TOLD BY VICTOR DRURY
As a very old resident of Brisbane, who can carry his memories back to the late 1870s, I thought a description of various parts of our city in the early days would be interesting.
Early in the 1870s, the house at the then end of
Boundary Street was occupied by Mr. D. F. Longlands and his
neighbour Albert Victor Drury, two well-known old Brisbane
Close to Mr. Drury’s residence was a stone wall,
erected by the late W. Arthur Martin, then an auctioneer. He
planned to build a residence there, but this was not proceeded
with, and later on the property was acquired by the late Mr.
J. W. Sutton, a well-known engineer, who had a ship-building
yard on Kangaroo Point, adjoining Burley Bros.’ Sawmill.
There was only a track to the end of Boundary Street,
and on one side with the river frontage was the Brisbane Gas
Works. Where Adelaide Street extends to Boundary Street, there
were turnstiles and only pedestrians could use the “short-cut”
into Queen Street.
Opposite the Boundary Street turnstile was the home and
workshop of Mr. Stephen Rogers – carpenter- and above his
place the house occupied by Mr. George Spencer, who was
employed by Messrs. Bright Bros., afterwards Gibbs, Bright,
The Gas Company had a small wharf where coal punts
discharged their cargoes. From the Gas Company’s property to
the foot of Queen Street, was a green slope, no wharf. Mr.
Francis Beattie, a former member for Fortitude Valley, had a
small wharf the downstream side of the Kangaroo Point ferry.
There was no retaining wall at the Bight, and a road ran from
the Customs House around the hill, occupied by private
residences, towards the valley.
Adelaide Street was not “cut down” for some years and to go to the old Normal School, we walked from the Valley over Dr. Hobb’s hill. The doctor had a stone residence, which is still standing, next to the Anglican Cathedral.
At the corner of Wharf and Adelaide Streets, Mr. John
Petrie had his monumental works, and carpenters and joinery
shops. He was a large builder and contractor and resided in a
two story stone house overlooking Queen Street. On the other
corner was a Congregational Church, the Rev. Edward Griffith
who resided next to Mr. Petrie was the Minister, and the
father of the late Sir Samuel Walter Griffith. The Bank of
Australasia occupied their present position and had a garden
extending up Wharf Street to the Baptist Church, on the site
where Mr. R. W. Thurlow and Co. are at present.
As years went on, Messrs Howard Smith and Company
wharves were erected between the Kangaroo Point ferry and the
Gas Works, and that necessitated the building of the stone
retaining wall running along the bight.
As Brisbane progressed, wharves increased and a wharf
at the foot of Boundary Street was built by the late Mr. John
Watson, contractor, a former member for Fortitude Valley.
Those wharves spoilt the locality for private
residences, and the Longland family moved to Stratton on the
Bulimba Road, and the Drurys to Bowen Terrace, New Farm. There
was no road leading from Boundary Street to Bowen Terrace,
only a “goat” track running in front of All Hallows Convent.
The present large All Hallows School was then built, with the
Sisters of All Hallows occupying the old stone building still
in existence behind the present school.
The Convent “field” ran down to Brunswick Street. The
house opposite the Convent was occupied by the late Michael
Quinlan, head of the firm Quinlan, Gray and Co., whose
business premises were at the bottom of Queen street. There
was no proper road connecting this part of Brisbane to Bowen
terrace. The road went by way of Ann and Brunswick Streets.
The house adjoining Mr. Quinlan’s belonged to James
Lang, painter and decorator.
At the top of Bowen terrace, a house, Ormistone, occupied by Mr. Munce, was longstanding with glorious views of the river and far off hills. Opposite, on the other side of the road, were the homes of the late Graham Lloyd Hart, solicitor, and the Hon. E. B. Forrest.
After the wharf at the foot of Boundary Street was
completed, Captain William Collin, who had purchased the
Longland property, (then occupied by the O’Flynn family),
erected a wharf which extended downstream, and now we have
wharves to the old Barker’s quarries.
Mr. John Petrie was the first Mayor of Brisbane, and
had a very extensive business. At his home, he had a very old
cockatoo. The Kangaroo Point ferry – one rowing boat- used to
ply all through the night, and if a passenger came down the
steps, and found the boat on the other side of the river, he
called “Over!” The ferryman then came over.
This cockatoo much to the annoyance of the old
ferryman, at night time, sometimes would take it into his head
to cry “Over!” and the boat would be rowed over to find no-one
on the ferry steps.
Kangaroo Point has greatly altered now, through the
work of building the Story Bridge, but in the early days it
was a very busy part of Brisbane.
I have already referred to Messrs. Burley Bros., right
on the point. Their huge logs came down the Brisbane River
chained together, and towed by a small river tug. Mr. J. W.
Sutton built several steamers and other craft at his works on
the point. Most of the land occupied in those days there, has
all gone now. During the 1893 flood, that was washed away, and
since then the Harbors and Rivers Department have cut away a
great deal under their Flood Preventions Scheme.
The Brisbane Gas Company moved to Newstead and their
former property at the Bight is now all built over and large
warehouses erected thereon.
Before the wharves were built above the old Gas Works,
Charle le Brocq had his swimming baths known as the
Metropolitan swimming baths, a large floating wooden building
with a swimming area about 180 feet by 50 feet, with open
batten floor, and sides through which the tide flowed- around
the swimming pool was erected cubicles where patrons
The baths were moored to the shore with stout cables
and a pontoon bridge which rose and fell with the tide,
connected the baths with the shore. When Howard Smith’s wharf
was commenced, the baths were moved to the foot of Boundary
Street, later to be again moved to the foot of Alice Street,
near the Botanical Gardens.
Many old boating men will remember Rob Smith, the
boatman, who had boats (sailing and rowing) for hire, and
whose slip was at the foot of Boundary Street. Amongst his
fleet were the Mist, Leisure Hour, Bully Frog, Blue Jacket and
several rowing skiffs.
Several business men regularly hired skiffs from Old
Bob and had an hour’s rowing exercise. It was Old Bob Smith
who carried Alexy Drury up to his home after he had been
fatally injured by a shark when bathing with schoolmates in
the river, where many school boys went in daily for a swim.
We took a great interest in the shipping and generally
went on board the sailing ships and barques that were towed up
the Brisbane River.
Captain Davies commanded the tug Francis Cadell, and
afterwards the tug, Boko. Both belonged to Messrs. Gibbs,
Bright, and Co. Messrs. Webster Bros., general merchants of
May Street, brought out the tug, Otter, shortly afterward
acquired by the Queensland Government during the Russian was
scare in 1884. The old stern wheeler Settler, was in charge of
Captain Mellor. This old river boat was very popular for day
excursions, and was always chartered by the Congregational
Church for their annual Sunday School treat.
The two Government steamers were the Kate and the
Large vessels anchored in Moreton Bay and their cargoes
were lightered into barges towed up and down the river. The
names of some of the sailing vessels of those days were
Windsor Castle, Corinth, Decapolis, Gauntlette, and Spirit of
The Ipswich and Emu were favourite river steamers
which, with the Settler, traded by Ipswich and Brisbane.
Captain G. P. Heath, who lived at Norman Creek, was
port master, and Captain Wyvorne harbour-master. The first
British-India Company’s mail boat to moor alongside a Brisbane
wharf was the Jumna, after which many came up the river.
The name of an old Brisbane Grammar School boy, E. A.
Cullen, will always be associated with the port of Brisbane.
The first dredge I remember was the Groper, others followed,
including the historical Linden bates dredges, with their huge
pumping apparatus and machinery.
The Brisbane regattas took place in the Victoria Bridge
and Milton reaches of the river, and one year, the Groper was
the flagship. The regattas were always held on December 10,
known as Separation Day- the date Queensland became a separate
colony from New South Wales, in 1859.
At Kangaroo Point, our boat builders carried on their
trade – boating men will remember Messrs. Harry McCleer, E.
Nimmo, and J. Edwards, all between the Edward Street and
Kangaroo Point ferries. Peter Woods was an apprentice at Harry
The old stone Supreme Court House, which was presided
over by Mr. Justice Lutwyche, and later by Chief Justice Sir
James Cockle, was still in use when I attended the old Normal
School, and through the archway you went to the residence of
Mr. L. A. Bernays, who was Clerk of Parliaments and who also
occupied many other important positions. The house faced
Burnet Lane. Past the Old Supreme Court House, were the Post
Office, a small wooden building and the Museum. The Museum was
a favourite place for school boys during lunch hour. The cab
stand occupied the centre of Queen Street, opposite the then
Town Hall. The Government Savings Bank faced Queen Street,
near the bridge, and the Real Property Office was at the
corner of Queen and George Streets.
Mr. Thomas Gray was the bootmaker on the opposite
corner and later his business was carried on by his sons and
daughter in George Street, near the corner.
Mr. James Martin kept a toy shop called The Civet Cat,
and Mr. Myers another toy shop, The Grotto. Mrs. Spillsbury
had a sweet shop and Mrs. Beazley a fruit shop- she was noted
for her Melton Mowbray pies.
St. John’s Pro-Cathedral was about where the Executive
Building, William Street, now stands, and facing William
Street nearby were the offices of the Colonial Secretary, and
the Electric Telegraph Department. Across the road were the
Government stores (still standing), and the Immigration
Many old Queenslanders landed here before the depot was
moved to Kangaroo Point. At the end of William Street, Messrs.
Pettigrew and Sons had their sawmills, and I well remember a
large fire there one Sunday morning. Sir Maurice O’Connell,
president of the Legislative Council, lived at Portland Place,
opposite the sawmills.
The frontage of Parliament House facing Alice Street was not built in those days.
