Reminiscing My Childhood In Hill End by Davidia Lind

My first recollection of living in Hill End was in Gray Road between Hoogley Street and Montague Road. This street backed on to Drake Street where our young family eventually settled. Our home at 40 Drake Street was like many of the houses in this lower end of Montague Road being an original home with open fireplaces, stable, fruit trees, plus a chook run in the back yard.

What has become more interesting to me now, looking back on my childhood spent in Drake Street from 1958 to 1973, was the Thomas Dixon Shoe Factory right opposite our front gate. Every morning at 7:30 am, the large door to the shoe making workroom would be slid open to expose the workmen standing at their machines (virtually at our front gate!) punching out holes and leather parts which made up the shoes. This would be a daily occurrence in my life for some 15 years. The rat-a- tat and clickety-clack of the machines echoed into our front yard from morning till late afternoon. The significance of this was not lost on our family life. It regulated our morning timetable more effectively than did our chiming clock, setting the time to depart for work and school. Quite often in our primary school years, my younger sister Laurel and I stayed overnight at our grandparents’ home in Gray Road. We would be dispatched the next morning to walk home down Drake Street in our pajamas armed with a freshly cooked sausage. This was much to the entertainment of the factory workmen. Such was the simple and innocent life of our suburb in the early 1960s.

I was married in our Drake Street garden in 1973 and our family moved out of Hill End by the end of the 70s, well before the Queensland Ballet took up residence in the Thomas Dixon factory. By the early 1990s I had established my own dance and performing arts centre. In the early 2000s, I found myself back at the Thomas Dixon building looking through the Queensland Ballet costume store during one of their costume sales. This brought me into the very part of the factory which overlooked our old home’s front gate where those Dixon workmen stood looking out on our family’s home life a few decades earlier. It was quite a nostalgic moment for me. I established and have successfully run my own dance centre for almost 40 years now. It has been a significant training ground in the cultural development of the dance and performing arts scene in Brisbane. Little was I to know all those years ago growing up opposite the Thomas Dixon Factory that my life would have been so closely culturally aligned with the training facility which would become the home of the Queensland Ballet.

Image:  Supplied by Davidia Lind. The photograph (taken in 1973) shows my beautiful younger sister Laurel, standing in the front yard of our family home at 40 Drake Street Hill End with the Thomas Dixon Shoe Factory in the background.