Family and farm offer a fulfilling life

WHETHER it's waking up at the crack of dawn, riding out a flood, or milking a mob of cows while watching the children, Beryl Wright has experienced it all.

Born on November 19, 1937, Mrs Wright was five minutes away from being born on the side of the road.

When her mother, May Christensen, went into labour, there wasn't enough room in the horse-drawn sulky for herself, her husband Arthur Christensen and daughter Valmai on the trip to Warwick so Mr Christensen took his daughter to Upper Freestone to May's parents' place before returning and starting for Warwick nine miles away.

Two miles into the journey they called into a neighbour's place, as he owned a car, which took them to Welford Hospital, Warwick.

Mrs Christensen gave birth five minutes after arriving.

Mrs Wright, the second of five children, lived on the Freestone dairy farm for 22 years.

After leaving school, she worked in the Warwick office at QCMA, later changing jobs and working in the office at LB Electrical.

Mrs Wright met her husband, Donald, at a tennis match and they tied the knot in 1960.

They lived together on a property in Goomburra on the Dalrymple from 1960, earning a living by doing the mail run, doing tractor work and milking for neighbouring farms and growing vegies.

While living at Goomburra Mrs Wright gave birth to three children - daughters Sharon and Vonda and son Shane. They had no electricity and did washing, etc, by hand.

"There was no such thing as disposable nappies back then. All the nappies were made out of cloth and were washed by hand and boiled to keep them white," Mrs Wright said.

Goomburra received a large portion of rain, flooding the Dalrymple and isolating Mrs Wright from the main road.

As she was overdue with her second baby, she feared going into labour at the house, so was taken across the flood water in a tractor, arriving safely on the other side and later giving birth that night.


She, Donald Wright and their three children moved to Forest Springs in 1965 and share farmed 734 acres, milking 40 jersey cows, before buying the farm in 1976.

They expanded to owning roughly 800ha (2000 acres) and milking 250 Friesian cows. While living in Forest Springs, Mr and Mrs Wright had three more children - sons Warren and Kris and daughter Tracey - giving them six children all under the age of 10.

"I would often help Don with the milking, so we had a cot set up down in the dairy so I could watch the children while I milked," she said.

In 1974, there was enormous rain in the valley above Mrs Wright's property, causing a flash flood.

This happened before the children arrived home from school on the bus. Unable to get home, the children all stayed at a neighbour's place until the water dropped.

"It was the biggest flood I had experienced," she said.

The children all had set chores after school.

The boys helped outside, usually milking cows, bucket feeding calves, feeding pigs, putting out hay, etc, while the girls helped their mother cook, clean, burn rubbish, feed chooks, collect eggs and prepare supper.

The chores always came first. Homework was usually always done at night before watching television.

"All of my children had chores after school," Mrs Wright said.

"They would get home, have three things for afternoon tea and get on what was called their old clothes from the laundry bin in the bathroom and the chores would be divided up between the six of them.

"Kids these days watch too much television and play too many computer games, instead of getting out and playing in the dirt.

"They eat too much junk food and takeaway.

"We were all brought up with meat and veggies seven days a week and we still do," she said.

Mrs Wright still lives in Forest Springs on their dairy farm with Donald.

All Mrs Wright's siblings took on dairying in the district and three still dairy.

Her children never ventured far from home: Warren is a postie in Brisbane; eldest son Shane and youngest son Kris stayed to help run the farm; oldest daughter Sharon owns a beekeeping business at Allora; Vonda owns a piggery at Clifton; and her youngest daughter Tracey owns the local garage and school bus business at Allora.

Mrs Wright has been blessed with 18 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren, some of whom help hand on the farm when they can.

HARD WORKER: Beryl Wright and her husband Donald milk 250 cows on their 800-hectare farm in Forest Springs.
HARD WORKER: Beryl Wright and her husband Donald milk 250 cows on their 800-hectare farm in Forest Springs. Contributed

Topics:  farm life queen of the paddock rural lifestyle

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