Valley of the Marroon
By an Old Resident
A resident of Woolloongabba who has had more than 40 years of experience on different mining fields in Queensland, makes a plea for deep sinking on the Palmer and Hodgkinson, and incidentally gives some old time recollections. He writes:
Mining may be a great and glorious gamble but we must remember that no other industry affords such a free and independent living, and also causes a circulation of money. Take West Australia, as an example, and the progress that has been made since the gold discoveries that were responsible for the distribution of millions of pounds of foreign capital, and incidentally added greatly to the comfort of many who were struggling for a livelihood in other branches of industry or channels of commerce.
There are, I dare say, persons still residing in Brisbane who can recall the deplorable times that existed here previous to gold discoveries, and particularly the famous Gympie rush that took place after the late James Nash reported his find; and I suppose that they can still retain memories of the prosperous times that followed when gold was easily won and more easily lost. Previous to Gympie, this State was in a very deplorable condition- work being hard to get. Good men were then toiling for ten hours a day on a princely wage of 15 shillings per week and tucker, which chiefly consisted of what was known as 8-10-2-¼, that is 8 lb of flour, 10 lb of beef, 2lb of sugar and a quarter of tea.
Where Roma Street railway station now stands was in those days a scene of calico, for the Government had placed there numbers of Peto and Brassey’s navies, at the magnificent wage of 2 /-6d per day. Some persons may discredit these statements but the fact remains that something had to be done to satisfy the infuriated mob who were daily parading in Queen Street with a huge banner that bore the doleful sign of “Bread or Blood.”
Those were stirring times, and I can recall an instance that happened in the street just about opposite where the Belfast Hotel is at the present time. The mob had become almost uncontrollable and a justice of the peace mounted a cask and began to read the Riot Act, when a well directed brick bat knocked him off his perch.
The Queensland Bank had failed, and bank notes were being sold for anything they would bring, which reminds me of an old identity named Morwitch (of three ball fame) who bought up thousands of them, and was well rewarded when the reconstruction took place. During my wanderings in search of the elusive metal in many and various parts of this State, I have come across some of the navies who were participants in that memorable parade.
Martial law was declared and a great number of citizens were sworn in as “specials” to help restore law and order.
Courier February 20, 1920.
By “Nut Quad”
In this column a little while ago, there was described a forgotten stream, which, in the middle of last century, entered the town at the site of the horse ferry in Creek Street, and, after passing through several city blocks, finally ended near the Town Hall reserve.
This was sometimes called the “Big Creek,” to distinguish it from a smaller one which joined the river near the present Port Office. This latter was called the “Little Creek,” and crossed Edward Street just about where Fenwick’s tallow warehouse now stands; or to be a little more precise, on the site of the lane between their wool exchange and the warehouse.
In the mid fifties, 1850s, of last century, a 6 inch wooden plank placed across the creek served as a bridge to enable foot passengers to pass along Edward Street. To safely cross the plank after dark required a certain amount of skill; but in those days (long before the introduction into Brisbane of gas or kerosene), citizens whose duties took them into the street after nightfall carried a horn lantern, into which had been inserted the homely tallow candle.
Between Margaret Street and Mary Street, there were only four allotments on the southern front of Edward Street. Charles Windmell was the owner of the ground at the corner of the last named street and Edward Street, upon which now stands the store of the Australian Estates and Mortgage Company.
A man named Towell owned the next piece and then came Jerry Scanlan, the landlord of the Queensland Hotel.
Fenwick’s buildings stand on the land then owned by Scanlan and Towell.
John McCabe was the owner of the block at the corner of Mary and Edward Streets, upon which was afterwards erected Amos Braysher’s Metropolitan Hotel (now the Savoy). Mr. Braysher had been chief steward of the Telegraph steamer when captain O’Reilly was master.
After leaving Edward Street, the creek entered Towell’s property, and ran nearly parallel to the Edward Street front down to Windmell’s corner. The creek thus divided Towell’s land into two portions of unequal size, and to get into his dwelling he had to cross the creek- on a plank.
The creek passed through several properties on the western side of Margaret Street, and crossed to the eastern side of the street between Perkin’s and Dalgety’s. Before reaching Albert Street, it returned to the western side, and then was lost in a swamp which extended into the Botanic Gardens on one side, and to Elizabeth Street on the other.
The whole length of Albert Street, and for some distance on each side of it, was a swamp, known in early days as Frog’s Hollow, from the incessant and deafening noise made day and night in wet weather by millions of frogs. On the occasion of the high spring tides, water from the river flowed up the creek and invaded backyards in Elizabeth, Charlotte, Mary, and Margaret streets. In flood time, Albert Street from the Gardens to Elizabeth Street was submerged to a depth of several feet, and the flood waters extended quite one third of the distance towards Edward Street and George Street. The only channel for the escape of the water was of course the creek, and as this passed through a number of private properties, it was often choked with garden weeds and rubbish, and it sometimes took the water a couple of days to reach the river.
If we now cross to South Brisbane, we shall find that in the mid fifties, 1850s, a fairly large creek entered the river near the site of Birt’s present wharf, upon which then stood William Connolly’s Union wharf and store. Mr. Connolly was the local agent for a line of small sailing vessels which then traded between Sydney and Brisbane. These included the schooners Lavinia 100 tons; Souvenir, 100 tons; Toroa, 100 tons; Mary Stewart, 110 tons; Beaver, 100 tons; and the Ann Mary, 60 tons. We also had an occasional visit from the barque Bella Vista, 200 tons. In addition to these we had a couple of “liners,” belonging to the H.R.S.N. Company – the steamers Eagle, 170 tons; and the Tamar, 150 tons. These were the days of small things, and the most sanguine amongst us never expect to see in the Brisbane River a monster vessel like the Ormonde, of nearly 15,000 tons; it would take 150 vessels like the schooner Beaver to equal the tonnage of this vessel. Midway between the river and Stanley street the creek curved to the west, and, crossing Glenelg Street, ran up to within a few feet of J. and W. Orr’s (now Baynes’) butchering establishment, having an alluvial bank of earth, 50ft or 60ft wide between the river and the creek. On a portion of this bank the Orrs had erected a slaughterhouse, in which to kill calves and sheep, and other small animals.
Between Orr’s and Connolly’s, the creek made a fine stretch of water in which boys who are now grey headed had their morning dip. Attendance Orr’s the creek turned abruptly, and returned along Stanley street almost back to Connolly’s, crossing Glenelg street again on the way. Here it again turned on the west, and touched the corner of the ground occupied by the old Mechanic’s Institute (the Institute is now a portion of a bog and bale factory). After leaving the Institute, the creek crossed at right angles Grey and Glenelg streets, and midway by Glenelg and Ernest streets, made a sharp curve on the Grey street frontage. From this curve a smaller branch of the creek, by a circuitous route, ended its course near the corner of Tribune and Merivale Streets. The main branch, after leaving the curve in Grey Street again, turned westerly crossing Glenelg Street once and Hope Street twice, and after passing through several allotments, ended in the neck of a swamp near the intersection of Russell and Merivale Streets. In Russell Street, a bridge only wide enough to accommodate one vehicle at a time, had been placed across this neck for the convenience of those farmers who brought their produce into South Brisbane from Hill End. This swamp occupied the whole of the Merivale street frontages to Melbourne street, and also the whole of the last named street almost up to the course of Grey Street. In several places where the creek crossed a street, a round log had been thrown across the watercourse to serve the purpose of a bridge. But surface appearances have gone. The material excavated from the Dry Dock in the 1880s was placed upon the South Brisbane streets, and all traces of the old creek and the swamp have been entirely obliterated. In your issue of December 27, a correspondent signing himself “J. H. T,” says he thinks I must have been mistaken in saying that a presentation was made to the late Mr. O’Carroll on his resigning the editorship of the “Courier,” over 50 years ago, as he was in the office in 1873. Will you permit me to point out that I did not say that Mr. O’Carroll had resigned, but that he had retired from that position. As a matter of fact, Mr. O’Carroll held a responsible position on the literary staff of the “Courier,” for many years after 1869.
“An Old Brisbaneite of the Sixties” referring to some remarks I made in connection with Child’s Paddock at Newstead a few weeks ago, writes to me an interesting personal reminiscence as follows:
“I worked near Child’s farm in 1867. Larry O’Neill rented it for his cows. It had been sown down with English grass, and there was but a few acres cultivated round the house at that time. My daily job was to bring the cows there from Bulimba ferry every morning and fetch them back in the evening. Overlooking the paddock was a good sized brick house where lived the Rev. John Kingsford, the Minister of the Jireh Church- a big man with a full beard. My sister was staying there at the time and I lived in daily dread that she would spot me, for I was absent from headquarters without leave. The remains of the old flood gate were there then, and spring tides backed the water up to the Waterloo Inn, on Bulimba Road. The old Waterloo was about 70 yards lower down that the present hotel. Where the hotel now stands was occupied by a large lagoon. Jacob Poole used to drive O’Neill’s cart, but left him when O’Neill went to Teviot Brook. He married a girl cook at Jerry Scanlon’s Queensland Hotel, and it was Jerry who almost forced Jacob to buy a little farm about a mile below the Hamilton and lent him the money to get it. Here he reared his family and made a good living. If he holds it now, it must be worth a bit. Jerry Scanlon was an eccentric Irishman with a big heart and Jacob was not the only hard worker to whom he gave a useful lift. It has since struck me very often that the class of colonists we met in those days, English, Scotch, and Irish (and I’ll even include our early German tourists) were, for industry, honesty, and perseverance, far and away ahead of those who came later on. They overcame difficulties that present day people would never face; and they saved and throve on earnings at which men and women would nowadays scoff.
Sir, In your medium recently some very interesting old Qld historical matter has been unearthed owing to the queries re the supposed galleon at Stradbroke Island. Probably there may be a few of your readers who will remember some of the following incidents witnessed by my father Mr. Wm J. Sparkes, who is 83 years old. He was born in Sydney (1838) having come to Queensland, which was then known as Moreton Bay, when he was 2 years of age (1840). Queensland had not then secured her right of self government. While a lad attending a school known as St. John’s which was presided over by a Mr. Johnson, and situated at a spot at the rear of the old Longreach Hotel buildings, he was guilty of playing truant to witness the hanging of an aboriginal named Dundulla.
Dundulla murdered a family at Stoney Creek, and he paid the penalty of his crime on the scaffold, which was erected where our General Post Office in Queen Street now stands. A square was formed around the scaffold by the 50th Regiment. Dundulla, proving a little fractious, gruesomely danced up and down his coffin until his legs and arms were pinioned by the hangman, J. Green, who came from Sydney for the execution.
An incident which created a good deal of sensation took place about 65 years ago, and in which Mr. Sparkes figured. It was a raid by the blacks at the Pine River. He happened to be at Mrs. Cash’s residence (the only one on the Pine) and the blacks sacked the house. They could nothing but look on, and ultimately Mrs. Cash and himself hid in a hollow stump, and then made for a surveyor’s camp, and the blacks followed their tracks there, but made off as soon as they sighted the camp tents.
When Mrs. Cash returned home, he gave chase to the blacks, with the aid of Inspector Sneyd, of the Mounted Police. The Pine River was a great trysting ground for deserters off the sailing ships calling in at Moreton Bay and the late Mrs. Cash proved a very good friend to many of these wanderers when they hungered.
The first horse race in Queensland was witnessed by Mr. Sparkes. It was won by a horse owned and ridden by a man named Flynn. The course lay round by George Street via Elizabeth Street, and back round where old St. John’s Cathedral (now Queen’s Square) stood for so many years. Mr. Sparkes was present at the laying of the foundation stone of the old edifice in 1854.
Dealing with the islands in the Bay, he remembers the news being received of the murder of a man named Joe Gold by the aboriginals on Moreton Island. Gold was engaged in a smoking mullet enterprise. Mr. Thos O’Shaughnessy of Fortitude Valley, could give some information on the question of the wild cattle on Stradbroke Island. He secured a number there probably before Mr. Belliss of Nerang, and these were shot and boiled down on the island. One of the first editors of the “Courier” was well-known to Mr. Sparkes. He was a Mr. Davis, and he was in charge in 1858, when Mr. J. Swan had a big interest in the venture. Swan Hill owes its name to Mr. J. Swan. Quite a number of incidents in connection with the blacks in and around Brisbane as far back as 1849 are quite fresh in my father’s memory.
Wm. P. Sparkes,
South Coast Line.
April 7, 1921.
The Coming of the Cane
October 8, 1921.
Sugar cane was grown in the Moreton Bay district long before Qld was permitted to officially inscribe her name on the map of Australia as a separate and independent colony. When Mr. Buhot arrived in 1862, the total population of the new territory was little more than 30,000 and Brisbane was, of course, a very small city.
The infant colony had then recently started on her career. She had already overcome some of the initial difficulties connected with the establishment of a new Government, and was making preparations for increased development in her pastoral and agricultural areas.
In emphasizing the importance to Queensland of cane cultivation and sugar manufacture, Mr. Buhot, who, as stated, has been called the father of the sugar industry in Queensland, showed that intense earnestness of purpose which is essential in all undertakings if success is to be achieved. By means of numerous letters to the Press, by frequent interviews with public men, and by lectures in Brisbane and elsewhere, he aroused public opinion to a state of enthusiasm on the subject, and many men already on the land were induced to embark on the business of cane planting. Lands prodigal in fertility were waiting for the plough, and he assured farmers that from the success already won in a number of instances, the new industry would soon be like a young giant awakening from a long sleep.
On account of the practical knowledge and long experience in the West Indies, his services as manager were in request on several of the plantations then in the colony, and in addition to laying out and superintending the first year’s work on Captain Hope’s plantation at Ormiston, he instructed the staff during the first year’s operations on the Caboolture Cotton Company’s estate. He also laid out and planted the Oaklands estate, the property of the late Hon. C. B. Whish. At various times he was engaged in the Victoria Cotton Company’s estate, the Noyea estate on the Albert River, the Pimpana Sugar Company’s estate on the Pimpana River, and superintended the erection of the company’s mill.
His lectures in Maryborough induced many farmers in the Mary River district to take up sugar lands, and in 1864, he manufactured sugar in the School of Arts in that town.
He erected the first central factory on the Mary and operated the works for the first season’s sugar production.
In the early months of 1870, Mr. Buhot contributed to the “Queenslander” several papers on cane planting and sugar making. “Sugar should be made in the field,” he said, “and the planter, not the boiler, should be held responsible for the quality and the quantity of the yield.”
By the mid 1860s, the industry had obtained a footing at Maryborough, Bundaberg, Isis, Mackay, Lower Burdekin, and was afterwards established on the Herbert and Johnstone Rivers, Cairns, and the Bloomfield River.
In 1867, there were nearly 2000 acres of land under cane and six mills were working, while in the following year, 1868, there were about 28 mills in operation, and about 5000 acres under cane.
Rapid and eye opening developments then took place in the early 1870s and the industry became well established in the North, particularly in the Mackay and in the Herbert and Johnstone River districts.
The late Hon. C. H. Fitzgerald and John Spiller planted the first sugar cane in Mackay and the first mill (the Alexandra) was erected by Messrs Fitzgerald and Davidson in 1868.
Shortly afterwards, the following mills were erected:- Pleystowe, Bramscombe, Nebia, Dumbleton, Pioneer, Foulden and Cassida.
The Park Presbyterian Church
January 14, 1905
One of the most interesting features in the history of our older churches is to be found in the removals which have taken place from their original sites. These removals have been brought about by the increase of settlement around the original churches, and a consequent rise in land values, which in each case has made it worth the while of the church trustees to dispose of their original sites, and purchase others then of less value. These second properties have in their turn improved in value as the years roll on, so that our churches have reaped a substantial harvest of increment, thanks to the foresight and acumen of those who secured the original properties.
What is now known as the Park Presbyterian Church, Glenelg Street, South Brisbane, is a case in point, its having had its origin from a small wooden building erected in Grey Street upon a spot now covered by the South Brisbane (Melbourne Street) Railway Station. In going back to those earlier years, a controversial area is opened up, the adherents of the Ann Street (Brisbane) Presbyterian Church and the Park Church each claiming to be present day embodiment of that parent church and each holding that the other is the branch church. In the compilation of this sketch, however, an effort will be made to relate as far as possible the actual historical facts disclosed by the records to which we have obtained access, without taking any part in the controversy referred to.
All records agree that the first steps towards forming a distinct Presbyterian fellowship were taken at the latter end of 1849, some six months or so after the establishment of the United Evangelical Church under the Rev. Chas. Stewart.
