Place Names of South-East Queensland




Peel Island

Matthew Flinders simply called this island Number Five. It was John Oxley who gave it the name of Peel's Island, naming it after the Secretary of State for the Home Department in England, Sir Robert Peel. This son of a wealthy cotton manufacturer entered parliament as a Tory in 1809.  His anti-Catholic attitude earned him the nick name of Orange Peel when he was Secretary for Ireland. As Home Secretary, he reorganized the London police and they came to be called 'bobbies' from that time on. As leader of his conservative party he became Prime Minsiter of Great Britain. He died in 1850 after being thrown from his horse. The Aboriginal name for this Moreton Bay island is variously given as Turkoorooa or Chererooba. Over the years it has served as a quarantine station, a leprosarium and a home for alcoholics. 


Prior to becoming the name of a township on the old Oakey-Cooyar railway line, Peranga was the name of an outstation on the great Rosalie Plains holding. 


T.M.Burke Pty Ltd opened up the coastal strip between Coolum and Noosa when it was granted land in exchange for the building of roads. T.M. Burke himself started the Noosa Beach Estate project in 1928, but it floundered until revived by his son, Marcus (after whom Marcus Beach is named) as Sunshine Beach.  Peregian Beach was opened up from 1958. It took its name from Mount Peregian nearby. In the Kabi Kabi language it meant emu, and there is nearby Emu Swamp, so the place probably got its name from the presence of a large number of emu in the area. Another theory is that it is derived from perridhan/jan, mangrove seeds. Later the same firm opened up the strip from Peregian to Coolum. 


The name of this district near Nambour comes from the Yugumbir people and refers to a species of pigeon.


Of the Petrie family, Tom is perhaps the best known today, for his reminiscences were written down by his daughter, Constance Campbell Petrie. The fourth son of Andrew and Mary, he was only a baby when they sailed for Australia in the Stirling Castle in 1831.  He was an eight-year-old boy when they arrived in Brisbane Town after some years spent in Sydney. He mixed with the convicts, not always with his parents' approval, but from boyhood he also mixed freely with the Aboriginal tribes-people around Brisbane, learning their language and respecting their customs. He came, in turn, to be respected and trusted by the Aboriginal people.

It was because of his good relationships with the natives that he acquired property in the North Pine area. He had recently married Elizabeth Campbell and was looking for a place where he could settle down when Dalaipi, headman of the local tribe, offered him some of their tribal territory and his son as a stockman. The land had already been taken up by white settlers, but when Tom approached the owners he found that they were only too willing to unload that part of their property for they could do nothing with it on account of hostile attacks by the blacks.

Tom built Murrumba homestead overlooking the Pine River and Yebri Creek with the help of his Aboriginal friends. Following the discovery of gold, Tom and Elizabeth had many callers looking for postal and shop facilities and accommodation on their journeys to and from Gympie, so in 1870 he decided to provide these through a hostelry built for the purpose. This became Cobb & Co.'s first change of horses out of Brisbane. Around this a township developed.  He was a bushman and explorer, bred cattle and horses and developed a dairy herd. He blazed the trails for several roads around South East Queensland. But his name is perpetuated in that area named after him and where his statue is still to be seen.

The township was known simply as North Pine until the year after Tom's death, when, 8 June, 1911, its change of name to Petrie was announced in the Queensland Government Gazette. 

Petrie Bight

The Rev. J. D. Lang of Sydney was convinced that what Australia needed was hard-working, Protestant, free settlers, so he went to Britain to recruit suitable migrants, and among those who came out in 1831 were Andrew and Mary Petrie with their young family. He was engaged principally to help in the building of the Australian College in Sydney, another of Lang's schemes for the improvement of Australian society.

After seven years in Sydney, the Petries moved to the Moreton Bay Penal Settlement where Andrew was Clerk of Works. At first, they lived in the building formerly used for female prisoners, a large building with 5 metre high walls around it, but, as soon as they had the opportunity, they built their own house out in the bush at a place the Aborigines used to call Tumamun but which from then on became Petrie's Bight along the river.

In 1838, while exploring with the Commandant, Major Cotton, he climbed a hill on the south side of the Brisbane River to get his bearings, and this hill then came to be marked on maps as Mount Petrie. The suburb of Belmont has grown nearby.

The Petries stayed on in Brisbane when the penal settlement was closed and the area thrown open to free settlement in 1842. Andrew became Brisbane's first builder, and his family played a very important part in the development of early Brisbane. 

Although he went blind at the age of 50 he continued to keep control of the business until just a couple of years before his death at the age of 74. His granddaughter desribed him as kind, although strict. He never smoked. In later life, he frequently suffered pain in his leg, the result of a youthful horse-riding accident back in Scotland, but he did not complain about it. Could get angry, but his anger was short-lived. He helped many with food and work when they were caught in hard times. Their home became one of the social centres for Brisbane. Out-of-town squatters and visitors, like Ludwig Leichhardt, found accommodation there.  

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