Tuesday, March 15, 2016

a. The History of Bracken Ridge Introduction

The History of Bracken Ridge

First Settled 150 years ago in 1866

Part One

An Historical Narrative recognising the contribution of the early Scottish landholders and settlers

Bracken Ridge was settled by Scottish families              
who left the Highlands of Scotland and their memories behind

  “My Heart's In The Highlands

Farewell to the Highlands, farewell to the North,
The birth-place of Valour, the country of Worth;
Wherever I wander, wherever I rove,
The hills of the Highlands for ever I love.

Chorus.-My heart's in the Highlands, my heart is not here,
My heart's in the Highlands, a-chasing the deer;
Chasing the wild-deer, and following the roe,
My heart's in the Highlands, wherever I go.

Farewell to the mountains, high-cover'd with snow,
Farewell to the straths and green vallies below;
Farewell to the forests and wild-hanging woods,
Farewell to the torrents and loud-pouring floods.
My heart's in the Highlands, &c.”

Robert Burns 

Away they sailed in ships such as the Fortitude, on a 4 month journey to the other side of the world.    

To settle and clear the thick scrubby Bracken Fern in lands 12 miles north of Brisbane

Where they toiled in the harsh condition of a new country

My Country

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror -
The wide brown land for me!

A stark white ring-barked forest
All tragic to the moon,
The sapphire-misted mountains,
The hot gold hush of noon.
Green tangle of the brushes,
Where lithe lianas coil,
And orchids deck the tree-tops
And ferns the warm dark soil
                                                                                                Dorothea McKellar


   How did they cope?

Without their contribution the History of Bracken Ridge may have been a completely different story.

                  A suburb that's history began with a cob of corn!      

This research project became even more enjoyable, due to my Scottish heritage*.


Records and Resources

This story has been compiled and researched from sourced material, in order to satisfy the requirements needed to change current entries on the internet, and from my personal knowledge and experience in dealing with archives and sourcing material in order to correct many inaccurate records in the UK.

Sometimes records are mere pieces of rice-paper, and there might be thousands upon thousands of those pieces of paper in boxes, waiting for someone to individually scan each one to label them and then to sort them into some logical sequence.   Again from my personal experience some archivists and librarians deal with the material as a "whole".  The pieces are objects, inanimate, which they are.

My own 4th great grandfather's engineering books, written in 1755, in French have been "vandalised" by someone in the past writing an archive number on the front cover!  Irreplaceable material.  Hidden in an archive, perhaps never thinking that an intrepid researcher was coming to take photographs!

But for a family historian they represent a minute in the life of an ancestor.  A mere window of their life, sometimes written on a piece of paper, sometimes recorded centuries before, sometimes in estate records, stored in Universities, depending upon their social standing in the community.  The records individually may not contain many logical clues, but collectively a story emerges.

The Birmingham University is one place that holds so much history, it is quite overwhelming sorting through page by page in the hope of finding one particular letter that they hold in their archives.

A staff member from Queensland archives informed me that they held 56 kilometers of records - that is impressive.

Online newspaper archives are massive, and hopefully they will continue to scan and digitise the past newspapers.  Australia hold's one of the best collections in the world.

In other words, researching is not easy!  Certainly a lot easier now than in the days before computers and word processors and all the modern day capabilities.

Recognition must be given to the many other people who research, and write the historical accounts of their families or their areas.

Most have done so, without the incredible online resources that are now available.

In this compilation some of those links are provided.  Please open them and read even more information about the lives and events that shaped Queensland.

Many groups have not digitised their important historical objects and papers.  It is a huge task, and is much appreciated for the generations who follow.

Throughout the works, reference to source material has been made, either by links, or by newspaper cuttings or biographies and write ups.

Memories are best told by those who have lived them, and often are very entertaining.  Some of us who have lived in Bracken Ridge are now walking in the footsteps of all these old-timers, who wrote down their memories.

Now we are doing the same.  It is hard to believe that those who have worked with me to share their thoughts and memories, have done so, and that their association with Bracken Ridge goes back as far as 1968.   We really are "old-timers".

Hopefully the next generation will be able to share their words and thoughts when they have been residents for 40 years!!!!!

Kris Herron

*Scottish Australians are residents of Australia who are fully or partially of Scottish descent.
According to the 2011 Australian census 130,204 Australian residents were born in Scotland,while 1,792,600 claimed Scottish ancestry, either alone or in combination with another ancestry.

This is the fourth most commonly nominated ancestry and represents over 8.3% of the total population of Australia.


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