An impression exists in some minds that the establishment of a Presbyterian Church in South Brisbane followed the disintegration of the United Evangelical Church, but this is evidently incorrect.
As a matter of fact, it was not until 1855 that the evangelical congregation divided, and a purely Presbyterian congregation had then been established for some years in Grey Street.
As early as 1849, a meeting was held of those who desired to form a purely Presbyterian Church. Amongst active workers in the movement were the late D. C. McConnel, of Cressbrook, (whose descendants are well-known residents still), and the late Rev. Thomas Mowbray, a gentleman who gave his name to the considerable area of land since known as Mowbraytown, now closely settled. In those old days Mowbraytown was looked upon as part of Kangaroo Point district, and it was at the residence of Mr. Mowbray, at Kangaroo Point, that these pioneer Presbyterians held their meetings.
Mr. Mowbray had been a minister of the Established Church of Scotland, and had been driven to these shores in 1847, by continuous ill health. The fact that he was spared until the 24th December 1867 is evidence that he profited by our genial climate and during those twenty years he won for himself a worthy name as a Christian worker. At that first meeting in October 1849 already referred to, only preliminary steps appear to have been taken. Two months later, however, on 12th December 1849, a further meeting was held, at which those present formed themselves into a committee to secure support for a Church founded upon “the great doctrines set forth in the Westminster Confession of Faith.” That committee consisted of Mr. D. C. McConnel, (chairman), the Rev. T. Mowbray (secretary), and Messrs. McAdam, Inglis, McIntyre, McNaught and Stewart.
This pioneer committee appointed an executive with instructions to purchase a site for a church, as the good people disdained the State aid which would no doubt have given them in the shape of a grant had they so desired it. The executive accordingly purchased a piece of land in Grey Street from Mr. Dowse. Mr. Little, solicitor, acted for the executive in conducting the purchase. This land was at once vested in Messrs. McConnel, Mowbray, Cairncross, Gray and McIntyre. People who know Brisbane well will have no difficulty in connecting the name of Cairncross with the well-known estate, on the banks of the Brisbane River, which afterwards came to be known as Colmslie. The Mr. Cairncross referred to was also father-in-law to the Hon. A. J. Thynne, M.L.C.
Early in the year 1850, steps were taken to utilise the Grey Street land, and the tender of Mr. John Graham (£112) was accepted for the erection of the weatherboard church first up.
The builder, Mr. Graham, was the father of the gentleman who was well-known for years after in connection with the Bridge Hotel, which stood in Stanley Street, where O’Connor’s Hotel is now situated.
As time went on several alterations and additions were made to the building with the object of improving and increasing the accommodation but there are no pictures to be discovered showing those alterations. The records of meetings held to discuss those matters are, however, still extant in the handwriting of Mr. McConnel and Mr. Mowbray. Whilst awaiting the completion of the new building, the Rev. Thomas Mowbray conducted service at such times and places as could be made convenient, though his lack of health prevented him from acting continuously.
On the 25th May 1851, he had the privilege of opening the first Presbyterian church in Queensland. The energy of the young congregation had at this time attracted attention in Sydney, and the Rev. A. Salmon, moderator, paid a visit to Brisbane. As a result a call was given to the Rev. John Tait, of Parramatta, but that gentleman declined. Failing for the time being to secure a minister, an attempt was then made to secure a catechist, and the services of Mr. John Scott were obtained. That gentleman conducted a school in the church building during the week, and held service on Sundays. He was eventually employed by the Qld Education Department for many years, and had charge of the Ipswich Central State School. Mr. Scott, now and for many years Under Secretary to the Department of Public Lands, is a son of this early worker in the cause of education and religion. It should be mentioned here that the first education committee appointed to assist Mr. John Scott, consisted of the Rev. Mr. McLeod, Messrs. Raff, Gray, Edmonstone and McConnel.
Meanwhile the Rev. Mr. Salmon, as Moderator of Eastern Australia, had been kept fully alive to the needs of Queensland in the matter of clergy, and he opened up communications with Scotland, which resulted in the Rev. Walter Ross McLeod, a minister of the Free Church being sent out to the Grey Street Church.
Mr. McLeod was quite young. Mr. McLeod was the first minister to have actual charge of a congregation of Queensland Presbyterians. He arrived in August 1852 was publicly welcomed at the North Brisbane Courthouse on the 28th August 1852 and preached his first sermon on the following Sunday.
Ill-health limited Mr. McLeod’s term to some sixteen months, for in November 1853, he was compelled to resign.
During Mr. McLeod’s time it became necessary for him to conduct services on the north side as well as on the south side. A number of his parishioners resided there, and found it most inconvenient to cross the river by the inadequate means then in existence. The north side services were at that time usually held in the old School of Arts, at the corner of Queen and Creek Street. It may be mentioned in passing that a sister of the Rev. McLeod also came to reside in Queensland, and was eventually married to Mr. D. C. McConnel.
For a year after Mr. McLeod’s retirement, the church was left without a pastor in charge, though it is understood that the Rev. T. Mowbray helped him during that period. In December 1853, the Rev. Alexander Waters Sinclair, of the Free Church, visited Brisbane, and availed himself of the opportunity of conducting service at Grey Street. Mr. Sinclair evidently won the hearts of his hearers, as he soon afterwards received a formal call to the charge which he accepted. There is evidence that he entered upon his work with considerable vigour, the congregation being properly organised, and a kirk session and deacon’s court formed. The first elders were the Rev. T. Mowbray, Messrs W. Pettigrew, John Scott and Craies. The first deacons were Messrs Caldwell, McIntyre and McKergow. Now that everything was properly constituted, the original church committee was allowed to lapse.
Shortly after Mr. Sinclair’s arrival an application was made to the Government to acquire by purchase three allotments of land in Ann Street, North Brisbane.
These allotments were secured for the sum of £194. The purchase of a site on the Northside of the river was rendered necessary by the growing importance of that part of the city, which even in the early 1850s, was giving evidence that it would become the main centre.
It was the evident intention of some at least of the church members to make Ann Street the principal church, as it was decided that the manse should be erected there. A building fund was accordingly started, and it is evidence of practical Christianity that in the first fourteen days, no less a sum than £321 was subscribed. The erection of the manse was first proceeded with, and before the year was out, Mr. Sinclair was in occupation of his new home.
He resigned the pastorate in 1856, and was succeeded by the Rev. Charles Ogg, who came here from Illawarra, New South Wales. The new pastor appears to have been disposed to regard the Northside as the most suitable for the church, and at a meeting held in October, 1856, the advisableness of securing a further piece of land in Ann Street, from the Government, and located opposite the manse, was considered. This question was referred to a meeting of the congregation, but apparently nothing further was ever done in the matter of securing that extended area.
Feeling ran high between the north and south side adherents, and Mr. Ogg began to confine his services to the School of Arts, North Brisbane. A start was shortly afterwards made with the erection of the Ann Street church, and a committee, consisting of Messrs. Boyland, Pettigrew and G. Raff, finally arranged conditions of severance. By this arrangement the South Brisbane Presbyterians took over the Grey Street Church, paying the sum of £150 to the North Brisbane Church, and relinquishing all interest in the Ann Street property, and handing over to the latter party the Session Records and Communion vessels.
The path of the two congregations thenceforward became distinct. The history of Ann Street will be told later, but meanwhile it may be stated that the Rev. Charles Ogg continued to minister to its members, leaving Grey Street to its own resources. The pulpit there was “supplied” for some years, as occasion offered, the Rev. T. Mowbray again helping as health permitted, and assistance being given by the Rev. J. Kingsford, and others.
It was not until 1863 that the pulpit was again regularly filled, this time by the Rev. John Wilson.
This gentleman was a minister of the Irish Presbyterian Church, and came to Queensland from County Mayo. For three years, Mr. Wilson did splendid work in that first Queensland Presbyterian Church building, but his health was poor from the outset, and he had eventually to resign.
He afterwards removed to Ipswich, and died on 18th December 1871.
Again the Grey Street congregation fell upon unsettled days, and for a period of four years and some months, they were without regular ministrations, supply being furnished by Mr. Ebenezer Hooker, a lay preacher of the Baptist Church.
In February 1871, the Rev. Dr. Alexander Hay, M.A., arrived in Brisbane, and in July of that year, he was duly inducted. Dr. Hay continued in charge until December 1875, when he accepted a call to Rockhampton, where he still remains. Dr. Hay has done much notable work for the Church in Qld, and has written a “Jubilee History of the Presbyterian Church in Qld,” to which we are indebted for a deal of assistance in the compilation of this sketch.
The Rev. D. F. Mitchell succeeded Dr. Hay being inducted in the old wooden church in April 1876. Mr. Mitchell is still in the church, full of years and honour.
THE OLD PIONEERS AND THE BLACKS
by Nut Quad
During the year 1857, numerous outrages were committed by the blacks in and near Brisbane.
At Eagle Farm, Milton, West End, and other places where farming operations were carried on, they were particularly troublesome and made frequent incursions to the cultivated lands of the settlers, removing sweet potatoes, pumpkins etc.
Within the town boundary itself, they caused much annoyance by demanding from residents bread, tea, sugar, tobacco, and by fighting amongst themselves when under the influence of a vile brand of rum, which could easily be procured. At such times they made pandemonium, for their shouts and howls could be heard for long distances.
A regulation was in force by which the police were empowered to drive them out of town at nightfall, but there were so many of them, and the police were so few in number, that it was difficult to enforce the regulation.
“Blanket time”- 24 May- was an anxious time for housewives in the suburbs. for the natives came in from East and West Moreton, and from more distant places, to receive the Queen’s Bounty, in the shape of a cheap blanket. They silently prowled around suburban backyards with their acquisitive organs in active operation, and quickly snapped up unconsidered trifles that had been left lying about the premises.
Men travelling singly on lonely roads were sometimes stopped and robbed by marauding bands. On one occasion a man named Hudson was walking to Brisbane from Moggill Creek, and when near the town, he was surrounded by 40 or 50 blackfellows, who took from him four shillings in silver, and then allowed him to proceed on his journey. Information was given to the police and an inspector rode out with one or two constables. They apprehended one native on suspicion, and handcuffed him to a tree while they went in pursuit of some of the others. When they returned to the tree, they found that the prisoner had escaped.
During this year (1857), the blacks gathered in large numbers in the Caboolture district, driving off cattle belonging to the settlers, and afterwards killing them for food purposes. When the stockmen attempted to recover some of the animals that had been speared, the natives attacked them with waddies and spears. Applications were sent to the police authorities in Brisbane for protection, and now and again a couple of mounted troopers were sent to the district for a few days; but this small force was quite insufficient to afford the necessary protection.
Old residents, who were lads in 1857, will remember the excitement caused in Brisbane by a shocking double murder which took place near the Logan in August of that year, when a German woman named Klumpp and her son- a lad about 14 years of age- were murdered by a blackfellow named Nelson. Mrs. Klumpp and her husband were in the employ of Mr. Henderson, of Tabragalba station. Early one morning, she left the station with her son and some other Germans to make some purchases in Brisbane, and to deposit some money in the Government Savings Bank.
On arrival at the bank, she learned that she could not obtain as much interest as she expected; she therefore took the money away with her and accompanied by her son, started for home. As she did not reach the station when expected, fears were entertained for her safety, and her husband came to Brisbane to look for her. The morning she left Brisbane, she was seen with her son by Dr. Cannan and a man named Woodley, about three miles from the Logan crossing place, going in the direction of home. A search was made in the neighbourhood, and her body was found by her husband in the bed of Sandy Creek, much mutilated by native dogs. Later on the boy’s body was found about a quarter of a mile away. From the fact that a blackfellow named Nelson, who had been employed on Mr. White’s station near the Logan, had been seen in Brisbane and was known to have spent money in several places, suspicion was aroused and the police were instructed to investigate the matter.
Nelson had been seen by Dr. Cannan on the road near the spot where he had seen Mrs. Klumpp and her son. Inquiry was made and it was found that the blackfellow had two days after Mrs. Klumpp left Brisbane, visited Mr. Kinsela’s store in Russell Street, South Brisbane, and purchased goods to the value of over £9. He had inadvertently left on the counter a purse which was afterwards identified as belonging to the murdered woman, and in which she had placed her money (£26) before leaving home.
Nelson subsequently went to another store, and purchased a pair of Wellington boots, a whip, and a pair of spurs, and gave a quantity of bread, tobacco, cigars and some rum to the other blackfellows.
After treating the South Brisbane blacks as stated, he returned to Mr. White’s station. The police expected he would do this, and laid their plans accordingly.
They proceeded to the Logan River, but found it was too deep to cross, so went round by the Teviot road. After going some distance, they returned to the river to see if they could find a log lying across the stream upon which they could cross to the other side. They hobbled their horses, and with their swags on their shoulders, started for Mr. Henderson’s station. They reached Jimboomba about 6pm, and after some refreshment, walked on to Mr. White’s station, arriving there about midnight. They roused Mr. White from his sleep, and told him the nature of their errand. That gentleman advised that it would be unwise to go to the camp that night to arrest the blackfellow as in the darkness and the confusion that their presence would cause, Nelson would probably escape. He suggested that they should wait until morning, when they could more easily secure him. The police therefore camped in the stable and, when nelson next morning, ignorant of the presence of the police, came for his saddle shortly after daylight, he was at once arrested. He was taken to the spot where the murdered woman’s body was found, but he denied all knowledge of the crime.
He was handcuffed and one end of a rope was placed around his body, while the other end was attached to the saddle of the horse ridden by one of the troopers.
When the party camped at midday to boil the billy, Nelson, with a firestick which had been given to him to light his pipe, managed to partly burn the cord attached to his body. When later in the afternoon, they reached the Boggo Scrub (now Fairfield), three miles from town, he dropped a bundle he was carrying. This caused one of the trooper’s horses to shy. Taking advantage of this, Nelson made a sudden dart, broke the partly burned rope, bounded through Mr. Grimes’ fence into the dense scrub, and although handcuffed, was out of sight in a few seconds. Every effort was made to trace him but without success.
Shortly afterwards, a proclamation was issued by the New South Wales Government, offering £25 reward for the apprehension and conviction of Nelson for the murder of Mrs. Klumpp and her son. The proclamation was signed by Captain Wickham, who then represented in Brisbane the New South Wales Government. Nelson was never afterwards captured. He was described as rather a good looking blackfellow, 22 years of age, five feet seven or eight inches in height, slight build, spoke English well, and had for some time been driving bullocks for Mr. White. The constables whose carelessness permitted Nelson to escape , were subsequently tried before Mr. Justice Milbord on a charge of misdemeanour and acquitted.
Unfortunately many of the crimes committed by the blacks in the early days were acts of retribution for outrages previously perpetrated by white men. The natives strongly resented the libidinous attentions shown by the white men to their womenfolk, and the motive for some of the murders is suggested by the question put by Dundalli, the Bribie Islander, to the sawyers, Bowler and Waller, at the Pine River sawpit, “where are the gins?” asked Dundalli; and Bowler said “we know nothing of them.” Before noon the next day the sawyers were attacked by a number of blacks and Bowler was speared in the shoulder and ribs. He was assisted towards Mr. Griffin’s station by a man named Smith, who had witnessed the tragedy. Smith came on to Brisbane and reported the matter to the police who conveyed the injured man in to the Brisbane Hospital on the site of the present Supreme Court, where he died four days afterwards. The body of Waller was found in the scrub four days after the murder.
RECOLLECTIONS OF THE EARLY SEVENTIES
By H. A. P.
About 50 years ago, the corner of William Street was occupied by the Registrar General’s Office, which at that time was a long one story building. The Master of Titles was Henry Scott, who lived on the Shafston Estate, Kangaroo Point; Seth Paterson was his deputy. The William street wing housed the Government Lithographic Office, under the charge of C. J. Ham, with Mr. Eaton as his assistant. Many a time (when on an errand to the Audit Office), I stood for a few minutes watching with much interest the printing of the old (full face) Queensland stamps from the steel plates that were engraved by Perkins Bedon and Co., London. These beautiful productions were replaced about 1879 by a second issue (small head) a very commonplace design, produced in the colony. On the northern corner of George Street stood the Bank of New South Wales (Mr. Archer, manager) an old fashioned building with a veranda, and a garden that extended some distance down Queen Street, with banana trees visible above the fence, and sometimes fruit of the same hanging over the footpath.