There were fine stables at Parliament House for the use
of members, and the groom for many years was John Hayes. He
had a well-known horse called The Badger, which had a very
hard mouth and many times bolted with me. He also had a cream
pony, with one ear, the other having been injured and
In George Street where the Queensland Club now is, was
a vacant allotment where boys played cricket, and Mr. Pring,
who lived in Hodgson Terrace, gave his racehorse walking
Dr. John Kearsey Cannan lived at the other end of
Hodgson’s Terrace, at the corner of Margaret and George
Streets. On the opposite side of the road was the Belle Vue
Hotel, kept by Miss Vix. The Shakespeare Hotel, was where the
Hotel Cecil is, and opposite was Harris Terrace, where Dr. K.
L. O’Doherty resided for many years. At the corner of Margaret
and George Streets was a Chinaman’s garden. Mr. John McLennon
and W. Duncan had the livery stables in Elizabeth Street, next
to the Sovereign Hotel, kept by Mick Daly. Mick Daly used to
provide the champagne luncheons which always preceded the land
sales on Saturday afternoons. Properties were cut up into 16
perch allotments, and sold on terms. The first estate was the
Rosalie Estate, near Milton. The property belonged to the Hon.
J. F. McDougall, M.L.C., of Rosalie Station, Darling Downs.
During the land boom, large areas were cut up and sold on
The auctioneers of the day were Messrs. Arthur Martin,
James Robert Dickson, who was Queensland’s first Federal
Minister, John William Todd, Simon Fraser, John Cameron, who
for years had his mart in the Town Hall Building, later on Mr.
M. B. Gannon joined Arthur Martin and won the Bulimba seat.
Butchers carried on in Queen Street in these days. Mr.
J.P. Jost at the corner of the Post Office Lane and Queen
Street, and Messrs. Buchanan and Mooney, the Co-operative
Butchering Co., next to the old A.M.P. Building. Charles Blanc
was also a well known butcher and Mr. White was the pork
butcher in Boundary Street.
There were some well-known characters in Queen Street in the early days. Mr. R. Uniacke, commission agent, who always wore a top hat and a morning coat; Same Lesser, with his heavy gold watch chain to be seen outside Australian Chambers next to the Australian Hotel, then kept by Mr. J. A. Phillips. At the Australian, the Queensland Turf Club held their “settling” after a race meeting when cheques for prizes were handed over and champagne flowed.
John Lennon was in George Street, and at the corner of
George and Adelaide Streets, Mr. Robert Little, Crown
This property was purchased by the Hon. Patrick
Perkins, and he built the Imperial Hotel, now called the Hotel
Daniell, after the first licencee, the late Charles Daniell.
Mr. Robert Adair had the Royal Hotel opposite the Post Office,
and Tom Pickett the hotel lower down the street.
There were no trams during these times. The cabs were the landau and pair of horses used by families going to picnics or the balls and parties, the hansom cab, which only held two comfortably, and the jingle. The jingle was a two-wheeled vehicle- three Saturday in the front seat, and three in the back, back to back. A thick strap was fixed to the centre of the seat by which passengers in the back seat hauled themselves up. Jingles were very popular, and later were succeeded by Molly Browns. Landau carriages gave place to waggonettes, and now we have no cabs, only taxis.
Looking back to the old cab-horse days, what fun we had
going off to the seaside for the day, even if it did take
three hours to get there instead of in 30 minutes or less, as
The cabmen were all proud of their turnouts and people
were well catered for when moving about from place to place,
with no fear of being stuck up by a blow out or other modern
The old Normal School and Girl’s School were at the corner of Edward and Adelaide Streets, and when I went there in 1875, Mr. Randall was head teacher. He died the following year, and was succeeded by Mr. J. S. Kerr, who was there for many years.
Mr. M. Sinan was second master, and on the staff were
Andrew Kennedy, Alfred Norris, William Gripp, Frank Watts, and
The Girls and Infants’ Schools were presided over by
Miss berry and Miss Harveston.
Where Anzac Place now is was the Artillery and Engineer’s drill shed and parade ground. In 1883, I joined the old No. 1 Volunteer Battery under the command of Major E. H. Webb. Messrs. Houghton and F. S. Hely were the lieutenants and the sergeant-major was the late J. F. Hinton, afterwards adjutant, and for many years superintendent of the Brisbane Fire Brigade. Sergeant Harold Hockings was my sergeant.
In 1884, the annual encampment was held at Westbrook
Station, Darling Downs, and a wet camp it was. We had great
difficulty getting the guns from the Westbrook railway station
to the camp. Our horses were obtained from the carters and
furniture vans in Brisbane. I shall never forget the march
from the camp to Toowoomba on the Easter Monday.
When the Defence Act of 1884 came into force, No 1
Battery became the Brisbane Field Battery and No 2 Battery at
Ipswich, under Major Scholes, was called the Moreton Field
In 1880, I went to the Brisbane Grammar School,
situated near the Roma Street railway station. The following
year, we moved up to the present school. Mr. R. H. Roe, M.A.,
was headmaster, and the staff consisted of Messrs. William
Crompton, R. Roger, O. O’Brien, J. Hermann Schmidt, D. P.
Cleary, and Thomas McLeod; George Rylatt was janitor. He had
formerly been messenger at the Bank of Australasia. It is ad
to think of the many old boys who attained such high positions
in the State and who have nearly all passed away.
In the 1880s, combined sports were held between the three Grammar Schools, Brisbane, Ipswich, and Toowoomba, and each school in turn held the sports in their respective towns. He had great fun at these sports and competition was keen. The Brisbane Grammar School rowing club used the shed of the Brisbane Rowing Club on the South Brisbane side of the river.
The old Brisbane Grammar School was afterwards used by
the railway Commission, but has since been demolished –
another of the many old and historical landmarks, gone but not
When we were schoolboys, several of us possessed up to date goats and carts. Messrs .Brown and Foster, ironmongers of Queen Street, imported several light four wheel goat carts and we had rather good turnouts.
Houses at Sandgate had their own bathing boxes and the enclosure was railed in with saplings, which had continually to be repaired.
The Sandgate Pier was built about 1884, but as there was not sufficient water at low tide, it was lengthened as at present. It was used by some small steamers plying by Woody Point and Sandgate.
After the railway was opened to Sandgate, the town
advanced rapidly. The population was then a little over 1,000,
and there were only about 150 ratepayers. Old Mr. Robert Kift
was an alderman, and I have often heard him discussing municipal affairs
with my father and others. Mr. E. B. Southerden was a
prominent townsman and at one time mayor of the town. Other
aldermen of Sandgate I remember were Messrs. Bott, Cooksley
and Wakefield. I think Mr. Wakefield was afterwards member for
In later years, Mr. Robert J. Gray, Under Secretary of
the Colonial Secretary’s Department, and later Commissioner
for Railways, lived near Cabbage Tree Creek. Mr. Gray was an
enthusiastic fisherman and many a night I spent with him
rowing up the creek and drifting down with the tide. We made
some good catches, but the mosquitoes were awful.
A builder, Mr. Young, near Cabbage Tree Creek, prepared
a wonderful mixture called “Young’s Mineral Oil,” which we
used for cuts and scratches.
Mr. Tom Persse, of the Lands Department, had a house
next to Mr. Gray’s and resided there for years. Mr. George
Wilkie Gray (Quinlan Gray and Co), also had a house near
Saltwood. William Street, of white-ant fame, also lived in
Sandgate, and was a builder and contractor. Dr. John Thompson
built Clutha at Shorncliffe, the scene of many a happy
The public bathing places were not fenced in. Stakes
directed the bathers from the rocks. I remember one Sunday
when bathing in one of these between Saltwood and Morven, a
well known licenced victualler, Mr. Peter Gaffney, had a
seizure when in the water. He just had time to reach one of
the saplings when he collapsed. We carried him to the beach
and got medical assistance, but he passed away. I was only a
lad at the time, and never forgot the shock it gave us all.
Another well-known family I must not omit to mention
was the Bests. One had a butcher’s shop and the other had a
bus. John Best used to drive us to the train in later days,
and was a genial sort. He had a brother Llewellyn, who also
lived in Sandgate.
Mr. W. Bebbington was the headmaster of the Sandgate
I remember an encampment held at Sandgate when all the
troops camped on the reserve, now Moore Park. I was not in the
Volunteers then, but was greatly interested in the artillery
practice across the Nudgee Beach. There was no Cribb Island
township or residences that I remember in those parts; now the
seaside is dotted with habitations.
The lagoon was always an attraction at Sandgate, and is
still kept as a reserve. I do hope it will never be filled in
as has been suggested. It is the home of wild ducks, water
fowl, and other birds, which always attract the tourist.
Today, you see motor cars pull up and watch the wild fowls on
At Easter, 1881, I had my first trip to Southport with Mr. E. B. Forrest in his yacht the Isabel.
The party consisted
of Mr. J. F. Garrick, Q.C., and his son, J. Cadell Garrick,
now a prominent member of the Queensland Turf Club, Mr. Alexis
Matvieff, Superintendent of Electric Telegraphs, Brisbane, Mr.
J. C. Lynn, and Mr. George Forrest.
We were towed down to Lytton by the steam launch
belonging to Mr. George Harris of J. and G. Harris, merchants.
We sailed through the Boat Passage, to Cudgee Mudlo that
night, and on to Southport on Good Friday. We moored at
Stradbroke Island opposite Hanlon’s Hotel. There was excellent
whiting fishing off the island, and just across from the
beach, there was a large fresh water lagoon, which has now
Stradbroke Island has quite changed since those days,
principally through the break through at Jumping Pin, where
the Cambus Wallace was wrecked in previous years. The sailing
ship Scottish Prince also went ashore on Stradbroke Island
opposite Hanlon’s Hotel, and was a total wreck.
