1492-1496 Brisbane Valley Highway, Fernvale, QLD, 4306
I’ve even taken my visiting cousin from Wales there as a special trip.
Bill is very passionate to promote Lake Wivenhoe on the Brisbane River, just eight kilometres north of Fernvale. Bill tells me that the lake itself is about three times the area of Sydney Harbour and that when it’s at its official 100% capacity, it’s still only 45% of its maximum holding capacity.
Bill’s strongest recommendation was to take the Wivenhoe Somerset Road up the eastern side of the lake and pop into Billies Bay Recreation Area (https://w3w.co/defines.moonwalk.tactile) for a sit in the shade by the lake – and perhaps do some fishing.
Bill also pointed out that the Wivenhoe Somerset Road also took you to the turnoff to the Northbrook Parkway which, in turn, would take you to Mount Glorious for some more country air and even back to Brisbane.
There’s also the Rail Trail that goes through Fernvale – but, this is perhaps more for the more energetic.
I had a great telephone conversation with Bill and I record his responses here.
What is your name and title?
Bill Rose, Owner.
But Bill is quick to tell me that the ownership is shared with his wife, of 50 years, Lyn. Congratulations guys.
In what year did the bakery first open?
35 years ago. That makes it about 1985 by my count.
How long have you been with the bakery?
All of those 35 years.
What time of the day do you start baking?
The bakery is baking 24 hours a day – with a small window late in the afternoon for the cleaners to get in and work their magic.
Have you won any awards?
I soon realised that this was a silly question to ask Bill and I suggest that you put aside some time to discuss this one with him directly. Last year (2019), they won 37 medals and in 2018, they won 42 – that’s almost one per week.
Bill was quick to mention the Great Aussie Pie Competition win with the ‘Greatest Gourmet Pie in Australia’. He won this for his Seafood Pie – and that’s just one of the 120 pies in their range.
For the bakers – Do you sell vanilla slices?
YES! They sell the traditional vanilla slices – plus they sell a French vanilla slice with cream and a wide variety of the mighty slice depending on their mood and expected traffic through the door.
Such variations on the theme include a strawberry slice. But, thankfully, Bill is quick to point out that that’s no longer a ‘vanilla’ slice.
How important to you is the travelling tourist trade?
Very important. The bakery is becoming so well known that travellers come from far and wide to stop at the Old Fernvale Bakery. So much so that the bakery, and Fernvale, are becoming a destination in themselves.
Where is the best place for travelling visitors to park a car and caravan when they shop at your store?
There’s on-street parking opposite the bakery. But, having been there myself on many occasions, I would suggest that if you have a trailer (caravan or camper etc) on busy days, you’d be best off parking at the Fernvale Futures Centre (and Tourist Information Centre) where the entry to the car park is at https://w3w.co/landlord.salutes.reporters.
How do you feel your shop best supports the local community?
Again, another strong point with Bill, and the Old Fernvale Bakery. Bill, himself is a Justice of the Peace (JP). So, if you’re travelling and need that document witnessed – pop in and buy a pie. Oh, and don’t forget to get his signature. But, I suggest you call first.
The Old Fernvale Bakery is very strong on fundraising – so much so, it sort of blends into their every day work. Giving loaves of bread to community groups such as Lions and schools is not uncommon. So, too is the annual fundraising for the Royal Children’s Hospital by selling Hot Cross Buns (25 different varieties when they’re closer to Easter).
Then there’s the 42 staff that work at the bakery (and I can attest that they all work and are keen to give a smile) – who all come from the local area.
Thanks you so much Bill (and Lyn). I have really enjoyed the chat and I hope to pop in soon.