The Trustee’s Building is now on the site of the garden. Speaking of that bank reminds me of an incident in connection therewith that took place about the year 1877. The staff were working back one night, and shortly after a large roll of notes was missing. The usual search was made, but no trace of them could be found until some months later, when one of the clerks marched into the Union Bank at the corner of Creek Street to open an account with a bundle of notes. The teller noticed that these had an earthy odour, and becoming suspicious, he had the prospective customer interviewed, with the result that the clerk “made a full” confession, saying he had buried them by the garden. The culprit , who was 27 years of age, was committed to trial, proved guilty, and sentenced to 10 years at St. Helena.
Next to the Bank came the “Telegraph” Newspaper office, then Sewell (optician), who, I believe, was instrumental in starting English Good Templar Lodges in Brisbane. Chas. Morell (watchmaker), had a shop here. Then in more or less regular succession were E and J young (grocers), Voges’ European Hotel, Clarke (pastrycook), Travers and Schaffer (cabinetmakers), J. F. Hinton (fruiterer), James Farry, bootmaker, and a couple of shops used as a store by G. B. Molle. Geo. Camm’s well-known lolly shop followed, next to which was Nathaniel Lade (saddler). The latter employed several apprentices, among whom were George Madgwick, who now has a place of business on the Fairy Meadows road, Woollongong, and W. Jackson, who has a saddler’s shop at Stanthorpe. Watson and Co (booksellers, late W. Gowans), came next to Lade’s. Mr. Gowans was buried in the old graveyard behind the gaol, as we used to call that part of Brisbane, and his tombstone may still be seen alongside the Mortuary Chapel (now Christ Church) at Milton. When visiting the old burial ground a few years ago, I was struck with a peculiar epitaph on an old headstone, which possibly may be on interest to many of the “Courier” readers. It read as follows:
“Life is a city with many crooked streets,
Death is a market place where all the people meet,
If life were merchandise, that money could buy;
All the rich would live, and all the poor would die.”
Kosvitz, the jeweller, was next door to Watson’s, then Lenneberg’s Café de Paris. The “Civet Cat”, a noted toy shop, faced the archway of the old Supreme Court (by the way, there seems to be no toy shops now, these and many other specialities have practically disappeared, the large departmental stores have gobbled them up). W. Munro Smith, the bookseller, came next; Miss Femister’s fancy work repository occupying one side of his shop. I fancy she was a sister of Mrs. Smith, and they all came to the colony before Separation, being mentioned in the jubilee issue of the “Queenslander,” as among the “Fifty Niners.” Charles Street (draper) had their window frontages next. He had several daughters, who were fine, stylish-looking girls, and, as I still remember, were objects of my boyish admiration.
There were others of the same surname in Brisbane at the time, though not related to each other. One family lived near Harris Terrace in George Street, and another (feather-dyers) near Pettigrew’s, in William Street.
Street, draper, lived on the North Quay not far from the bridge, and close to the residence of Mr. Kingsmill Shaw, a business man who was drowned near Dalby, and whose young widow of about 26, with her four children, returned to Sydney (her native town), and took up her old profession of teaching music and singing. I frequently saw her on the Mosman ferry about 9 in the morning on her way to her rooms in the city. She eventually went to live with her daughter (Mme. Carrara) at Milan, Italy, and died there nearly two years ago, at 70 years of age. She had an individuality all her own, and I easily recognised her, though I had not seen her for more than 40 years. Her husband was superintendent of All Saints Sunday School for some years prior and until his death, and was a close friend of the Rev. T. Jones, who for so many years was the popular incumbent of All Saints’ Church, Wickham Terrace, the present building and the one it replaced. Emil Gaujard (afterwards Gaujard and Elsen) who, as was then the custom, advertised his tobacconist shop by a little statue standing on the kerbstone, was next, and like his neighbour, Street, was reputed to be of French nationality. I am afraid I have been “meandering” from Queen Street, but as one in memory takes a stroll and becomes reminiscent, it is surprising the number of old faces that reappear to divert us from our theme.
Near Gaujard’s was a chemist shop kept by Charles Davies, a quiet mannered benevolent gentleman whose life gave him his looks, for he was the essence of kindness, and many a poor woman unable to pay for a doctor lived to bless him for his gratuitous advice and medicine when the baby was sick. This was only one of many ways in which he displayed his generosity.
The kind hearted chemist has gone to his reward these many years.
Hockings and Son (seedsmen) were on the corner of Albert Street, their nursery being at the West End, but I expect it is now covered with cottage homes.
Opposite Hockings was a draper’s shop (R. F. Edward’s Glasgow House) and next door, D. P. Milne’s Glasgow Boot Mart. The Grotto, another well-known toy shop, was here, then a lane leading to the rear of St. Patrick’s Tavern. The latter was a low one storey structure built of red brick, with an extensive frontage to the main street, and was one of the old fashioned buildings standing a little way back from the footpath alignment, with a front veranda the whole length of the building (tradition says it was the first place of business erected in Queen Street).
Next door was Paddy Mayne’s butchery afterwards pulled down to make way for the British Empire Hotel, under host Armstrong, formerly lessee of the ferry to the south side.
The north side ferry house was next to J. and G. Harris’ stores, at the rear of the Immigration Depot. A few doors lower down was Dickson and Duncan’s auction mart. Murray, the cabinetmaker, Brabant and Co (merchants), J. and J. Burns (grocers), John Forsyth (draper) and Lot Randle’s bookshop. The Oxford Hotel, occupied a little later by T. C. Moxley, stood in this locality, near which was a jeweller’s shop, conducted by Mrs. Terry.
Perry Bros, ironmongers, had their original shop in the block, also W. Potts (tailor) Jesse Sawyer (tobacconist) and W. Hughes (formerly McKinlay Bros), tea and coffee merchants.
The latter afterwards moved to Sydney and conducted a similar shop in William Street, Woolloomooloo.
Upstairs, near Forsyth’s, John Watson had a photographic studio (afterwards Metcalfe and Glaister). He bought William Gowan’s bookselling business on the death of the latter. Mr. Watson lived over the water, and I fancy, had no children, but his aged mother stayed with them. I can remember him say that he longed to revisit the Old Country, but would not leave while his mother was living. In the course of time, she passed away, so the long looked for trip was planned, and the passage booked for himself and his wife by the ill-fated Quetta. They went “home,” but not to the Old Country, and will be seen no more until the sea gives up its dead. Upstairs from Potts, the tailor, was S. Duesbury’s photographic parlour; and let me say just here, that having your “likeness” taken was anything but pleasant operation in those days. The process took several minutes, during which (to ensure perfect stillness) the head was held in a metal grip placed at the back of the chair. The elevation of the machine was regulated by telescopic action, and the grip itself by means of a screw process to keep the head in the desired position, which it easily did.
As soon as the cap was removed from the muzzle of the camera, a hanging screen at the back of the “patient” was kept in motion until the picture was taken. There was no dry plate system nor gaslight printing in those days, the plates had to be prepared by the wet process and all printings were by sunlight, so that if the day was cloudy, printing was postponed; but Brisbane suffered very little from that trouble unless during what we called the “wet season,” when it would have rained for weeks at a stretch. There was not much choice in the size or style of the photographs, the variety consisting of carte-de-visite (small size) and cabinet (large size). The former cost 7 / 6d per dozen, or, if hand coloured, 12 /6d, the latter being fairly common. Every household had its photographic album, which was invariably a wedding present, and had spaced for the small size chiefly, with a few for the cabinet size. Mr. Duesbury had a branch studio round the corner in Edward Street under the charge of his son, Horace, who did the hand colouring for both places. Horace was rather clever at oil painting but found limited scope for his hobby in the small population of Brisbane, so migrated to America, where he eventually died.
The old man did pretty well at his profession, and in after years he and his good wife returned to England to the place they came from to end their days in a well earned rest, but for the climate and other reasons. They returned to Queensland, where Mr. Duesbury died some years ago. All his children did well, and a younger son (Frank) became a clergyman. Some months ago, I read of his passing away in a private hospital at Woollahra (Sydney).
Speaking of climate reminds me of a story I heard many years ago about George Case, who, with his wife, toured the colonies away back in the 1860s. He was a professional player on the English concertina (having compiled a tutor for that instrument) and their entertainments were much appreciated. While in Brisbane, he bought a home near Breakfast Creek, and, said that of all the places he had visited, there was no climate to compare with Brisbane, so they decided when their then (and final) tour was ended they would return to Brisbane for the remainder of their days. They were just about finishing up in Canada when Mrs. Case died, so his plans were upset, and he did not return.
Next to Hughes the grocer, was Arthur Martin’s auction mart. When quite a small boy auction rooms (during a sale) always fascinated me. Many an idle hour I spent listening to their persuasive eloquence, and of auctioneers, Arthur Martin was the “king.”
Across Edward Street the one storied buildings known as “Refuge Row” took up several fronts. They were so named from the fact of being the refuge of several business people after one of the big fires up Queen Street during the middle 1860s. Matthew Walmsley had a fruit shop on the corner, Abraham’s store was next, then Jimmy Ah Ming, who hanged himself from one of the rafters. Adam Young had a fruit shop in the “Row.”
Mr. Walmsley was associated with the little church in Ann Street, near Creek Street, and after he had to move when the “Row” was demolished to make way for the A.M.P. building about 1880, he went to Sydney. I stayed with the family in Darlington shortly afterwards, and we often talked about bygone times in Brisbane. On one occasion I mentioned that I had often seen pineapples sold for 6d a dozen in his shop, and Mrs. Walmsley replied that they were frequently as low as 4d a dozen, and it was no uncommon sight, when a shipload of immigrants arrived to see “new chums” walking down Queen Street eating the fruit.
However, to get back to Queen Street, and “Refuge Row,” Baynes the butcher (afterwards the Co-operative) was next door, and following on, were Milne and Rorke (cabinetmakers), who a little later dissolved partnership, each opening on his own account in different localities. Then came Phillips and Woodcock (tailors). Mr. Phillips was a leading member of old St. John’s Church (Rev. J Sutton), while good Tom Woodcock had a class in All Saint’s Sunday School on Wickham Terrace.
Along towards Creek Street was a stretch of vacant land, with the old convict built police lock-up standing back some distance from the footpath, and about 30 feet higher. that the Queen Street level. It was at this point that the arch was built across the street to welcome the Duke of Edinburgh when he visited Brisbane in 1868 on the Galatea, and at each end of the arch stood a blackfellow flourishing a boomerang. Children from the various city schools sat on elevated tiers of forms, and sang the National Anthem as the Duke passed under the arch. Shortly before this time the fire bell tower stood in front of the lock-up.
Izatt and Mitchell’s sewing machine shop came next, then Francis Beattie, the hatter, who performed many years of meritorious service as Superintendent of the Brisbane Volunteer Fire Brigade (a younger brother Dick, died, in Sydney last August). There was a drum and fife band attached to the Fire Brigade at this time, and the instructor was Professor Seal.
Albert Lomer (photographer) was near by also Knight (picture framer), and there was an hotel at the corner of Creek Street kept by a Mr Whitty.
The two storey Commercial Bank of Pyrmont stone, occupied its present site, then a lot of vacant land with a drainage area in it. Butler Bros and S. Hoffnung’s warehouse were the only other places till W. Berkeley’s chemist shop was reached (afterwards Berkeley and Taylor). Mr. Berkeley’s assistants were rather fond of practical jokes, and when quite a lad, I remember being sent there for a prescription to be madeup. While waiting for it, one of the young fellows came round with a bottle of something and asked me to smell it. I fancied I could detect an unpleasant odour, so I refused to inhale it, but was urged to take a long “sniff,” with the assurance that it was all right. When I awoke I was lying on a couch in a back room with several persons standing by. Evidently I had followed his advice and taken a long “sniff.” Very soon I was fit to go, and they bribed me to silence, with a packet full of extra strong peppermints. I felt a bit “groggy,” for a while, but was perfectly right by the time I reached home, and the subject was never referred to until I reached manhood. However, I have never eaten peppermints since without fancying that they have an ammonia flavour. The perpetrator of the “joke” later had a shop of his own on the south side, but, like poor Uncle Ned in the old Christy Minstrel song, “he is dead and gone long ago.”
VALLEY OF MARROON
Twenty miles south of Boonah and right under the mountains, lies the fertile and picturesque valley of Marroon, through which runs Burnett Creek, a tributary of the Logan.
IN 1827, Cunningham, in his search for a pass over the mountain barrier that divided his newly discovered Darling Downs from the Coast, passed up the valley and delighted in its beauties.
In a few years the plucky and energetic pioneer squatter followed with his flocks and herds, reenacting in newer times and climes the adventurous experiences of the Biblical patriarchs.
According to old hands, Marroon was taken up by Mr. Collins, the original holder in the early 1840s. After holding for some time, Mr. Collins sold it to Mr. T. D. Murray-Prior, who was followed in its ownership by his son Mr. Thomas Murray-Prior, who, in turn, was followed by his son, Mr. Herbert Murray-Prior.
The estate, which consisted of some 13,000 acres, was surveyed and sold in 1914-1915. The homestead, with 400 acres of land, was purchased by Mr. J. Vellicott.
The head of Burnett Creek is in the Dividing Range near Wilson’s Peak, and has never been known to go dry. The valley, and particularly the flats along the creek, were at one time thick with red cedar. An inspection of the homestead shows that jerry-building was not a shortcoming of the old time squatters. Accompanying Mr. Vellicott, the writer was shown around the building, and noted that the wall and ground plates consisted of “faced” logs, strong enough for the girders of a bridge. On these red cedar joists, 4 inch by 3 inch, were placed not more than 18 inches apart. Even the house blocks were from 18 inches to 20 inches through. The chimneys were built of squared freestone brought from the Rathdowney district.
Before the sale of Marroon estate, the homestead consisted of four distinct buildings, forming a quadrangle, and containing 21 rooms, but when the estate was cut up, some of them were sold for removal and one of them began a new life in the West after half a century’s service on Marroon. Red cedar surely has a very long serviceable life. Since Mr. Vellicott has occupied his holding, he has gone in largely for farming and dairying. More than 100 acres are under crop. He works a tractor for ploughing, chaff cutting etc, and is establishing a very good herd of Illawarras. Before leaving, a visit was paid to a little cemetery, about a quarter of a mile from the homestead, where a headstone marks the resting place of James Danvers Collins who died on March 4, 1856, aged 19 years. Alongside a marble cross bears the name of Cecil and James Domain, aged 6 and 5 years, who were accidentally drowned on September 23, 1912.
Perhaps the oldest resident living in the district is Mr. E. G. (George) Harvey, who went to the district when a child of three years, 53 years ago., and now lives on the farm selected by his father Israel Harvey.
The Harveys had sheep on their selection in the early days, when the blacks used to do the shepherding, but as the sheep wandered into the station paddocks so often they were considered a nuisance by the station owner and eventually they gave place to cattle.
Marroon has been closely settled comparatively lately, but the farmers are a practical and progressive class of men, as may be instanced by the fact that already Messrs E. Simmich, J. Slater, and George Cochrane have installed milking machines, while Messrs. J. Slater, R. Streeton, and J. Vellicott, have tractors on their farms.
Mr. Will Newman’s father was one of Daintree’s party in his explorations of the North, and was in almost every rush from Stanthorpe in the South to the Palmer in the North. For many years, Mr. Will. Newman followed droving but some 23 years ago settled at the foot of Mt. May, where he carries on mixed farming.
With some men, a love of the mountains is so great that they go into some awkward, if picturesque places, to make a home. Following the foot of Mt. May, one comes to the selection of Mr. Domgahm, who is a resident of 23 years.
Above him, and the last on the road, is Mr. Harris, a returned soldier.
An old Downs family is represented by the brothers Henrichs, who have farms adjoining each other, and who have done well since coming here.
Marroon has a war record probably unexcelled in any other town in Australia. Forty two young men from Marroon went on active service, and no fewer than 18 of them were killed in action. Sir William Birdwood, when unveiling the war memorial in May 1920, commented on the fact when expressing his sympathy with the bereaved relatives. The memorial is erected in a corner of the school grounds, and is carefully attended by the children, who have planted flowers and shrubs in the plot.
The school of which Mr. A. H. Todd, is in charge, has an average attendance of 42 children, three below the number which departmental regulations say entitle the school to an assistant. The pupils are divided into five classes, so one can realise that the teacher’s time is fully occupied. The building was originally a provisional school, erected some 40 years ago by the parents of the district at their own expense and handed over to the Education Department free.
The shingled roof in course of time became weather worn, and just before Christmas, the Department, after numerous requests and reports, decided to renovate.