Broadwater was an excellent place for sailing regattas,
and I had already referred to the regatta held on Easter
At Cooran and Curridgee, there were small settlements
of the men employed by the Moreton Bay Oyster Company who had
a large number of oyster beds in that part of the bay. There
was a large oyster trade in those days, and the sailing boats
Artemus Ward, Charles Dickens, and Rip, were all engaged in
bringing the oysters from the banks to Brisbane, and many
hundreds of bags went to Sydney and Melbourne. The 1891 floods
in the Logan as well as in other districts almost destroyed
the oyster trade, because the fresh water and debris from the
Logan River and creek killed the oysters. They also suffered
from a worm that attacked them and it took years for the trade
to recover from the disastrous effects of the flood.
After a most enjoyable trip, we returned on Easter
Monday, and I well remember how badly Mr. Garrick suffered
from sunburnt legs and feet.
In 1883 I had a wonderful bay trip in a boat called the
Sabrina, built by Peter Woods. The crew comprised Charles and
Harold Lilley, Peter woods, and myself. We were away four
weeks, and spent the first evening at Lytton, where we met Mr.
Ted. Cullen, then engaged as an engineer of the Harbours and
Rivers Department on deepening the channel into the river. Mr.
Kavanagh kept the old Hotel near the Lytton wharf, and his
daughters being good musicians, we often had a concert party there on our way to
The Sabrina was a very comfortable boat, but had no
bunks or motor. Two people slept on either side of the centre
board case and were very comfortable and happy. We first went
up to Caloundra through Bribie Passage, and were several days
there. One evening we spent with the late Mr. William
Landsborough, the explorer. Mr. R. Bulcock was the principal
resident at that time, and there were very few houses
The fishing was splendid. Leaving Caloundra, we made
towards Southport, calling at Amity Point, where we met
Captain Rolls, who lived there, and who entertained us of an
evening with his yarns of his early days. He had been an
A.D.C. to Governor Blackall. He had a wonderful collection of
knives all displayed on a table and he could do anything with
a pack of cards.
We sailed from Amity to Canaipa where we camped and
spent an evening with the Wills family. All boating men knew
this hospitable home and Mr. and Mrs. Wills were always
pleased to see us. We had music and singing and a good supper
and were sorry to leave such good friends. Then we went on
through Swan Bay in the Broadwater and Southport and came home
past Redland Bay, which was then a great banana growing
district, the fruit being taken to Brisbane by bay steamers.
We called at Cleveland, and finally home after one of the best
trips I ever had.
While writing of bay trips, I recall when a schoolboy I would get a holiday to accompany my father down to St. Helena and Dunwich.
The visiting justice was Sir Ralph Gore and my father
and I would walk over from our home, the Retreat, Petrie’s
Bight, to Kingsholme, where Sir Ralph Gore resided. He had
married a daughter of Mr. E. I. C. Browne, who lived at
Kingsholme. The Government steamer, Kate, under the command of
Captain Page, would send a boat ashore for us and our first
call would be at Cannon Hill to pick up Dr. Challinor, medical
We then proceeded down to Lytton where we would board
the old hulk where reformatory boys were kept in those days.
Superintendent J. W. Wassell was in charge of the hulk and
later when the old hulk was abandoned, he was located at the
Redoubt on Lytton Hill. The boys were well looked after by
that kind official who had a hard row to hoe in such cramped
The Kate then went on to St. Helena where we often had
to anchor some distance from the jetty if the tide was low. We
were rowed towards the shore and then when the boat could
proceed no further, we got into a dray and were driven to the
beach. The officials were conveyed in a waggonette to the
stockade, and later on, a train track was built to the jetty
which was extended to deeper water. A trolly called the
Kangaroo was used for transport. Mr. McDonald was the
superintendent and he had a beautiful garden surrounding his
Sugar cane was grown on the island and they had a sugar
mill. I saw sugar being manufactured there for the first time.
I often thought of the old sugar mill at St. Helena when going
over the modern sugar mills now in North Queensland.
The Kate used to visit St. Helena once a week, and took
down all stores for the establishment.
From St. Helena we steamed to Dunwich where Mr.
Hamilton was superintendent. There we went alongside the stone
jetty and walked up to the residence. There were very few
inmates there in those days compared with the present day.
Sometimes the Kate called at Peel Island, then the quarantine
station. There were no lepers there then. I remember when the
R.M.S. Dorunda was quarantined at Peel Island on account of
Peel Island was always a favourite place for boating
men. We got good fishing there and good bathing. Mr. Hamilton
also had charge of Peel Island.
Dunwich is fortunate in having a good water supply. At
one time, there was a suggestion of drawing a water supply for
Brisbane from Stradbroke Island.
Cleveland was originally the port for Ipswich, and when I visited this seaside resort in the early 1880s, it was much the same as it was 20 years afterwards. It is one of the prettiest parts of Moreton Bay with the long peninsula and the lighthouse at the Point.
The original pier was built right on the point facing
Peel Island, and was open to any fresh breeze. The present
pier was built facing the northwest in Raby Bay. Mr. Robert
Kerr ran a coach between Brisbane and Cleveland and left
Dexter’s tobacconist shop in Queen Street opposite the post
office. Mr. Pooran Dabee Singh also drove a coach to
Cleveland, and was a large property holder in the district. He
had later on the hotel near the railway station.
I used to go down to Cleveland with some of my
schoolmates and we would always stay at Cassim’s Cleveland
Hotel. Cassim was a most interesting little man to talk to and
his was the most popular hotel at the time. The bathing
enclosures at Cleveland were very small, and you could not get
a good swim in them; they were all erected at the end of the
The Troy family were in charge of the lighthouse for
years and the Fogarty family carried on a general storekeeping
business. Peter Tasker was the fisherman, and used to sail
parties to the favourite fishing grounds and over to Peel
Mr. Honeyman of the Customs Department, had a house
near the pier, and Mr. Finnucane of the Police Department,
lived near Cassim’s Hotel. His house was, I understand, built
by Mr. Bigge, a squatter, of Mount Brisbane.
Cleveland was connected by road with Ipswich, the road branching off at Capalaba Creek. The Rev. Mr. R. Creyke was rector of the Church of England at Cleveland and also conducted the services at the Ormiston church. He was one of the older Church of England clergymen, and unfortunately, lost the use of one eye. He always wore a dark glass over the injured eye, which gave him a peculiar appearance. Mrs. Creyke lived for many years after her husband and was the first lady I remember with short hair- a wonderful crop of white hair.
Mr. John Cameron, auctioneer, had a house at Ormiston
overlooking Raby Bay, and was a keen fisherman.
Cleveland district was always noted for its fruit
gardens, and today tourists are taken there to see the crops
of pineapples, custard apples, and strawberries. After the
railway was completed, the town did not progress as was
anticipated although it had many attractions.
Wellington Point was a favourite resort for sailing and
King Island off the Point, always had a number of sailing
craft for the weekend.
Mr. Gilbert Burnett had a sawmill at Wellington Point
and a steamer called the Eucalyptus conveyed the timber to and
from the mill. Gilbert Burnett was a very prominent man in
those days and pioneered the timber industry in that part of
the colony. He was subsequently in charge of the Forestry
branch, Public Lands department. Mr. W. B. O’Connell, a
Minister for Lands, lived at Wellington Point in a beautiful
house surrounded by a garden and fruit trees. On the death of
Mr. O’Connell, it was occupied by Mr. Parnell, a member of the
Upper House. Edward Kelk, of Foster and Kelk, ironmongers,
Queen Street, had a house at Wellington Point, and Mr. J.
Davidson also resided there. Mr. Davidson was manager of
Westbrook station, Darling Downs, when owned by Sir Patrick
In later years, Mr. James Pink, who had been Curator of
the Botanical Gardens and the Acclimatisation Gardens, took up
a fruit farm between Birkdale and Wellington Point. He
produced a well known and favourite strawberry, called Pink’s
Mr. W. French, who had a nursery near Mr. Pink’s old
property, was also employed in the Botanical Gardens. Mr.
Nightingale, formerly of the Government Savings Bank, retired
to this district.
In 1905, I resided at Birkdale in the house now occupied by Mr. Peter Airey, a former Cabinet Minister, and M.L.A. The property belonged to Mr. James Barron, who lived on the Wellington Point and Birkdale Road.
He had a vineyard and made all sorts of wines for which he took prizes at various shows.
I remember one Saturday afternoon when I took a bank
manager to see Mr. Barron, who had a most entertaining
personality. We adjourned to the cellar to sample the various
vintages. They began by calling one and another Mr. Barron and
Mr. R. – then it got to Barron and R- shortly christian names
only were used, and then unfortunately politics were
introduced – the South Sea Island labour traffic- when the two
pals nearly came to blows, and old Mr. Barron said, “Look
here, R. you don’t know anything about growing sugar cane, but
we will have another.” We often laughed over the afternoon.
Mr. Brentnall, M.L.C., owned the land between our house
at Birkdale and the sea, and Mr. William Thorne, at one time
the Mayor of Brisbane, owned the land from Birkdale to
Tingalpa Creek known as Thornelands. Mr. Thorne often came
down there for weekends and holidays. Mr. George Randall, a
former Queensland immigration agent and lecturer, lived at
Birkdale in a picturesque house and grounds. He was father of
the late Richard Randall, the Queensland artists whose works
are preserved in the Randall Art Gallery. Another son, George,
took a keen interest in local affairs, but he too has passed
away. The Willards, on Capalaba Road, were an old and
respected family. When at Birkdale, I was honorary secretary
at the Wellington Point Agricultural Association.
While living at Birkdale, I was requisitioned to
contest the Cleveland Shire election, No. 1 division, but was
unsuccessful. Next year, 1906, I contested No 2 division-
Wellington Point and Birkdale, and was returned. At the first
meeting of councilors for the election of chairman, I was
proposed, and Councillor Cross, of Cleveland, was also
nominated. Both polled equal number of votes, and as neither
side would give way, the position was referred to the then
Home Secretary, Mr. Peter Airey, who appointed me chairman.
