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Introducing Dorothy Buch

Dorothy Ellen Buch was born on 22 October, 1924. Dorothy is the youngest daughter of William & Cecilia Reid.

This first group of interview sessions (below) centre on Dorothy’s childhood home in Woolloongabba. The heritage value in Dorothy’s story is the unique location of her home. The Reid’s house was located on what is now the south-east corner of Trafalgar Street and Stanley Street. The frontage of the house faced Stanley Street, and was directly across from the Gabba Cricket Ground. The goods train heading through the Five-way intersection, in and out of the railway yard, passed beside the Reid house (now Trafalgar Street). On Stanley Street, the trams would stop outside Dorothy’s home to transport the cricket or football crowd. Dorothy’s recorded memories provides a picture of Australian cricket during the Bradman days at the Gabba , as well as of a Brisbane transport system that has since disappeared but now defines the history of Woolloongabba.

In the interview sessions, Dorothy described her childhood Queenslander. Her father had lifted the original house onto stills, creating a play-area for Dorothy and her friends under the house. The extra elevation meant that the Reid family had good view onto the cricket ground during the matches of the 1930s.

Her mother, Cecilia Reid (nee O’ Brien), was a softly-spoken woman, who enjoyed crochet and cooking; often providing refreshments or a meal for friends who stopped on their way to the city. Cecilia was dedicated to her family. Cecilia looked after her mother-in-law (Nancy Whiteley) in the family home until the old lady spent her last days in the old Diamantina Hospital, at the other end of Woolloongabba.
Her father, William Reid, had his own horse & cart furniture removal business. The popularity of motorised vehicles on Brisbane streets put an end to his trade and William took up load work at the Woolloongabba railway yard. William was a community leader. He was active in the local Masonic Lodge on Trinity Lane, which ran a children’s club. All the members of the Reid, including Dorothy, and her brother Les, and sisters Evelyn & Nancy, were office-bearers in the children’s lodge. Dorothy has a memory of walking along Stanley Street to the club meeting on a Friday night, and the return walk home when she was able to spend a penny at a local shop.

Stanley Street was a busy arterial road, and prone to eye-catching accidents; at times involving the goods train or a tram, or both. Dorothy herself was a victim of one such accident. On her way home from the East Brisbane Primary School, while walking with friends towards her home on the southern side of Stanley Street, the dual-wheels of a truck (heading east) flew off, straight at the group of children, hitting Dorothy in the middle. The unconscious Dorothy was taken to her home by council workers who had witnessed the accident. A doctor, who was call to the house, decided against moving Dorothy after she had regained consciousness, leaving her to recover, badly bruised but not permanently injured.

Dorothy’s story extends beyond Woolloongabba. There were elocution lessons in the city. Dorothy was an active member of the East Brisbane Methodist Church, taking on leadership roles in Girls Comradeship. There are memories of family holidays at Kirra Beach, and the train trip to Coolangatta. The years of the Second World War, widen the geographic description in other directions. There is the amusing story of Dorothy & her sister-in-law, Estella (Bubs) Ozanne, breaking into the Greenslopes Military Hospital, during the night, to visit her brother Les. One of Dorothy’s first jobs was as the Personnel Officer for an American Army Laundry in Fortitude Valley.

These are some of the stories which emerge from the interview sessions that cover the childhood & adolescent years of Dorothy Ellen Buch, from 1924 to 1942.