The legend of the Tweed’s red shed
A FAMILY reunion at Tweed Heads over Easter was more than just 70 relatives catching up on old times, it was a gathering that paid homage to a colourful slice of the Tweed’s social history.
The attendees were all descendants of the original Boyd, Green, Fray and Adams families who settled at Boyds Bay Hill in the early 1900s and intermarried.
Boyds Bay’s official name is Terranora Inlet, but due to the sheer weight of numbers of the Boyd family and their relatives who settled there, the new name became common usage.
The families pioneered the fishing industry, with their timber and iron shed built in 1907 on the south side of Razorback Outlook becoming not just a place to store their equipment, but a social hub.
The shed attracted everyone from the working class to some of the most elite professionals of the day.
Even after the Boyds’ last catch at Dodds Point in 1969, the boatshed remained a rallying point for many years where meetings, dances and family reunions were held.
Such is the legend of the Boyd brothers’ fishermen’s shed-come-pub – often referred to as the oldest “unlicensed licensed club” – it has been saved for posterity.
In the mid-1990s, the red shed was dismantled and relocated behind the Tweed Historical Society’s base on Kennedy Dr.
Tweed Historical Society president Joan Smith, who was born into the Green family, said the shed was widely considered the Tweed’s most important historical artefact.
Allan Green, 86, now retired to Banora Point, has fond memories of his carefree upbringing at Boyds Bay.
“Growing up, I had 20 uncles and aunties and 38 cousins living at Boyds Bay, and four uncles and aunties and and nine cousins living not far away,” he recalls.
In 1927 Allan’s father, Carl Green, married Florrie Boyd during the same ceremony in which Florrie’s brother Charlie married into another Boyds Bay family by marrying Emma Adams.
It was the first double wedding held at the Tweed Heads Church of England.
As a boy, Allan was a witness to the shenanigans after the rum, whiskey and kegs of wine began to flow at the red shed.
It would lead to the occasional blue among the hard-working and playing men.
“They usually got over it and went home and come back the next morning and all fished together again,” he said.
Supreme Court Judge Matthews, from Brisbane, who had a holiday home on the Tweed, was one of the shed’s most distinguished regular guests.
Allan said the judge used to bring along thick old police uniforms to distribute among his drinking buddies to keep warm while fishing during the winter.
Allan said the Easter reunion at Pioneer Park last weekend was a great occasion.
“It was a great day – cousins reunited after many years, 50 years in some cases,” he said.
Brian Boyd, 75, Charlie and Emma Boyd’s son, who also still lives at Tweed Heads, recalls their hillside home and how the four families’ domination of the area made them feel like kings.
“The scenery was better than TV,” he said.
“The views went right out to Cook Island. We looked down upon everybody.”
Just a few of the original homes from that time survive at Boyds Bay.
“They were all fairly jovial, happy people,” Brian said of his relatives.
He recalled his grandmother Elizabeth Mary Boyd, a 20-stone woman, smuggling in up to two children to the picture theatre on Wharf St on a Saturday night in the 1920s, by hiding them under her voluminous skirts.
Brian also has vivid memories of the red shed.
“It used to make a noise like a beehive,” he said.
“When you get a lot of men making a lot of noise, it just sounds like a big hum.”
Mrs Smith said it was unfortunate the Tweed’s colourful history wasn’t taught at local schools.
“If you don’t know where you come from, how do you know where you’re going?” she said.