Other members then on the council were Messrs T. Cross, W.
Thorn, John Currie, H. Eichenloff, and Mr. Lewis.
It was during my term as chairman of the Cleveland
Shire Council that I suggested to Mr. Badger, general manager
of the Brisbane Tramways, who was a great personal friend of
mine, a scheme whereby he should take over the Cleveland
railway from a point near Morningside, and connect Morningside
with Brisbane by way of Norman Creek bridge, Shafston Road,
Main Street, Kangaroo Point, and ferry across the river to the
corner of Eagle and Elizabeth Streets, near the Fig Trees.
We had a talk over this proposal and he showed me
drawings of a ferry steamer that could be used. The Brisbane
Press supported the idea, but the Government would not
consider the proposal, although we pointed out that the scheme
would relieve the Railway Department from the losses
occasioned by running the line, and would not interfere with
the railway traffic to Coorparoo.
Had Mr. Badger succeeded with the scheme, there would
have been electric trams running to Cleveland for the past 30
years. He would have extended the line to Redland Bay, and one
can imagine the development that would have taken place in
An important gathering was held in Cleveland during my
term as chairman, when the Premier, Mr. W. Kidston,
entertained the Premiers of the Commonwealth who were
attending the Premiers Conference, at a dinner at the Pier
Hotel, then kept by Mrs. Firth. Among the party was Sir John
Forrest of Western Australia, afterwards Lord Forrest. The
premiers went down to Cleveland by the Lucinda, and returned
to Brisbane by special train that evening.
As a school boy, I often stayed for weeks at a time with my uncle, Mr. Ratcliffe Pring, at Hodgson Terrace, George Street. He was, after the death of Sir Joshua Bell, in 1881, president of the Queensland Turf Club.
Long before that, he owned race horses, and won the
champion stakes at Ipswich in the 1860s with his horse called
North Australian, trained by the late James McGill, of
Ipswich. I often went with Mr. Pring to Ipswich to see Sir
Joshua Bell’s stud at The Grange, and call to mind some of the
racing string, Waterloo, Ledgerdemain, Wheatear, Immigrant,
Lilla, Olivia, and others.
After Sir Joshua Bell’s death in 1881, The Grange was
sold to Mr. W. H. Kent, of Brisbane, who was a keen supporter
of the turf. He had Kent’s saleyards at the corner of Adelaide
and Albert Streets, and built Kent’s buildings opposite. The
saleyards afterwards were acquired by Mr. Lionel Walker, the
famous auctioneer, who also raced at Eagle Farm.
I remember the gay times when the May meeting was held
and the Cup run, Mr. James Tait and Mr. A. Loder always
brought good horses from the south and besides, Sir J. P.
Bell, we had Messrs. John Finney, and J. P. Jost, with their
champions. I recall two dead heats for the Cup. On one
occasion, Mr. Tait’s Strathearn and Mr. Loder’s The Dean, ran
a dead heat, and on another occasion, Mr. Finney’s Sydney and
Mr. Henderson’s Orphan Boy ran a dead heat. Mr. Pring owned
The Earl, a beautiful looking horse but unreliable, which
often bolted off the course when entering the straight, near
what was called the Sod Wall used in the steeplechases.
Judge Lutwyche was a racing enthusiast and had Master
Mariner. The judge suffered severely from gout, and his low
set carriage was always drawn up on the lawn near the judge’s
box, so that he had a good view of the races.
Many often went to the races at Eagle farm by steamer.
The Francis Cadell ran between Bright Bros. Wharf, Eagle
Street, and the Hamilton, and patrons walked up to the course.
There was always a jolly party on board on the return trip.
The Queensland Turf Club had hurdle races in those
days, and Mr. D. T. Seymour, Commissioner of Police, owned a
successful jumper called Standard. Mr. Maurice Lyons,
solicitor, owned Blantyre, and Gamester, Mr. A. Crouch, a
barber, had Mark Twain, Mr. Ernest Goertz, Mr. Herbert Hunter,
Theorist and Grey, and William Ruddle Old Zanco, that won many
a race at the Farm and elsewhere. Another horse I remember,
was The Rake, owned by Mr. Joe Abrahams.
With the exception of Sir J. P. Bell, a legal gentleman
has occupied the presidency of the Turf club.
We had a dry spell on at the time and the professor,
who was in Brisbane exhibiting “Pepper’s Ghost,” in a hall in
Mr. Morwitch’s Building, where Tattersalls Club now is,
announced that he could produce rain by means of a huge kite,
rockets, and the firing of cannon. He had small cannons
procured from Newstead House, if my memory serves me rightly,
mounted in the centre of the course, and also stands from
which the rockets were fired.
It was an awful fiasco as there was no wind to fly the
kite and few clouds to pierce. He must have got his idea from
the Swiss, who break up clouds by firing rockets and cannon.
One of the greatest shows we had up to 1881 was Cooper and Baileys’ circus and menagerie, which were located near the Transcontinental Hotel, Roma Street. It was the first time we had seen lions, tigers, and elephants, and any spare minutes we had we put in at the menagerie.
One night when Cooper and Bailey’s circus was on, I
had tea with Colin Bell and Sir Joshua gave him half a
sovereign for us two boys to have a night at the circus.
Just as we got down to the Bank of New South Wales
corner, about 7.30pm, we heard a man calling out “Capture
of the Kelly Gang,” “Capture of the Kelly Gang,” crowds
following and buying the printed slip he was selling for 6d.
Colin dived in and got one and off we went to the
circus. At the ticket office, Colin handed in what he thought
was a half sovereign, but the ticket man pointed out that it
was a 6d. We were not long in realizing we had given the half
sovereign for 6d to the Kelly Gang man, and back we ran and
met him near Lennon’s Hotel. We asked him if he had a half
sovereign for 6d, and he pulled out a handful of silver and
there was a half sovereign. He at once said this must be yours
and handed it over. Colin gave him a shilling and back we went
to the circus and devoured the news of the capture of the
Another show I remember was given by Blondin, who
walked his tight rope in the Botanical Gardens, where the
croquet lawn was, near the present kiosk. Not only did he walk
backwards and forwards but he rode a bicycle over, cooked a
pancake on a stove he took to the middle of the rope, and
ended up a wonderful afternoon’s performance by carrying a
Brisbane bookseller across on his back. Of course, after
Blondin, there was a tight-rope erected in many a backyard and
many a buster we had trying to walk a clothesline.
Pollard’s Lilliputian Opera Company caused a great stir
and drew crowded houses at the Old Theatre Royal when they
played “The Chimes of Normanby.”
Then we had the W. J. Holloway and Miss Elsie Jennyns
Company in the “Lights of London” and “The Silver King.” We
were among the patrons in the pit and never missed a Saturday
night’s show. One night, two sailors of the H.M.S. Sapho, a
man-of-war then anchored in the Gardens Reach of the river,
got so excited during the “Lights of London” that they
attempted to get at the villain on the stage but were
restrained by members of the orchestra.
Another show was McCabe’s “Fun on the Bristol.” The
agonies of the passengers on the paddle steamer Bristol, were
faithfully presented much to the amusement of the audience.
The only Chinese circus I ever saw was in the Botanical
Gardens. The tent was erected between the old cricket grounds
and the present kiosk; it was a wonderful show and drew great
Many old timers will also remember the Jubilee Singers,
a dark coloured company, who performed in the old “Courier”
I have already written about the encampment of 1884, at Westbrook Station, Darling Downs, and a few reminiscences of later camps at Lytton may be interesting.
Colonel George Arthur French, R. A., (afterwards Sir
George), came out in 1884 and with Sir Samuel Walter Griffith
drafted the Queensland Defence Act of 1884, a most
comprehensive measure. It provided for a permanent militia and
volunteer force. “A” battery represented the Permanent Force
and was quartered at Victoria Barracks. Colonel French resided
in the two storey brick house at the barracks formerly
occupied by the Commissioner of Police, Mr. D. T. Seymour, and
the officer in charge of “A” battery, Major Jackson, resided
in the brick building formerly occupied by Chief Inspector
Lewis of the Police Force.
Before the arrival of Colonel French, former volunteer
commandants had been Lieutenant-Colonel John McDonnell,
Under-Secretary Posts and Telegraphs Department, and father of
Dr. Aeneus McDonnell, of Toowoomba, and Lieutenant-Colonel E.
R. Drury, the general manager of the Queensland National Bank
Limited, Major R. A. Moore, afterwards a Police Magistrate,
was the brigade major, Captain Charles C. McCallum, who
married a daughter of Dr. Hancock, was adjutant.
Other volunteer officers of note at the time were
Lieutenant-Colonel W. H. Snelling, Brisbane Manager for the
Colonial Mutual Life Assurance Society Ltd., Major Charles
Stuart Mein, solicitor, afterwards Lieutenant-Colonel, and a
judge of the Supreme Court; Major H. C. Stanley, chief
engineer for the Queensland Railways; Major J. H. Adams,
Captain F. R. Bernard of the Garrison Artillery, who was
principal gaoler at Petrie Terrace, Brisbane, and Major G. H.
Newman and Captain Joseph B. Stanley who were in the
Engineers, Captain A. J. Thynne, afterwards Lieutenant-Colonel
Thynne, was always attached to the volunteer branch of the
service. Captain R. H. Roe, headmaster, Brisbane Grammar
School, and Lieutenant Le Vaux, of Indooroopilly State School,
were in charge of the cadets.
All these citizens devoted a considerable amount of
time and attention to the volunteer force, and in those days
there was no difficulty in keeping up the strength of the
various batteries or companies.