The work consisted of a T wing to the original building and a bare corrugated iron roof in place of the shingles.
Parents, who spoke to the “Courier” representative, expressed keen disappointment, and the opinion that if the building was inspected by an independent officer of public health, it would be condemned.
It is certain that it would not be allowed in the city for a factory in which 20 adults had to work, but it is considered good enough by the Department for 40 or more children. The design of the building is such that it is impossible for the teacher to keep all his charges under observation, even if he had eyes in the back of his head.
There is a very nice School of Arts hall, with stage and library, the latter containing some 500 well sleected volumes. The subscribers number 46, which compares very favourably with larger centres. The stage scenery was painted by a local farmer, Mr. Fred Cook, who has won competitions at Ipswich and Brisbane shows.
A new floor of crow’s ash is just about to replace that put down some 30 years ago, and over which so many hundreds of miles have been gyrated to the strains of an accordion. So far jazz has not invaded the district.
The telephone line was completed about 15 months ago, after 12 years agitation.
There are two churches, Church of England and Methodist- ministers visiting from Boonah.
The distance from Rathdowney is between 12 and 13 miles, but the road crosses the river so many timers, and there are so many interruptions in wet weather, that the longer road to Boonah is preferred.
A few patches of cotton were noted during the visit to the district, but apparently the bountiful season is going to have a bad effect, as owing to the rain, the bushes are showing a great wealth of foliage but very few flowers. The acreage has decreased, as compared to last year, the adiry men contending that it pays them better to put in a crop that will give cows feed for the winter even if it fails for grain.
By Thos Mathewson
21 August 1920
One of the first vehicles for the conveyance of passengers in Queensland was one that was started between Ipswich and The Swamp (now Toowoomba), at the beginning of 1857.
Two brothers, by name Harry and Richard Spring, living at The Swamp, conceived the idea that such a vehicle making one trip per week each way would prove a profitable venture. They owned a few head of horses, and possessed limited finances. However, they managed to secure an old two wheeled sociable with which to commence. This vehicle was drawn by one horse in the shafts, and a second one on the offside, attached to an outrigger arm. The trip each way was to occupy two days. From Ipswich on the first day’s stage, the resting place was Gatton.
The writer, at the age of 14 years, in April 1857, took passage by this conveyance from Ipswich. We started in the early morning from the Red Cow Hotel, Bell Street. There were four passengers beside the driver- Mr. and Mrs. Kelk occupied the two seats facing each other in the hinder part of the trap- and on the front seat were the driver and betwixt him and me was a young man whose name I forgot.
We jogged along the old time bush track and all went well until nearing the summit of the Little Liverpool Range at about 4 o’clock in the afternoon. We were trotting along a siding. The driver being on the lower side failed to see a boulder which caught the near wheel turning the whole topsy turvy with the wheels spinning in the air. I, being on the higher end of the driving seat, was thrown quite a dozen yards down the hill, landing safely on all fours, and I remember from the corner of my eye catching sight of the vehicle, as it were, coming down the steep incline after me, which caused me to spurt a few yards further away.
Mr. and Mrs. Kelk were somewhat injured, but not seriously enough to prevent their resuming the journey after repairs had been effected. On examination of the trap, it was found that one shaft was broken, outrigger arm bent, and harness greatly damaged. The outlook was not too bright, as we were then some sixteen miles from Gatton, and at that time there was no settlement on the road between Bigg’s Camp (now Grandchester), and Gatton. However, the driver and the other young man assisted by the suggestions of Mr. Kelk, and by the aid of saplings and green hide after an hour of smart work, we were able to resume our forward journey. We managed to reach Sandy Creek six miles from Gatton, in safety but the night was becoming so intensely dark that it would be difficult for the driver to avoid the many stumps which fringed the unmade track, so it was decided to camp there all night, even at the expense of losing our evening meal. There was nothing to do but make the best of it. A huge fire was lit to do for blankets, and, I think, most got to sleep after an hour or two, to dream perchance of happier days. Never was sunrise more welcome than on that following morning. The writer’s greatest concern, when daylight did appear, was that his new Panama hat had been fatally singed by the blazing sticks during the hours of unconscious slumber. We reached the Gatton Hotel in time for breakfast, and did ample justice to a splendid meal, and greatly enjoyed host “Cook’s” viands. We reached the foot of the Main Range about 3pm, where a third horse, in charge of an attendant, waiting to help us up the precipitous slopes- reaching the swamp about dusk in the evening. Thus ended my second trip to what is now the Queen City of the Downs.
The Mr. and Mrs. Kelk referred to were proceeding to The Swamp to conduct the fuller education of the Horton family. At this time the William Horton family were living in retirement at The Swamp. They owned the “Bull’s Head” Inn at Drayton, which they conducted both prior and subsequently to this period, but in 1857 and 1858, it was let to Captain Witham.
REMINISCENCES OF AN OLD COLONIST
September 11, 1920
Mr. J. J. Lovekin, Wickham Terrace, writes:
I landed in Melbourne on 21 June 1857, 63 years ago. Melbourne was then a small place, but men of all nations were there. On the road to Bendigo diggings, men were passing to and for in all garbs- great batches of Chinese, with all their paraphernalia for domestic use, trade and other operations on the diggings, presenting a sight not easily forgotten. But I saw only a few domesticated aboriginals among white settlers at that time. Later on I saw more blacks round Sydney, and many at Shoalhaven, who were clever horse breakers. Their lubras were good mothers, taking good care of their children. I was never molested or had any dealings with any of the blacks in that locality, and they never asked me for anything. If I gave them anything they always showed kindness.
I saw many blacks in 1859 on the Lower Condamine River, some rather tricky, through the teachings of the white population, but the wildest of them would do anything I asked them to do such as carrying water or firewood.
I was once building a squatter’s house, and took Carlo, an aboriginal, who took his gin and piccaninny on a dray for 25 miles to the Condamine township.
On the way, Carlo left the dray frequently and secured opossumns and other game for food. On reaching the township I asked Carlo if he wanted anything. He said, “Glass rum.” I asked him if his gin or piccaninny wanted anything and he said, “No.” Carlo was very good, and minded the horses for me that night. I was at the township the day before, and went to the hotel to ask permission to put my horse in the paddock, and was told I could not do that unless I stayed at the hotel. I told the publican I was going to stay at the chief constable’s that night; he said “You can put your horse in the paddock,” for which I paid 1 /-
Many strange things were done in the hotels in those days. I saw a man and a team of bullocks, valued at £180. He also had a cheque for £30 paid to him for loading from Ipswich. I was informed that he left the hotel in less than a fortnight with 5 /- and a bottle of rum; the later being a present from the publican to help him on the road. It was said that he had sold his team to the publican and shouted the proceeds of the sale in the hotel.
On our return journey from the township with a load of Cyprus pine flooring boards, I asked Carlo if he or his gin or piccaninny wanted anything and he replied, “No.” On the way back, there were some very deep sand on the road, and the dray got stuck. I ordered the gin and piccaninny off the dray, made the horses do their best, and they pulled the shafts out of the dray, which was a very old one. I at once detached the harness from the chains, and gave Carlo his gin and piccaninny one horse, riding the other myself with the harness, and made tracks for the station, where we arrived late at night. A bullock dray and team were sent from the station to fetch the broken dray and load of boards. The sum of 6d was the whole cost of Carlo’s services on that occasion.
FARMING, DAIRYING AND COAL MINING
4 July 1925
The Rosewood District is a fertile farming and dairying area, peopled by hardworking energetic men and women, whose prosperity is well deserved.
In addition, the district promises to be come of importance as a producer of coal, of which considerable quantities are being mined at present.
Just over 50 years ago, dense brigalow scrub covered the site of the present town, and extended north to Lowood. Now only a few isolated clumps of the beautifully dark green trees remain, the area being covered with cultivated farms and prosperous dairies.
The shire of Rosewood contains an area of 246 square miles, and includes the towns of Walloon, and Grandchester on its east and west boundaries, and Marburg and Rosevale on the north and south.
In that area, there are 1139 miles of road for the upkeep of which 1147 ratepayers are taxed, just within a fraction of a mile of road per ratepayer. In the light of present day costs of road making, the ratepayers have a fairly heavy responsibility to keep the roads in anything like passable order.
The Council, however, of which Councillors H. Dutney (Chairman), R. Sellars, A. T. Waters, H. Embrey, G. H. Kingston, P. J. Doonan, J. A. Wells, W. H. Stokes, J. M. Schuman, and H. Heiner, are members, decided to advance with the times and recently purchased a motor truck for the conveyance of road making material.
Taking advantage, also, of an opportunity afforded, the Council hired from the Main Roads Board the stone cracker and engine which the Board had been using in the construction of the Marburg-Frenchton road, to secure a stock of broken metal to make a solid job of a bad place near Malabar.
The “Courier” representative, at the invitation of the Chairman, visited the scene of operations. The stone- hard blue basalt- is being taken from the farm of Mr. W. Rohl, who, in the course of cultivating his land, had gathered the boulders into heaps. The Council pays a royalty of 8d per ton.
Incidentally, it may be mentioned that the engine driver, Mr. W. Andrews, takes the greatest care of it. Every bit of copper and brass is as bright As the day the engine left the shops.
When the stone is broken by the cracker, it is elevated in buckets, and discharged into a revolving trommel and graded.
Forty years ago, breaking that class by hand cost 3 /- to 3 /6d a yard.
There is a feeling fairly expressed, that some assistance should be given to country shires for the making and upkeep of roads, as motor cars and motor lorries are very severe on road surfaces as compared with the old and slower travelling horse drawn vehicle or bullock dray.
As one man explained: “It is the speed that does the damage, and 90% of cars that use the roads are not owned in the shire.”
The district is fortunate in having deposits of basaltic blue metal whether the residue of a big flow or the independent contribution of several volcanic foci, would be an interesting study for the geologist. Certainly the larger portion of the area is sandstone, which has been disturbed to a very slight degree.
Rosewood is prettily situated at the base of a low range, which has been cultivated from foot to crest.
There are some fine business places and handsome residences, a court house, and school of arts.
The State School, of which Mr. W. A. Zerner is head teacher, is attended by 260 pupils. In addition to the usual school subjects, milk testing is taught, and every dairy farmer in the district, if he likes to take the trouble to supply samples, can ascertain the productive value of each cow in his herd.
Lanefield, 3 miles from Rosewood, and Calvert, 7 miles distant, send large quantities of “cold” milk to Brisbane for distribution to householders. The office of the Cooperative Company is at Lanefield.
Few men have jumped into the front rank of breeders so quickly as Mr. W. M. Krause, who, in about four years, has established a herd of I.M.S., some of which have won at Brisbane, Ipswich and local shows. A silo of 150 tons capacity has enabled him to carry on through the drought periods, and example and success should be a stimulation to others.
Mr. A. T. Waters, an old resident of the district, also has some high class I.M.S. cattle.
At Calvert, Mr. L. H. Paten has a fine pure bred herd of Ayrshires on his farm, Jayandel. He has an area of 515 acres, of which 70 are cultivated as feed for his stock.
Adjoining his up-tp-date bails is a silo of 150 tons capacity, a guarantee against loss of stock or reduction in milk flow during dry spells. A sideboard covered with trophies marks his success in the show ring at various centres, including the Brisbane National Show.
There are two collieries at Lanefield and other pits among the hills around Rosewood, while one is now being opened up at Malabar.
Coal trains run daily from Rosewood.
So far all seams worked are at comparatively shallow depths, but steps are now being taken to put a drill down in order to ascertain what lies beneath the present seams.
PEEPS AT THE PAST
CHAT WITH PIONEERS
VALLEY IN THE EARLY DAYS
15 August 1925
More than 50 years ago, a pretty English girl, 23 years of age, stepped ashore from the ship Juliet, near the site of the old Victoria Bridge. Today she is living, at 74, in retirement at McLennan Street, Albion, with the husband whom she married a couple of years after her arrival in Queensland. In this case, Time has tempered his brutality and Mrs. A. Hainow still owns more than bare traces of the prettiness she brought ashore with her other possessions in Brisbane in 1874.
Mrs. Hainow, before she left England, was Miss Susannah Richardson. A brother was E. R. Richardson, a school teacher, whose heart and pocket were devoted to welfare work. He was instrumental in the migration of a number of immigrants to Australia, and Miss Richardson had worked with him before her departure to Queensland. While on a scientific trip to Tasmania in 1878, he was drowned in a boating incident.
Some time after the then Miss Richardson first arrived in Queensland, she accompanied Mrs. W. Kent as lady’s maid to Jondaryan. Mrs. Kent was the grand-mother of the present Mrs. W. Kent of that place.
Twelve months afterwards, she was engaged in the shop of Mr. Halberton, a Toowoomba draper.
While employed there, she met the man with whom she has since travelled through life’s happiness and vicissitudes.
On January 22 next, if they are spared, they will celebrate their golden wedding. They were married at Trinity Church by the Rev. James Love. Cupid had dipped his shaft deep into the stream of tears before he united this couple. Nine of their 12 children are dead.
Mr. Hainow had arrived in Australia with his parents as a six year old. History does not record his photograph in the biscuit appeals that were not a feature of the advertisement pages of those days, but, judging from his robust appearance when he was interviewed at his home the other day, he wanted nothing in sturdiness. As a matter of fact he was a shepherd boy at 10. All of Pan’s artistry that he may have lacked was fully compensated for by his knowledge of the technicalities of his calling. As assistant to his father, who worked as a shepherd on a station near Goondiwindi, he earned second prize in succession in competition for the best tended flocks of sheep. Mr. Hainow only admits it tacitly but the fact that the first prize on each occasion went to his father was one of those gross miscarriages of justice that every now and then tend to destroy our family life. Because a boy is not old enough to own a latchkey, is that any reason why he should be relegated to the regions of minor prize money? Tut! Tut!
May be Mr. Hainow and mother earned the credits for his early achievements in the show ring. For six years she has been sleeping in a Toowoomba cemetery, but she had avoided the Grim Reaper for 96 years before she went there.
Mrs. Hainow says that in her younger days, in her native country, she was a shearer of sheep, and those days there was no arbitration court which could be asked for £3 a hundred.
Mr. and Mrs. Hainow lived at various times in Brisbane and Toowoomba and Warwick before they finally settled down in this city. Many years ago, at the time of the first Brisbane Exhibition, Mr. Hainow was conducting a grocery business at Fortitude Valley. He and his wife lived in a house that was redeemed for the construction of the Brunswick Street Railway Station. They can tell interesting stories of the transformation that has taken place in that district. Those were the days when you had to catch a bus to the city. “If you could get one,” said Mrs. Hainow. And mention of buses recalls that in 1887, Mr. Hainow set out in business as a cab proprietor. He was actually engaged in it for many years, in the course of which he drove most of the people whose names are associated with the development of the Queen City of the North. What old timer does not remember him?
In later years, he bought a motor car, which used to ply for hire. It is one of the family’s open secrets that he sold it on the earnest solicitations of his wife. She hated those petrol powered usurpers of Dobbin’s throne! Who can blame her? She went to Sandgate for her honeymoon in a cab, and returned in a coach. The present generation of brides may look askance at aeroplanes fifty years hence, when they see their grand-daughters off through showers of rice.
The passage of fifty years leaves a yawning chasm in a lifetime. But seeing that their acquaintance with Time was inevitable, Mr. and Mrs. Hainow evolved a satisfactory philosophy. Their safe arrival at the port of retirement is an assurance of that. They have little to say “It was not all smooth going,” were Mrs. Hainow’s last words to the interviewer. He knew that. He had not forgotten the nine losses.
ONE OF THE OLDEST PASTORAL PROPERTIES OF THE STATE
By Thos. J. McMahon
21 March 1925
The resumption of some 116 square miles of leasehold and 154,000 acres of freehold, comprised in the old station of Mount Abundance, five miles from Roma, marks an important progressive step in settling and developing the resourceful Maranoa district, one of the great western areas of Queensland.
In 1847, 78 years ago, when Queensland was part of New South Wales, one of those wonderful pioneers, Mr. Allan MacPherson, a brave and sturdy Scotsman, conducted an expedition from his station, Keera, in search of grazing lands.
One fine summer morning, as he emerged from his tent, his eyes rested on a scene of pastoral luxuriance, and he recorded his impressions in his diary in the following terms:
“Friday, 15th October, 1847. Crossed the Cogoon River (now known as Muckadilla district) and came to the Eastern Downs facing Mount Abundance. A glorious prospect! Certainly the most magnificent country burst upon view that has ever been my lot to see in the colony of New South Wales, from north to south, east to west. I was delighted, after all my troubles, to see the prospect of so splendid a termination, so far as a station, at all events, was concerned.”
