William and Elizabeth Carrington’s son, Frederick Flood Carrington, was born on the roof of a house during the disastrous Dawson River flood of 1875.
There is some evidence that William was a teamster working on the rail line at Boolburra, possibly bringing in timber for the railway line. We do know that he and his family were in Comet as early as 1877 and that William was on the Cometville school building committee.
MIXED GOODS STORE
In 1914, Frederick built a mixed goods store on the corner of Adams and Ballard Streets in Comet. He also operated a butcher’s shop at the rear of the building.
Frederick had contracted typhoid fever when a young man and fortunately, recovered from the illness. However, he died in 1922 at the age of 46 years and was laid to rest in the Comet Cemetery. His wife and sons Sydney and Oswald (known as Ossie) carried on the business.
At this time there was a boarding house on the eastern side of the Carrington residence. Some years later it was removed, and a tennis court took its place.
Later, Sydney branched out into the cattle business and Ossie took over running the store. He married Jean Daniels in Gindie in 1932. They had two children Donna and Frederick.
A WONDERFUL COUNTRY STORE
The store had fuel bowsers out the front of the good’s room which was an extension of the shop. The shop stocked all the essential food items, magazines, leather goods such as bridles, hobbles, quart pot holders etc. Light globes and wicks for kerosene lamps, shoe laces and sewing cotton. It was one of those wonderful old country stores that had the distinct smell of spices and dry goods.
Most of the food such as sugar, flour etc was bulk so had to be weighed out and packaged when purchased, whereas today most of these goods are already packaged ready for sale. However, looking back, I remember, you could buy bags or drums of flour and 70lbs (31.8kg) bags of sugar. This is okay if you are feeding a large family but somehow the weevils got into the flour and the ants would find the sugar.
STEAM TRAIN 10 UP
The daily newspapers from Rockhampton, along with bread and meat from Bluff came up on the steam train known as 10 Up, arriving in Comet at about 5pm. I think from memory the mail arrived on this train too. The towns people heard the train whistle at the Rolleston Road crossing then came to meet the train and Ossie was there each afternoon to give out the bread and newspapers. Any meat not collected was put into a high tray in the waiting room of the railway station out of the reach of the town dogs.
AN ACCOUNT AT THE STORE
Everyone had an account at the store which was settled at the end of each month. Trust was a wonderful thing in those days. Railway worker, Jerry Doyle, always made sure that his fellow workers paid their monthly bill at the store before going to the hotel on pay day. The pay came in on Thursday’s 10 Up.
Orders were made up in the store and sent out by the mail truck to the cattle stations once a week and in later years, twice a week. The mail truck also carried drums of fuel and oil and other goods such as cases of fruit or sugar bags containing vegetables from J. H. Breakspear at Grantleigh which had come up on the rail. Mailman, Trevor Kemp told me he had delivered day old chicks to one family on his mail run.
JEAN, A CARING PERSON
Jean Carrington welcomed everyone to her home and was an extremely kind soul. She was called upon to care for sick people in the town from time to time and once had to help deliver a baby at the stationmaster’s house. She was also a staunch member of the Country Women’s Association.
Ossie was known to be a great sportsman in his younger days. Tennis, football and cricket were favourite games as well as horse sports. He played polo and attended horse racing which were held on the Railway reserve on the southern side of the railway line. Ossie was treasurer of the Comet Jockey Club.
I have fond memories of the Carringtons and their store.
Time, however, catches up and the family decided to move on. The couple operated the mixed goods store until 1969. It was purchased by Mrs Jane Edwards (known as Janie) who also owned the Comet Hotel.
With the sale of the store the couple retired to live in Emerald where they became very fond of lawn bowling.
– Compiled by Rosemary McLeod, 2017.
– Acknowledgements: Jean Carrington; Trevor Kemp; Margaret McLeod.
– Photos: Rosemary McLeod collection; Trevor Kemp collection; Fred Carrington collection; Jean Carrington.
– Video: Robyn Morawitz.
– Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org