Age is no barrier
90-year-old former timberman still able to mend fences
BIGGENDEN resident George Cross may have just turned 90 but he still gets out repairing fences.
Born at Kingaroy on March 29, 1925, George grew up in the Ellesmere area, 18 miles out of town towards the Bunya Mountains.
Parents Albert George and Margaret Rebecca, better known as Peter and Aunty Mag, had a dairy farm.
“I had seven other brothers – Alby, Andy, Neil, Jim, Reg, Pat and Charlie – and then we got a sister, Margaret,” he said.
“They all had nicknames with the exception of Reg and myself.
“I was called Scot at one stage after the man down the road who gave me a double on the bike.
“I had red hair and so did he.”
George said he didn’t know his father for very long as he was 40 when he fathered him and died at the age of 60.
“By that time we’d been living in the Biggenden area timber cutting,” he said.
“The family use to live in a makeshift camp so we could shift to the various jobs.
“When we were at Coongarra Rock I remember my parents and Margaret used to drive to the pictures in an old Chev.
“The boys came in the truck with a load of logs.
“We sat on the load like ‘birds on a fence’.”
After George’s father died the family bought a home for their mother on the outskirts of Biggenden where she lived 10 years before she died.
George and Neil married the two Dove girls, Mavis and Marj, while another brother, Reg, married their cousin, Joan Howell.
These three brothers plus Jim were known as the Cross brothers and cut and hauled timber around Coongarra Rock for 10 years.
George said those were the good old days but it’s “gone to the pack now”.
“When Mavis and I first married we rented the little sawmill house,” he said.
“We bought it off Joe Geissler for 111 pounds in 1953.
“This was a good move as we just had to walk the furniture from one house to another.”
When the pine ran out in the area they moved to Allies Creek near Mundubbera.
They were there 19 years, made lots of good friends, many of whom were at George’s recent 90th birthday party.
George said there wasn’t much to do there but work, but Mavis used to play tennis with the ladies.
“She also used to go out and fill the holes in the road with rocks and dirt to make the road a bit better for the timber trucks,” he said.
“I still have the letter from the Mundubbera council thanking her efforts.
“We moved back to Biggenden when the mill closed down and sold up.”
George and Mavis had six children – Allan, Linda, Bob, Grahame, Margie and Christine, all born at Biggenden Hospital. The family has grown to now include five generations.
Sadly Mavis died on August 11, 2009.
George said he was finding he wasn’t as young as he used to be.
“I still have the farm and (am) doing some flood repairs,” he said.
“You don’t realise how much water came down in the last flood. It was the highest ever.
“Rocky and Degilbo creeks join together to form one creek in my property.”
George said there was only Alby, Margaret and himself left.
“I visit Alby, who turns 99 in June, most days for a chat,” he said.
“He has a great memory on him.
“Anything I can’t remember I go and ask him.”
HAPPY 90TH: George Cross with his children Christine, Margie, Linda, Allan, Bob and Grahame.