One of the first families to settle at Lake Weyba, on the eastern side, were Henry and Louisa Jane Burgess and their four children. George, the eldest of two sons, was born at the home in 1890. He grew up doing jobs around the home and did not attend school. He later worked as a timberman, a fisherman and a farmer.

George fondly recalled memories of his childhood that paint a picture the life of folks living at Gympie Terrace around the turn of the 20th century. He told stories of following cow tracks over to ‘the beach’ (Sunshine Beach), made by stray cows from stations around Doonan and Yandina. At the beach they would gather eugarie (or common pipi, a saltwater clam), oysters, prickly pear and wild passionfruit, and catch fish and ghost crabs – cooking the latter in an empty jam tin on the beach, sucking the flesh out of the shells. His mother would make soup and rissoles out of the eugarie. George also fondly recalled his mother’s wheat porridge cooked slowly on the old wood stove. Less fondly, George remembered having to collect seaweed to place on the garden, but it was very good for the crops, especially asparagus.

George bought a house on Gympie Terrace shortly before enlisting with the army in August 1916 during the First World War. His younger brother, Verney, enlisted the following month. George fought with the 42nd Battalion on the Western Front in France in 1917, receiving minor wounds. He returned to Australia and was discharged in April 1918. Verney, a fisherman, served as a sapper in France and was hospitalized in January 1918 having been exposed to gas. He eventually returned to Australia and was discharged in October 1919.

Upon returning home in 1919, George met and married Lillian Bailey, whose family owned a mixed business in Gympie and had shares in the gold mines. They moved to Gooloi Street in Tewantin in 1925 and brought up two daughters who lived their lives in Tewantin and Noosaville also.

George and Verney became professional fishermen but Verney had to retire early from the physical work due to health problems from stemming from his war service.

After Lillian died an early death, George returned to live on Gympie Terrace until his own passing.


George’s house for rent on Gympie Terrace. Image courtesy of State Library of Queensland.