Gympie pioneer Clyde Kunst.
Gympie pioneer Clyde Kunst. Craig Warhurst

Living link to past

'OUR Clyde', as Gympie's Clyde Kunst is remembered in his new biography, provides more than just one living link to a region's history.

Through interlocking family ties with the Sauers and Nahrungs, Clyde's ancestors lived much of that history.

In a strange Gympie-style coincidence, Clyde's story was made public yesterday, about one week after The Gympie Times reported on the biography of his equally history-making great grandfather, Konrad Nahrung, a German settler who lived at Goomeri many years ago and who later settled in the Miva area.

Nahrung's memoir, The Life of a Queensland Settler, was edited by Konrad Nahrung's great great grandson. Clyde is the same man's great grandson.

As Gympie historian Pat Towner recalls in Our Clyde, it was action from the beginning.

"Clyde was always in a hurry and made his entrance (on April 19, 1923) into the world in typical fashion.

"He didn't give his mother time to get to a nursing home for the delivery and made his grand entrance at Bells Bridge."

Grandparents Fritz and Anna Kunst were also German migrants and Clyde's dad August is remembered as "a brilliant axeman and conservationist" before the word was ever used.

"All timber he felled was at its peak and young trees were never wasted."

Clyde's mother Mavis was a daughter of another famous Gympie merchant and transport family, the Sauers.

Clyde's grandfather, William Sauer, came to Gympie from Maryborough, along with a wagonload of provisions being carried by his step-father John Palmer.

Palmer brought flour, sugar, tea and a few casks of rum for sale to the miners on Gympie Creek, the book recalls.

But Clyde on his own made such a contribution, mostly in hard work and ingenuity, that on its own it constitutes a significant slice of Gympie history.

Much of his timber getting work predated such modern conveniences as the bulldozer.

Clyde learnt to drive at a young age and he helped to build the impressive stone wall at Surface Hill.

Although his story contradicts an enduring legend about ancient visitors performing engineering marvels, Clyde's work was in some ways reminiscent of the ancient Egyptians.

The rocks came from Rocks Rd, The Palms, and were shaped and hand chiselled to make them fit into the wall, a dry stone construction (no mortar) that still stands today.

Clyde operated a cream run, shifted Gordon Elmer's barge, took Andrew Fisher house to the Gympie Historical Society museum and has been a volunteer on the Rattler, among many other claims to local fame.

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