1000 WORDS: Some of the best photos taken by the Gatton Star during its 64 years of print.
1000 WORDS: Some of the best photos taken by the Gatton Star during its 64 years of print.

GALLERY: The photos that told your stories for 64 years

IN 64 years of print, there’s been some great photos in the Gatton Star.

From the success of our sporting teams, the little moments of friendship that make country towns to special, all the way to the horrors of natural disasters.

Take a walk down memory lane with us as we delve into the archives to look back at some of the best photos from the Gatton Star’s past, read the stories behind four of the best, and then flick through the gallery for more.

Hawks claim the win

The Gatton Hawks 1989 premiership-winning team, after defeating the All Whites 30-18 to claim the Toowoomba Rugby League title.
The Gatton Hawks 1989 premiership-winning team, after defeating the All Whites 30-18 to claim the Toowoomba Rugby League title.

It was a fairy tale moment for the Gatton Hawks on September 17, 1989, when the senior A grade and reserves team claimed double premierships.

After “waiting in the wings” for four years, the Hawks stormed to claim the wins – their first in the Toowoomba Rugby League carnival after joining it from the Ipswich competition.

The A-grade team claimed the win again the All Whites 30-18, after playing what the then coach Graham Pamenter described as “no-panic” football.

“The boys did everything I asked of them and played good controlled basic football,” he said at the time.

“One couldn’t have asked any more of them.”

Young second rower, and future deputy Mayor Jason Cook was awarded the Hawk’s player-of-the-match award.

The reserve grade team weren’t to be out done though, claiming a 16-8 win over Newtown in their match earlier in the day.

It was big comeback for the reserve hawks, who trailed Newtown 8-nil at halftime.

Prime Minister comes to town

10 YEARS AGO: Prime Minister John Howard met with Lowood local, Coral Larson during an meeting in Esk regarding the droughts.
10 YEARS AGO: Prime Minister John Howard met with Lowood local, Coral Larson during an meeting in Esk regarding the droughts.

They say a picture paints a thousand words – and it’s certainly true in this case.

The image of prime minister John Howard reacting to Coral Larsen telling him how difficult it was to run a nursery during the millennium drought was taken in April 2007 when the then PM came to Lowood.

It was described as the “most esteemed” visit to the Esk Shire since Queen Elizabeth’s visit in 1954.

Four hundred locals gathered at the show hall to meet the prime minister.

Reporter Elizabeth Pullen described the scene as “like the show days of old, townspeople arrived with shoes and cars polished, ties and brooches pinned”.

The visit came just a few months before Australia’s second longest serving PM was ousted by Kevin Rudd.

It also came at the height of the millennium drought, so water was a hot topic at the town hall event.

“I’ve spent some time with your irrigators and truly it is a really grim and stark sight,” the prime minister said.

“The drought is really causing enormous hardships on the community, all the irrigators and all the people in country Australia.”

Mayor of the time Graeme Lehmann had earlier asked the PM to “organise some rain” for the region.

The little girl who made a nation cry

An Army helicopter crew member carries baby Montana to drier land in Gatton after she was rescued and airlifted from flooded area of Forest Hill, west of Brisbane as torrential rain continues to fall on flood-ravaged Queensland.
An Army helicopter crew member carries baby Montana to drier land in Gatton after she was rescued and airlifted from flooded area of Forest Hill, west of Brisbane as torrential rain continues to fall on flood-ravaged Queensland.

It was a moment that captured the nation – a tiny child yanked from floodwaters, and carried to safety in the arms of an army airman.

Tiny 13-month-old Montannah Creaser was rescued and airlifted from flooded area of Forest Hill to Gatton in 2011 and carried to dry land by Warrant Officer Class 2 Tony Young, member of the Blackhawk Army helicopter flight crew.

The photo by The Australian’s Jack Tran landed on the front pages of not just the Gatton Star, but newspapers across Australia, and became an iconic moment from the devastating 2011 floods.

Little Montannah was a few days later reunited with her hero, Tony Young.

WO2 Young later recalled the conditions on the day as “some of the worst" he’d ever flown in during his 12 years as a airman.

On January 10, 2011, Grantham Withcott and Helidon were devastated by flooding.

Grantham was hit worst, with the wall of water that descended on the town described as an “inland tsunami”.

Then on Tuesday, Laidley and Forest Hill were hit, with hundreds of residents needing to be airlifted to safety at Gatton.

A moment of peace amid devastation

Chloe Kean brings food out to Brad Jeffs from the Queensland Fire and Rescue, Toowoomba branch, after he was attending the fire that destroyed the Imperial Hotel Gatton. Photo Francis Witsenhuysen / Gatton Star
Chloe Kean brings food out to Brad Jeffs from the Queensland Fire and Rescue, Toowoomba branch, after he was attending the fire that destroyed the Imperial Hotel Gatton. Photo Francis Witsenhuysen / Gatton Star

It was a moment of peace after a night of heartache and fire.

Chloe Kean was snapped bringing food out to Queensland Fire and Rescue officer Brad Jeffs, following the fire that destroyed the historic Imperial Hotel in Gatton.

Just before 1am on November 6, 2015, the historic pub went up in flames.

Thirty-five firefighters rushed to try and combat the blaze but it could not be saved.

Just four months earlier, it had been condemned by a fire inspector, which meant no one was in the hotel when the blaze started – likely saving lives.

The blaze also damaged the surrounding buildings, but thanks to the work of the fireys they were able to be saved.

The site where the hotel once stood remains empty today, nearly five years later.

Despite a thorough investigation, the probe into the fire was finalised in early 2017 with no charges laid.

Gatton CIB Detective Sergeant Tim Bourke told the Gatton Star in 2017 there wasn’t enough evidence.

“At this time the available evidence does not support the charging of a person and/or persons with arson,” Mr Bourke said.

The firefighter pictured, Brad Jeffs, would go on to become the Gatton Fire Station Officer in later years.

Click below to see the full gallery of the Star’s best photos


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