LAIDLEY WILL ALWAYS BE HOME FOR AGNES
Long-time local’s life story.
ONE Laidley local of 88 years opens up about living abroad, meeting the man of her dreams and how the Valley has expanded in her time. This is Agnes Walker’s story.
Living in Laidley was “wonderful” for Agnes.
“It’s such a quaint, lovely little town but it was exciting to have the chance to see some of the world when I was a young woman,” she said.
Agnes moved to Papua New Guinea with her husband, Jim, when he got a job as a transport worker for the New Guinea Gold Fields.
“We lived in a place called Wau in New Guinea, from 1949 to 1957,” she said.
“It was a pretty primitive place back then and I was only going on 22 years old.
“But I was young so I coped.”
Agnes recalled with a smile how the native’s pidgin English was challenging yet comical.
“The way they talked was the hardest part to get on with,” she said.
“I remember we had breakfast at a hotel in Lau before going up to Wau and I ordered something and I wanted some tomato sauce. So I asked the boy if I could have some.
“To which he replied, ‘Oh missus, you like some red fella sauce?’ “I’ll never forget it.” Another challenging part of Agnes’s life was going off to Brisbane to work when she was 15.
“Getting myself around and lost in Brisbane was scary,” she said.
“It made me stronger that’s for sure and was a big deal back then.
“Coincidently the office I worked in was on the top floor and there was a lady who used to come up in the lifts with me.
“When I came back to Laidley, she was here too. “It’s a small world, truly.” Agnes and Jim had three children while living abroad in Papua New Guinea.
“Then when we got back to Laidley I had my youngest child here,” she said.
Agnes was born on May 5, 1927 by home birth with a midwife on John St in Laidley.
Agnes revealed coyly that she and her husband met on a blind date.
Jim was in the Air Force in Lowood, driving transport for them.
“It was all orchestrated by my sister, who met Jim at a dance in Lowood,” Agnes said. “She met up with this Air Force chap and wanted to go out to the pictures, with the stipulation that she would only go if I went too.
“Well, we hit it off. You can’t fight that kind of thing.”
Agnes said after their date they lost contact as Jim was still in the Air Force and had to go to Rockhampton.
“After the war was over, he came back ... and must have decided he wanted to get in contact with me because he rang me up and turned up where I worked,” she said.
Agnes and Jim married on April 30, 1949 in St Saviour’s Church, Laidley.
Agnes said in her eyes a lot of things in the Valley such as farming and schools, had expanded.
“The farming has changed, everything is on a bigger scale and getting bigger,” she said.
“I went to Laidley North School, that’s grown and the smaller schools seem to have closed.”
Agnes said she had loved living in Laidley and was thankful her children visited her.
“It’s so lovely when they come, I also love spending time with my grandkids and great-grandkids,” she said.
It was all orchestrated by my sister, who met Jim at a dance in Lowood.
WONDERFUL LIFE: Agnes Walker reflects on her 88 years in Laidley, with the love of her life.
WEDDING DAY: Jim and Agnes Walker married in St Saviour’s Church, Laidley, on April 30, 1949. The couple celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in 2009.