Resident farewells historic St Aubins
ST AUBINS isn't just a historical part of Rockhampton to Desma Bleines; it's a house filled with precious memories.
Mrs Bleines and her husband of 43 years, Michael, bought the property around 1969 and raised three daughters in the first heritage-listed home of Rockhampton.
Now almost 40 years later, Mrs Bleines is preparing to move on.
The heart-breaking decision was reached after Mrs Bleines suddenly lost her husband to a heart attack four months ago, aged 64.
Since then, she has sold pieces of the old shops and plants from the nursery.
Blocks of land surrounding the property are under contract and she is looking to put nearby Purry Cottage (the original Rockhampton steam tram ticket office) on the market soon, as well as her beloved St Aubins, which was built on the Canoona Road two-acre property between 1860 and 1870.
They bought the house at auction, but Mr Bleines had noticed it some time before then.
"Michael was a police officer and had been called to the house when it had been vandalised," the 62-year-old said from the kitchen yesterday afternoon.
"People used to say this place was haunted, but in 37 years I have never met a ghost, though I did hear children did used to play pranks here, saying there were ghosts.
"Michael stayed working as a police officer for a time, but I didn't want to go back to nursing, and was interested in selling herbs, and that is how we started (becoming a business).
"We used to have speciality shops like a teddy bear shop and a children's clothing shop with items from England, France, Denmark and Sweden.
"People also used to get married here.
"Some of my favourite memories of this place are from when two of my daughters were married here."
Mrs Bleines said she made the decision to retire from St Aubins to a beach house at Emu Park with a heavy heart.
"My children and their husbands were all devastated that I had decided to sell up, but they all have their own lives," the grandmother of nine said.
"While I loved this place, it was Michael's passion."