One of the Peninsula’s most colourful characters was Edward (Ted) Walker, who in his later years claimed to be the oldest practising warm milk vendor in Australia. Born in 1906, the son of Samuel Walker, he grew up on his parent’s dairy farm in Oxley Avenue next door to the site where the Scarborough State School was built in 1925.
At 8 years of age, Ted would be up at 5 am each morning to commence his deliveries of warm milk on foot, carrying a billy can and measuring cup. He would work two hours in the morning before school and two hours after school. Later his father bought a horse and cart to speed the deliveries up.
In 1927 Ted purchased 104 acres of land on the corner of Klingner and Ashmole Road for 475 pounds ($950) where he ran a herd of 35 dairy cows and milked them all by hand. He delivered fresh milk in a 1927 Chevrolet truck to householders in Redcliffe and Scarborough for many years.
In 1954 at age 48, Ted married Violet aged 40, the daughter of a dairy-farmer from Lacey’s Creek. They enjoyed farm life and ran the dairy farm together. Ted refused to have any electricity on his property, so milking was still done by hand.
In 1960 he sold most of his property, but kept a small area which included the house and paddock. He kept five cows, a bull, a dog plus a collection of hens and cats. His was the last of about 30 dairy farms which had once existed on the Peninsula. Ted continued to deliver milk for over 65 years where many of his customers had been with him for over 50 years.
Even in retirement Ted and Violet would start their day at 4 am, feeding their animals and milking cows, then taking them to the nearby football ground to graze. Ted’s recipe for good health was an outdoor life with no smoking and two milk puddings a day.
Ted Walker died at the age of 80 in 1986. Violet eventually sold the farmhouse and moved to Ballycara Retirement Village. She later died in 1998.