|Blue Bird Cafe, Julia Creek, Queensland, c.1948.|
The image above is of the Blue Bird Café in Julia Creek, around 1948. It was built in 1934 by my Grandfather’s eldest brother – Herb Wilder. The café was built for Bert Burrows, who operated the Blue Bird until he sold it to Mrs Flo Watson, in 1943. Although it was the era of the Great Depression, there appears to have been plenty of construction work going on out in
at the time, as this article from the North Queensland Register, dated 22
December 1934, shows: Julia Creek
Despite the fact that the seasonal outlook is bad, the town still continues to go ahead in the building line. Building contractor Herb Wilder is now putting the finishing touches on Mr Bert Burrows’ new café in
Burke St next to
the Post Office. Mr Burrows hopes to be
well established in the Blue Bird by Christmas.
Mr Wilder will then go on to a new residence for Mr George Peut at the
western end of Goldring Street
and when completed this building will greatly improve the appearance of the
Ownership of the Blue Bird changed hands a number of times, and in 1950,
Blue Bird Café was destroyed by a fire in the early hours of the 19th
August. The cause of the fire was
unknown but it was a great loss to the town, as it was the only café in town at
the time. Julia Creek
Innisfail’s Blue Bird Café appears to have been perhaps the most ornate of all the Blue Bird Cafés in north
|Blue Bird Cafe, Innisfail, Queensland.|
The following memory of Townsville’s Blue Bird Café was written by Barbara Mathiesen. Thanks for sharing this wonderful memory with us Barbara!
My Blue Bird Café
In the 1950s a trip to town was always a great delight to me, especially if it ended with a trip to the Blue Bird Café.
The Bluebird Café, owned and run by the Marendy family, was perhaps the biggest and best of the cafés in Townsville – it certainly stands out in my mind.
The Blue Bird was next to the Bank of New South Wales (now Westpac Bank), and right at the front, on the right, was the long, high counter of a milk bar. Customers perched on high stools to enjoy the great variety of cold drinks and ice-creams, sandwiches and cups of tea or coffee that were served here.
Opposite the milk bar was a similar counter where cakes and pastries could be purchased to take away. Behind that was the kitchen, a large enclosed space from which emanated an incredible amount of clattering and jangling as the cooks and kitchen hands pushed a huge amount of food and all the accompanying pots and pans, plates and cutlery through the preparation and clearing up processes. After a visit to the Blue Bird my sister and I played cafes as we washed up – and were soon in trouble because our mother didn’t like the rather splendid crashing and jangling sound effects we made with her plates and silver.
The wide passage between the milk bar and cake counter led to the café, which occupied the full width of the premises. Several rows of fixed tables ran from front to back – a low divider to give privacy running between each pair of tables.
Waitresses took orders and placed a jug of water and glasses on the table. We usually had a sandwich, or sometimes pie and vegetables. Of course the menu stretched to much more than that, but they were our family favourites. A ham sandwich eaten in a café beat a home-made one hands down. On special occasions we would be allowed an ice-cream sundae, and I’m sure it was at the Blue Bird that I first had a parfait - a tall glass filled with layers of fruit, ice cream and jelly and eaten with a long handled spoon. Very special.
My favourite memory of the Blue Bird was when we’d had a long walk, perhaps after visiting our Dad in the
in General Hospital Eyre Street. Before catching the bus home, Mum would
sometimes take us to the Blue Bird for an orange drink – and on special
occasions, an orange drink with ice cream in it.
|Blue Bird Cafe, Townsville, Queensland, 1946. CityLibraries Townsville Local History Collection.|
Unfortunately the above picture was the only image I could find of Townsville’s Blue Bird Café. If you have a better photo in your possession, I’d love to see it – Trisha Fielding.
|Milk jug from the Blue Bird Cafe, Cairns, recently sold on eBay.|