Writing for pleasure to showcase the best Australia has on offer.
Published December 23rd 2019
Gunalda provides family rest stop for travellers
Leaving the Bruce Highway, just thirty-two kilometres north of Gympie, Queensland, you will find the small township of Gunalda. Originally named Keelar, the town was renamed Gunalda in November 1923 when the railway station was opened. Schooling commenced in August 1881 with the opening of the Thompson's Flat Provisional School, later being renamed as the Gunalda Provision School and then in 1909, it became the Gunalda State School.
Gunalda Playground (Author's Photo)
Due to the close proximity to Gympie, many residents now preferring a country lifestyle have based their homes in Gunalda. The town has a hotel (circa 1918), a general store, post office, primary school and kindergarten, park, well-sought-after bakery, real estate and the Gunalda Trading Post Secondhand Wares.
St. Therese Catholic Church (Author's Photo)
High on a hill in Balkin Street, Gunalda you will find St. Therese Catholic Church, which still operates today on the first Sunday of the month. As it is a small wooden building of classic church structure, I noticed it easily from the road probably due to the barren earth seen through the trees from the current drought in the area. Fondly observed, a small out-house stood to the right of the rear of the building; a memory of spiders and frogs found in the old buildings of the past.
Gunalda General Store/cum Post Office, Hardware, Nursery, Gift Store (Author's Photo)
The General Store cum Post Office, Gift Store, Nursery and Hardware is also situated in Balkin Street, opposite the Rural Fire Brigade Building and Gunalda Park. Apart from magazines, small goods and usual general store products, the shop has a large range of gift items for every occasion; some with a country theme. It is easy to appreciate the amount of people living on surrounding properties by the amount of post office boxes on the outside wall of the general store. A small nursery is situated at the side of the shop and a few racks outside under the shop's awning held hardware items. There were several wooden tables and chairs outside for patrons' use. Phone number 07 5484 6286.
Telstra Phone Box, a site not see in often in the City (Author's Photo)
Across the road was a very nice park for children with play equipment as well as clean toilets for visitors. Designated parking spots were provided for cars and a waste facility for travellers. What caught my eye was a Telstra telephone box on the footpath near the park, which is certainly not something we see regularly in cities these days.
Mi-Bakery Gundalda (Author's Photo)
I had heard many great stories about the bakery in Gunalda, which was one of my reasons for visiting the town. Mi-Bakery proprietors Walter and Lisa, both with bakery qualifications have owned the business for the past three-and-half years, building it up to be well-known by locals and a favourite stop by travellers heading north and south. Mi-Bakery is situated in Birdwood Drive, a couple of minutes from the highway turnoff and has parking outside. There was no let-up to the clientele coming and going on the day of my visit, as well as stopping for a chat and catch up.
Apple Turnovers - Hot from the Oven (Author's Photo)
What started as a talking piece and a few items, ended up as a collection of china biscuit containers that line the shelves of the bakery. It has become an interest to the public as residents and visitors donate their ancestry biscuit containers to Mi-Bakery's collection.
Collectable Biscuit Containers (Author's Photo)
Usual bakery items including pies, sausage rolls, cakes, biscuits, bread and favourites of my childhood – apple turnovers, cream buns and the like are available for purchase. Breadcrumbs, flours and sugars can be purchased in kilo lots. The Macadamia Nut & White Chocolate Biscuits I purchased for my Mum were delicious I was told. The only items bought in were Danish and Croissants; all other bakery items were made from 100% pure butter, hence their yummy taste and consistency. To place an order or talk to Lisa and the team, please call 0455 747 456.
Gunalda Trading Post Second-hand Wares (Author's Photo)
Right next door to Mi-Bakery, I came across the Gunalda Trading Post Secondhand Wares, which also sold themed Ned Kelly T-Shirts and Towels, T-Shirts with written sayings, Bath Towels, Ladies' clothing and plants. The beauty of taking a turn off the beaten track is that you never know what you will find and what you will miss if you do not.
Towels, Ladies Clothing, T-Shirts - Gundalda Trading Post (Author's Photo)
With a mixed stock of vintage, retro, second-hand furniture, crockery, bric and brac, marine, military, nursery and curio items, this shed had the lot. From a garden bench seat, shelves of books, DVDs, indigenous figurines and canvas paintings, guitars, thunder eggs, fishing nets, old bicycle, bottles, glassware and more, wandering around was quite an interesting trek. If you are looking for a specific item, this store may have it – telephone Jackie on 0410 480 094 or Barry on 0411 650 286. The business opens from 9.00am on Tuesday (Closed Monday).
Small towns can be surprisingly interesting. My husband and I love stopping and exploring on foot which we think is the only real way to get to see the true town. These days I think sighting a Telstra booth really says, 'You're in the country now."