Very Famous Locals
The stories of some of our most influential pioneers
THE Scenic Rim’s history is intrinsically linked to a number of inspiring, innovative and charismatic pioneers including filmmakers, authors, environmentalists, adventurers, political activists and amazing heroes.
Their discoveries and efforts have helped make the Scenic Rim the region that it is today.
Here we tell the stories of these pioneering men and women through interviews conducted in 2009 with their family members.
Scenic Rim Regional Council would like to extend a special thanks to all who were interviewed and so graciously offered us their personal reflections, insights, cherished memories and time.
The Bell Family
The Bell Family interview with Tim and Jane Bell
The Bells and Coochin Coochin Homestead
COOCHIN Coochin homestead is one of the Scenic Rim’s oldest homes, and for the past 110 years it has been maintained by the Bell Family.
Tim and Jane Bell have lived in the heritage-listed homestead, just south of Boonah, for the past 30 years. They have traced the history of the house, its occupants, and its very distinguished visitors.
A candid diary kept by Tim’s great grandmother reveals much about the homestead, which in the early to mid 1900s was visited by a long line of notable people, including the Queen Mother, the Prince of Wales and Agatha Christie.
Tim and Jane tell the Coochin Coochin story, Bell Family
Charles Chauvel, interview with Susanne Chauvel-Carlsson and Ric Chauvel-Carlsson
Scenic Rim Delivered Chauvel Magic Film Images
PROLIFIC Australian filmmaker, Charles Chauvel, shot one of his most acclaimed films in the Scenic Rim.
Sons of Matthew, which was inspired by the story of the O’Reilly family, was shot on the Lamington Plateau. It was a grueling shoot, plagued by heavy rain and near cyclonic conditions. The large cast and crew were flooded in and shooting ran overtime and over budget.
It was something of a homecoming for Chauvel, who had grown up nearby in the tiny farming town of Harrisville.
His daughter Susanne Chauvel-Carlsson, and grandson Ric, remember a visionary Australian, Charles Chauvel
Billy Drumley interview with Rory O’Connor
RORY O’Connor first heard about his grand uncle Billy Drumley when he was a boy. Whenever his mother and aunts mentioned the mysterious Uncle Drumley, young Rory was instantly aware they were remembering a man of great importance.
Billy Drumley lived in Beaudesert during times of huge change for the Aboriginal people. He was an outstanding athlete and a strict family leader who encouraged Aboriginal children to be schooled, and older children to seek employment. He provided a home to a young Neville Bonner and ensured he completed his schooling. Bonner went onto become Australia’s first Aboriginal Senator. Drumley would embark on legendary walks from Beaudesert to Southport, a 65km trip which he would complete in a day. He continued these journeys well into his 80s and Rory now organises the annual Drumley Walk in his memory.
Rory O’Connor reflects on the legacy of his Uncle Drumley.
Arthur Groom interview with Tony Groom
ARTHUR Groom was a visionary man whose dedication, ideas and drive led to the creation of the Binna Burra Mountain Lodge.
A plaque at the entrance to Binna Burra dedicated to Arthur says: ‘To a man who loved and understood the bush and found his happiness sharing it with others’.
Arthur’s son, Tony Groom, says this short sentence sums up his father’s life.
Arthur Groom’s legacy and passion for nature lives on in Tony and his brothers Donn and Richard.
Tony Groom reflects on his father, Binna Burra and that legacy, Arthur Groom
Romeo Lahey interview with Ann Neale (nee Lahey) and Shirley Lahey
Romeo Watkins Lahey (1887-1968), A Man of Vision
ROMEO Watkins Lahey may have been a short man but what he lacked in stature he made up for in determination and energy.
Residents and visitors to the Scenic Rim can thank Romeo for preserving much of the stunning natural scenery which abounds throughout the region.
He was a man with vision ahead of his time, a man who lobbied the state government of the day to create the large Lamington National Park on the border of Queensland and New South Wales.
Not content with his achievements Romeo Lahey went on to establish, with others, Binna Burra Mountain Lodge, a place where day trippers and holidaymakers still enjoy the natural wonders of the area.
He was also behind the formation of the National Parks Association of Queensland, which continues to advocate and oversee the protection of parks today.
Romeo’s daughter Ann Neale (nee Lahey) and his niece Shirley Lahey remember this impressive man, Romeo Lahey
Bernard O’Reilly interview with Rhelma Kenny (nee O’Reilly)
A Daughter remembers her Father’s heroic rescue efforts
FOR twenty years Rhelma Kenny retold the amazing and heroic story of her father Bernard O’Reilly, and his role in the 1937 Stinson airplane crash rescue.
Until 2007 she told his story every week to guests staying at O’Reilly’s Guest House, on national television shows, on radio and at local events.
Here Rhelma Kenny recalls the events of two days which made her father a national hero, Bernard O’Reilly
O’Reilly’s Family interview with Peter O’Reilly
A Family Affair
PETER O’Reilly and his brother Vince ran O’Reilly’s Guest House on the Lamington Plateau for nearly 50 years.
While he never really considered an alternative career, Peter doubts he would ever have found a job which offered so much pleasure, enjoyment and diversity.
Peter’s son Shane now heads up the tourist resort, and Peter hopes the business remains in the O’Reilly family for years to come.
Here he remembers his years at O’Reillys, the good times, the hard times and the funny times, the O’Reilly Family
Judith Wright interview with Meredith McKinney
AUSTRALIAN poet Judith Wright sought refuge in the remote natural beauty of Tamborine Mountain. Little did she know that her safe haven would provide such a wealth of inspiration for so many of her poems.
Judith remained on the mountain for nearly 30 years and raised her daughter Meredith McKinney there. She is buried in the tiny Tamborine cemetery.
A new Federal Government electorate, Wright, has been named after Judith, which takes in her beloved Tamborine Mountain.
Meredith McKinney speaks about her mother’s love affair with the mountain, Judith Wright