History of Tambourine & Surrounds – Part 9


1936 to 1955


One of our loyal readers, Keith Dean, has provided an interesting photographic insight into some of the local children associated with Tamborine’s Post Office, and a story about a young man they knew at the time. Keith himself was also one of the local children at this point in time as his parents had recently taken ownership of the Tamborine Post Office and the General Store in 1936. He has kindly sent in two historic photos featuring, in 1940, the Tamborine-Beaudesert roadside of the original Shop and Post Office at Tamborine (as pictured below). In one of the photos some of the local children can be seen on a motorbike with a young adult Norman George Lees (owner of the motor bike) who used to work for Keith’s Mother and Father as a Shop Assistant when the photo was taken. Norm was on leave at the time, as he had joined the army in early 1940, and was attached to the 2nd AIF.
Norman Lees, a beautiful, caring man, was born at Beaudesert on 22 May 1917, the son of John Lees. He enlisted at Kelvin Grove, Brisbane, on 3 July 1940 and was shipped to Malaysia and subsequently became a Prisoner Of War of the Japanese on 2 February 1941. He was then shipped to Japan and worked in the mines. When the end of World War II finally eventuated, Norm embarked from Malaysia on 5 October 1945 and arrived in Sydney six days later. He was subsequently transferred to Brisbane and spent quite a lot of time in and out of hospitals recuperating. The list of medals awarded him were the 1939/45 Star, the Pacific Star; the Defence Medal – War Medal, and the ASM. Norm passed away on 16 March 1973 with next of kin listed as Ethel Lees.
Keith is only aware of one other POW from Tamborine at the time and that was Reg Siganto.
The ones pictured on the motor bike are from left to right: Keith Dean, Cec Mantova, Norm Lees, Graham Dean, Jimmy Plunkett and Brian Dean. The dog was called Teddy, given to Keith on his second birthday.
Following the war, in 1946, the Canungra Hall burned to the ground and a temporary hall was brought into town from the then dispersing United States Army at Camp Cable near Logan Village (located at Yarrabilba).
In 1949, Tamborine Shire becomes amalgamated with Beaudesert Shire. Although the Australian Blue Book described Tamborine Shire as having shire offices, a store, a garage, a church and a school, this was most likely the beginning of ‘loss of identity’ for Tamborine especially when the railway closed in 1955 eliminating the township from being a significant ‘port of call’ on the line.