The old beach house at Elliott Heads. Photo: contributed
The old beach house at Elliott Heads. Photo: contributed contributed

Girls explore beach caves during holidays

Part 2 of Elaine Lobegeier's memoir of holidays spent in a shack on the beach at Elliott Heads more than 40 years ago. Last week she told of spending time with friends who had a house nearby.


THEIR daughter Denise is a similar age to Julie, so they spent a lot of time together.

The girls had some favourite haunts among the rocks up on the headland.

They had many of the caves named and now that they have children of their own, they have taken them up and shared their childhood stories.

David became a keen fisherman, even at the age of seven.

He would set off with his fishing rod and bait and often wouldn't return until 3pm, bringing with him his treasured catch of two or three whiting which he would scale, gut and behead ready for mum to cook for him.

One day he arrived home with a live baby shark which he had caught in his hands.

It was approximately one foot long so he proceeded to run some water in the bath then added some salt, but of course it wasn't the same as salt water.

To investigate the shark teeth, David decided to put his finger in its mouth, only to find its teeth were very sharp and he ended up with a cut finger.

This was a story he loved to tell, how he was bitten by a shark.

David worked as a master fisherman and skipper when he was in his 20s and worked the full length of the Queensland coast.

Another one of David's escapades was when he brought dozens of soldier crabs home in a bucket and let them out on the kitchen floor.

I might add that I was not impressed with this particular prank.

My husband made a toboggan board which our friend Syd attached to his mother's boat, then took us for rides on the river.

We spent hours having turns speeding along with the wind in our hair and the water cascading along beside us.

On a few occasions Syd took us in his boat to a small island.

Julie and Denise took potatoes wrapped in foil ready to cook on the coals after the fire they had lit died down.

During this trip on the island there were groper fish heads that fishermen had left behind after cleaning their fish.

Syd's wife Val suggested that we take a fish head back to the house and make fish soup.

The head was so large that it would not fit into our largest saucepan.

We tried to cut the head in half with a large knife, without success.

We decided to take the head down to the wood pile and chop the head in half with the axe.

After many attempts and much laughter, we were successful.

Val took her half back to her place and I put mine on to cook.

To see the fish eye bubbling away was so creepy and the smell of the fish soup was revolting.

Needless to say nobody wanted to eat the fish soup, but our families laugh about it even today.

When my sister-in-law Betty was holidaying with us, she was having a shower which was located under the tank stand.

This was all rather basic.

Suddenly, Betty started screaming and ran out into the backyard without even a towel around her.

The cause of Betty's hysteria was a large toad, which had come out of the drain as she was showering.

Once dressed and enjoying a nice cup of tea, we all had a good laugh.

High tides were always a time to enjoy the huge waves.

Val and I usually could only stay in the surf for 15 minutes or so as they were so boisterous and the undercurrent so strong.

When it came to install a washing line, my husband attached a wire down to the wood heap, with the other end fastened around the tank stand post.

To push the line up, I had a wooden prop.

All went well until I had the line filled with clothes.

The wire let go sending all the washing into the dirt..

The only thing to do was collect up the clothes, re-wash everything and wait for the line to be fixed.

On a table under the windows in the dining area was a jigsaw, always partly done.

Anyone could add a piece or two as they passed.

We had many visitors, especially children.

Jenny and Philip Kohlhandt usually spent the May and August school holidays with us as their parents were missionaries in PNG.

Sadly, the old house was no longer habitable, so was eventually demolished, leaving us with fantastic memories.