The 1885 and subsequent yearly encampments at Lytton
were held at Easter time on the hill near the redoubt. The
Garrison Battery and Engineers were quartered at the Lytton
Fort. The camp lasted eight days, and there was solid work put
in. I was a gunner in the Brisbane Field Battery and we often
came home to the camp dead tired. The artillery officers were
Lieutenant-Colonel E. R. Drury Commanding, Major F. H. Webb,
Captain Foxton, and Lieutenants Houghton and F. S. Hely.
The Moreton Field Battery, Ipswich, was commanded by
Major R. B. Scholes, followed by Lieutenant- Colonel H. C.
Stanley, and Lieutenant John Donnelly, station master at
Ipswich was also one of the officers. The Moreton Field
Battery always came into camp with well trained gun teams.
Being in a country district, they were able to obtain a better
class of horses, than the Brisbane Field Battery, which in the
early days drew its horses from the proprietors of furniture
vans and caterers. Sergeant Major Thomas Foreman, of the
Ipswich Workshops, was an old non-commissioned officer and
another well known Moreton Field battery identity was Farrier
During the late 1880s, I was attached to the Moreton
Field Battery and became Officer Commanding in 1889. We were
quartered at the Old North Australian Hotel and did our gun
drill in the yard or streets. We fired salutes in the park at
North Ipswich. I travelled to Ipswich every Friday evening by
the Sydney Mail, which then left Brisbane at 6.30pm returning
by the Sydney Mail, arriving at Brisbane at 10.30pm. We also
had mounted parades on alternate Saturdays.
It was during the time Mr. Patrick Perkins was Minister
for Lands that the Defence Force acquired a portion of Queen’s
Park, Ipswich, for military purposes, and the drill shed was
erected there. Unfortunately at the first parade at the drill
shed, one of our gunners fell off a limber and was
Lieutenant-Colonel C. S. Mein commanded the Infantry
and Lieutenant-Colonel J. H. Adams was in charge of the
Commissariat department. He had as quarter-masters, Captains
Ackerley and A. E. Harris.
Major Druitt was engineer staff officer and Major
Andrew Aytoun, adjutant for volunteer and rifle clubs. Surgeon
J. Irving, afterwards Lieutenant-Colonel, was always in camp
from the early days.
The Mounted Infantry officers included major Ricardo,
Captain R. B. Echlin, and Lieutenants R. Spencer Browne, D. P.
White, and D. A. McNeil.
Lieutenant Spencer Browne had a distinguished military career and is now a brigadier, having seen service in South Africa and the Great War. I remember him at first as the war correspondent at Lytton Camp.
Captain Echlin had left Southport and his livery
stables were taken over by his popular employee Tom Doherty,
who for many years looked after Southport visitors either at
the stables, or later on fishing excursions. Tom has passed
away, but his good widow still resides in Southport.
The medical officers were Lieutenant Colonel John
Thomson and Surgeons H. C. Purcell, L. Kesteven, E. Byrne and
E. H. O’Doherty.
Other names I recall in the 80’s at Lytton were
Captains Gartside, Alfred Pain, Kinnaird Rose, Charles
Jamieson, and Captain Fryar.
Easter Saturday was always a red letter day at the
camp. The Governor, Ministers of the Crown, Members of
Parliament, and leading citizens attended the review, and
watched the sham fights. River steamers plied between Brisbane
and the camp and brought crowds to see the soldiers’ relatives
and friends. Many interesting and amusing incidents took place
and we always looked forward to the annual camp.
It was at Lytton I first met the late Andrew fisher
when he was in camp as a sergeant with the Wide Bay regiment.
Afterwards in Melbourne, we often had a chat over the old
Lytton camp days. No one thought than that Sergeants Andrew
Fisher would be Prime Minister of Australia.
Lieutenant-Colonel Adams was a strict disciplinarian
and saw that each battery or company drew their correct scale
of rations. Many an argument took place between the Colonel
and the cook’s mate, who had to draw the rations, but the
Colonel always won. We used to call him – not to his face-
“Major-General Feedem Adams.” At a sing-song one evening
around the camp-fire, one of the boys wheeled an old shin bone
into the arena and proceeded to sing “The Old Shin Bone”
composed in the camp. A senior officer jumped up and ordered
the soldier and his barrow to clear out as he would not allow
the Commissariat Department to be held up to ridicule.
Surgeon H. C. Purcell was a very stout officer and swam
around the moat at the fort every morning. On one occasion, I
was selected to give him a spin. He was a fast swimmer and did
the distance but weight told, and I won. The genial doctor
“shouted” for my detachment.
Our firm did not have much business in the police or small debts courts. There Mr. Phillip Pinnock and Mr. W. H. Day presided. Mr. Pinnock had a large palm leaf fan and bottle of eau de cologne. No doubt the atmosphere of the Police Court, then in Elizabeth Street, was very “thick” at times, and the butcher’s yard at the back did not improve matters, especially in summer.
The Brisbane Licensing Bench was a very important body.
It consisted of the Police Magistrate, four Government
nominees, the Mayor of Brisbane, and a representative of each
of the suburban local authorities.
I remember Mr. Pinnock, P.M., and Messrs. Thomas
Finney, E. Churchill, and John Petrie on the bench. There were
great fights for provisional licences, and I have known as
many as five applications made for a provisional licence
before the applicant was successful.
Solicitors generally appeared in the Licensing Court
and received very liberal fees. Mr. W. H. Day, second P.M.,
resided at Enoggera, and was a brother of Mr. Justice Day, a
member of the Parnell Commission.
When I was an articled clerk, all affidavits had to be
sworn before a Commissioner for Affidavits, and as the
registrars and judge’s associates were all Commissioners,
their salaries were supplemented by the fees- 2s 6d for the
oath and 1s a sheet, if more than one sheet of paper was
required for annexures and exhibits.
We always took care to see that the Registrar got the
probate and letters of administration affidavits and the
associates the affidavits in matters assigned to their
respective judges. This was good policy. When Justices of the
Peace were authorised to take affidavits without a fee, it
made a great difference to the income of the officers who were
The Stamp Office was situated in George Street in front
of the old Colonial Treasury, a stone building where the
Treasury Buildings now stand. Mr. George Day was Stamp
Officer, and his assistant was Mr. Tom Aird. There were no
requisitions in those days and no succession accounts, probate
and letters of administration officers. We took our George up
to Mr. Day with a cheque and after he perused the transfer,
mortgage or whatever the George was, he penciled the amount of
duty on it, and handed it on to Mr. Aird, who duly impressed
the necessary stamp.
Stamp duty on a conveyance was 15s a £100, and 5s a
£100 mortgage duty, plus 15s if further advances were secured
under the mortgage, and “progressive duty” of 5s for every 15
folios over 50 folios if the document exceeded 50 folios.
Duty was not assessed as now on the amount of further
The Real Property Office was situated at the corner of
Queen and George Streets in a round roofed building next to
the Treasury. Mr. Henry Jordan was Registrar-General and Mr.
Blakeney his deputy. Mr. Thomas Mylne was the Deputy-Registrar
in the Real Property Office.
Now we have two distinct departments- Registrar-General
and Registrar of Titles. The staff in the R.P.O. in those days
included Messrs J. G. Brown, J. O. Bourne, George Jones, F. G.
Coe, C. B. Gorton, and H. W. Bambury, and later, Frank Baynes,
who for years presided at the counter.
The Lands Office adjoined the Supreme Court House and
our office had a great deal of work there. Mr. Edward Deshon
was Under Secretary, Charles Claudius Carter, officer in
charge of the Pastoral Occupation Branch; John S. Thomas in
charge of the Selection Branch; R. X. Heaney, W. J. Scott. R.
S. Hurd, and J. S. Bennett were all officers in the Lands
Office and all rose to high positions. Mr. W. A. Tully was
Mr. Bennett was later Registrar of the Land Court. He
was a lad on coming out to Queensland with his parents in the
sailing ship, Saldahna, the same ship that my father came out
in. Also on board were Messrs. A. M. Francis, A. L. Boyd, J.
G. Anderson- all later in the Queensland Civil Service.
I always look back with pleasure to my work with the
Government officials. Without exception, they were always
courteous and anxious to assist the young clerk in carrying
out his duties.
I have mentioned the old Museum at the top of Queen
Street- Mr. Charles de Vis was Curator, and lately, I played
bowls with his grandson. Bowls are not only for old men. The
first bowling club was in Roma Street at the railway gates.
When playing on the turf at the old Brisbane Grammar School,
we often watched the bowlers and wondered what they got
excited about. Now I know.
Roma Street Railway Station was then the terminus and
trains to Sandgate used to proceed through Normanby, Victoria
Park, across the Bowen Bridge Road, to Mayne. The railway to
the Bulimba wharves was built later, as well as to the Central
Station, through Brunswick Station, Bowen Hills, and Mayne
In my young days, the watering places for Brisbane were Sandgate and Cleveland. Generally, our family went to Sandgate for the Christmas holidays. We travelled down in a hired landau and the luggage was taken down by a furniture van.
After passing Newstead, we drove over the Albion Hill,
down the old Sandgate Road the German station where Mrs.
Schattling kept what we called the Half Way House. There the
horses had a spell and a bucket of water, and we youngsters a
sandwich and ginger beer.
There were some nice homes along the old Sandgate Road.
Among them, I remember were those of Messrs. P. A. Kob,
accountant in the Colonial Secretary’s Office; W. H. Ryder,
chief clerk in the same office; and Mr. George Hutton.
