Newspaper article Fraser Coast Chronicle (Hervey Bay, Australia)

Tale of Manor a Real Delight

Newspaper article Fraser Coast Chronicle (Hervey Bay, Australia)

Tale of Manor a Real Delight

Article excerpt

Byline: nancy bates

DRY facts and amusing anecdotes thread together Gavin Patterson's book of memories of The Gables, a majestic colonial house that dominated the skyline at Point Vernon for almost 70 years.

Affection for the once-magnificent Hervey Bay holiday home where he spent boyhood holidays curls from the pages of The Gables - Memories of a Grand Point Vernon House and Other Stories.

Even readers who know little of the house - and today that is most of us - will find it difficult to stay detached and not feel a sense of loss that nothing of The Gables and little of a halcyon era in Hervey Bay remains today.

As an architect, Mr Patterson brings finely detailed descriptions of the house and landscape to his recollections of lazy days around "the point". As a droll Bay character, he brings his sharp wit to literary vignettes recounting romps and exuberant escapades on land and water.

Turning the pages, one grows attached to the landmark house with the distinctive three gables and shares the sadness that such a gracious old lady could be left to decay and demolishment.

What a prize asset The Gables would be today, its dining room housing a cedar table 10-feet long and five-feet wide, with extra leaves for extensions.

Built in the late 1800s when Maryborough's "well-to-do", as the author describes them, sought sea breezes for relief from the summer heat of subtropical Queensland, The Gables was fading when the Patterson children burst in from Brisbane in 1951.

With his sister and brother, seven-year-old Gavin scampered into the huge ramshackle timber-and-tin holiday home with wide verandas. "Despite the shabbiness, the first impression for me was that of a grand mansion."

Youthful exuberance in exploring The Gables is infectious. Intrigue is shared as the hidden room, crawled into through a small door under a kitchen bench, reveals its treasure - a glass-encased treasure of "The Sunken Cathedral", destined to be part of the Patterson Christmas rituals. …

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