games like ‘Hot Pepper’, and sometimes hopscotch and marbles. There was a tyre swing attached to the branch of a large tree to the left of the amenities block, where we’d swing as high as we could over the bank towards the oval. On the street side of the school were swings and monkey bars. There always seemed to be an array of insects and wildlife of some sort in the amenities block which was half way down the school grounds before the oval and we never knew what would be in there.

The oval was popular for various strategic war and chasey games like tag at recess. My favourite sports were tennis, swimming, tunnel ball and leader ball, where Montville State School came first in the Annual Maleny Championship Carnival in 1976. We had a tennis court at the school on the street side of the oval. A highlight was when Allison McCulloch and I won the PDTA doubles tournament in 1978.


Julia Pederson leader ball certificate, 1976

Painting the south side of the Pederson Home

My parents bought acreage on Main Street Montville in 1971. Soon construction started on what would become our light cream coloured two-story brick home with a veranda on the front overlooking the valley. We’d sometimes spot koalas in the gum trees across the street. We had an in-ground water tank underneath our garage and were conscious of conserving water. The site of our home is now known as the Montville Café Bar and Grill.

Mayfield, the guesthouse that once stood on the site where the Pederson family home was built

This site was once a guest house known as “Mayfield”. We had a small cattle yard and chook pen about half way down the property towards the rear and an old well and pump shed near the back boundary. We had a jersey cow for our milk and Mum would churn butter. We’d often find old bottles, coins and broken ceramic tiles around our backyard. There was also an old copper at the rear. We loved to go exploring the bush and creeks with the neighbourhood kids as my parents also owned the area on both sides of where the Montville Café Bar and Grill is situated now.

Pederson Home, Main Street. Now incorporated as part of Montville Cafe Bar and Grill

Julia Pederson waiting for the high school bus outside her home with her brothers

Our home site was chosen for its beautiful view and easy walk to Montville School. In 1984 our property was sold and converted to the Montville Café Bar and Grill and Montville Mountain Inn by the Hargreaves family. We had a huge in-ground swimming pool which ran the length of our house on the north side and was well enjoyed by ourselves and neighbourhood children. We were good swimmers, taught by my Dad who was a former life-guard. Eventually the deep end of our pool was converted to a water tank, its smooth concrete surface made a great skating rink.

The far corner at the shallow end of our concrete filled besser block swimming pool at Montville with my brothers, John and Barry, and Aunty Eileen

In later years my parents built a very popular tourist plant nursery on the flat site on the north side of the pool. We would do our potting and propagating in the area between the pool and the nursery. This flat area was once a grass tennis court for the guest house ‘Mayfield’. The Montville Inn guest rooms are on this area now. To the north of where the Montville Inn is now, was the home of the Walkers, an elderly couple who had a dog called Max and a pine forest in their backyard. This home is still standing today, I believe it was known as ‘Braemar’.

The Cottage Tea Rooms

The old chamferboard house situated on the acreage my parents owned on the south side of our home was renovated into an English Tudor style Devonshire Tea house and souvenirs known as “The Cottage”. Dad’s light and fluffy scones cooked in the wood stove were well loved by visiting tourists.

The Cottage photo taken 1976

My school friends enjoyed calling in for ice cold fruit drinks and milkshakes. Mum would place a collectable fancy cocktail animal pick on the side of each glass. In later years Mum and Dad sold this business to the Pottinger family who turned the café into Pottinger’s restaurant. This site beside the Montville Café Bar and Grill has since been subdivided and is now an array of shops and offices. The original house is on the street front. The old frangipani tree and advanced palms from my childhood are still there. My parents pondered starting a pub in Montville but may have been ahead of their time in their vision as I recall new developments weren’t well supported at the time by the council.

While I remember their Devonshire tea house for its delicious fare, I also recall the plant nursery business which Mum and Dad had built from timber. As a teen I designed the building concept and was the first female to be allowed to study technical drawing in Year 10 at Nambour High School in 1979. In later years I studied computer aided drafting amongst other pursuits and currently my husband and I have our own business. Dad always loved gardening and was involved with the Montville school project club beautifying and maintaining the school grounds.

There weren’t many shops at Montville in the 1970s. Mr Coats had the General Store, followed by the Bagley family. It was only a small General Store as I recall. There was a small Post Office run by Clive Blair, the Pottery and Arthur Lee’s art studio, which was diagonally opposite our house and the De Lisle Art Gallery at the Village Green. There was a small book shop near the Uniting Church. There were only a handful of cafes/restaurants in the area. The three-tier house known as Misty’s restaurant originally built by Alf Smith was the home of the Lindsey family. There was a lolly shop run by Joy Lindsey on the bottom level and an art gallery on the second level, on the third level was a large telescope.

 Alf Smith later moved to a single-story home a couple of doors south from our Devonshire tea house. I remember a small home-based bakery being run by Barbara Tutin down near the Dome not far from the Pobjoy family. I remember being in a fashion parade at the Dome for June Upton’s boutique in Nambour, ‘Kimberly Fashions’. The Dome later housed a miniature railway. Many Montville families such as the Williams, Barnett and McCulloch families had pineapple, macadamia, banana or avocado farms growing in the rich red volcanic soil.

My parents also had a 500-acre cattle property at Bald Knob and 101 acres at “Kondalilla Waters” Montville, one mile north of Montville, bordering on the Kondalilla National Park and later revamped, and  “Glen Ferry”, 59 acres along the Maleny Landsborough Road, Maleny. The Kondalilla and Maleny farm houses were renovated and later sold to the ‘Scarborough Art Union’ run by Mons Frawley at Redcliffe in 1976. We were lucky enough as children to be in the television advertisements for these art union properties. I’m not sure which was more exciting –  being on film, or Mum and Dad buying a colour TV so we could see ourselves in colour. At the time I remember thinking that everyone had their own rock pools and waterfalls like we did. 

We had lots of birthday and Christmas parties at our home where most of the school children would attend. Being a small community, no-one missed out on anything in the neighbourhood. We travelled quite a bit as a family to the South Pacific Islands while I was in Primary School and around Australia in 1979 while I was at Nambour High.

Fancy Dress Ball with Julia Pederson leading the parade in her Daffodil Peanut Paste costume

The school P&C, school staff and the Montville Ladies Club would host some marvellous dances and events at the Montville Village Hall such as the fancy-dress parade, balls, barn dances, cent auctions and the Maypole dance performed as a farewell for Joe Love, the then school principal. There was always a feast of delicious food made by all the mothers. Mum was Montville Ladies Club president in 1972 and another event organised was the glamorous debutante ball. Dad was president of the P&C in the early 1970’s.

Montville School Fete with Jill Pederson wearing the Star costume

The school P&C would organise popular school fetes on the Village Green and on the school oval. I recall being in the dunk tank one year. The school tennis court was where some of the stalls were set up. One year I remember a bonfire on the oval and mini bikes. There was a great sense of community spirit especially in the lead up to Christmas when there’d be an annual break up picnic and we’d busily make Christmas crafts at school and climb into the back of a large utility, singing Christmas Carols around the neighbourhood.

Such happy memories of an idyllic Montville childhood!