Backward Glance: Sunshine Coast children’s entertainment over the decades
  • Wednesday 18 November 2015
Imberger children playing at their family home near Landsborough 1920

The social history and lives of some of the Coast’s children is captured in today’s Backward Glance.

School picnics, break up days, running races, riding a pony to school or walking alone for long distances on a dusty track to get school is from an era now gone.

Children needed to be educated and small schools were created with only one teacher at times to teach all of the grades in the sparsely populated country regions.

A story told by early pioneer Agnes Tolson talks of the Westaway brothers of Meridan Plains who attended Glenview State School.

"One afternoon two of the big boys namely Jack and Ted Westaway decided they were not going to do any more lessons so they brought in a goanna which they had lassoed during lunch time and laid it in front of the blackboard. We scrambled up onto the seats and desks the lady teacher was terrified. After much coaxing the boys took the goanna away.

"Our teacher Miss Scott was a gentle person and not fond of the bush and I think she only stayed with us for six months."

Children were expected to help on the family farms but still found time for play if they could. Many country children enjoyed horse riding and looking after their pets ─ whether it be a calf or a pony to ride it was always fun!

Of course when a circus came to town it was the talk of the town and caused a lot of excitement for children.

Looking through the beautiful Picture Sunshine Coast’s collection, there are many photos of children playing with a hoop, or a dolly and billy carts were a source of adventure for many.

On special days such as school picnics or break-ups, children had a lot of fun. There were the serious events for the big kids such as running, high jump, tunnel ball and relays. All ages keenly awaited the egg and spoon race, three legged race or sack race.

Children’s play was changing in the suburbs as development encroached on open spaces.

During the 1950s, children’s activities in the playgrounds and at home showed kids playing marbles, jumping with skipping ropes, hopscotch, string games and playing rounders.

Radio also widened the field of entertainment too before TV was introduced in the late 1950s which changed children’s culture and lifestyle. A generation of children came to enjoy the radio for education and entertainment.

Commercial amusements in the school holidays such as special matinees at the picture shows on a Saturday afternoon were also very popular for children who could afford to go.

Children were also swept up in the popularity of surfing and swimming and many pictures show children and their families flocking to the beaches from the early days. This is still the case today.

Learn more about the Coast’s unique history by reading our Backward Glance series. There’s a new story every Wednesday.