Grand Champion steer made for an incredible pie

PROUD: Bill sits with wife Lyn in the Old Fernvale Bakery they built from the ground up.
PROUD: Bill sits with wife Lyn in the Old Fernvale Bakery they built from the ground up. Francis Witsenhuysen

MARRYING both passions of cattle and pastry, Bill Rose once bought a top led steer for $10,000 and turned it into a pie.

"That was in 2012 and he was the Grand Champion Led steer at the Brisbane Show," Bill said.

"We brought him back immediately and made him into pies.

"It was an incredible pie."

Bill was sitting at one of the tables in the now decadent and homely eating area of The Old Fernvale Bakery he owns with his wife Lyn.

"We were trying to convey to people how we only put great meat in our pies and to this day, we are still that particular."

Bill and Lyn have been self-employed for a total of 47 years, but the legacy of the Old Fernvale Bakery began when they moved from Brisbane to Pine Mountain in 1972.

"We had a business in Brisbane too, but we wanted some peace and quiet and I've always had a bit of country in me growing up in Goondiwindi, so we bought a block of land," he said.

"When we came to town the takeaway shop was a caravan at the side of the road, which ran an electrical lead from the caravan to the house.

"That was the only food supply apart from a general store which was tiny shop called CJ's."

Bill recalled how then, Fernvale was essentially made up of a hotel, a butcher and a post office.

"I said to Lyn, I think the town needs a bakery," Bill said. 

The Rose's investment into the "first new building in town" started out as both a bakery and a real estate office.

"I began a real estate office out of the bakery building, called Bill Rose Real Estate," Bill said.

"There were two shops divided down the centre, and the bigger side I used for the real estate.

"Lyn worked in the bakery with one baker and we spent hours per day, building it up.

"Everyone came in for our incredible pies, but they also loved Lyn."

Bill said as business picked up he moved his real estate business into the old Honeywood building.

"It was the only real estate in town, at one stage I had 16 agents working for me."

Bill said when he started working on the bakery it was an eye sore.

"We are so happy with how it's turned out," he said.

"Lyn started with a really wonderful baker named Peter, who was both a qualified bakery and pastry chef which was rare in those days," Bill said.

"He had previously owned his own bakery, so we were lucky and it progressed from there."

Bill and Lyn decided it would be their pies which would set their rural bakery apart and are incredibly proud of how many awards the bakery has won over the years.

"We've won hundreds of medals in meat pie competitions, including the Great Aussie Meat Pie Competition, the Best Pie In Australia Competition in the Queensland Baking Show," Bill said.

"This year we won 18 medals in the Queensland Baking Show and 23 medals (more than any other bakery in Australia) in the Best Pie in Australia Competition in Sydney."

Born in Brisbane on May 6, 1946, Bill will turn the big 70 next year, though you wouldn't know it.

"Only the good die young," Bill laughed.

Bill has the bush in his blood, spending his early years growing up in Goondiwindi.

"Then we made the move to the big smoke, and I went to Stafford primary and Kedron State High," Bill said

"I studied senior chemistry and modern history at the Institute of Technology which is now QUT. Later I studied business physiology and business management, funded by Myer, when I was working for them."

Bill married his darling Lyn on May 3, 1969.

"We met at my brother's place and when we found out we both worked at Myer, well that was it," Bill said.

"Between us we have two wonderful daughters and five beautiful grandchildren."

Bill described their current home as living in heaven.

"We're at Bryden now and our property fronts Wivenhoe Dam, it's like a peninsula and runs into the Eternal Forest," he said.

"We still have about a 100 head of pure bred Charolais cattle at home.

"Wivenhoe increased the visitors to the area, it wasn't finished when we got here so a lot of the customers' were the workers and their families.

"Old customers still come back and visit us from those times."

Bill described Fernvale's progression as a small rural town.

"The population now is 2500 and it was 1100 in 1985, I always hoped Fernvale would develop into acreage sites," Bill said.

Topics:  fernvale

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