Place Names of South-East Queensland




Bruce Highway

Henry Adam Bruce had been a bushworker in Central Queensland before he became an organizer for the Australian Workers Union and entered politics as a labor candidate, sitting in the Queensland Legislative Assembly from May 1923, to April 1950 when he switched to the Federal Parliament. He was Minister for Works, 15 December, 1934, when  the highway which runs from Coolangatta to Cairns was named. 


A grazing run in the 1840s, the name may have been that of a particular horse although the similar place name on the Darling Downs means a place of dry bushes.


There are perils for those who would learn a foreign language. Budderum was the Kabi Kabi word for the coastal bottlebrush, banksia collina, sometimes called honeysuckle, which grows on the open sandy country near the sea. It could have happened that a white person enquiring the name of the high country to be seen from the beach  was given the name of the coastal bottlebrush instead. The name was written down as Buderim. The coastal bottlebrush did not grow in the rainforests of Buderim Mountain, but it was known as Buderim from the time of the first white intrusion into the area by timbergetters. William Guy, a member of the survey party sent out to survey the area for closer settlement, bought 80 acres and settled there in 1870.

William Guy, orphaned by the time he was eight, ran away to France at the age of 15, joined Giuseppe Garibaldi in his campaign on behalf of the poor peasants of Italy, marched with Garibaldi's forces against Rome and then later migrated, with his brother Frank, to Australia. He got a job with the Survey Department in Queensland and when an application was made by the Quaker families on the Mooloola River Flats for the right to select higher land on Buderim he was in the survey party. 


The name Bulimba is of Aboriginal origin, but it was not the Aboriginal name for the area. The Aboriginal people called that part of the world Tugulawa. It was White's Hill, over near Cannon Hill, that they called Bulimba. However when the pioneering settler, David McConnell of Cressbrook in the Brisbane Valley built a house there 1849-1850 he called it Bulimba. This is a two-story house modelled on the family's home in the English county of Derbyshire, and the suburb gained its name from this, one of the earliest stone houses built in Brisbane.

When David McConnell returned from Scotland with his young wife they made Bulimba their home. He sold off some of his land cheaply to people who worked for him. Others also bought in the area. But the house was sold in 1854 when David and Mary McConnell went back to Britain because of her health. When they came back in 1862 they lived at Cressbrook. 


Bullecourt was one of those Soldier Settlement areas named after a World War I battlefield in France where Australian soldiers fought.

Bulwer Island

Like Lytton, Bulwer Island was named by the Governor, Sir George Ferguson Bowen, in honour of  Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton who appointed him to the position of Governor for the new colony. 


Bundall was the name of a major sugar plantation on the Nerang River in the 1870s and 80s. It was first settled by an English immigrant, Edmund Price, for cotton growing, but Price ended up a derelict alcoholic on the streets of Brisbane. It came to its heyday during the ownership of Alfred Holland who leased the land to Holland Miskin and Company for the Bundall Sugar Plantation and Mill. In its original Aboriginal form the name referred to a prickly vine. 


The Aboriginal meaning for the word Bundanba from which Bundamba is derived is said to have meant the place of tomahawks.  


J. G. Steele says that the word means a female of the banjur class and that the Aboriginal people used it of the south peak on Mt French.


The district of Bunya is now occupied by the Bunyaville State Forest, but the first mail service under that name started in 1874. Its name was changed to Wongan, and later Wongun, but when the post office closed, 1951, the name Bunya was again used for the district. So a tree which featured markedly in the Aboriginal life of South East Queensland prior to white settlement is commemorated. 

Constance Petrie, following her father, Tom Petrie, says that the Aboriginal pronunciation was bon-yi. However Archibald Meston claimed that this was the name used only by the old Aborigines from the Brisbane region. The Aboriginal folk of the Bunya Mountains called the tree "bahnya". Its scientific name is Araucaria Bidwilli.

Every third year the Aboriginal tribes who lived in the bunya growing areas sent out verbal invitations and people gathered from far and wide. Tom Petrie remembered seeing something like 700 people at one of these gatherings on the Blackall Range. These gathering went on for weeks and each night tribes showed off their new dances at the corroborees, but the whole picnic would finish with a fight to settle old scores.

Local Aboriginal people had their own trees, and no one else climbed these. Whereas other trees would be notched, the bunya tree was never cut.  A vine loop around the trunk was used to aid climbing. The large cones were split open and the nuts roasted.

Blocks of land were sold in what was being called the town of Kedron 1887-1891, but the Land's Department asked for a change of name. The name Bunyaville was suggested, and this was used until 1972 when that area was absorbed into Everton Hills. 

Previous page                                               Next page

Place Names of South East Queensland home page