The land between the old Sandgate Road and the present
Sandgate railway line was not built on as at present. The
Maida Hill Estate above the Wooloowin railway station was soon
to be subdivided and all sold and quickly built upon. There
were few homes between the old Sandgate Road and the German
Station. After leaving that place, we drove over the big hill
on towards Sandgate. This hill was very slippery in wet
weather, and we youngsters often had to get out of the cab and
The first residence after getting over the big hill and
coming towards Cabbage Tree Creek was occupied by an
ex-officer of the Police Department, Mr. Stephenson. He had
bunya pine trees in the avenue leading up to the house, and
these are still to be seen there. The old house has lately
been moved and fruit gardens are springing up on each side of
We then crossed Cabbage Tree Creek Bridge and on to
Sandgate. On the east at Sandgate we came to the Osborne
Hotel, Dover Cottage, Bayswater Terrace and then the Post
Office in charge of Mr. Charles Slaughter. Mr. Deagon had two
cottages, Barnstable and Devonshire Cottage. He also had a
large Hotel, the Sandgate, facing the upper Esplanade where
Cobb and Co., coaches put up.
Morven in those days belonged to Mr. McConnell, and on
one occasion was leased by the then Governor, the Marquis of
Normanby. Later Mr. D. L. Brown purchased Morven and added
considerably to it. Mr. Chancellor, of the Customs, had a
cottage at the corner opposite where the pier now is, and Mr.
Thompson, of the Union Bank, occupied the other corner.
Messrs. Graham Hart and E. R. Drury built Saltwood on the
Shorncliffe end of the town, and adjoining on the upper end of
the town, and adjoining in the upper Esplanade were the well
known Shorncliffe cottages of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Kift. Sir
James Cockle, Chief Justice, and family, had the four
Shorncliffe cottages every Christmas and later Sir Charles
Lilley’s family occupied them.
Going down to Cabbage Tree Creek you came to John
Baxter’s oyster saloon. John Baxter was there for years and
supplied the township with oysters and fish.
The leading townspeople of Sandgate at that time were
groceries, Messrs Buck, George Walker, and George Mockridge,
who was also a butcher. Mrs. Tempest was the draper. Later,
Mr. Griggs, a draper, built a two storied shop and dwelling.
The hotels were the Osborne kept by Mr. L. Drouyn, and
Sandgate by Mr. Tom Coward, who was formerly in the Native
Sandgate was a Municipality in the early 1880s, and the
Mayor was Alderman W. Deagon.
When I first remember Sandgate, Captain Townsend occupied Brighton House- the grounds running down to what is now Flinders Parade. It was a beautiful property planted with fruit trees and flowering shrubs. When Captain Townsend left Brighton to reside in Sandgate the old house became an hotel, Mr. Samuel Hamilton being the licensee. Mr. Hamilton for years had the Hamilton Hotel at the corner of the River and Racecourse Roads, Brisbane.
I am now residing at the Brighton, excellently kept by a namesake, Mr. M. Drury.
Mr. William Cairns, afterwards Sir William, once stayed
at the Osbourne Hotel, when Governor of Queensland and was
very fond of driving out to the Pine River and Bald Hills.
These rods were a little different from what they are today.
Cobb and Co’s coaches ran between Brisbane and
Sandgate, meeting at the German station, and often you would
see some of our professional men on the box of the afternoon
coach going for a drive to the German Station, returning that
evening. Mr. Slaughter, father of the postmaster, had a very
comfortable waggonette he ran daily to Brisbane. George. W.
Locke was the rector at the Church of England
I well remember a trip to Toowoomba. I took a coach in Albert Street and got off at Oxley, then the terminus, and got the Toowoomba train.
On the return journey, the coach was crowded from
Oxley. There were several members of Parliament on board.
Among them were the Hons James Taylor, of Toowoomba, and J. F.
McDougall, of Rosalie Plains.
Social gatherings were very different from those
nowadays. Parties were made up and a cab hired and with a
chaperone always in attendance we went off to the dance. The
young people generally danced on the verandahs and the
grown-ups played whist. I do not remember any “cocktails.”
The leading merchants in the early 1880s were Messrs.
D. L. Brown and Co., of Eagle Street. This company was later
formed into a limited liability company under the name of
Thomas Brown and Sons Limited. Mr. Thomas Brown was D. L.
Brown’s eldest brother and had sent him out to open a
softgoods warehouse in Brisbane in the 1860s. Later, the
company acquired the Short Street wharf and stores where they
erected an up-to-date dumping plant and did a large business
shipping wool overseas.
Messrs. Parbury, Lamb & Co., were also in Eagle
Street. Their manager was the Hon. E. B. Forrest, who also
represented the Colonial Sugar Refining Company in Queensland.
Mr. Forrest was member for North Brisbane and was defeated by
Mr. M. J. Kirwan. Mr. Forrest was for years a member of the
Upper House and a great yachtsman. He sailed the Charm and
later the Isabel in many regattas.
Mr. Ernest Goertz was a wine and spirit merchant in
Eagle street and lived at Hilderstone, Kangaroo Point,
surrounded by beautiful grounds running down to the River.
Messrs. Barker and Co., adjoined D. L. Brown’s property and
nearby were Messrs. Gibbs, Bright & Co. The Hon. Frederick
Hamilton Hart, M.L.C., was manager, and he was also chairman
for many years of the Queensland National Bank Limited.
Messrs. George Raff and Co., were in Eagle Street, and
later amalgamated with Parbury Lamb, under the name of Parbury
Lamb and Raff Ltd. Mr. Baron L. Barnett was a merchant in
Market Street, near the A.S.N. Wharf, and was later Italian
Consul. Messrs. James Campbell and Sons were in Creek Street,
near the Queen’s Hotel. I well remember Mr. James Campbell,
head of the firm, when he occupied a small wooden building
where the present large warehouse now is.
Messrs. Brabant and Co., Webster and Co., Mort, Holland
and Co., Smellie and Co., B. D. Morehead and Co., James
Stodart, G. A. Thompson, Unmack and Heussler and H. and N.
Howes were all prominent business firms. Mr. Morehead was a
member of Parliament for many years, and one time Premier.
Much to the cabmen’s surprise, B. D. Morehead had a
private hansom for a time, but soon gave it up. He was a most
popular member, always ready with a joke. Once in the House,
referring to the weather reports of Mr. Clement Wragge, B. D.
Morehead said, in view of the cyclones that had been lately
experienced in the North, he should be called “Inclement”
Mr. J. C. Heussler was Consul for Germany, and Mr.
Unmack was at one time Minister for Railways and Member for
Toowong. Messrs. Quinlan, Gray and Co., amalgamated with the
Castlemaine Brewery and erected the brewery at Milton.
Quinlan, Gray’s staff had a very fast open sailing
boat, called the Elite, which competed in the river sailing
Messrs. Hoffnung and Co., were, as now, in Charlotte
Street. Messrs. Scott, Dawson and Stewart were soft goods’
merchants, now D. and W. Murray and Co. Ltd. Mr. R. M. Stewart
was a member of Parliament and Cabinet Minister. He lived at
Hawthorne, Bulimba. Messrs. Clark and Hodgson were in Eagle
Street near the ferry.
The principal Chinese merchant was chick Tong, who
carried on his business in Queen Street near the present T and
G Building. Chick Tong was a client of our firm and we had a
good deal of work collecting moneys he had advanced his
fellow-countrymen or due for goods supplied. These debtors
would try and get away in the China boats then running up the
coast to China. Chick Tong would give us a full description of
the Defendant and armed with a writ of capias respondat
(arrest) and with the bailiff, we would proceed down the Bay
in the Francis Cadell or Boko with the passengers. On board
the mailboat, there would be a line-up of the Chinese, and
generally the chief bailiff, John Galloway, got his man.
On one occasion, I remember we identified the Defendant
as he had one toe missing. These Chinese always had a good
many sovereigns with them, and paid up when they found the
game was up.
I left the Brisbane Grammar School at the end of 1882 and the following year, I was articled to Mr. Graham Lloyd Hart, senior partner of the firm of Messrs. Hart, Mein, and Flower, solicitors and notaries.
Our offices were over the A.M.P. Society where the
Commercial Bank of Australia Ltd., now is. Our managing clerk
was Mr. George Down, who many years afterwards was Mayor of
Brisbane. I am pleased to know that George Down’s widow is
The Supreme Court Judges in Brisbane were Sir Charles
Lilley, Chief Justice, Mr. Justice George Rodgers Harding, and
Mr. Judge Ratcliffe Pring. The Northern Supreme Court judge
was Mr. Justice Pope Alexander Cooper. The District Court
judges were Judge Paul, Southern District, Judge Miller,
central District, and Judge Noel, Northern.
The Hon. Ratcliffe Pring was at one time a District
Court judge. He resigned to accept a brief and a fee of one
thousand guineas to defend a prominent business man in an
insolvency matter. He was successful and when again practising
at the bar, was elected member for North Brisbane. North
Brisbane had only one member.
Wickham, adjoining Brisbane (Spring Hill and
thereabouts), returned Mr. A. J. Hockings, a seedsman of Queen
and Albert Streets. Later Wickham was merged into the Brisbane
electorate. Mr. Pring was defeated for Brisbane in the
following general election, but afterwards contested Fortitude
Valley and won. When he accepted the position of attorney
General, he had to again face the electors, and was defeated
by his former opponent, Francis Beattie.
Sir Charles Lilley had been Premier, Attorney-General,
and a prominent statesman for years before going to the bench.
Mr. Justice Harding only once, I believe, sought Parliamentary
honours, but was not successful. George Down used to tell me
amusing stories of Mr. Harding’s meeting. Mr. Justice Cooper
was an Attorney-General and represented Bowen in the
Legislative Assembly. Bowen had another Attorney-General as
its member who afterwards became a Supreme Court Judge, Mr.
Justice Charles Edward Chubb.
The Bar included Mr. S. W. Griffith, Q.C., later Sir
Samuel Walker Griffith, Mr. J. F. Garrick, Q.C., afterwards
Sir James Garrick, Agent-General for Queensland, in London,
Messrs. Virgil Power, Patrick Real, G. E. Chubb, all to be
Supreme Court judges, Edward Mansfield, later District Court
Judge, E. M. Lilley, Arthur Feez, Harvey Murray Prior, who was
Master of Titles, R. C. Ringrose, Arthur Rutledge, later a
District Court Judge, and Frank Sheridon.
