Vi­sion­ary plants ker­nel for growth

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS -

At the [ Char­ters Tow­ers] Po­lice Court on Wed­nes­day be­fore mag­is­trate Mr C. A. M. Mor­ris, a Chi­na­man named Ah Sam was charged with be­ing of unsound mind. He was seen on the top of the pop­pet legs of the Hit or Miss Mine and when ques­tioned said he would come down af­ter the earth­quake had passed over Char­ters Tow­ers. Ac­cused was dis­charged. Mr A. S. Pinch, who has been tor­toise- shell get­ting among the is­lands in Whit­sun­day Pas­sage, ar­rived in town ( says the Port Deni­son Times, Bowen) bring­ing with him six large tur­tle which he in­tends freez­ing and send­ing to Lon­don in the ves­sel tak­ing the frozen meat as an experiment. Call to Queens­lan­ders 30 men or more wanted daily: Age 18 to 35; min­i­mum chest mea­sure­ment 33in; min­i­mum height 5ft 3in. Rates or pay: Lieu­tenant, 21s per day; sergeant 10s 6d; cor­po­ral 10s; pri­vates 6s. Sep­a­ra­tion al­lowance to mar­ried men re­ceiv­ing less than 8s per day; ( a) for wife liv­ing at home, 1s 5d per day; ( b) for each child un­der 16 years of age, 4 ½ d per day. With a view to less­en­ing the risks at­ten­dant at night, par­tic­u­larly to pedes­tri­ans in the black­out hours, the Chief Air War­den ( Mr J. C. But­ler) on Wed­nes­day stressed the need for per­sons walk­ing along the roads to wear at least a white arm­let so that they can be distin­guished by the driv­ers of mo­tor ve­hi­cles. The Hayles launch ser­vice had some un­usual pas­sen­gers from Mag­netic Is­land on Thurs­day. They com­prised three cows and four calves, which had been pur­chased by a main­land res­i­dent from Nelly Bay. Townsville listed com­pany Kern Bros Ltd launches its mas­sive Wil­lows Es­tate in 1976, five months be­fore the death of the firm’s founder Ron Kern, aged 53 KERN Bros Ltd launched their 3500- lot Wil­lows Residential Es­tate in June, 1976, with a tree- plant­ing cer­e­mony on Townsville’s Chi­nee ap­plestub­bled western fringe.

Thuringowa Shire chair­man Dan Glee­son planted the first tree in a spot de­scribed by the Townsville Bul­letin on June 9, 1978, as the junction of Her­veys Range Rd and Ross River Rd.

The coun­cil had ap­proved a town plan for this area in 1970.

Barry Paul, gen­eral man­ager of Kern Bros, a Townsville- based, pub­licly listed prop­erty de­vel­op­ment and con­struc­tion com­pany, said the first blocks would be avail­able for sale by the end of the month.

He said the 467ha es­tate would in­clude a re­gional shop- ping cen­tre, an 18 hole golf course and a 12ha sport­ing com­plex for rugby, soc­cer, hockey and lawn bowls.

Kern Bros had al­ready em­barked on three large de­vel­op­ments in the Kir­wan- Mount Louisa area, the 365- lot Dal­rym­ple Park Es­tate, the 640lot Moun­tain View Es­tate and 550- lot Hi Vista Es­tate.

Chair­man and man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Ron Kern took pride in an­nounc­ing at the firm’s 1974 an­nual gen­eral meet­ing that prof­its had risen ev­ery year since 1960.

He founded the busi­ness in Townsville in 1947 with broth- ers Stan and Lionel, af­ter see­ing po­ten­tial in the North while re­cov­er­ing from be­ing wounded in ac­tion while serv­ing with the 2nd/ 28th AIF Bat­tal­ion in World War II.

Floated on the Bris­bane stock ex­change in 1966, Kern Bros diver­si­fied dur­ing the 1950s from house- build­ing to de­vel­op­ing residential sub­di­vi­sions in Bris­bane, Townsville, Gladstone, Ip­swich and Rock­hamp­ton.

By early 1970 the com­pany’s land hold­ings for residential de­vel­op­ment in­cluded 824ac [ 333 ha] in Townsville, 484ac [ 195ha] Ip­swich, the Bul­letin re- ported on Septem­ber 23, 1970.

The com­pany’s sub­sidiary, Cen­te­nary Homes Pty Ltd, also held a 1175ac [ 475ha] prop­erty in Thuringowa Shire, with 420ac [ 170ha] zoned residential and 755ac [ 305ha] ru­ral.

In 1976, the Wil­lows Es­tate de­vel­op­ment eclipsed Kern Bros’ ear­lier Townsville projects in size and am­bi­tion, be­ing in­tended as a com­mu­nity of in­ter­linked, quiet and leafy neigh­bour­hoods with sep­a­rate parks for each 50 to 100 homes.

The plan­ners’ road lay­out was in­tended to tame traf­fic and en­sure “the ul­ti­mate in quiet liv­ing”, Mr Paul said at the launch­ing.

He gave Mr Glee­son a bon­sai plant to mark the oc­ca­sion, pledg­ing the firm would plant 15,000 trees while de­vel­op­ing the es­tate.

Work had be­gun on es­tab­lish­ing a plant nurs­ery to pro­vide new res­i­dents with trees and shrubs to en­hance their neigh­bour­hoods, he said.

Ron Kern died a few months later, in Oc­to­ber, 1976, aged 53, leav­ing very lit­tle be­yond Kern Bros Drive to link his name with the melaleu­cashaded drives of Thuringowa Cen­tral.

The Bul­letin de­scribed him on Oc­to­ber 5, 1976, as a self- ef­fac­ing pi­o­neer with a nat­u­ral ge­nius for or­gan­i­sa­tion and a vi­sion­ary belief in Townsville’s fu­ture.


The Kern build­ing, cor­ner of Den­ham St and Mel­ton Tce, Townsville CBD, built in 1896 for wine mer­chant Wil­liam Len­non.

Lionel Kern.

Stan Kern.

Ron Kern, c. 1970.

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