David Agnew, Bill Hallas and Clive Simmons at the Apex building.
David Agnew, Bill Hallas and Clive Simmons at the Apex building.

Letters, memorabilia, sweat to be dug up with Apex capsule

WHEN the Apex Club of Gatton buried its time capsule next to Lake Apex in 1986, former president and local councillor Bill Hallas thought, “Holy hell, I’ll be 70 when it gets pulled up!”

With the capsule due to be unearthed next year, Mr Hallas – an Apex Club life member – is reminiscing about the work the club once prided itself on, the sense of community spirit that was fostered through Apex and the lifelong friends he formed.

He’s also keen to ensure September 12, 2020, is a special day, and that as many former Apex Club members as possible are able to attend.

The Apex Club of Gatton, which has since folded, was a “strong and active group of about 20 locals”, Mr Hallas said.

He said the time capsule included letters, memorabilia, and “probably some of my sweat”.

“Our baby at the time used to have a sheepskin and he was big enough to pull it apart so we put a handful of his wool in there.”

The dedicated group fundraised for facilities such as the Senior Citizens Centre in town and, at the lake, a shelter shed, toilet blocks and information centre which is no longer there.

The club also worked with schools and helped provide financial support for some children to attend camps with their peers.

The group sold bricks through a “buy a brick” fundraiser, with people’s names carved on each one and ran fundraising barbecues.

The Apex Club developed the lake as part of the recreation park in 1975.

“We initiated the lake out there – that was just a paddock when I started with Apex in 1973.

“We worked tirelessly there and a couple of local farmers had irrigation, and the first fill at the lake was from irrigation.

“Then we mowed it all for years until the council took it over. We were community-minded and very active fellas and we knew the town needed something like that.

“I loved it. It was an organisation where you learnt how to run a meeting, do proper protocol, and learn how to take somebody under your wing.”

Mr Hallas, who also served a term with Gatton Shire Council from 1988-1992, said all Apex members took a turn being president of the group – he was president in 1983.

“There was one really shy guy who wouldn’t say ‘boo’ to anybody and he went on to be school president of the P & C and high school P & C president and he wasn’t shy any more, and that was the sort of thing that happened.

“The kids and the wives were also involved, and the wives would come with coffee and food when we were building sheds and the kids could play.”

He said it could be hard to find members “because it’s a bit like giving blood”.

“You’ve got people who just draw the shutters and people who are open.

“Those fellows who got involved properly enjoyed themselves because of the friendships.

“I’ve got some lifelong friends just because you were there and sitting beside each other.

“You could have a tussle at the meeting and you could be opponents, and then you could go have a beer afterwards and be friends again.”

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