Telemon and Maroon 110 years ago

A glimpse of the Past

Supplement to Beaudesert Times, Friday 17 April 1959

[Transcribed by Angela Collyer, Boonah, December 2006]

In this, the Queensland Centenary Year, historical records of particular
interest, and today is presented extracts from memoirs of Carden Collins
written in 1914.

This comes to us through the good offices of Mr Bernard O'Reilly, who
writes:  "An Easter guest at Lost World was Mr Ellis Smith, of Caboolture.
Mr Ellis Smith is a great great grandson of Capt Thomas Collins, whose name
is associated with the very early history of this district.  By courtesy of
Mr Ellis Smith I am forwarding a press reprint of the memories of Carden
Collins, son of Capt Thos Collins and great grand-father of Mr Ellis Smith.
The memoirs were recorded in 1914, when Carden Collins was in his 85th

Sitting on his verandah, though then 85 years of age, Mr Collins memory was
of the sharpest and he  took me from that day of January 16th 1829,
when he was born on the brig Elizabeth off the isle of Trinidad, to these
pleasant declining days of his on the shores of Keppel Bay, without a halt.

Carden Collins was a son of Captain Thos. Collins, who came of a very old
family in Somerset.  Captain Collins served as an officer in the Indian
Navy.  He did not consider he was making money fast enough, and, being of an
adventurous spirit, resolved to engage in the whaling industry. With this
object in view he purchased the old sailor Elizabeth and carried on his
perilous occupation in the Southern Ocean for many years.  Mr Collins stated
that his father described whaling as the finest of sport.  Mrs Collins
frequently accompanied her husband in the Elizabeth and it was on the 16th
of January 1829, whilst passing the Island of Trinidad, West Indies, that Mr
Collins was born.  Captain Collins mapped out a career for his son in the
British navy, but heavy financial losses through injudicious speculations of
his savings by a friend, compelled an abandonment of that idea.  Captain
Collins then resolved to seek fortune in Australia.  Carden Collins was only
a little chap when his father landed in Sydney in 1829.  Shortly afterwards
he returned to England in his father's shop Elizabeth via the Capt Horn for
the purpose of receiving an education.  He returned again to Australia when
he was but thirteen years of age in the ship Angelena.  The voyage was not
without incident, for the Angelena was dismasted in a storm off the Cape of
Good Hope, and had to put into Capetown for repairs.

"My father," continued Mr Collins, "on settling in Australia received a
grant of 640 acres at Bathurst, NSW from the Government.  This was the first
land he owned in Australia.  He afterwards took up a farm at Maitland, and
when I arrived back from England, he had migrated to Queensland and settled
on some country in the Darling Down, through which the McIntyre Brook ran.
This he named Cooloomunda or as the blacks called it, Kabbathemani.  After I
arrived in Sydney I was met by Mr William Weeks, an uncle, the son of a
celebrated doctor in Kent, and we two set out overland for Cooloomunda.  For
the whole distance of 400 miles the natives proved very troublesome and we
had literally to fight our way to our destination.  After spending several
years on the Darling Downs my father sold his property and purchased Telemon
on the Logan River, from some people in Sydney named Campbell.  That was in
the 40's, not long after I had come out.

We grew out own wheat at Cooloomunda and made our own flour.  The blacks
used to grind the wheat for us with a little steel hand mill and for their
labours we rewarded them with the bran. 

When we sold Cooloomunda, we shifted the whole of our cattle, numbering
3,000 or 4,000 to our new place Telemon.  This took us two or three months.
We bred all Shorthorns in those days and some of them were pretty wild scrub
devils.  It was all open country then, and no fencing was used at all.  Of
course, no railways then existed and all travelling was done by road.  I
remember the first steam engine that was landed in Sydney from Europe.  It
was something after the class of a traction engine and all Sydney turned out
to see it.  It was a failure.

In addition to cattle my father tried sheep raising on Telemon but they were
not a success and after persevering with them for a time we had to replace
them with cattle.  The chief failure with the sheep was they ran to belly
and did not otherwise do any good.

About three miles below Beaudesert Captain ("Bobby") Towns had a cotton
plantation.  It was on the banks of the Logan, and sometimes after getting
the ground ploughed and planted then a big flood came down and swept all the
ploughed ground away.  This was the only venture in cotton growing on the
Logan in my time.  Later on cotton was grown about Ipswich.

Just before we went to Telemon, John Collins, who was not in any way related
to us, took up Mundoolun on the Albert River.  He was a fine old chap.  The
late RM, William and George Collins were three sons of a good father.  While
my father was on Telemon I founded Tamborine Station on the Albert River
near Mundoolun, which I sold after holding it for a couple of years to
Charlie Graham.  The latter however, made a mess of it and died in
Rockhampton a short time after leaving the property.  A Mr Williams
afterwards purchased Tamborine from Mr Tooth, but he too only held it for a
short while.  Mr Duckett White took up Beau Desert in the early 60's.  Gold
blue Beau Desert!  It was a fine place.  Mr W Barker, of Tamrookum, whose
place was only two miles from Telemon, was another neighbour of mine. 