Mr. MacPherson, in an interesting narrative, went on to say: “I spent two days in surveying the country round which I propose to take up a sheep and cattle station. I may say, once for all, that the ‘little farm,’ which I subsequently claimed as a run, and the claim was duly recognised by the Government, consisted of 30 miles of frontage, (and, say, 5 to 10 miles back) of the Cogoon River, and of 20 miles frontage to the creek I subsequently found out was called Bunjeyworgorai Creek. The whole run consisted of about 600 square miles or, say, 400,000 acres, the most beautiful land that ever sheep’s eyes travelled over. Beautiful undulating downs, covered with the richest barley grass, and intersected with creeks and gullies, with just enough timber on their banks to give the whole appearance that of a few scores of gentlemen’s parks rolled into one. Such was my first impression of Mount Abundance.”
Mr. MacPherson’s impressions could be formed today. Mount Abundance is a striking holding with rich pastures, and soil, exceedingly well watered. It has been well improved, due to the enterprise of the owner, the Scottish Australian Investment Co, and the careful management of Mr. Boyd Linton.
Mount Abundance today is famous for its flocks and herds, tens of thousands of the first, and thousands of the second. Its present area, as given above, will be distributed, it is expected, between 115 and 120 settlers, and it will be devoted mainly to the cultivation of wheat, for which its soils are classed as eminently suitable- fruits, mainly citrus, and grapes, farming, dairying, and sheep and cattle grazing.
With experienced and enthusiastic settlers possessing capital, Mount Abundance ultimately should bring much prosperity to the town of Roma. This, however, can only be fully realised by generous areas for settlers. If the Government is parsimonious in this matter and it has had a lesson in another great station property thrown open in the last few years, then failure of adequate development is courted, and Mount Abundance would be much better in the hands of its present ownership which has made valuable use of it.
The property has the advantage of a railway to Charleville, the nearest station to the homestead being Bungeworgorai, which is a little less than a mile from the homestead.
The homestead is beautifully situated on a high bank of Bungeworgorai Creek, with a wide well flagged crossing. A roadway winds up the banks picturesquely towards the homestead, village like with its residences, offices, stores, and gardens. The homestead has a neat and comfortable appearance, and from all points looks out upon rich country.
The manager’s residence is a long, low, old style roomy place, with a charming semi-circular lawn, and a row of fine bottle trees, whose heavy dark trunks are made bright with flowering shrubs. Across from the residence is a street of offices, stores, huts, and in the distance are horse and cattle yards. Mount Abundance is liberally watered with bores (artesian) wells, gullies, small creeks, and two important creeks- Bungeworgorai and Bungil. Bungeworgorai Creek, in some of its reaches, particularly that near the homestead, is a broad, deep, stream, and in flood time, it swells to an immense area of water, which would lend itself to catchment schemes and irrigation.
The history of the early days of the station is interesting. After Mr. MacPherson had held it for some ten years, it passed into the hands of Mr. Stephen Spencer in 1857, and from that time, the property was consistently improved and thoroughly utilised.
The name, Spencer, is well-known throughout the Maranoa, and one of Roma’s most energetic citizens, Mr. T. A. Spencer, is a nephew of Mr. Stephen Spencer.
Interesting reminiscences of the early settlement of Mount Abundance have been written by Mrs. A. McManus, the daughter of Mr. Stephen Spencer, now 81 years of age, hale and active, and living at Mitchell.
Mr. McManus came to Queensland in 1861, and while occupied with pastoral affairs, spent much profitable time exploring the West. Mrs. McManus, in a racy style, portrays the life of the early days, the remoteness of the station, the various discomforts, the trouble of getting supplies, and the few mail services. She writes in admiration of the pluck and perseverance of the pioneers. Her mother and herself were the first white women of the Maranoa and for the first few months lived in tents.
The Spencer family consisted of the father, mother, daughter, 14 years of age, and a son, David, aged 11. They travelled overland from Keera station, in New South Wales, a distance of 400 miles, to Mount Abundance, the part including 13 men droving 1000 cattle and several head of horses. The journey took months, and what with poor pastures and scant supplies of water, hardships and delays were numerous.
Reaching Mount Abundance the first camp was on the bank of the Bungeworgorai Creek. Eventually houses, huts and stores were built.
Mrs. and Miss McManus were much interested in gardening and planted roses and other flowers, vegetables and fruits, including grapes and figs, and all thrived, giving evidence of the richness of the soil. A little later, Mr. Spencer planted wheat, and this grew so successfully that the enterprising pioneer declared that “some day, wheat farms would spread for miles over Mount Abundance lands.” It would seem that this is about to be realised.
Mr. MacPherson records that at the time of his occupation, the blacks were very troublesome. They were aggressively unfriendly and treacherous. Reports were constantly coming to hand of drovers, stockmen and shepherds being killed, and often their bodies were mutilated in a shocking manner
Mrs. McManus recollects the large number of tribes in their wild state, but no harm ever came to the settlers of Mount Abundance. From the first, Mr. Spencer treated the blacks kindly but firmly, and warned them off the homestead so that they had little chance of molesting anyone.
Often Mrs. Spencer and her little daughter and son were left without protection, but they were not afraid. “There was too much to be done in the house and in the garden to be worried or nervous about the blacks,” she wrote.
One of the greatest hardships was the remoteness of the station. Few neighbours were within a radius of 100 miles, and the nearest town, or “civilization,” as it was termed, was Surat, more than 100 miles away.
FARMING AT WEST END
LONG FORGOTTEN CRIMES
9 May 1925
The old pioneers, the men who saw the beginning of things in the State, are getting fewer and fewer, as the years speed by. They have many recollections of things which have gone into the irrecoverable past, and which are of interest to the generation which has grown up amongst the new things revealed by the past half century.
Such a one is Mr. Dan O’Neill, who lives on his farm at Thornton, some ten miles up Laidley Creek. In a chat with the writer, he said he landed with his parents in 1853, from County Clare, Ireland, and came out in the ship John Fielding. There was no Brisbane then; it was Moreton Bay settlement, with little to show what a great city it was to become.
First Carriage over Spicer’s Gap
“I was between 10 and 11 years of age at the time,” he went on, and I am now going on for 81. The first work my family got was with Mr. Coombes, who had a farm at what is now the West End. I think there is a tannery on the same spot now. Well, when I was about 14, I joined up with the Public Works Department, and was under Mr. H. A. Clinton, the chief engineer being Mr. Robert Austin.
The work was surveying roads and building bridges, and my particular job was to look after the horses> I saw most of Southern Queensland during the 14 years that I remained in the Government employ. On one occasion, the Governor, Sir George Ferguson Bowen, accompanied by Lady Bowen, went through to Warwick.
The Governor, his aide-de-camp, and the male members of the party were riding but Lady Bowen and her maid were in the carriage. Every thing was all right till they came to the bottom of the range, when the coachman, becoming afraid for Lady Bowen’s safety, suggested that she walk up the range.
Mr. Clinton, my boss, was riding with the party, and looking at me, he says, “Oh, Dan, that will never do; put your own horses in and drive her ladyship up.” I did, and that was the first time a carriage was brought over Spicer’s Gap.
All the wool used to come down that way by bullock drays, and I see now that they are urging the making of a road for motor cars. Ah, well, times do change. They were trying to get a better road from Warwick to Ipswich even in those days, and on one occasion, I was sent to look for a track. Starting from the foot of the range, I crossed Warrill Creek and went towards Mt. Fraser, and got on the Divide by Warrill Creek and the Bremer River, following that river down to Ipswich, but that track was no improvement on the old one.
In those days, Rosevale was owned by a Mr. Ross, and was managed by Mr. McAndrew. Sheep were on it, but the country was no good for sheep as they got foot rot on the wet ground. I got married about that time, my wife, a Miss Rollins, being born in Ipswich on Christmas night, 1853, so you see, we both came to the country in the same year.
I started farming at St. Lucia, but when the land was thrown open at Laidley, selected Summer Hill, but later sold out, and took up 320 acres I am now at Thornton. All this land was held by Mort and Laidley, and formed part of the Franklyn Vale Station.
Murder by Blacks.
“And how were the blacks in those days?” was the next question.
“The blacks were all right if they were left alone, but it was dangerous to give them grog, and worse still to make a promise to them and not keep it.
I remember Peter Glynn and his two mates, who were timber getting in the Mooloola scrub, rafted some timber down to Brisbane. They had some blacks with them and when they returned with their supplies and rations, the blacks turned on them and tomahawked the three men. Peter’s two mates were killed outright and Peter was left for dead. However, he was found and brought into Ipswich where he recovered from his injuries. Some natives were arrested and Peter swore to one Norman, as having struck him with the tomahawk. The black was committed for trial, but before the trial came off, a judge had to come from New South Wales in those days for the Circuit Court- poor Peter fell overboard while taking his place in a little ferry boat that used to run across from Peter’s Bight, and was drowned. Of Course, there was no evidence against the blackfellow then, and Captain Wickham let him go.
I don’t think the store of Nelson, the blackfellow, has ever been told. I got it from Constable Sednick, one of the men who arrested him. Nelson was a stockman and bullock driver working for Mr. White, a squatter on the Logan who also employed a German and his wife. The poor woman was going with a cheque to Brisbane, and was murdered in a patch of scrub on the road, the body being cut in pieces and hung on the trees. The cheque was cashed at a draper’s named Peterson in South Brisbane.
When the murder was discovered, there was of course a regular hue and cry, and when the cheque came into the bank, suspicion was directed to Nelson.
The Chief Constable was named Sneed and Sednick told me he sent him and Constable Rock to arrest Nelson, but gave them no handcuffs to secure him. The two policemen reached White’s station and arranged that in the morning, Nelson was to be sent by young White to the harness room to get a bridle, the two policemen having concealed themselves behind a door. The plan fell out as arranged. Nelson entered, and as he did do, Sednick grabbed him by the hair. After a struggle, Nelson was secured, and prisoners hands were secured behind his back, and a rope passed through the tie, one end being held by each trooper. They camped for dinner, and in some way Nelson got hold of a piece of firestick. He was careful not to keep abreast of the troopers, and held the burning end of the stick against the rope, which bound his hands together. He walked along until the party was passing through some scrub when he gave a sudden jerk and disappeared into the scrub.
He was never seen by the police afterwards, although I believe I met him once on the Warwick range. He had a crooked arm, and amongst the natives who were stripping bark was a blackfellow with a crooked arm whose name was Nelson. He gave me a hand to offside the team I was driving, and that evening I said to him, “Your name Nelson?” “Yes,” he replied. “You been work from Mr. White along Logan?” “No! No!” he declared. But that night he cleared out of the camp and I never saw him afterwards.
[In the Reminiscences of Mr. R. M. Collins, there is a note stating that Nelson died in Beaudesert township some years after his escape from the police.]
EXPERIENCES OF A STOCK INSPECTOR
9 May 1925
On the opening of the South Western line to Dirranbandi, this small township became of some importance, not only as the terminus of the line, but also because it was the centre of a large and prosperous pastoral district. The railway station was, however, located a mile from the old township, so the buildings which were quickly erected near the railway were called the new town. Here were twp hotels and in one of these I took up my quarters.
The beauty of Dirranbandi, so far as I was concerned, was that it was within easy distance of several stations with whose owners or managers I was fairly well acquainted. The nearest station was called Cawildi just on the other side of the river. Mr. McDougall was manager in my time.
About 15 miles away was Yamburgan, the property of the well-known and popular Frank Rutledge, whose hospitality was known far and wide.
Noondo, the headquarters of the Australian Pastoral Co., was not far off. This was in my time a bachelor establishment and was presided over by Mr. Blair, the chief accountant of the company.
Noondo Station is a beautiful old house, situated high and dry and out of all danger from flood waters. A billiard room and a tennis court amply provide for the amusements of the inmates and their guests. It is needless to say that my old friend Blair, was as proficient in billiards and tennis as he whatsoever in keeping the books of this large and influential company.
Some 25 miles away was Whyenbah, where The MacPherson was manager in my time. When I first struck Whyenbah, the MacPhersons were living in the old station which, judging by appearances, must have been built in the very early days. Later on, a large and commodious residence was built nearer the river, and the old house turned into men’s quarters.
During the time I was at Dirranbandi, what was known as the border embargo was in full force, and all fat stock were prohibited from crossing the border without express permission.
On one occasion I received telegraphic instructions from Brisbane to seize and take charge of some five thousand sheep which were travelling to Dirranbandi, and were believed to be destined for New South Wales. I at once got my horse, and set out to find them. I was fortunately told that the sheep would probably follow the river up for feed. This, as it happened, was what occurred. After riding for about an hour through the bush, I was jolly glad to hear the unmistakeable sounds of an approaching mob of sheep. The sharp bark of a dog and the crack of a stock whip showed that I was at the end of my quest. I soon came up to them, and recognised in the drover a man I had met before, so I fortunately had no trouble, for on showing him my credentials, he at once gave up charge and consented to take the sheep to station yards according to my instructions. Here they were safely lodged for the time being.
SANDGATE FIFTY YEARS AGO
By R. W. S.
12 September 1925
Although we had previously made occasional one day visits to Sandgate, it was not until April 1876 (40 years ago) that we went there for an extended visit, while our home in Brisbane was being renovated. The visit, originally fixed for three months, was extended to five. So far as my memory serves me, I will attempt to give some idea of Sandgate at that time.
Of the actual residents of half a century ago, Mr. W. R. Barfoot (ex-head teacher of the State school), and perhaps Mr. James Hutchinson, and some members of the Best, Schmidt, and Webber families are the only ones now remaining in Sandgate.
There were few houses in Sandgate then. The first after crossing Cabbage Tree Creek bridge was Be. Best’s at the corner of what are now known as Braun and Board Streets (named after two of the early residents). The next, I think, were the cottages of Isaac Best and John Boe, nearly opposite the State school and residence.
I do not remember any buildings along Rainbow Street, which at that time was very swampy in places, but there may have been a blacksmith’s shop on the corner opposite the present central railway station.
The police station stood at the corner now occupied by the Town Hall, but memory does not recall whether Sergeant Leonard Browne was in charge then, or whether he came later.
Horsey (the butcher) had a small shop across the road, and on the slope of the hill towards the old Baptist Church was his slaughter yard.
At the top of the hill were a couple of cottages owned by Mrs. Board, and then the Osbourne Hotel, kept by Barney Phillips. At the back, in Louden Street (surveyed in 1864 and named after John Loudon, but now incorrectly called Louden Street), were the Baptists Church, and, I think, the cottage of Hezekiah Shepherd. The church bell was swung in the fork of a box tree, just outside the church fence, and for many years, Hezekiah attended to the ringing of it.
Across Curlew Street from the Osbourne Hotel were Cooksley’s brick cottages, a small place owned by Francis, a bird fancier, and Bay View Terrace, a two storied brick building divided into five or six flats (as they would now be called), owned by William Deagon, and rented furnished to visitors.
Separated from this property by a lane was the Post Office run by Charlie Slaughter. We called for our letters as there was no delivery. Cobb’s coach carried the mails.
Further on were a couple of cottages owned by William Deagon, and utilised by him in the same way as Bay View Terrace. I am not sure whether Mr. D. R. Somerset’s house, on the corner, was then in existence, or whether it was built later; it was a rather nice and ornamental building utilised many years afterwards as the Sandgate branch of the Queensland National Bank.
First Municipal Council Room
Beyond this were the Fischley’s two cottages and a brick or stone building occupied by an old couple named Cousley, which had the credit of being the oldest house in Sandgate, and was said to have contained loopholes in the walls for the occupiers to fire through in the event of the blacks attacking them. A large room in this building was rented in 1880 and occupied for two or three years as the first Municipal Council meeting room and office.
At the corner of Creek Street was the newly erected house of Robert Cribb, of Dunmore, Toowong, occupied by Mr. E. B. Southerden. The land extended to rainbow Street, and there was a tea-tree swamp in the corner.
Beyond Creek Street was the Sandgate Hotel, owned and conducted by William Deagon, who, at that time, had a large area of property in Sandgate.
Going down Creek Street (now known as Palm Avenue) towards the Creek, an old German named Carstens lived in what was commonly called Kate Street. He suffered very much from bronchitis and there was a constant feud between him and William Deagon over a licensed public gate which the latter had erected across Creek Street at the intersection with Kate Street. On one occasion, Carstens partly demolished the gate with an axe.
