INTERVIEW WITH GRANDPA JOHN “IWAN” STEREFF: THE HISTORY OF GLADSTONE

My family has had a long standing history here in the Gladstone community.  From humble beginnings in farming, our family has diversified into property investment.  Property has always been something I’ve been passionate about so it is extremely fitting that I can work both as a leasing officer and sales agent with the LOCATIONS estate agents team.  I recently interviewed by Grandpa, Iwan Stereff about his Gladstone story.

In 1845, the British Prime Minister, William Ewart Gladstone, named our city, ‘Port Curtis‘. Initially, Gladstone/Port Curtis was a small rural fishing community which supported the local farming industry. In 1896, the Meat Works was opened on the site of where QAL is now located. The Meat Works were the largest employer for the Gladstone region up until the 1960’s. With the closure of the meat works, unemployment rose in the Gladstone community and surrounding areas until QAL was built in the 1960’s, which was the largest aluminum refinery in the world.  From here the Gladstone population, accommodation and infrastructure was expanded to cater for the increase in demand and the increase of industrial works coming to the Gladstone region.

RURAL LIVING

For those who lived in the smaller rural communities such as Yarwun and Targinnie, these locals would often travel to Gladstone for their weekly supplies, employment and other personal appointments. The round trip was 2 hours over a corrugated dirt road and across creeks which would flood in heavy rain, whereby the people in the outer communities would be stranded for days.

Today, the roads to Gladstone have improved over the years, making the smaller rural communities easily accessible. This has enabled the Gladstone region to continue to grow and support a diverse community of people who have the benefit of both living in a ‘smaller’ city and/or rural area with a wide choice of industry employment options. The infrastructure of Gladstone has also expanded over the years with there now being more than one school, shopping centre and transport options.

FUN FACT

When Gladstone was organising the Bi-Centurial celebrations in 1988, the committee invited Mr Peter Gladstone, great-grandson of PM W Gladstone over to Gladstone, Australia.

Mr Gladstone gifted the city of Gladstone a brief case which was similar to the one his great grandfather always had with him. This brief case is now on display in the Gladstone Museum with all the members of the Bi-Centurial committee on it, which includes my grandfather, Mr. John Stereff.

ZACK’S OBSERVATIONS

I have lived in Gladstone my entire life and have noticed the changes from when my grandparents lived on the farm in Targinnie. It was always an adventure to visit them! Now, as a leasing and sales agent at LOCATIONS estate agents, I have the opportunity to present a wide variety of homes in the broader region of Gladstone with easy access to modern commodities.

Image credit: Gladstone Observer