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Story by Doris Bailey, daughter of the first Vice Mayor of Brisbane
9 Aug 2012
Published To

My name is Doris Bailey (nee Watson). I am the only surviving child of the first Vice Lord Mayor of Brisbane who later became the second Lord Mayor of Brisbane when William Jolly retired in 1931. Prior to becoming the Vice Mayor of Brisbane my dad Archibald Watson was the Mayor of Toowong.

Today I’m sitting at my fathers’ dining room table which is over 110 years old and can extend out to 3 metres long.  Every Sunday I would cook two Sunday roasts for my family with up to 20 people who would sit around the table all at once.

My father married my mother Maud May Clark in 1901 and I was the youngest of 7 children.  My childhood family home, ‘Olivet’ was in Aston St Toowong, and high on the hill. My neighbours included Arthur Fadden (Prime Minister in 1941), Fraser East (McDonnell and East), Mr Cribb (Cribb and Foote) and the Gilbert family who had a shop at the top of Queen St.

I hear that Norm Jolly (son of Brisbane’s first Lord Mayor) used to slide down the banisters in City Hall, and I think that’s great, it would have saved him time not having to walk down the stairs. But I was good and never slid down the banisters myself.

I went to Toowong Primary School and remember being driven to school in a Council car each day when my father was Lord Mayor.  I later went to Brisbane Girls Grammar school and I remember having to wear a hat, gloves and stockings at all times. The teachers would roam around Gregory Tce and into town and if we were spotted without full uniform we would be in trouble!

I never really caught the trams, we got around in Sulkies. After I left school I worked at Hooper and Harrison (textiles supplier) as secretary to the manager. I used to catch the train from Toowong to Central Station and walk down the hill, actually I used to run down the hill because I was always running late.

Later I worked for my family business, Queensland Bedstead Company Ltd, before starting a family.

I was a good short distance runner in school which is how I caught my husband. My husband Maurice is a twin and we married on 2 December 1944. We have three boys and three girls, all born in the Royal Brisbane hospital so that makes me a ‘royal’ mum. My children are Ralph (1946), Bruce (1948), Ann (1952), Jill (1954), Stephen (1961), and Sue (1967). After our sixth child we got a television!  We lived at 1446 Main Sandgate Rd in Nundah for 62 years. Before that we lived in an extension of my parents’ house in Toowong for our first two years of marriage. My husband changed jobs to work on the other side of town and that’s when we bought the home at Nundah. I had my own car and kept very busy being on school committees, making clothes, cooking and raising six children.

We built a caravan in 1952 and travelled around the country for many years.  We also had a boat.  I like to think we were the pioneers of the grey nomads.

My husband and I have been married nearly 68 years and for our 60th Diamond Anniversary we received congratulations from the Queen, Governor-General, Governor, Premier of Queensland, Lord Mayor of Brisbane and many others.

As a special gift when my husband was an apprentice sheet metal worker he made me three copper urns which I treasure and have now passed on to my children.

I’ve been on two cruises, two rail trips, travelled around Australia but I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else but Brisbane.

City Hall Family Memories
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