Across Creek Street from Carsten’s place, and running back to Rainbow Street, was a Chinaman’s garden. At the lower end of Curlew Street, on the bank of cabbage Tree Creek, was Deagon’s Island, which was under cultivation, some very fine oats being grown there.
The Upper Esplanade
Returning to the upper esplanade, George Bott carried on a bakery business just beyond the Sandgate Hotel, and there were two cottages at the corner near the present site of the Methodist Church, one of which was destroyed by fire early one morning.
John McConnell’s large house and grounds came next (for many years now known as Morven) and I think that the caretaker’s name was Payne, Archibald Glen taking over from him shortly afterwards.
W. G. Chancellor’s cottage, Seacliffe, was standing, and Dr. W. J. Ward had two or three cottages at the back of it in Kate Street.
Stafford House, the property of John Hardgrave, was on the opposite side of Kate Street, but the banyan trees must have been very small then. Beyond Kate Street lived old Captain Townsend, who was blind, and then there was a large vacant space on which lantana grew. Following along Sunday Street, past Swan Street, there was a small two storied place owned and occupied by people named Hildebrand (this building was afterwards the property of T. W. Hanlon).
At the corner of Cotton Street, William Street (builder) had two or three cottages. Sam and John Baxter (fishermen) lived close to the creek, where they kept boats for hire.
At Shorncliffe, Bob Kift had the Oriental Cottages to let, and down on the flat was a large waterhole. Between Signal row and Kate Street, I recollect only one house, which was occupied by Mr. Amos, a clergyman. The Church of England and courthouse were not then in existence.
From the corner of Mr. Somerset’s house, a steep and stony bridle path led to the Lower Esplanade (now Flinders Parade), and at the foot, on the right hand side, was an immense cotton tree. There were several of these trees along the beach at that time. The serious erosion caused by the action of the sea in later years, which I think was largely responsible for the disappearance of these trees, does not seem to have been quite so noticeable then. There were only two houses on the Lower Esplanade, both owned by the Rev. B. W. Wilson.
The first was occupied by Mr. Geo Phillips. Beyond these there was not a house on the Lower Esplanade. The area between Flinders Parade and Deagon Street, which is now covered by houses fronting the various avenues, consisted of large paddocks. Perkins and Griffith streets are in what used to be the police paddock, which was most scrub and swamp. On the hill, near the present Roman Catholic Church, were the remains of what were said to have been police quarters. There was no roadway formed along the beach, but we used to walk around to the Pine River, and Mosquito Creek for picnics.
Dickson’s Rocks were there then, but were not known by that name. They were Cassim, lived at the left hand side near supposed by some to be ballast from a wrecked vessel. In land across the salt marsh, were two large freshwater lagoons or tea-tree swamp, in what were known as the Brighton Paddocks, and those were the favourite places for duck shooting.
Brighton Hotel was in existence, but was unoccupied, the owner was Captain Townsend. George Thorn may have been living then on the Bald Hills road, at the bend above the second lagoon, bit I am doubtful about it, and think that there were only two persons- Schmidt and Webber- who were farming between the Brighton Hotel and the third lagoon.
Russell MacPherson lived at the back of the racecourse but this is outside the Sandgate boundary.
The houses to which I have herein referred, about 50 in number, are all that I can recollect in existence in the year 1876.
On the afternoon of May 10, 1770, Lieutenant Cook, R. N., passed along the Eastern Coast of Moreton Bay in His Majesty’s barque Endeavour, and Cape Moreton was sighted bearing north by west. The ship was brought to from 8pm until midnight, after which sail was again made, soundings being taken every half hour as the boat continued northward.
Westward of the vessels track by the land of which little was seen, and Cook, thinking that the water at Point Lookout and Cape Moreton was a bay, paid a compliment to the Earl of Morton of that day by naming it Morton Bay. At a later date this name was erroneously written “Moreton.”
Near Cook’s home were glass houses and as the peaks along the coast appeared to resemble these, they were christened the Glass House Mountains, and the water itself was named Glass House Bay. This inlet was not examined further for another 29 years.
In 1799 Matthew Flinders and his brother Samuel were given six week’s leave of absence from His Majesty’s ship Reliance, of which they were officers, so that they could explore Glass House Bay. The sloop Norfolk was placed at their disposal. On July 14, 1799, the sloop anchored at the eastern entrance of the bay, along which it went on the following morning until it anchored near Bribie Island.
The Brig Amity
The passage discovered was named Pumice Stone Channel. Further along the bay on the western side, Flinders discovered a cliff which was marked on his chart as Red Cliff Point.
Anchor was dropped here at half-past 10 o’clock on the morning of July 17. Time did not permit an examination being made of the locality; but on his second visit Flinders took His Majesty’s ship Investigator to Sandy cape.
On September 1, 1824, the Colonial brig Amity, which was commanded by Captain Penson set out from Sydney. On board were Mr John Oxley and Lieutenant Henry Miller of H. M. 40th Foot. A number of prisoners of the Crown were also with the party. The Amity reached Cape Moreton on September 11, 1824, a fact proved by Oxley’s field book, which now lies in the Mitchell Library in Sydney.
The following entry was made in the book:
“With the concurrence and approvation of Lieutenant Miller, Commandant of the intended establishment, I fixed upon a site for the settlement close to Redcliffe Point, possessing permanent good water close at hand, good soil in the immediate vicinity, fit for most agricultural purposes well adapted for grazing, with a sufficiency of useful timber for present purposes. Miller appeared highly pleased with the situation and with the favourable prospects of establishing himself and people which the appearance of the country held out to him.
Tues September 14- fine, pleasant weather, walked over the ground of the intended new settlement, fixed upon the most eligible place for the different public buildings, having preference to contiguity for water, and the convenience of landing stores and provisions. The land most eligible for cultivation is on the north side of the creek, and to the north of the settlement.”
The next day was employed by Oxley in sketching the coast in the vicinity of the settlement, and in preparing the boats for a continuation of the survey of the River Brisbane. In the Survey Office, in Brisbane, there may be seen the original sketch made by Oxley at Redcliffe, as he now spelled the name, on September 14, 1824.
For the next fortnight, Oxley was engaged on the survey of the river, and di not return to Redcliffe until 10pm on the 28th.
Bush and Mosquitoes
In a report made by Lieutenant Miller soon after settlement had taken place, it was stated that Redcliffe was not healthy and it is believed that this supposed opinion was instigated by a desire of Lieutenant Miller to leave the place.
It was really the blacks, and not the climate, which worried Lieutenant Miller. No doubt, too, the wild bush and the mosquitoes, helped to make life almost unbearable. It is probable that Redcliffe would have been the capital of a great state had Miller not been so discontented with it.
His youngest child, Charles, was born while he was in Moreton Bay, and his grandson is still (1925) living in Ballarat. He has a number of excellent stories which came through his father from his grandmother of the first settlement in what is subsequently the State of Queensland.
Brisbane became the chief city, but it could not filch that honour from it.
Around the mouth of Hayes’ Inlet, on that portion which is now known as Clontarf, the first civilian settlement began.
A regular service, even in those distant days, was maintained between Sandgate and Humpybong, the sailing boat which made the trip between the two places being in charge of Mr. Cutts.
The blacks, after settlement had been removed to Brisbane, called the place “umpie bong,” which in their language meant dead houses. This is meant to be the origin of the word Humpybong; and subsequently this title was given to the whole peninsula. The coastal tribes of the blacks met there for the bora ceremonies, and there is still a well defined kipper ring near the North Pine road about three miles from Redcliffe.
How to Travel to Redcliffe
Holiday Maker’s Guide
There are four means by which Redcliffe, Woody Point, Clontarf, and Scarborough, may be reached.
One of these is by excursion steamers, the Koopa and the Doomba, which leave Circular Quay, Brisbane, at 9.30am on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and at 2pm Saturdays. On Sunday at 9.30am for the Koopa direct to Redcliffe.
Special cheap excursion fares apply on Wednesday at 9.30am and on Sundays at 2.30pm. Returning week days 4pm, Saturdays 4pm, Sundays 6.45pm.
Passengers for Woody Point, Scarborough, and Clontarf can proceed then by motor cars and motor buses.
Another means is by train to Sandgate railway station and thence by motor launch to Woody Point. The launches, Olivine and Beryl leave Sandgate jetty.
SPRING HILL MEMORIES
November 28, 1925
When revisiting Brisbane after an absence of 20 years, I noticed that Spring Hill seemed to have altered less than any other part of the city, and subsequent visits deepened that impression.
Looking back over a period of 50 years, Parish’s Hotel at the top of Leichhardt Street was considered the principal landmark on the hill. When I saw it in 1910, I was surprised that the name, familiar for so many years had gone, and that it was called “The City View.”
Opposite Parish’s lived Mr. D.’ Arcy. Then came a bootmaker’s shop kept by Sam and Johnny Mills, well-known and respected residents of the Hill. Sam was tall and thin, with a billygoat beard. Johnny was the reverse, being more of a Falstaffian build. There were four brothers, all big men; one (Bob) was a compositor and superintendent of the Milton Sunday School. I have forgotten the name of the fourth. Their aged father lived with the bootmakers in a cottage adjoining the shop and when he died the four sons carried him to his grave. The young fellows of the district patronized that shop, and would often spend an hour or two chatting with Sam or Johnny as they “pegged away.” Johnny especially was an intellectual and well read man.
Further along stood the new Primitive Methodist Church, on the site of Grant’s furniture shop. All the rest was vacant land as far as Fortescue Street and right through to Boundary Street.
On the right hand side of the way were residences between the hotel and Birley Street, and then nothing more to Upper Edward (now Berry) street.
Some years before, Snell’s Bakery and a few cottages stood there, but about 1865, all these were burned down by a fire that originated at Snell’s, and the charred stumps remained for about 10 years. This was Spring Hill’s most destructive fire.
Speaking of Birley Street reminds me that at the foot of it- before the street was cut through the paddock to them (Gregory) Terrace- lived a Mr. Edmund Morris Lockyer, a Customs Officer.
In 1872 the barque Tyra arrived from the islands with a shipment of “boys.” The vessel had very bad weather coming across, and for some reason was taken over by the authorities, none of the cargo being allowed to be removed from the vessel.
Mr. Lockyer was taking his turn as guard one night, and being lonely his wife accompanied him. They sat in a cabin on deck. He had to go round on a tour of inspection at regular intervals. As he seemed to be much longer than usual on one of these tours, his wife grew anxious and left the cabin to find out the reason. The night was dark and the deck indifferently lighted.
Hearing a moan, she made for the direction of the sound, and in doing so, fell down a hatchway, the cover of which had been left off. It was down this hatch that her husband had fallen, and she fell on him.
The result of this accident was that Mr. Lockyer received serious internal injuries from which he died about a week later.
ON the north east corner of Fortescue Street was R. Bell’s shop, where one bought stationery, and valentines as well as smoking requisites. Mr. bell arrived in the Colony before Separation, and his name and photo appeared in the Jubilee “Queenslander” as one of the “fifty-niners.”
Famous Ginger Beer
The short block between Bell’s and Little Edward Street was taken up with a few cottages, and business places, the latter comprising Hugall’s Bakery and that of W. Goeldner, cabinetmaker, except for Charley O’Brien’s Hotel on the corner.
The next corner was vacant land until Larry Cusack built his big store on it.
Next came Bob Milne’s draper’s shop, and Mrs. Brown’s grocery, famous for its penny bottles of ginger beer, a luxury much appreciated during the summer months by children with limited pocket money.
Hill, the bootmaker, came next, then vacant land on the corner of Hope Street.
Returning to the other side, and continuing from Berry Street (named after the Berry family, who owned the largest residence, “Richmond Cottage,” in the street), Captain Burn’s house was on the corner, and Paddy Walsh, cabman, was next. Monteith, the builder, had a place on the first corner of Edward Street, where a fruit shop had been for many years, and on the eastern corner was Rheinold’s, well-known fruit and vegetable mart, at the back of which was an orchard, now built on, among the products of which was a delicious peach known as “China flats.” They are rarely met with now, and I do not remember ever noticing them in Sydney shops.
Close on the same side of Leichhardt Street was Fisher’s night school, which the writer attended for many months when a small boy. I remember no more of the places until Wharf Street, on the corner of which stood Brodies’ Royal Oak Hotel. This was a two storied building with attic windows. And now, going back to Hope Street, we find the Sir John Young Hotel on the eastern corner, but like its fellow at the top of the street, it has had its name changed.
The “Courier” Valued
Next to the hotel was the produce store of J. J. Lovekin, who was Spring Hill agent for the “Courier,” and “Queenslander,” the former being a four page paper except on Saturdays, when it was double the size and sold at 4d a copy. As the price limited its sale, it was commonly lent out at 1d an hour to residents in the neighbourhood.
The “Queenslander” was a 12 page broad sheet at 6d, and the heading was in Old English type, like the “Courier” of today.
When the “Queenslander” was converted into a folio- slightly narrower than its present shape- it had a pictorial heading illustrating the industries of the colony, and was machine stitched along the back. I have vivid recollections of seeing the girls running them off and clipping them apart. This was at the old office at the corner of George and Charlotte Streets, and the building was still there when I visited Brisbane a few years ago. One of the early Christmas numbers of the improved “Queenslander” contained the first publication of Brunton Stephen’s clever poem, “Marsupial Bill.”
About this time, a row two storied shops was built just beyond Lovekin’s and they were let to Cusack, grocer, J. Grant, furniture dealer, Hughie Carbery, grocer, and J. Wilmington, baker, the latter being on the corner of a lane leading to Miss Wilson’s Girls School. The lane is still there, but the old red-brick school house has gone, by being razed to the ground about 20 years ago.
THE BRISBANE COURIER
19 AUGUST 1922
The giving up by the sea of an old wreck at the mouth of the Nerang River, which has been identified as the Gullen of Ayr, recalls other disasters which have occurred from time to time on the coast near Southport, Queensland.
A Spanish galleon is said to be situated in a swamp on Stradbroke Island and was located by Mr. Matt Hebe during a dry season. Mr. Heber took away an old anchor and some copper, which when shown to a Brisbane firm, was said to be of the very best quality. Later, in company with Mr. J. G. Appel, M.L.A., he again visited the place, only to find that an immense swamp enclosed the ship, effectively blocking any close approach.
As far as the memory of Southport residents extends, the first which ashore about 1875 opposite the Narrows, about a mile and a half southwards from the present position of the Nerang River bar. The Salamander was an iron barge of 200 tons, ketch rigged, and was a Sydney owned vessel. On her last trip she was sailing with a cargo of maize from the Tweed to Townsville, where she was caught in a southeasterly gale, and blown ashore in the night, so suddenly that there was no time to anchor. No lives were lost, the crew of eight, including the captain, and the mate, reaching the shore safely through the surf. There was no salvage, and the corn soon swelled and burst the decks. Soon the only part visible was the stern, which remained showing at low water, and then disappear under the sand.
Some few years afterwards in the late 1870s or early 1880s, an auxiliary paddlewheel steamer of 300 tons, named the Emma Pious, was blown ashore on the North Spit of Stradbroke. This boat was on a voyage from the Tweed to the North with a cargo of 400 bags of corn, and carried two fore and aft sails. Like the Salamander, she was a Sydney boat, but her fate was happier, for the cargo was discharged, and she contrived to get into deep water again. Mr. Rawlins, a Police Magistrate at Tweed Heads, little dreamed when he ordered his boat to be brought from Southport, a distance of only 20 miles, that he was enacting a part in a grim tragedy. W. Harper, “Alf the Saddler,” as he was called, and three blacks, set out down the Nerang River, and when on the bar, capsized. The boat came ashore on Stradbroke, but no trace was ever found of the crew of five men.
After sailing half round the world, braving storms and safely passing shoals and reefs innumerable, the Scottish Prince was taken unawares in a calm, and helplessly carried by an inshore current on to the mouth of the bar at the spot where the trees now come to an end on the Peninsula, opposite the Southport Hotel. One of the Shore Line of vessels, the Scottish Prince was built in Glasgow, and was a full rigged barque of 1800 tons. She was sailing from Sydney to Brisbane with a general cargo. She was built of iron and had iron masts. The cargo included a large consignment of drapery, of which several bales of blankets were saved, 500 sewing machines, and a quantity of galvanized iron. The hull broke up within a week under the heavy pounding of the surf. Two years afterwards, the sand had covered everything but the masts, and they rusted through, joining the ship in its final resting place.
