Saint Helena Island
The Aboriginal name for the island was No-gun (Petrie) or Noogoo (Meston), and at first it was clustered together by Europeans with King and Green Islands as the Green Islands. Flinders simply numbered it two. Before the Europeans took over it was a well vegetated island, and the tribespeople from the Wynnum area used to come over for the flying foxes which roosted there and which provided an important part of their diet.
In 1827, the whites at Dunwich had some trouble with an Aboriginal man they nicknamed Napoleon because he was supposed to look a bit like the French general and emperor. He stole an axe from them, and by way of punishment they took him over to this island in the bay and left him there. Getting off did not pose any difficulty for him however for he quickly made a bark canoe and paddled back to his people on Stradbroke Island. Because Napoleon Bonaparte had been exiled to St Helena Island in the Atlantic the local Europeans called this bay island by the same name.
In 1866 prisoners were used to erect buildings on St Helena with a view to its becoming a quarantine station, but it was not in fact used for this purpose, but was turned into a prison. By 1869 there were over 300 prisoners there in a hard-labour prison settlement. The first superintendent was John McDonald. The stopped growing sugarcane when they discovered it provided too many hiding places for the prisoners, and changed to growing potatoes and lucerne. It was no longer used as a penitentiary after Boggo Road Gaol and the Palen Creek Prison Farm were built in the 1930s
The town that grew up by a crossing on the Balonne River got its name from an entry in Thomas Mitchell's diary. The surveyor and explorer noted that he crossed the river there on St George's Day, 1846.
Saint John's Wood
The naming of St John's Wood near West Ashgrove owes something to a district of central London known by that name. This English district gained its name from the Knights Hospitallers of St John to whom the land was transferred when the Knights Templars were suppressed early in the 14th century. It is said that the only piece of green turf remaining now from this once forested area is the oval at Lord's Cricket Ground. In Queensland the name was adopted for the property of Mr Justice Harding and became the venue for many society functions.
The university suburb is named after the island of St Lucia in the West Indies, or at least it is named after W.A.Wilson's property which he named after the West Indian island where he was born. William Alexander Wilson purchased Dart's Coldridge Plantation in 1882 and renamed it The St Lucia Sugar Plantation. He went on to subdivide an adjacent farm in 1883 and named it St Lucia Estate. In 1885 he moved the name to the subdivision of his sugar plantation; the Great Court of the University of Queensland occupies part of this land today. For many years the name St Lucia only applied to the far end of the peninsular, but was eventually formally adopted for the whole suburb up to Gailey Road/Indooroopilly Road. See also Ironside.
Before this became the name of a suburb it was the name of William Coote's residence, named after the city of Salisbury in England. Earlier spellings of this English cathedral city were Sarisberie ( in the Doomsday Book) and Salesbury (1227). The Roman name for the settlement in this area was Sorviodunum.
It seems that the first lease for the pastoral property known as Samford was issued in 1854 to Archibald Young. It passed to Clarence H. Ball, 23 July, 1861. Then in 1864 it was transferred to two former British army officers recently arrived in the colony. One of them took a mob of cattle off to market and disappeared with the proceeds leaving his partner, William Townley, in difficult circumstances. The Townleys however were friends with the Governor and his wife. Gertrude Townley had been nursed back to good health by Lady Bowen on her first arrival in Queensland. Townley soon left his pastoral pursuits to become Gold Commissioner and later Police Magistrate, Inspector of Prisons and Chairman of the Public Service Board. The Aboriginal name for the area was Kupidabin, the place of possums.
William Joyner arrived in Sydney from England in 1841 with some money to invest. After involvement in a cattle station in the south he came north, 1844, and leased a large tract of land extending from Moreton Bay to the D'Aguilar Range and bordered on the north by the North Pine River. He named it the Samsonvale Cattle Station. He continued to live in Sydney, visiting the property managed by W. Mason, from time to time. He however lost his life when the steamer, Sovereign, on which he was travelling was wrecked on the South Passage Bar, Moreton Bay, 1847. His wife Isobel, daughter of the late Captain Penson who had commanded the colonial vessels Mermaid and Amity, together with her mother and her baby son, then moved onto the property, keeping Mason on as manager. She built a fine, two-storied house there.
The name came from Mt Samson which bordered the property and had been so named by Allan Cunningham after the late Solicitor-General Sampson. The name of Mt Sampson has not however been retained. It is now Mt English.