Our family life in this paradise
FROM their house on the hill near Miallo, the Lloyds have seen many changes over the years.
Married in December 1950 and moving to the region in March 1951, Sydney and Palma Lloyd have been cane farming since.
Sydney was born in Winton in 1928, moved to the Daintree at age seven before moving to Mossman in 1942.
Palma lived in Hughenden, was born and raised there and it was there she met Sydney while he was there helping to build a bridge.
‘‘We met at a dance hall in Hughenden,’’ Palma said.
‘‘He was too nervous to come in to the hall for a couple of weeks; he would stand at the door and size up the girls.
‘‘One night he and his brother came in and picked my sister and I up to dance.’’
Within three months of marrying, the couple bought their property and worked hard at making it into a family home and a viable business.
With five children, eight grandchildren, 3 step grandchildren and five great grandchildren, Christmas times and milestones are a busy time for this happy family.
But the start of their family lives here in the region were a little tough.
Pally said money was scarce in those early years.
‘‘Money wise, times were tough for the first couple of years. When we bought the property, all the money that Syd had saved from when he started working had gone, we used it all to buy the farm.
Before the crushing and were getting any money back, if we went to town we couldn’t even afford to buy a soft drink. We had little money.’’ Sydney worked hard at clearing their land. ‘‘When we came here there was 30 acres of ground cleared and I ended up with 213 acres of ground cleared. We cleared it all ourselves. We got the bulldozers in for the big stuff, but the roots and things we had to clear by hand,’’ Sydney said.
‘‘It got more modern as the years went by with machinery making things easier. But to begin with, it was hard work.
‘‘I remember when Warren our eldest was a baby, I never got to see him awake. I would be up and out to work before he was awake and would get home after he went to bed.’’
The family began in a home that had an old concrete floor, no electricity or running water, with a rainwater tank for drinking water and Sydney would cart water from the creek up to the house for the washing.
After a dry season he noticed the creek was drying up. ‘‘I stumbled around in the bladey grass and found an old well. I got in it and cleaned it all up and got a pump on it to pump the water in to the tank. Things were much easier after that.
‘‘The property we live on now, used to be all trees, I cleared it all and would cut all the wood in lengths to be used for sleepers at the mill. That kept us going a little bit.’’
Pally said bit by bit as the years went on, the money got better, but they had their children which took up a lot of money also.
After living in the old home, they built a house and moved to the corner of Somerset Drive and Mossman-Daintree Road and lived there for 35 years, before building their current home where they have lived happily for 25 years.
‘‘We gave the kids blocks of land, Deborah lives next door to us and Desley next to her. Avril lives near the main road.’’
The three houses stand proudly on the hill of Lloyds Road, with a view to die for over the fields and to the sea.
‘‘It’s nice and peaceful here, we live in paradise, close to some of our grandchildren and great grandchildren, we never had to worry about much traffic.’’ Pally said.
The young family had an old truck that they would get around in, if they weren’t on their bikes.
Sydney said the roads were pretty quiet back then.
‘‘There wasn’t much traffic around back then, most people would be in a horse and sulky or on their bikes. We had the old T Ford model - 1928 truck.’’
‘‘It had an open cab, with three children there would be a baby on the lap, one beside you and one behind you.
‘‘We got our first car when Karen was a baby. It was a Humber Hawk.’’
Dancing has played a large part of their lives, teaching various classes around the region in different styles of dancing.
The couple have been instructing Mr and Miss Mossman students for 24 years, in timeless and difficult dances such as the waltz.
‘‘If the school runs the Mr and Miss Mossman again this year, it will be 25 years. Every year is different with the students, and over the years we have less time to teach them and fewer students,’’ Pally said.
They have also taught in Cairns, in Mossman and up in the Tablelands, giving tips to hundreds of people over the years, but have stopped teaching adults, only teaching the high school kids believing its important to teach the kids valuable life skills.
With family all over the country, the pair are happy and proud of them all.
‘‘We have had a good time, we have really enjoyed our lives here and rearing our children and grandchildren.’’ Pally said.
FAMILY LIFE: Sydney and Palma Lloyd (above) on their wedding day and (right) present, (top right) with family (below left) the fields around the area