Mount Morgan has many interesting people who were born in the town and stayed, or returned to the place they’ve always called home. Frank Ware is one of the Mountain’s town folk that has vivid memories of the town and events that occurred here over time.
Born on the 11th of May, 1927 Frank and his family lived in Horse Creek on Racecourse Road. “Horse Creek was our own town. We always lived at Horse Creek” Frank says with a smile. Being one of ten children (seven boys and three girls), Frank was raised with high disciplinary rules and equally high morals. He never had any altercations with the local police officers, but on occasion would get in trouble by his parents if he ever back answered them.
At school, Frank occasionally got the cane. “Not for anything serious though”, he says. He attended the Mount Morgan State School. Frank then went to the High School for one year, leaving at fourteen years of age to do casual work for Sharden’s slaughter yard at Walmul. “They used to buy cattle `round the town. Everyone used to breed a few cattle in their back yards back then, and it was a horse town”. Frank laughs. Every Monday morning Frank would get the sheep off the train and draught them out to the slaughter yard. He was paid five shillings for this job. Frank grins as he states “that was a lot of money them days”.
Frank remembers Mr Smith (Snaky Smith) having race horses. Frank used to lead the horses around when he was twelve years old. This was at the time the showgrounds was the old racecourse. Snaky took some time off work at the mines and took Frank out to the Don River to do some bush work for approximately three months. Frank also tried a hand at picking cotton but didn’t like that, however he didn’t mind doing fencing. Frank loved riding horses and spent most of his spare time doing so.
Not one for mischief, he preferred to be on the back of a horse in the fresh air. He loved a race horse called Mark Time that cost the new owner fifteen pounds. Frank’s brother in law (a jockey) took Mark Time out to race him and won a few races. Pat Mathersen (another local Mount Morgan boy) raced him after that. The highlight for Frank (the only person to ride him after his racing was over), was when Buddy Williams asked Frank if he could borrow the horse to have his photo taken on his back. Photos were taken near the swinging bridge (Footbridge) by George Mullins. Frank and his wife Betty owned race horses as well.
After this time, the slaughter yard hired Frank on a permanent basis starting at six o’clock each morning, with a thirty bob (shillings) a week pay packet. In 1945 he got called up to join the Army. After training, he was sent to Rabaul (East New Britain province, Papua New Guinea).
When asked how he liked Army life he says he didn’t mind it. He missed out on the war and remembers his time there like a big holiday. Frank was sent out to a hospital with the nurses, which, by the grin on his face, he didn’t mind at all. Going out on a big boat for the first time though, Frank said made him sea sick for a couple of days.
Frank spent over twenty years working in the mines (twenty years working in the smelter area on a seven day roster and five years working with the bricklayers). When he gave notice to leave the mines he remembers the clock he was presented for his years of service. Frank also remembers the Chinese gardens and how nice their fresh vegetables were.
Frank met his wife Betty when she was nineteen (a local barmaid) and he was twenty five. They have their 60th wedding anniversary on the 28th of June this year. “I only had one girlfriend. She got onto me as soon as she seen me” Frank says with a cheeky laugh. They have two adult boys, Dennis and Shane and three grandchildren. They believe they are blessed with two good kids.
Frank and Betty travelled around Queensland, totally enjoying casual labour work along the way until Betty became ill. At sixty five, Frank decided to retire. They lived in units at Wowan for five years and spent eleven years with one of their sons in Brisbane. They both came back to Mount Morgan to roost and love the peaceful area.
A book could be written about Frank’s life, but for now this article shares a little of his adventures.
- Profile and photograph by Heather Quarry, supplied to the Mount Morgan Argus -