The principal solicitors were Messrs. Hart, Mein, and
Flower, Peter MacPherson, A. J. Thynne, A. W. Chambers, John
Robb Baxter Bruce, Wilson and Wilson, Daley and Hellicar,
Thomas Bunton, J. G. Appel, T. MacDonald Paterson, Browne and
Ruthning, Foxton and Cardew, Roberts, Robert and Bernays, Rees
Jones and Brown, George Markwell, I. Mayne.
Mein, Thynne, MacDonald, Paterson and W. H. Wilson were
members of the Legislative Council and occupied the position
of Postmaster-General at different times. Mr. MacPherson was
also a member of the Upper House. Mr. Mein was made a Supreme
Court Judge on the death of Mr. Justice Pring and was the
first solicitor to be elevated to the Bench.
Registrar of the Supreme Court was Mr. William Bell and the
Deputy Registrar Mr. Pring Roberts. There was no Taxing
Officer, costs being taxed by the Registrar or his Deputy. Mr.
Edward Baines was the first taxing officer. The Supreme Court
Librarian was Robert Thorrold. Mr. G. H. Newman was official
trustee and receiver in insolvency, William Woodhouse being
his clerk, and Mr. F. O. Darvall, Curator of Intestate
Estates. Mr. F. O’Neill Brenan was clerk in Mr. Darvall’s
office and Mr. William Cahill, afterwards Commissioner of
Police, was a clerk in the Supreme Court office.
Mr. A. F.
Halloran was Sheriff, H. C. Thompson, Under Sheriff, and John
Gallwey, Chief Bailiff. Arthur Davis (Steele Rudd) was later
clerk in the Sheriff’s office. Mr. J. Keane was secretary to
the Crown Law Office, and his office faced George Street. Mr.
Robert Little was Crown Solicitor and his clerks were Alfred
Cooling and W. H. Carvosso, who subsequently was sheriff. The
Registrar held many posts- Prothonotary, Registrar of Joint
Stock Companies, Principal Registrar in Insolvency, Registrar
of Friendly Societies. Mr. Henry Branston was Registrar of the
District Court in Brisbane.
George Barber, for many years member for Bundaberg, was a
member of the naval Brigade, and attended the Lytton camps.
Captain Wright commanded the Gayundah and Captain Waldron
Drake the Paluma. Lieutenant Hesketh and Captain Curtis were
also on the gunboats as well as Lieutenant Sydney Mercer
Smith, an uncle of the late Sir Kingsford Smith. The Paluma
was later engaged on survey work on the northern coast.
interesting to recall how in the early days, so many of our
leading and professional and business men held commissions in
the Volunteer Force. They were all estimable citizens and
thoroughly enjoyed their military experiences.
one ex-captain, a well known barrister, with whom I was
walking up George Street one Saturday afternoon. A band came
down the street playing martial airs on its way to Government
House reception. The ex-captain, when nearing his house in
George Street, stepped to the head of the band and as they
came opposite his home he called out “Halt, left turn.” He
then asked the bandmaster to allow the men to come in and have
a drink, but the bandmaster, though highly amused, said “I am
afraid if they accepted your kind invitation, there would be
no band at Government House this afternoon.”
time General Sir Henry Wylie Norman was Governor of
Queensland, I was one of his extra A.D.C.s and attended him on
all State occasions.
I well remember a review on the Queen’s birthday, May
24, in the Queen’s Park, when my charger got out of hand and I
got out of the saddle. You can imagine how I felt sprawling on
the ground, and the crowd roaring with laughter. When my horse
was brought back and I remounted, his Excellency said, “I did
not order you to dismount.”
I was in
England in 1890-1891 when Sir Henry Norman was there on leave.
I saw a good deal of him in London and I had invitations to
many important gatherings. With him, I attended a levee at St.
James Palace and was presented to the then Prince of Wales who
held the court in the absence of Queen Victoria. I shall never
forget that great occasion. There were present such
distinguished men as Mr. W. E. Gladstone, Lord Salisbury, the
Duke of Devonshire, Mr. Joseph Chamberlain, and many British
army and naval officers of high rank.
I was also
made an honorary member of the Army and Navy Club (The Rag)
and there met many distinguished friends of Sir Henry Norman.
I also visited Aldershot, Woolwich, and Chelsea, where Sir
Henry met a number of old Indian soldiers.
It was on
that visit to England that I went to the 1890 Derby with Sir
George Bowen and Sir Robert Herbert, the first Governor and
the first Premier of Queensland. I saw both these gentleman on
many occasions and they were always anxious to hear the latest
of Queensland, and I was able to give them a good deal of
information, especially as shortly before I had left
Queensland I had spent some time in the North, including
Cloncurry and Normanton districts. I attended with Mr. Knox
Darcy at Epsom that year, and saw the Oaks run. He had a
private box and entertained a large party.
Henry Norman was Governor, I attended the State dinners held
on May 24, the Queen’s birthday. All guests appeared in full
Court dress or uniform. On one occasion I had the honour of
announcing the guests in their official capacity. It was a
great night and the representative of an important foreign
power appeared in his gorgeous uniform but unfortunately with
the collar turned up and the lapel buttoned over. After he had
made his bow and all the guests had been announced, his
Excellency requested me to inform the Consul that he had
forgotten to unbutton his coat. I did so, and the answer I
received from the little Consul in slightly broken English
was, “I can’t- the moths have eaten my vest.”
the great war, regulations as to dress on State occasions have
been greatly relaxed. Personally I regret the change.
In October, 1889, my cousin, William Byron Drury, third son of the late Colonel E. R. Drury, C.M.G., received word from the Admiralty that his nomination for the British Navy had been approved and he was instructed to present himself on board H.M.S. Orlando then the Australian flagship, stationed in Sydney, for examination.
cousin was only 12 years of age at the time, my uncle asked me
to accompany him south and if he was successful, to obtain
full instructions as to his joining the Britannia at
arrived in Sydney, the chaplain of the Orlando, who had charge
of the examination told me they were sailing for Melbourne the
following day and suggested we should go on there so as the
young candidate would not be rushed. Needless to say, we both
agreed as the Melbourne Cup was to be run the following week.
travelled to Melbourne with Mr. and Mrs. Walter Hall, of Mount
Morgan, who were very old friends of our families and both
were very interested in the young candidate. When we arrived
in Melbourne, where rooms had been procured for us at the
Menzies Hotel, we found quite a Queensland colony there,
including Messrs. Thomas Finney, George Colishaw, Arthur
Forbes, secretary to the Queensland National Bank Limited, J.
D. Oswald, manager of the Queensland National Bank Limited,
Ipswich, and George Forbes, of the Queensland Railways
after our arrival, we went down to the Orlando and
arrangements were made for the examination to take place on
board. I was not anxious as to the result because my cousin,
although so young, was not at all excited and appeared quite
confident. The examination lasted for two days and when we
heard that he had been successful, the Queensland party at the
Menzies and other Queenslanders in Melbourne were highly
delighted as he was the first Queenslander to pass into the
Colishaw told him that if Melos won the Cup, he would give him
a good present. The horse came third, but the new midshipman
received a substantial gift from Mr. Colishaw. We heard the
result of the examination the morning the Cup was run and we
had our fortunes on the winner, Bravo, which beat Mr. Donald
Wallace’s Carbine that year, we thoroughly enjoyed the day and
also the night. At the Cup, we met Mr. and Mrs. Donald
Wallace, Mr. and Mrs. Walter Hall, Mrs. Patrick Perkins, and
many other Queenslanders who were all delighted to hear that
young Drury had been successful.
midshipman left Queensland a few weeks later and joined the
Britannia. After he passed out of the training ship, he went
to the North American station and while there won the
Admiral’s Cup on two occasions in fleet sailing regattas. He
next served on the Mediterranean station and was at the
landing in Crete. When on the Mediterranean station, he
volunteered for service in Egypt and was with five others
selected to take charge of gun boats on the Nile under Lord
Kitchener. At his death on June 20, 1917, he was 42 years of
age. He was an Acting Commander of the Royal Navy and a Pasha
During the time that Sir Arthur Palmer was Governor, he visited many towns.
Rockhampton, the citizens entertained Sir Arthur and the usual
visits were paid to various institutions. Some of the party
drove out to Mount Morgan in a four-in-hand driven by Mr.
Rutherford. The great mine was then owned by Messrs. Morgan,
Tom and Walter Hall, William Pattison and W. K. Darcy, a
was floated as a limited liability company of £1,000,000
(1,000,000 shares of £1 each). The mount was just being “cut
down” and the stone carted to the battery. No special
treatment or machinery was used as at present. Just before
reaching the mount, we had to negotiate the “razor back,” a
steep rise up the mountain approaching the mine. Coming down,
the wheels were locked and the drag and horses just slid down.
several times visited Mt. Morgan since, and seen it at its
height, and afterwards when it was almost down and out. Now it
is gradually regaining its old self.
Darcy became a millionaire, and was living in England in great
style when I met him in 1890, and we had many a chat over old
days in Queensland. He invested in Persian Oil Wells and was
ultimately very successful.
remained in Australia, and we all know the wonderful
benefactions left by Mr. Walter Hall and his wife, Eliza. The
names are perpetuated by the Walter and Eliza Hall Trust, from
which so many religious and charitable institutions benefit.
played a large part in the history of Queensland in the 1880s.
Shares mounted up to £15, and many of our leading public men
purchased large numbers on Bills, thinking the shares would go
to £20. But the slump came and I know of many who were
absolutely ruined through the crash.
