cooroy legends – the Bonnell’s

Dennis and Lynn Bonnell

The Bonnell family has lived in the Cooroy area for 100 years. We had the pleasure of chatting to Dennis and Lynn Bonnell, who both shared some of the history of our wonderful Cooroy Township. Dennis Bonnell has lived in the Cooroy area for the whole of these 60 years. He and Lynn (Lynn came from nearby Kadanga) were married 37 years ago and have lived and raised their family of one daughter (Michelle) and one son (Bradley) in Bonnell Lane Cooroy. Dennis and Lynn’s family used to play with the Christensen children (another Cooroy Legend family) and Ken Christensen was bestman at Dennis and Lynn’s wedding.

Dennis has been a fireman for 37 years and is now Captain of the Cooroy Fire Station. Dennis and his families contribution to the Cooroy community has been totally unselfish and extremely giving.

Dennis and Lynn have seen many changes in the Cooroy Township over these years. They shared with us some wonderful stories about the old days in Cooroy when everyone knew everyone and of some of the fantastic community events that took place. One of these events was the annual Cooroy Christmas party run by the Apex Club. Dennis and his fellow Apexarians gave out gifts to the children of Cooroy for a small coin donation (this money obviously going to charity). They acquired these gifts throughout the year buying surplus stock. Santa was there of course and Santa’s helpers were dressed as clowns, fairies, superman etc – one of the most popular characters was the Ninja Turtles!! There were raffles and a good country BBQ. The arrival of the fire truck was always hugely exciting for the kids.

Dennis and Lynn also shared the story of how Cooroy used to hold an event called the “Richest Race in Queensland – The Cooroy Mile”. This exciting event was held at the Cooroy cricket grounds with Cooroy boasting one of the biggest cycling clubs ever. There was a proper dome cycling track. Jack Wimmer was a key figure in the organization of this event. Dennis and Lynn shared another great story with us. The Apex Club applied to have a fishing competition at Lake MacDonald. The answer was a very definite “NO”. The club then applied to have the same fishing competition in exactly the same location, only this time used the name “Six Mile Dam”. The application was immediately approved!!

The Bonnell business started in 1933. There wasn’t a Bonnell yard in those days. The truck pulled up in front of your yard. The first yard was next to Dennis and Lynn’s home in Oak Street. Dennis was hugely instrumental in the organization and development of the Cooroy Junior League. Dennis was a talented player and loved the game. He played for Gympie as there wasn’t a Cooroy footie club in those days. Football in Cooroy was very popular and a real event in the Cooroy community.

Dennis and Lynn told the story about how the current hospital has been built over a bore that supplied water to the township of Cooroy during the 1940s and 1950s. Who would have guessed water would have become so precious!! When asked about the biggest change Dennis and Lynn have seen in Cooroy over the years they said the losing of the Butter Factory, the sawmill and the brickworks. When asked what they loved most about Cooroy they answered “the friendly country atmosphere and the fact that everything is so central”. There biggest gripe about Cooroy is the lack of parking and the fact that the pedestrian crossing in the main street is so dangerous. When asked if they would ever leave Cooroy they both answered “only for family reasons or if we win a million dollars”. The Bonnell name and Cooroy are a bond so let’s hope we have the pleasure of the Bonnell family staying in Cooroy forever.