With the coming of the railway, residents saw a need to bring the existing businesses together in a central position near the railway station.
The following businesses all operated at Freestone, while Upper Freestone also had its share of businesses. In the following pages, we have endeavoured to list them all.
Mr Bertie Madsen, a Danish settler and his Swedish born wife, Eva, started the first store on land near the Freestone School of Arts, adjacent to Freestone Creek Road and Jack Smith’s Gully Road (land now owned by Norman Gillespie).
With the coming of the rail and the beginning of the settlement of the township, the Madsen family shifted their place of business to a new building near the present site of the hall. (This small building was later resited and is still in use as a store shed by Mr Fred Wyeth). The family would deliver goods in a spring cart to Freestone, Clintonvale and Gladfield. The store changed hands several times over the years with other owners being Jerry Ryan, Pat Ryan, George Booth and Mick Booth. With modern transport and easy access to town, the store found it difficult to compete with the chain stores in Warwick and it finally closed its doors on yet another chapter in history.
A store was also opened at Upper Freestone. This was owned by the Noble family and was situated at Upper Freestone Road, on a property now owned by Allan Payne.
Michael Christensen was a butcher. His shop was on Freestone Road, on land now owned by Jim and Arthur Christensen. It is thought that this shop was near the site of the original Methodist church. Michael Christensen delivered meat to Swan Creek, Clintonvale and Sladevale, as well as locally, using a converted sulky as a butcher’s cart. People bought large quantities of meat paying 2 pence a pound for corned meat. Michael Christensen died in 1913.
Walter Tucker built slaughter yards near what is now Rene Shelley’s house. He then built a shop near the store. This business was sold to Ab Cox, who first used Tucker’s slaughtering yards before building his own yards, still standing on land now owned by Colin Christensen. Howell and Rey rented the butcher’s shop in 1923.
Percy Shelley then became the last butcher at Freestone. The cement slab floor of the butcher’s shop can still be found east of the hall on Freestone Road.
Upper Freestone also had the services of a butcher’s shop. This was owned by the Hagenbach family and was situated at Cooper’s Gully on property now owned by the Briggs family.
The first blacksmith’s shop in the area, situated opposite the present site of the Uniting Church, was operated by Mr T Phillips for 20 years. He then built a new blacksmith’s shop opposite the Hall on Freestone Road, where he conducted business for a further 12 months. The business was sold to a Mr Bailey, who built a home on the opposite side of the road. Another blacksmith shop, conducted by Mr McCluskey, operated in a tin shed near the butcher’s shop.
A saddler’s business operated in a tin shed on property now owned by Leo Ryan. Ted Beard was the first owner of this business, followed by a Mr Green.
The grain shed, built at a cost of 3 081 pounds, was owned by the State Wheat Board and measured 200ft x 50ft. The building had a teak wood floor and oregon pine beams. It had a holding capacity of 87 000 bushels (in those days, bags were 4 bushel, subsequently reducing in later years to 3 bushel).
The shed was built by Messrs Connolly and Bell, building contractors of Warwick. Labourers were Peter Hagenbach, Jack Jones, George and Harry Schnitzerling and Tony Knehr snr. Carpenters were James Bell, Jack and Gus Connolly, Harry Walker and Burt Kunerhman.
The grain shed was opened on Saturday afternoon 28th July 1923 when the Chairman, Mr F J Morgan and the Manager Mr Binns of the State Wheat Board performed the official opening. A banquet was held immediately afterwards, then at night a grand social evening was enjoyed.
Profits from the evening were divided equally between the Warwick Hospital and the Ambulance. O’Brian’s orchestra provided the music on a piano borrowed from the School of Arts.
On year, an incident occurred in which the bags were stacked so high that they fell, causing the whole end of the shed to fall out.
The grain shed is now privately owned and is used as a storage shed.
Ten acres of ground situated at Upper Freestone, about 13 miles from Warwick was gazetted as a cemetery reserve in 1883 and a Cemetery Trust was formed in 1896.
The records for the cemetery have been "lost" in various Government Departments, however it is known that the cemetery was divided into sections according to nationality, that is Irish, Danish, German etc rather than religion. Only a small section of the cemetery remains today, and is cared for by the O’Dempsey family, some of their family being buried there. The cemetery closed in 1971.
THE BREAD RUN
Initially, bread came from the Yangan bakery, then later, came by train from Warwick to the Lower Freestone area, while Yangan still supplied Upper Freestone.
During WWI, the Tucker Bros brought bread out from Warwick by horse and cart. A rival, "Doughy" Reedy, also did the same.
Jack Hart had a bread run about 1950, with deliveries made by car to both Upper and Lower Freestone.
In the mid 1920’s, a bus service, using a seven seater car was operated by Ivor Donovan from Warwick, through Freestone and on to Maryvale, returning in the afternoon. The fare from Freestone to Warwick was 2/6 pence.