A wreck which wrung the heart of many an old salt was that of the Bellenger, built in Australia on the Bellenger River. A 90 ton ship with a length of 100 feet, or more, and a beam of 25 feet, and ketch rigged, she was one of the fastest little boats on the coast. Time after time she won races in Sydney, and her certificates, by a stroke of irony, were hanging on the walls of her cabin when she was wrecked. At the time she had a cargo of cedar, much of which was saved, and she went ashore at Kuran (Cooran) on Stradbroke Island. Even then she might have been got off with her shallow draft of 4’ 6” but it was left too late, and a heavy sea broke her up. The Captain and Mate walked to Porpoise Point at the south end of Stradbroke to notify the authorities and secure assistance.
Far reaching in its disastrous effects on the waters of Southport and the bay was the loss of the Cambus Wallace, a barque rigged ship of 800 tons. A valuable cargo of printer’s paper, oil, and spirits, was lost, or partly so, or ruined by sea water. There were 4000 cases of whisky and a quantity of ironmongery. The barque was on a voyage from Liverpool to Brisbane and Moreton Bay. Five of the crew were drowned and their bodies washed ashore. A monument was erected by subscription and a broken spar and part of a wheel were erected over their grave on the terrace. Swan Bay at this place makes the distance from the ocean to the Bay very short, and here lies the tragedy of Southport. The figurehead of the Cambus Wallace is still standing near the Railway Hotel at Southport. Mr. Barney Boulton has the nameplate from one of the cabin doors. A man named Kirk bought the wreck, which by this time was partly covered with sand and to uncover his property, he blew up the ship with dynamite. This explosion caused a big hole.
There followed a big king tide and a heavy gale and the sea broke through. In a week, the passage was 100 feet wide; now it is at least three quarters of a mile wide and very deep. Like the Southport Bar, it is moving northwards and has almost obliterated Swan Bay. Thus was formed Jumpin Pin, or, as some aver is correct, Jum Bin Bin Bar.
Formerly about half the waters of Moreton Bay had their outlet at Southport, and their huge volume kept the inside waters free of sandbanks. Now that pressure has been in a large manner relaxed, consequent silting up has been going on at an alarming rate. To this diversion of bay waters may also be ascribed the cause of the northerly movement of the Nerang River entrance.
The bay waters flowing south washed the southern portion away because they constituted by far the larger volume. Now that the Nerang River is the larger body of water, the northside, of course, is being washed away. And if this movement continues, as it should, it will not be long before the old wreck just discovered at the mouth of the river is disclosed to view.
The Mystery was wrecked opposite the test house, and Browning (one of the coloured hands) placed a peg to mark the spot.
The Coral Queen was bringing a quantity of hardwood from the Nerang River, when a strong south-westerly wind blew her on to the Parrot Rock, near the Southport Pier, before she reached the sea. The aboriginals, of whom one or two still live at Southport, say that the recently discovered wreck was the Gullen, as far as they can remember, and declare that she is certainly the same as seen by Farrier and Harper in 1842. She was wrecked at Porpoise Point, the bar being then in its present position, and was often visited by the blacks. These natives came to the place on account of the fresh water mullet in a swamp which then extended inside the island. The swamp was at least half a mile wide, and had a fresh water creek running into it. Only the merest trace of it remains. Southport residents have been confusing the recently discovered wreck with that of the Coral Queen, which never reached the sea.
By Isobel Hannah
Some of the theories which have been advanced in connection with the recently discovered ancient wreck at the south end of Stradbroke Island are so visionary that, were it not that they might be now chronicled as facts, they scarcely call for correction. But when we found such a well-known Brisbane merchant as the late Mr. George Bond, a member of the firm of Perry Bros., and one who played so leading a part in the early settlement and development of Southport, seemingly forgotten, and referred to as “a man named Bond,” by writers who refer to events of 70 or 80 years ago in such a self certain way, it is necessary that some irrefutable facts should be given. These, while not adding much, if anything to fixing the name or age of the vessel, yet may throw some light on other matters mentioned.
The Hon. J. G. Appel, M.L.A., whose knowledge of the Southport Bar goes back to the year 1876, informs me that its position in that year was approximately as it is today, although now it extends to a greater distance to the north. An examination of the maps of that period will verify this. Mr. Appel, who sailed these waters as a boy, and has continually done so since, is a keen observer, and made notes of different matters of interest as they occurred.
Edward Harper mentioned in one of the contributions on the subject of the wreck, lived on the Richmond, Tweed and Nerang rivers, as early as the year 1842. He was known intimately to Mr. Appel, who compiled from the recollections and reminiscences of this man one of the most interesting accounts of the early days of the rivers.
Mr. Apel is emphatic that Harper never mentioned any other ancient wreck, save that of the Gullen, which he inspected, nor could he have done so for the simple reason that in his time, the remains must have been completely covered, if the approximate position with Mr. Bond’s house is correctly given.
A great erosion has taken place on the south end of Stradbroke. Forty six years ago, for nearly a quarter of a mile from the subsequent site of Mr. Bond’s house, the ground was grass covered and firm, with full grown banksias trees. Beyond this extended some 300 to 400 acres of sand dunes and flats, in the centre of which was a small and fairly deep fresh water lagoon, and that this must have been there for a lengthy period was evidenced by the fact that it contained fresh water mullet. Mr. Appel has not yet had the opportunity of visiting the wreck, but from the position described, if correct, it must have been overlaid by the sand which was grassed and covered with trees immediately to the south of Mr. Bond’s house.
From the year 1877 to the year 1897 was entered upon what may be termed a gale period, which culminated in the latter year in that cyclonic gale named “Mew,” by Mr. Clement Wragge, the Government Meteorologist.
These gales generally veered to the north, with the result that the long spit from the north head of the Nerang was gradually eroded.
In the year 1887, when the Scottish Prince was wrecked, this spit had worked back to within half a mile of the present timber line. Three days after she was wrecked, the vessel, with her sails still hanging in brails, had the appearance of sailing directly towards the center of the original Pacific Hotel building. Those gales continued periodically accompanied by flood, and the erosion became more rapid until the year 1897 when it reached its limit at the present timber line.
A further reference to old maps will show that the late Richard Gardiner, one of the pioneers of Southport, had a lease of five acres of land then situated in the scrub of the South Head. Today that block is approximately between the flagpoles erected on the beach, and the timber line. Gardiner, who was an old seafaring man, had a little inn, the first Southport Hotel, on his selection adjoining the township reserve.
From here he went out on various occasions as the voluntary assistant of vessels and crews who came to grief at Nerang Heads. In 1876 his boat was knocked to pieces in rendering succour to the cook and engineer of a small vessel which had been driven among the breakers of the heads, and abandoned by the master and remainder of the crew in a situation of utmost peril. In recognition of his bravery and endurance a public subscription was raised on this occasion to defray the cost of a new boat for Gardiner.
He did not mention that she was sheathed with muntz or other metal, but it is quite possible for muntz metal had been invented 10 years before Harper first saw the wreck in 1842.
Members of the Bond family who were in occupation of their house during the 1897 gale will probably remember that it was during this gale that the sea made a breach across the island immediately to the south of their residence. The theory advanced that the original passage was at Myer’s Ferry is quite untenable and all evidences are against it. Hardwood trees with a diameter of 4 feet, growing in sand, must have taken centuries to attain that growth. Mr. Appel’s homestead at that place includes both terrace and river flat lands and there is not the slightest evidence of a passage to the sea.
These are geological facts, not theories. Members of the Bond family, who were in occupation of their house, during the time state that. That the outflow and overflow of what is known as the Big Swamp- Merrimac and Carrara- had its original outlet between Nobby and Burleigh Heads, is also apparent to an amateur. The diversion of this outflow and overflow has had its effect upon the lower Nerang, as is evident by the lower course and channel of the river.
Early settlers of the district have mentioned that old aboriginals have spoken, as a dim memory of the past, that the mainland had been connected with the island, and why not, when we remember the breach at Jumpin Pin, where the Bay waters broke out and not, as some seem to think, the sea in.
In the early forties, Dr. King, writing of Stradbroke, stated that the southern extremity consisted of a mere sand spit which ran out for about 12 miles parallel to the mainland, and afforded an entrance for boats, called the South Passage, which was occasionally practicable also for steam navigation.
Did such shipwrights as the late William Barr, or Captain Winship, live today, the period of the construction of the vessel at Southport could easily be discovered. Authentic records prove that it could not have been the Porpoise, which was wrecked on the night of Wednesday, August 17, 1803, on a bank named by Flinders, Wreck Reef, which lies about 250 miles east of Cape Clinton. The place where they landed is described by that most indefatigable of Australian navigators as a bank of about 150 fathoms in length by 50 in breadth, the general elevation being about 3 ft or 4 ft above the level of high water. The latitude was found to be 22º 57’ south and the longitude 155º 18’ east.
Porpoise Point, on Stradbroke, is in 27º 57’ south latitude, 158º 28’ longitude.
In searching for something to make a fire on the night of landing on Wreck Reef bank, the master of the Porpoise found a spar and a piece of timber worm eaten and rotten which was considered by that officer to have been part of the stern post of a ship of about four hundred tons, and Flinders thought it might have belonged to the ill fated La Perouse, for traces of whom he was ever on the lookout.
The Porpoise, by the way, was a Spanish vessel, and shortly after her launching at Bilboa, was taken as a prize by the British ship Argo. Her name before capture was the Infanta Amelia, and she was of the same dimensions as H. M. armed vessel Porpoise, which was at that period, 1798, condemned as unseaworthy.
The Infanta Amelia, lying at Portsmouth, new, coppered, and copper fastened, everything complete and ready for sea, was recommended by Lieutenant Governor King at the time in England, as suitable to take the proposed journey to Australia. The Admiralty therefore had her surveyed and purchased, renamed the Porpoise, rigged with the spars and tackle of the Old Porpoise, and commanded and manned by the officers and crew of the condemned vessel.
The Dirk Hartog theory is also, of course, untenable, in as much as that intrepid Dutchman visited only the west coast of Australia, and that in the year 1616, 154 years before the discovery of Port Jackson. Coupled with the ancient wreck in the Great Swamp, of which I wrote previously, it might be possible, it is certainly worthy of enquiry, whether they were not the ships of La Perouse.
Again it might be the remains of one of those stout old South Sea whalers which sailed along our shores more than a hundred years ago. Such a vessel was seen by Flinders to the southward on the morning of Monday, July 26, 1802, when three leagues distant from Point Lookout. He at first thought it was the Lady Nelson, which was accompanying him on the voyage but afterwards perceived that he was mistaken, and then concluded the strange vessel was one of two whalers known at the time to be fishing off the coast.
If the wreck at Stradbroke is such an old vessel, and how can she be otherwise in such a situation, the remains should be carefully safeguarded and salved if possible.
Our old history is none too rich to enable us to brush aside what may prove a most interesting and valuable relic.
9 April 1921
Your issue of Sat, 26th ultimo, contained very interesting information from Mr. Thomas Welsby with reference to Stradbroke Island and also in connection with the wreck of the ship in the Big Swamp. Is it not a coincidence that by that day’s post, a letter was received by Mr. Appel from Mr. Matthew Heeb, the discoverer of the wreck, whose attention had been drawn to my article?
Mr. Heeb, writing from Esk, under date 21 March, states: “I was told that there was a letter in the paper- something about the old wreck on Stradbroke Island, the one I have spoken to you of years ago. I will be down again that way shortly and I am going to hunt it up to see what it was built of. The timbers are of oak, that I know; the planking was fastened with trunnels, there are the auger holes to show.”
Mr. Welsby is anxious to locate the old wreck, and there can be no better man to assist than Heeb, from his knowledge of the island and the approximate location. Mr. Appel is writing to Heeb, and so far as his time permits, will assist in the search.
From what I have seen of the swamp, possibly the best time for search would be at the end of winter, when the water is at its lowest, and the reeds have been burnt. Mr. Welsby’s theory that the wreck was carried into the swamp by a great tidal wave is worthy of investigation, as evidence the great sea that arose some two years ago is quoted. The cause of this is ascribed to a subterranean disturbance off the east coast of Queensland; a great volcanic chasm exists in the sea bottom, and there is a similar one in the Australian Bight! About the time mentioned by Mr. Welsby, one particular night, the sea was calm along the Main Beach, Southport. Suddenly, between 10 and 11 pm, the sea rose up with a mighty and tumultuous crash; and during the remainder of the night, thundered on the beach, causing the land and air to vibrate. At Mr. Appell’s house, the windows, French lights, and crockery rattled with the impact of the surf. Of course, as the disturbance to the sea bottom is further to the north, the effect was not so great here as at South Passage, and Cape Moreton.
Those phenomena are worthy of note and record, and Mr. Welsby is to be commended for his articles upon this and other subjects.
The rocky bottom that lies off the coast is a little more distant at the location of Mr. Appell’s homestead, being approximately 2 to 2¼ miles therefrom, and affords excellent snapper fishing for Southport fishermen. Many interesting reef marine growths are washed ashore, coral growth, and deep sea shells. The force of the wind on this coast is at times very considerable and vessels going South have been blown many miles to the north.
In the year 1861, the schooner, Friends, laden with cedar, left Tweed Heads for Sydney, and was driven by stress of weather to the south end of Moreton Island where she became a total wreck, four of her passengers losing their lives. One of these men, by name William Oliver, had previously escaped narrow death at the hands of the blacks, who attacked him and his mate, Charles Keley, as they came out of their hut one morning at Middle Arm Falls, Tweed River.
Oliver fired his revolver, and a bullet went through an aboriginal’s cheek, after which the chambers would not revolve. Though severely wounded, he managed to travel over the mountains to North Arm, a distance of 10 miles, where four white men were working, only to lose his life when the Friends capsized near South Passage.
Keley was knocked down by the blacks as stooping, he emerged from the door of his humpy. He received a fearful gash on his head, and was left for dead. He succeeded in getting their boat five or six miles away, and reached Tweed Heads, where he eventually recovered, and returned to Sydney, where he afterwards kept the White Horse Hotel, near the Royal Hotel, in George Street.
The destruction of the Bellenger, driven ashore at Jumpin Pin, the Cambus Wallace, and the Salamanda, wrecked at the South Head of the Nerang are other instances of loss through stress of the weather.
No doubt, as Mr. Welsby states, there were many different types of coloured people gathered together at Currigee in its prosperous days, and many of them intermarried with the aboriginals, but is it possible to say that this accounts completely for the different type of skin types. When at Darnley Island, in Torres Strait, I noticed different types of islanders there- the explanation given was that survivors of different wrecks on the Barrier had settled there and intermixed with the natives. As the natives of Stradbroke were not cannibals, if there were any survivors of the wreck in the swamp, may they not have intermarried with the aboriginals?
Edmund Harper, whose residence in the Tweed, Nerang and Moreton Bay districts dated from 1840, was a neighbour of Mr. Appel, and being a man of good education and observant, communicated his knowledge and experience, which he embodied in a series of notes that are now invaluable.
The late Mr. Tubbs, of Humpybong, and Ernest Bellis, the latter still living on the Upper Nerang, cut selected cypress pine piles at Amity in the days of its busy settlement. These piles were sent to Mackay in North Queensland, and used for jetty and wharfage purposes. The team of bullocks used were swum from the mainland to Stradbroke, and travelled along the island to Amity, possibly the first team used for the purpose.
Perhaps Mr. Welsby can throw further light upon this. In those days, save to the timber rafters and odd cutter men, the channels of the bay were an unknown quantity. There were no marks and no beacons, and there are not so many in these civilised days, as under present administration, owing to the necessity for economy, if a beacon falls down, it is often not replaced. Since the Treasurer has taken to Bay excursions and he sees the necessity for it, no doubt this important matter will be rectified.
The late Captain Collin relates how he conveyed certain passengers of the Black Ball line Sunda, who arrived in Moreton Bay in 1863, and whose destination was Nerang, to that locality. There was no road in those days, so they went in the little vessel in which he had previously came from Sydney, accompanied by his wife and children, the Ellen Collin, of 20 tons burden. The passengers, men, women and children, numbered 20, and the voyage to Nerang occupied 21 days. Owing to lack of knowledge of the channel, the vessel became stranded on one of the worst mud banks in Moreton Bay, on the top of high water, and remained there with its passengers until the next spring tides- an illustration of some of the hardships endured by the old pioneers who are so often descried. Today, an average motor boat can do the trip in 10 to 12 hours.
May 7, 1921.
