MY Daily News video-journalist David Stuart and photographer John Gass visited Condong.

Community hub for the people of Condong

GRAHAME and Eileen Johnson have operated the Condong General Store for over 15 years.

Also the post office licensee, Grahame has recently focused his attention on bringing the grand sign above his store back to its former glory.

"It was covered in grit and grime and it took two years to clean it," he said.

"That was painted just before we came in here in 1996.

"It's a good old joint and pretty strong. It's been through a few old storms."

Family ties helped bring the couple to Condong and then move in to look after the store that first opened its doors over a century ago.

"My mum and dad were alive at the time and we decided to come back here," Grahame said.

"It was obvious to come back here.

"It's a friendly village."

He said it was a great place to work.

"We got a good clientele from the mill mainly for the boys coming over for their smoko. The mill supports us pretty well," he said.

"We have people who are coming in every day.

"They become your friends over the years."

 

Family fun in the Condong sun

ACROSS the road from the sugar mill, on the immaculately-kept Condong Bowling Club green was a group of six males all bearing a keen resemblance to each other.

Stephen Halmai and his sons John, Matthew, Luke, Mark and Steven were enjoying a game of school-holiday bowls.

Stephen, a keen bowler, brought his family out from London 11 years ago for a lifestyle change.

"We lived in Kingscliff for five years," he said.

"We wanted space for the kids."

They now live at Clothiers Creek and spend a lot of time at the Condong Bowling Club.

With some of the family born in the UK and the rest in Australia, Stephen joked that they nickname themselves the Ashes Teams.

Looking after the club

At roughly the same time the Halmai family moved to Australia, Ron Pilom started working at the Condong Bowling Club.

The manager said he loved working in Condong at the bowling club despite being a long drive from his home.

"I still live in Brisbane but I stay down here."

Ron said the pace of Condong was a nice change to the hustle and bustle of Queensland's capital.

"That's why I keep coming down here," he said.

"It's a great area and the people are tremendous."

Those people, Ron said, were what ultimately made the village and the club what they were.

"It's very easy-going and there are very dedicated members and a lot of volunteer work that keeps the club going.

"The community is very close-knit but also welcoming of visitors.

"Most visiting clubs want to come back."



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