Rowena Crouch has spent most of her life in the Mt Mee district.
Her father was the principal at Mount Mee State School, but when Rowena was only 6 weeks old, he was transferred 100 kilometres westward, to the town of Yarraman. She remembers this town fondly
I loved it. I like the country. I suppose it’s a big part of me because I was only a baby when we went there and so it was where my first friends were.
During this time her father bought a dairy farm back in Mt Mee, which he shared with a group of farmers that operated the property. When Rowena’s father retired from teaching the family moved back to Mt Mee. Rowena recalls ‘the good thing was there was electricity then and the phone’. Her friend’s father used to drive them to movies at Caboolture or Woodford in the back of his truck -
wouldn’t be allowed now.
When she left school, Rowena attended the teacher’s college at Kedron Park, Brisbane, where she boarded during the week before catching the train back to Caboolture where her parents would come and collect her.
We were glad to get home. Never have liked to the city… Too many people, and the noise.
After qualifying her first job was at Kallangur State School, where she taught grades 3 and 4. She boarded in Kallangur and went “home” on the weekend. This is when she met her husband, Martin, and after eventually they moved to Kambalda, Western Australia for a year, so he could work in the mines, before settling in Petrie.
Less than two years later, however, she bought the farm off her father, and hasn’t departed the property since.
Dad was looking at selling the farm or trying to get one of the kids to work it… He asked each of us if any of us wanted it.
There were major changes to the industry during the late 1970s, when they moved to bulk milk production.
a few dairy farmers left because it cost too much to change over to have the big bulk vat, and they went out the smaller ones that were still hand milking and things like that. And then the tankers came, not the big ones, just truck in those days cause the production wasn’t the same, ours went to Caboolture or Woodford and some of the milk from Mount Mee went to Pauls through Dayboro, still does. And then in 2000 deregulation came and the price dropped, and a lot more went out so we’ve only got 3 dairies on Mount Mee now.
While she built a new house on the farm, it is the property itself which gives Rowena her happier moments -
down by the creek, just sitting out looking at the view.