Back to the Bush – Australian Legends and Larrikins
Local Legends: Joyce & Doris
There could hardly be a feature written on the Local Legends of the Miles District without including the wonderful Siblings – Joyce and Doris Davidson
Joyce and Doris were both raised by their parents Herbert and Minnie Davidson on their family property ‘Portland’ in the Wooleebee District North of Miles. They grew up on the farm with two brothers, Mervyn and Ken before both moving to Miles and settling in their house in Dawson Street.
Joyce was born in Miles on the 30th May 1922. Joyce attended school at Wallumbilla and Miles. Joyce’s early years were spent on the family property ‘Portland’, and when it was not possible to obtain work in Miles, Joyce went to help her Grandparents at Wallumbilla.
In 1939 Joyce started as a part time telephonist at the Miles Post Office. Later becoming a permanent, then in 1956 being appointed Supervisor (a position she held until 1982 when Automation closed the telephone exchange). In 1977 Joyce received the Queen’s Jubilee Medal for service to Telecom. Joyce was awarded the Murilla Shire Council Australia Day Citizens award in 1981 for service to the community.
Doris was born in Wallumbilla on the 30th January 1925. She attended both Miles Convent and Miles State School. Leaving School in 1938, Doris worked at the local Cash and Carry store and the Railway Refreshment rooms. Doris also worked with Joyce on the Miles Telephone Exchange. Doris also received the Murilla Shire Council Australia Day Citizens award in 1981 for service to the community.
Working at the Telephone Exchange
Both girls worked at the Miles Telephone exchange from 1939 to 1982. When Automated telephones forced the closure of the telephone exchange. The girls were on the go at the Exchange from the moment they started work until the minute they finished their shift. In the early days they were also required to work 7 hours each Sunday.
When I asked the girls, what was their best moment while working at the exchange, they both replied – ‘the day in 1982 when we finished!’ I guess all the years of constant toil had taken its toll, and they were ready for a much-deserved rest. The worst part of the job was having to work with girls who were ‘bloody useless’ (their words not mine).
Over the years both girls have held the positions of President, Secretary, Treasurer and event organiser for the Miles Historical Society and The Miles National Seniors. They have worked tirelessly over many years baking, sewing or knitting for street stalls and fundraisers (mostly at their own expense). Recipients of such fundraising were Careflight (now Lifeflight), Carinya Hostel, Blue Care and The Miles Historical Village just to name a few.
Part of the Founding Story of the Miles Historical Village
Both remarkable women were instrumental in the formation and building of the Miles Historical Village.
Their tireless efforts over the years of painting, maintenance and repairs and raising money for museum projects have seen the Village grow into the Local treasure it is today.