Townsville, Sir Arthur was entertained right royally by the
Townsville people. The citizen’s banquet was the largest held
in the town up to that time, and Mrs. Cran, proprietress of
the old Queen’s Hotel, excelled herself.
fifty years ago, was very prosperous. The railway had been
extended to Hughenden, tapping the western trade, and the port
was being improved. The British-India Steam Navigation Co.
were trading between London and Brisbane, via Torres Straits,
and each month landed some 200 to 300 immigrants at the
various Queensland ports. They all found employment and became
some of the best of our North Queensland pioneers. All
shipping anchored in the bay, and cargo was lightered to the
wharves in Ross Creek. Now Townsville has a good harbour and
vessels berth at the wharves erected along the breakwater.
Flinders Street, the main street of Townsville, is now a great
attraction to visitors and the plots of tropical plants down
the centre of the street are well looked after.
mangrove flats along Ross Creek are now being reclaimed and
workshops and buildings erected thereon.
has one of the oldest Chambers of Commerce, formed more than
50 years ago and when the Federation of Chambers of Commerce
of Queensland held their conference there in 1932, it happened
to be the year of their golden jubilee.
One of the
leading citizens in the early days was the late Mr. J. N.
Parkes, a very old friend of mine, and others were Messrs.
George Roberts, solicitor, J. G. MacDonald, P.M., afterwards
in Brisbane, and Dr. Ahearne. Mr. Joseph Hughes was Collector
of Customs and afterwards Income Tax Commissioner in Brisbane.
Mr. J. K. Cannan was manager of the Queensland National Bank,
and Mr. A. T. Halloran. Manager of the Bank of New South
Wales. Both took a keen interest in the progress of
When at Charters Towers last year, I recalled my several visits there in the 1880s. What a change has come over this historic old mining town!
In the old
days, mining was booming and the streets crowded night and
day. Mr. Thaddeus O’Kane was the proprietor of “The Northern
Miner,” and defended many libel actions. He was most
entertaining and his paper had a very wide circulation.
Mr. E. D.
Miles was a leading mining agent and later had a seat in the
Upper House. Mr. Isidore Lissner, afterwards Member for
Charters Towers and Minister for Mines, was a prominent
citizen and Lissner Park is a memorial to him. Mr. A. H.
Pritchard was the manager of the Queensland National Bank, and
was there for many years. Messrs. Marsland and Marsland were
the leading solicitors and had a wonderful practice.
I did not meet any of the men I knew in the early days
when I was on the Towers last year.
Leaving Townsville and going up the coast, we steamed
through the picturesque channels among the islands and had
good fishing and shooting. We went ashore at many places and
collected beautiful specimens of shell and coral. Sir Arthur
Palmer used to remark how one day these islands would be
visited by hundreds of travellers from the south and overseas.
He saw wonderful prospects ahead for North Queensland and no
doubt, his ideas are being realised.
Sir Arthur often in his speeches, referred to the
wealth of North Queensland and urged the development of this
great State. He was particularly pleased at the result of the
Torres Strait mail service and how it was assisting the
At cairns, we again had to anchor out in the bay and
were entertained on
going ashore by the townspeople. I met the late Mr. A. J.
Draper there for the first time. He was wrapped up in Cairns
and district and backed every progressive movement for its
Cairns was then advocating very strongly the Cairns
railway leading up to the Atherton Tableland. The wealth of
the hinterland of Cairns was well known, but transport was the
trouble. The timber trade was in full swing and sugar
plantations springing up.
I remember some of our party rode up from Cairns to the
head of the Barron Falls with the inspector of police and two
black trackers. It was the first time I had ridden through the
rich scrub lands of the north along a bridle track, and
foliage so thick you could not see the sun. Today you go up
the range by train or rail motor and the whole of the rich
Atherton and Evelyn Tablelands are being traversed by main
roads and railways.
Cairns has always been fortunate in having progressive
men looking after its interests- men who had their heart in
their work- full of confidence and not afraid to put their
capital in a venture. I am satisfied that cairns is destined
to be the largest and most important town in North Queensland.
Our next call was Cooktown, where we were received by
the Mayor, Mr. John Davis, and Mr. W. O. Hodgkinson, who was
then acting as Police Magistrate. Gold was coming in from the
Palmer and other fields in this district, and the railway to
Laura had been built. We travelled to the end of the line and
saw rice growing for the first time. The country was nothing
like what we had seen in the Cairns district.
I remember Mr. Davis asking me for a hint as to what
was usual when proposing the health of the Governor. I wrote
out a short speech for him, and after the function was over, I
told him how well he had got through, although he did not use
my notes. “No,” he said, “I could not read your writing.” We
enjoyed our stay in Cooktown, and several of us were guests of
the Chinese there, who did a great trade in those days.
On our return journey we called in at Cardwell and Gladstone. Sir Arthur Palmer was for many years member for Port Curtis and entertained a large number of his old friends on the Lucinda. Gladstone and Bowen have two very fine harbours and are the natural ports of Central and North Queensland.
Sir Arthur made a great speech at Gladstone drawing
attention to its possibilities and how he had endeavoured to
have its importance recognised. I think, had it not been for
Mt. Morgan, Gladstone would have received more consideration
than it did, but Rockhampton’s proximity to the Mount gave it
a great pull.
In 1888 and 1889, I was again in North Queensland, this
time on business for our firm, Messrs. Hart and Flower. We
acted for the Cloncurry Copper Mining Co. and were defending
an action brought against the company by a carrier Mr. Neil
Neilsen, of Normanton. The action arose out of an accident
that occurred at Iffley station where the teams carrying 60
cases of dynamite stores and iron rails, were destroyed
through a terrific explosion. The dynamite had not been
properly loaded and caused the accident. Several of the teams
and many of the men were killed. I saw where the explosion had
taken place- a huge hole in the ground, and some of the iron
rails were driven a considerable distance into the soil.
Iffley station is between Cloncurry and Normanton, and the
action was tried at Normanton.
To reach Cloncurry, I had to travel to Hughenden by
rail, and then on by Cobb’s coach to Cloncurry. It took four
days to do the journey which became rather monotonous.
Richmond was the first township after leaving Hughenden, about
80 miles west. At another stage where we camped for the night,
I met Mr. Louis Goldring, of the well known firm of Messrs.
Goldring and Tolon, general storekeepers. He was contesting
the Flinders election and his opponent was Mr. James Tolson,
whom I met later on in the electorate. Mr. Goldring was
successful and was a supporter of Mr. S. W. Griffith.
Cloncurry was a centre for the pastoralists in the
district and the copper mine was busy and employing a number
of men. I there made friends with Mr. Alexander Sykes
McGillivray, general merchant, who was a leading townsman and
president of all the institutions.
I went to Cloncurry to ascertain particulars as to the
dynamite accident, as it was called, but found the men who
could have given me the information I required had left for
the Croydon goldfields then booming. After ascertaining as
much as possible at Cloncurry, I proceeded by Cobb’s coach at
Normanton. The coach left on Monday morning and arrived at
Normanton the following Friday night, and I was particularly
pleased when the journey came to an end.
During most of the trip from Hughenden to Cloncurry and
then through to Normanton, you travel through wonderful
country, rolling downs and waterless river beds when we passed
through- and the men you meet cannot do enough for the
traveller. I met a number of well known graziers in the Gulf
district, and was made welcome at all the stations I stayed
When travelling to Normanton, our driver got an attack
of the Gulf fever- fever and ague. He was no doubt very bad
and was pleased to hear that I could drive the coach. He
handed over the reins to me and then crawled into the boot,
camping among the mail bags. When we got to the change that
night, I wanted him to remain there and offered to take the
coach on, but he said he would see the journey through if I
would drive, and so I took the coach through to Normanton. We
were the only two on the coach and I was sorry when he had to
get out to open the gates.
One morning as we were leaving on the last stage to
Normanton, the two leaders were young and restless and as soon
as the groom let their heads go, although I had the team well
in hand, they plunged about to such an extent that we carried
away the corner post of an old shed that got in the way, but
that was the only mishap we had, although we nearly got into
trouble when going through one of the gates when one of the
leaders got his legs over the traces and it was a difficulty
to get him clear.
Normanton was an extremely lively town, mail boats
arriving every fortnight and bringing men and stores for the
Croydon. Mr. Fred Brodie was a leading stock and station
agent, and was interested in every progressive move. The
general elections were on at the time and I attended some of
the liveliest meetings ever held in the North. Mr. Edward
Palmer was contesting the Carpentaria election and his
opponent was Major Colless; both were well known graziers. Mr.
Palmer was successful. He was brother in law of Mr. John
Stevenson, who at the same general election was elected member
for Clermont. The Hon. John Macrossan was in the Gulf at that
time assisting Mr. Palmer and other McIlwraith candidates.
I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the many letters I have received from readers of my articles who evidently have enjoyed them.
I know I
must have omitted many names of prominent citizens but my
articles have been written entirely from memory, as
unfortunately I have never kept a diary, except an office one.
As arranged I have confined my memoirs to 50 years ago.
correspondent signed her letter to me, “One of the old
fashionable women of Brisbane.” I really would like to know
who this is, as she refers to old days at “The Retreat,” where
I lived for so many years, and at Sandgate.
acknowledge an error when I stated that the late James Gibbon
resided at Kingsholme. Mr. Gibbon lived at Teneriffe,
adjoining Kingsholme, and was known as “Corner Allotment
Jimmy,” as he bought up corner allotments, and did very well
out of his purchases. He died in England some years after he
had left Queensland and one of his executors came out to wind
up his estate. When our firm had completed the business, the
executor handed a cheque for £100 to our principals for the
staff as he was so pleased with the expeditious was the estate
had been finalized. Naturally, the staff were overjoyed.
 Ormistone was more likely Overstone.