I then formed Maroon, or as the blacks called it, Marrom.  It made a very
nice place of it and constructed a house, stockyards and paddocks.  I tried
sheep breeding again, in conjunction with cattle, but they did not do well
here either.  I therefore sold them and turned the money into cattle.  

Racing was my hobby and blackfellows used to come miles to see me riding.  I
was always an amateur and was better known as a hurdle rider and had a
beautiful stable of racehorses at Maroon.  At one period I had five in
training at the one time.  I did a little of both flat and steeplechase
racing.  Toby, an old cob I had, made a lot of money for me.  I well
remember when I was racing Toby, who could jump anything, listening to some
racy fellows who had come over from Sydney to Ipswich blowing in a shanty
about their horses.  I knew Toby could take anything so I chipped in "I do
not mind having a go at you for £50."They took me up.  It was general racing
time in the district and the Governor Sir George Bowen and suite was there.
They all witnessed the match which was over two miles.  I engaged my brother
Bob to ride Toby.  Toby baulked at the first hurdle and threw Bob over his
head.  Nothing daunted, Bob remounted, notwithstanding that he appeared
hopelessly out of the race.  However he cleared the remainder of the hurdles
beautifully.  At the last hurdle the visitor's horse came down, while Toby
came on and won easily. 

Huntsman was another good racer that I had.  He was good for long distances,
especially three miles.  I once rode a horse belonging to the late John
Tait, the well known racing man of Sydney, in a Corinthian race and won.
Some time afterwards I received a saddle worth £5 from him.  This was the
only present I ever got from the owners of my winning mounts, so I thought a
good deal of it.  Hughie Campbell, the well known Ipswich blacksmith of
those days, used to she my racehorses.

Mr Thomas Murray-Prior, who was the first Postmaster-General in Queensland,
bought Maroon from me and effected additional improvements.  He was twice
married, his first wife being a NSW lady named Miss Harper, and a very fine
girl she was, while his second wife was named Miss Baron.
Cattle did not then bring the prices obtained nowdays.  Most of the cattle
were sent to the boiling downs at Ipswich and we were lucky if we got £2 per
head for bullocks after moving them 200 miles.

When I left Maroon, I was hard up for country so I came northwards to Baffle
Creek by following the coast line.  I bought some country here right in the
midst of the properties of Mr F Blackman, Warroo, Mr Harvey Hold of Kolonga
and Robertson Brothers.

My father died at Nindooinbah Mrs Compigne's property, while my mother
predeceased him by several years.  Her death took place at Telemon.
Mrs A Henderson, one of my sisters, although 82 years of age, is now living
with her only son at Jimboomba in the Logan District, which Mr Henderson
selected in the 50's.  Mrs Compgine, another sister of mine, died about 2
years ago.  My youngest sister, Mrs Nott, resides at Greycliff at cattle run
on the Dawson.  Mr Collins said that his race was a long lived one.

Yes, I remember and knew most of the old Brisbaneites of 50 years ago and
can well recollect Leichhardt the explorer.  He was a tall thin man and was
really not a good bushman.  He was lost without a compass.  I and another
friend had dinner with him the night before he started on his last trip.

My bother Bob, with a  friend named Horace Walpole, took up land on the
Flinders Many years ago and named the place Telemon, after the old home on
the Logan.  They sold out to a man named Stuart and shortly after Bob went
to California cheris de feminiini, where he settled and lived until his
death occurred about 2 years ago.  He was ruined by the earthquake smash,
lost all his worldly possessions and had to start again.

A granddaughter of Mr Carden Collins adds this interesting memoir:
My grandfather's (Carden Collins) father, Capt Thos Collins, married in 1826
Sophia Pamela Warners Somerset, who was a descendant of Sir John Warners,
who signed the Magna Charter.

Carden Collins was twice married.  He was married at Murgon, Richmond River,
NSW to Mary Helena Glennie, 1852.  Her father was an uncle of Rev Archdeacon
Glennie.  Her mother, Susan White, came out with her brother-in-law  Captain
Ogilvie and sister Mrs Ogilvie, in the former's own ship.  Captain and Mrs
Ogilvie were cousins and also cousins of Sir Arthur Kennedy, Governor of
Queensland and also descendants of the Earls of Airlie, Scotland.  Mrs
Ogilvie had two daughters, one later married William Bundock, of Wyangrie
station, NSW.

My grandfather's first wife died at Thornhill station, Gladstone, in 1870.
His second wife was an English widow Mrs Lister and sister of Mr JP Pugh the
well known Police Magistrate and who established that great record of
Queensland history, Pugh's Almanac.