Carmello and Laurie have always been mentioned in our family prayers.
Written and contributed by Carmel King (nee Lutvey)
My name is Carmel King. I was born in 1939 and my brother John was born in 1940. My parents were Michael and Freda Lutvey, Michael being the fourth child of Russia and Eva Lutvey. “Raschid” (Richard in English) was born in Lebanon. When he landed in Australia in 1879 a Government Official incorrectly registered his name as “Russia” which explains the name change.
Lutvey Family Gayndah
(photo courtesy of Carmel King nee Lutvey)
Gayndah is a small town in the Central Burnett district of South East Queensland. It is a District rich in Agriculture, the growing of Stock and Citrus Orchards. When I was growing up the population of Gayndah was approximately 1500.
When scrub land was opened for selection in 1934, Michael purchased two portions and became a farmer in the “Woodmillar” District, preferring farming to his family’s storekeeping. Over the years other properties were purchased by Russia until it became quite a large holding.
Much of the land had to be cleared of prickly pear. There were 120 milking cows and dairying was carried out until 1945. Picking up “stones” continued to add new paddocks for the growing of crops. The land then became used for greater agricultural production and for the fattening of stock. At one time Michael planted 100 Citrus trees. The area was too dry and the experiment failed.
The farm-house at “Woodmillar” was on high blocks with rooms underneath. The family bedrooms were upstairs and downstairs was the kitchen, the utility room and other rooms which were used to house the single workers on the farm. The married men had separate accommodation or resided in the district or the township of Gayndah.
Michael continued to reside in Gayndah and drove the 15 miles to and from the farm every day. When he married Freda Kayrooz in 1938 they came to live on the farm. This is the farm where Camello and Laurie came to live during the war years and gives a picture of the type of farm work they would be expected to do.
The knowledge of Camello and Laurie comes from the memory of my mother Freda often talking about them during the years of my growing up in Gayndah. Freda’s brother Peter Kayrooz, was a Gunner serving with the Australian Forces in the Middle East. She always said that God sent Carmello and Laurie for her to care for so that there would be another family on the other side of the world who would do the same for her brother.
(photo courtesy of Carmel King nee Lutvey)
Michael and Freda , with my brother and me, moved to live in town (Gayndah) during the 1940’s. Dad’s brother Herbert Lutvey moved with his family to live on the farm. Once again Michael drove the 15 miles each day and continued to manage the farms until they were sold in 1970.
The Wash House (or Laundry as it is now called) was a small lean-to on the side of the house outside the Kitchen. As a fire precaution, the Copper for boiling the clothes was about 10 metres away from the house. A very small building called the Outhouse (Toilet) was a little further on from the Copper. The working men would have also helped with the heavy lifting and transfer of wet work clothes and washing from the copper to the laundry tubs.
Freda hated and was very frightened of snakes. The first night the “boys”, as Carmello and Laurie were called, spent on the farm was a very traumatic experience for them. When Freda came downstairs to cook breakfast the following morning, the boys were very excited and looked awful. They had sat on top of their beds and not slept all night. They were very frightened and tried to explain the hissing noises they heard and what they had seen. This happened again the following night.
The milk from the large bowls which were left out for the dogs and cats had been disappearing. Freda thought that Carmel and John (both small children) were playing with and spilling it, or, maybe there might be a snake around. Because the boys were looking and feeling so frightened Michael decided to pull up the floor boards in the kitchen and do some checking. He found and killed nearly 20 snakes. The snakes had been coming out at night looking for food. It was little wonder that the boys were so terrified with poisonous snakes slithering around the floor at night. I do think they had had any experience or knowledge of snakes beforehand. For this reason, which prompted Michael to pull up the floor boards, Freda said they saved John and Carmel from being bitten and dying from snake bite.
Michael would drive the boys to Gayndah to attend Mass on Sundays. This trip extended to spending the day with the large extended family at Russia’s home. The family business interests also included a number of shops and Russia’s home was on land behind, and attached to the main shopping centre. On many occasions, Michael was in trouble with the law for taking the boys away from the farm, taking them to town and most of all when he allowed the boys the freedom of going for a walk up and down the main street to look in the shop windows.
When Carmello and Laurie left Gayndah to return home after the war, they promised Freda they would stay in touch and would write. Freda felt a very close connection to them, and she was always of the opinion that something happened to their ship and they never reached home.
I am very familiar with their names as they have always been mentioned in our family prayers. If there is an opportunity I would love to meet, or be in touch, with a member of their families.