My contribution with reference to the old wreck on Stradbroke Island seems to have caused widespread interest.
Its existence has been confirmed by several of the old pioneers in the district. Mr. Charles James, of Bundall, who was in the employ of the Hon. E. J. Stevens, when that gentleman succeeded Messrs Wildash and Hutchinson in the occupancy of the island as a horse and cattle run, spoke of it as a well-known fact in the late 1870s and early 1880s.
The most notable confirmation came from the widow of the late Andrew Graham of Southport. Mrs. Graham, on her mother’s side, is of aboriginal descent, and in her early years lived with Mr. Appel’s maternal grandmother at the Nerang river. Her husband, after the death of Richard Gardiner, succeeded to the position of pilot and light keeper, and had a knowledge of the Bay, particularly that portion of it from Amity to Southport, extending back some 60 odd years. He knew also of the wreck, and found in the vicinity one of the anchors which must have belonged to the vessel. This anchor, which was much corroded, and had a wooden stock, was purchased from Graham by Mr. Fred Fowler, and was brought to Harper’s near Mr. Appel’s homestead, on Nerang Creek, where it was seen by him.
Mrs. Graham relates that at that time, there was every appearance that the ocean beach had been closer to the foot of the hills and that the vessel had been wrecked originally on the outer beach at that time. She says that the hills on the sea side of the locality were destitute of vegetation and the surface bare of sand. It will thus be seen that Mr. Ernest Bellis’ statement that the remains were those of “a punt used to transport cattle,” may be dismissed.
As a timber getter and oxen conductor, that gentleman may be pardoned for his want of knowledge of the difference between the remains of a vessel and a punt.
Heeb is both a shipwright and a seaman. Graham was a seaman. Besides, on no king or spring tides could a punt, however small, have been floated from Swan Bay to the locality of the remains.
No cattle were ever shipped to the head of Swan Bay, which in those days was a shallow sheet of water with flat silt foreshores. Bold water is an absolute essential for the purpose.
In 1875, when an attempt was made to yard and ship the cattle, a yard was erected at the South Hill, which naturally is the most convenient place for the purpose and is so used today. Mr. Appel, when holidaying in the bay, saw the yard immediately after its erection, and recently two, at least, of the old posts were still standing, and were pointed out to me. Mr. Appel’s recollection is, of course, from hearsay that the cattle on the island either belonged to or had been purchased by Mr. F. Ramsey, who was then one of Brisbane’s leading butchers. John Cockerill was probably one of the first to have cattle on the island. A certain number of these cattle were yarded and removed, but some, as mentioned by Mr. Bellis, were so wild that to secure their hides they were shot.
After the break took place at Jumpin Pin, a stockyard was erected at South Spit, at the mouth of Swan Bay, where there was then bold water. The erosion of the sea has now rendered this useless. It has been stated that the native meaning of Jumpin Pin is “Breaking Wave.” Mrs. Graham asserts that in the dialect of her mother’s people, “Jumpin Pin,” signified “eating honey with suckers.”
In the old days the tribes used to gather on the camping ground at Jumpin Pin to eat honey using the suckers of the breadfruit tree (which they called Wynnum), as a utensil for shipping up the honey.
In writing of the old residents of Amity, I omitted to mention a Mr. Birch, who, at one time, I am told, occupied an official position in the Supreme Court Registry. This gentleman’s hobby was the taming of snakes of which reptiles he generally had three or four in his humpy. Mr. Appel has a keen recollection when a lad, of visiting Mr. Birch’s humpy at Amity and being warned not to sit in a certain place or to disturb some papers, Birch explaining that two of his snakes were sleeping there. Needless to say, Mr. Appel soon terminated his visit, which was not repeated.
In view of the development of settlement in the Solomon Islands and the interests there held by many Queenslanders, it may be of interest to mention that another old time resident of Amity, Mr. G. B. Daubeney, in April 1873, (as recorded in “Pugh’s Almanac”) fitted out a vessel to trade to the Solomon Islands. But the possibilities of today were not then ripe and apparently the result was nil. It is also interesting to note that while Moreton Island was always so called Stradbroke, in the early years, was the isle of Stradbroke, as evidenced by the Government Order dated 16 July 1827, which read as follows:
“His Excellency the Governor has been pleased to direct that the island forming the southern boundary of the eastern channel into Moreton Bay shall be designated the ‘Isle of Stradbroke,’ in compliment to the Hon. J. H. Rous, commanding H. M. ship Rainbow, the first ship of war which entered Moreton Bay. The point of land in the Isle of Stradbroke, which is intended as the site of a public establishment (quarantine) opposite Peel’s Island, is named ‘Dunwich,’ and the anchorage where the Rainbow lay ‘Rainbow Beach.’ The channel between the Isle of Stradbroke and Moreton Island is named Rous Channel.
The Governor has been pleased to name the river recently discovered at Moreton Bay immediately to the south of the Bay, the Logan, as a record of His Excellency’s approbation of the zeal which Captain Logan, the commandant of Moreton Bay, has evinced in adding to the important discovery made by Mr. Oxley, the Surveyor General of the river Brisbane in the year 1823.
By His Excellency’s command, Alexander McLeay.”
MYSTERIES OF THE SEA
By An Ancient Mariner
Courier 18 December 1921
Sea men have always been called superstitious, and no doubt, there is plenty of reason for it. You know, the sea is such a big lonely place, that men can’t help growing a little morbid, and so perhaps they’re rather more inclined to fancy things than a man with the bustle of a town around him. Imagine standing at the wheel of a sailing ship many miles from land with a great dark sky seeming to foam an impenetrable cover studded with gleaming eyes over your head, the sea hissing along the side of the vessel, and the rigging creaking in the wind. Then when a storm threatens and the wind commences to rise with a moaning eerie sound, when the stars fade out and the whole world has turned black and gloomy, it is unsurprising that a sailor should sometimes hear voices that never speak, that he should see forms and faces that never exist? So it is quite possible that from the thoughts of sea men during such hours as these that many of the fancies have arisen which have formed congenial material for fiction, fancies that have become practically matter of fact traditions with the men who go down to the sea in ships. What story is better known than that of the old Dutchman, Vanderdocken, supposed to be ever attempting to round the Cape of God Hope, yet never succeeding. Many an old sailor will vow that he or a mate has seen the ancient ship on its never ending voyage, and will tell you that has always been an ill omen to the ship from which the Dutchman was sighted. And there are many other tales of ghost ships and many other things which sea men regard as being forewarnings of disaster.
Now I cannot lay claim myself to ever having seen the Flying Dutchman, but in the course of a long life, the best years of which were spent on the great waters, I have encountered one or two things that have always remained mysteries to me.
At the age of 18 years I was an A.B. on the Barque Southwick, bound from England to South America and India. In my watch was a young seaman named Lincoln, a native of Sunderland. His bunk in the forecastle was lower than mine, and on the opposite side so it was easy to look into his. We left Madras on a Monday, and on the Wednesday afternoon, was smoking in my bunk, Lincoln being asleep in his. Presently I turned my head, and noticed a shadow on the half door of the forecastle, seeming like a man leaning on the door, and as I gazed, the shadow seemed to take the likeness of Lincoln.
“Lincoln,” I said, “I thought you were turned in?”
I glanced at his bunk, and there he was, sure enough.
I turned to the figure at the door again, saying, “My God, who are you?”
The figure looked round the house and at me, and then vanished, and left me wondering.
The same afternoon, we washed out the lower hold, and when the watch was changed, Lincoln, the weather being warm, drew several buckets of water from the sea, and poured them over his head.
By 8 o’clock that night, he was in a raging fever, and died at noon on the following Saturday. Perhaps a practical man may explain that this was all a coincidence. But a tough old seaman would probably shake his head and growl something about “warnings.”
The next affair in my life which could be classed as supernatural happened on land in Australia. I had determined to take a holiday from the sea for a while, and a mate and I took a fencing contract a few miles from Wodonga, in Victoria. One night we knocked off work and left a tree which had been half cut through still standing. Next day was a bit damp and blowy, and my mate said, “You get the breakfast ready, and I will go and finish felling the tree.”
I made some porridge, got everything in readiness for the meal, and was about to call my mate when I saw him standing at the doorway.
I said, “It’s all ready, I was just going to call you,” and I proceeded to pour the porridge into basins, but when I turned, my mate had gone.
I called several times, but as I got no answer, I set off to where we had ceased work on the previous night, to find on arrival that the tree had been blown down, and that a big limb was lying across the dead body of my mate. Apparently the tree had been blown down just as he reached it, for the cut was in the same condition as when we knocked off on the previous evening.
A third incident. I had shipped on Money Wigram’s new auxiliary steamship, Norfolk, on her second trip to Australia. Subsequently we went from Sydney to Shanghai, Singapore, and Gibraltar, sailing from the latter place for Bermuda.
On the Wednesday before reaching Bermuda, I was on the lookout on the upper deck at about 7.30 pm, when I saw a man standing beside me.
I stepped up to him, saying: “Hullo Pedwell, old man, what are you doing here? You know nobody is allowed from the stokehold up here, as we had orders to shift ventilators.”
He seemed to take no notice, and when I spoke again, he vanished. When I went off duty, I told my mates. I was afraid that something was going to happen to Pedwell, who was a greaser in the engine room, but only one took it seriously, the others laughing at me.
The next afternoon we heard that Pedwell had met with an accident in the engine room, and on the Friday, the doctor, the skipper, and the chief engineer, tried to persuade Pedwell to undergo an operation as the only means of saving his life, but he would not allow them to operate.
On Saturday, they saw nothing else could be done, so they gave him an anesthetic and operated. He came out of it alright, and seemed to be doing well, but he died on the Sunday morning, just as we dropped anchor.
Another strange incident and one closely concerning me, happened on the same voyage. After leaving New York, on the way home, a quartermaster who had backed me up when I told the story of my having seen Pedwell, came to me one night and told me that on the previous three nights, he had seen an old gentleman go up the bridge ladder, look at the standard compass, look all round the sky as if studying the weather, and then disappear.
On the previous night, the quartermaster had gone up the ladder, but as he reached the platform, the figure had vanished. I went with the quartermaster next evening, but nothing happened.
The description he gave me, however, was that of a man exactly resembling my father, and I said “My father is getting old and may be in his last illness.”
We arrived in London a few days afterwards, and I then received a telegram calling me home immediately.
When I reached home, I found my father was dying, and he passed away in his sleep a few days later.
All these are true stories.
OLD RIVER STEAMERS
APRIL 15, 1920
The “Settler” and the “Ipswich” and other vessels.
I note my old friend, W. J. Morley, has been writing about the early river steamers. He mentioned in his letter that the “Settler” was cut in halves. I think he is mistaken in this. So far as my memory serves, the “Settler” “settled” at Bulimba ferry. The vessel he refers to as being cut in halves was the “Canaipa” and the other half was called the “Barotta,” lately owned by Burns, Philp, and Co., Townsville.
The “Settler” was one of the Mississippi type steamer with a big hog beam running fore and aft. She was owned by Mr. Miller, and her master was Captain Rooney. There was another vessel cut in half which was called- probably this was the one that was in Mr. Morley’s mind- the “Ipswich,” one half of her being the “Benowa,” and owned by my father in the 1880s. She sank at the Railway Wharf. The engineer of the “Ipswich” was, I believe, Mr. F. Shale, now of the Marine Department.
Another old identity, which can never be forgotten, was the “Tadorna Rajah,” owned by William Pettigrew, which used to run to Caboolture and Mooloolah.
Other old vessels were the “Gneering,” screw vessel, and “Culgoa,” paddle steamer, master Captain Goodall, and another was the “Kalarra,” master Captain Gruer; she was lost on the Tweed bar. Vessels, of course, of more recent date, were the “Charlotte Fenwick,” “Notone,” “President,” and “Garnet,” the latter vessel pioneering the present Humpybong traffic, now run by the commodious “Koopa.”
A small vessel was built in 1883 called the “Redcliffe,” and she ran from Sandgate to Woody Point. She was very narrow and most unsuited for the traffic.
By Isobel Hannah
My information with regard to the old stern wheeler, “Settler,” may be regarded as nearly authentic as possible. Captain Jackson, the first owner and master, was a personal friend of my informant’s parents, and a frequent visitor at their house. My informant, as a child, accompanied his parents frequently on trips on board the old packet. Though, of course, very young at the time, he has a vivid recollection of what he certainly was told was the launching of the vessel, his parents being invited guests, the captain accompanying them home afterwards.
Any person with knowledge of a vessel could not but realise that the “Settler” could never have sailed up the coast from the Murray. She was really a flat bottomed sharp nosed punt, though her bilges were rounded, very shallow, and with very little freeboard. Her engine room was situated right aft and to give head room the deck was raised. Above the engine room was the cabin accommodation. The shafts on each side which revolved the wheel passed through two longitudinal openings in the tuck. Any, even moderate, following sea would have flooded and swamped her. The boiler was placed right forward, and above this on the hurricane deck, was the wheelhouse. The hull was strengthened by wooden longitudinal bowed braces, built plank upon plank, similar to those on the old Breakfast Creek bridge, a portion of which was re-erected near the Albion Sawmills, where it collapsed a year or two ago. The “Settler’s engines were high pressure. She was generally slipped on the bank of the river at Pinkenba, where logs had been placed at right angles to the shore, and she was floated on at high water. This will give some idea of her shallow draft, as she had to be placed high enough for operations to be carried out under her bottom. Her boilers and furnaces had no protection and any sea taken aboard would have swamped her and extinguished her fire. So far as my informant’s memory serves him, the launch took place somewhere about 1864. If she was sailed from the Murray, then her hurricane deck and machinery must have been fitted in Brisbane, for as a steamer, she never could have made the voyage.
The “Experiment” – this steamer started from North Brisbane, on her experimental trip to Ipswich, on Wednesday morning last. Mr. Pearce, the owner and a select party on board, were warmly greeted as they passed up the river, by a large concourse of spectators, who had assembled to witness her departure.
Owing to the imperfect knowledge of the person acting as her pilot, respecting the river flats, she got aground near the crossing place at Woogaroo, and was detained until daylight.
The following morning, she proceeded on her voyage, and reached her destination at one o’clock.
The Ipswich folk were quite delighted at her appearance amongst them and expressed their satisfaction by giving a hearty reception to Mr. Pearce and all on board.
Since the advertisement, which appears on our first page, was in type, we have learned that the charge for freight of goods is fixed at six shillings instead of seven shillings a and also that he will not commence plying between the two townships until Tuesday next, the time other departures will be about two hours after the flow of the tide. Mr. Pearce intends to accommodate parties of pleasure desirous of visiting the bay, and other favourite places, with the use of the steamer should it be required for such a purpose.
There is no doubt that many persons will gladly avail themselves of the opportunity to take trips down the river during the summer season. She has excellent accommodation, consisting of gentlemen’s and ladies cabins, as well as spacious storage. On Tuesday, Mr. Pearce applied to the magistrates for a licence for the sale of spirituous liquors on board which was immediately granted.
OLD COURIER DAYS
Sir, when writing under this heading it is impossible to check the flood of thoughts of other days, and the mental impressions of the “Courier,” and its surroundings cling to one in spite of the lapse of time and a varying environment.
The “Courier,” was always the first and most progressive of all Queensland newspapers.
I well remember a brand new set of machinery being installed. It had been brought out from England and was placed in position by a Mr. Frazer, who became the “Courier” engineer. He subsequently lived Enoggera way, and his place was called Frazer’s Paddock, a name which it holds today (1922).
The “Courier” building (then in George Street) was extended by filling in the lane between it and Wyllie’s the tin-smith. This gave much more room for the machinery and a larger composing room upstairs.
The stately Bunyas in the “Courier” garden have long since disappeared, but they were a sight of beauty at one time. At the eastern end of the garden was a road or vacant allotment, which led to a house occupied by a Mr. Wright and his family.
John McLennan lived at the corner. I knew him later very well at Sandgate, and he ever was to the time of his death the sport and gentleman I felt him to be in my youthful days.
I returned to the “Courier” and took up duty as assistant proof reader at a salary of 30/- a week – a big rise from 10/- early in 1874. I had previously earned this amount of pay feeding a sluice box at Stanthorpe in 1872.
I was in trouble, however, for my employers, Thompson and Hellicar, solicitors, wanted a week’s notice, and the “Courier” wanted me at once. The difficulty was overcome as shown in my diary under date 13th May. It reads “working at Thompson and Hellicars a s well as the ‘Courier’ office, unable to attend to my studies.”