The home at Paddy Gully Road was built for my mother and father when they married in 1936. My father was the oldest son of Thomas O’Grady Conroy – councilor of the Esk Shire in the late 1800’s. He lived with his parents and six siblings at Tooloorum (settled in 1800). As my mother was from New Farm, Brisbane he thought she would find it too hard living in the mountains, on a not-easily accessible property.
Thomas elected to take the property here, which was then on the Brisbane River as his allocation, plus some other property. It was then a much larger holding of 1200 acres.
The house became a much loved gathering place for my parents and their large extended families. It was an idyllic childhood. We always had horses and visitors, cousins (family of six) from Sydney would visit for a month every year. At Easter we held a tennis tournament and clay pigeon shoot competition. The prize was to have your name engraved onto the cup, which was to be held onto for a year and fiercely fought over.
My brothers and I were very fortunate to have this home in our lives and lived there until we went to boarding schools and on our various life paths. My father loved horses and had some of the best he competed at local shows and camp draughts. We also participated, being encouraged to join every event. Thomas took horses to the RNA show in Brisbane by rail, it was during these years that he courted my mother, Cecily Ryan.
During the early years of their marriage, Lucerne, oats and small crops were grown on the fertile river plains. At that time there was a family who milked the cows in the large dairy, they lived in a house near where the dairy is now. The cream was sent to the Esk dairy co-op and the separated milk fed the pigs. On the property the remnants of the pigsty and the dairy can still be indentified past the hay shed. Thomas died in 1958 and the property ceased to function as a dairy farm. In 1972-3 the resumption of the land for Wivenhoe took place. The area became much reduced, although we retained to adjacent blocks to the north and the home property which is known as Rollingston.
In around 1986, my eldest brother Thomas O’Grady Conroy Jnr. Developed the land on the Hampton Road which exists about 6 kilometers on the Toowoomba side of Esk. The small blocks on Cecily road was named after my mother and O’Grady Rd development named after my late father.
At that stage Tom (brother) took land in Hampton Rd and my mother, self and Francis retained the home place. After my mother died in 1994, Francis and I bought out her share.
I hope you will have many happy memories as the Conroy and the Ryan families do of the Rollingston. It was very much loved.
Written 15th March 2014
Our aim is to preserve the history of the ‘Rollingston’ for all generations.