Tuesday, March 29, 2016

BH 2.6 Bald Hills the First Settlers John Stewart and his wife Jane Duncan

'Give him one 'or two links in family history concerning the early life, they say in the Hunter River district, and he 'will. soon make a chain of interesting facts.' 



When William Stewart and his wife Margaret Livingston saw their children leave Scotland and travel on the Ann Milne to start a new life in Australia, they would never have dreamt that their children were in fact creating a piece of history.


The three Stewart siblings, John, Janet and Margaret arrived in Australia in 1842, on board the Anne Milne.  They were part of a sponsored scheme for Scottish migrants.

In order to repay their passage they were indented to Colonists.  

Margaret had married John Connolly before leaving Scotland, and John was listed on the shipping log as being a wheelwright, Margaret a seamstress.

Janet Stewart was listed as being a cook and a maid, and her passage was £16.

John Stewart had a one year bond with Mr Goggs, and was listed as a shepherd.

Before they arrived in Bald Hills they were in the Hunter Region of New South Wales.

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From the Scottish Settlers of Moreton Bay.............

An agricultural community was formed at Bald Hills which was known as 'the Scotch settlement'. Adjoining embryonic Sandgate, this settlement was founded by John and Margaret Stewart, the latter being the sister-in-law of Brisbane bootmaker Thomas Gray.

They were accompanied by David, Charles and Jane Duncan who was to marry Stewart. All had been fellow passengers aboard the Anne Milne which brought the Mackenzie labour force to New South Wales. This extended family with connections to Mackenzie's Black Isle contingent formed one of the
strong strands of the Scottish network with links to David McConnel of Cressbrook.

Deciding to relocate from the flood-prone Paterson River area in 1857, the Stewarts and Duncans were informed by Gray of the availability of good farm land on the outskirts of Brisbane in the vicinity of the South Pine. The Moreton Bay Courier welcomed them on 6 October of that year: 'three families from the Hunter, bringing with them three superior draught horses, settled ... on freeholds on the Bald Hills'.

However, the Pine River Aborigines demonstrated their infamous hostility.
Demonstrating the strength of the Scottish network, Gray's agitation to the Police Magistrate ensured that his kin were well protected by a detachment of the Native Police which was thereafter stationed at Sandgate. Assured of peace and security, this small settlement of Scots with leanings toward Lang eventually overcame...........................











DOMESTIC INTELLIGENCE.
The Moreton Bay Courier (Brisbane, Qld. : 1846 - 1861)Saturday 10 October 1857 p 2 Article










... ; three families from the Hunter bringing with   them three superior draught horses, settled on




Settlers on the Bald Hills, from the Hunter River.-The effect of the late floods on the population of the Hunter River District is  already appearing in the emigration of a few of  the inhabitants, to be followed doubtless by larger numbers, seeking homes for themselves and their families in other parts of the colony not subject to the disasters which have for some time past destroyed the fruits of enterprise in the District of the Hunter.

 Some have, we believe, settled on   the Richmond, and we rejoice to find that a few of them have deemed our new colony an eligible place for their future settlement. Sometime ago two or three of them came as pioneers, purchased   land in the neighbourhood of the Bald Hills on the Pine River, and reported favorably of it for agricultural purposes. 

Following up this first step  three families from the Hunter bringing with  them three superior draught horses, settled on  Tuesday last on freeholds on the Bald Hill near to  Sandgate. A number of their late neighbors have determined to follow them should the first twelve month's experience in the new country  be favorable. 

We give the enterprising men of  the Hunter a hearty welcome and wish them complete success. It may not be gratifying to those  of our Maitland friends who have determined "to  stick to the old ship" to lose their friends and neighbors, but they will rejoice with us so soon  as they learn that the newcomers have formed  smiling homesteads and fertile fields instead of being the residents of a district in which for so long past black ruin has been staring the humble settler in the face.   







When they settled at Bald Hills they did so on the land now known as St Paul's School.









From the newspapers:

FROM Scotland, yesterday, having left Dundee the 16th Sept., the barque Ann Milne, Capt. Thom, with 253 emigrants, under the superintendence of Peter McClaver, Esq.,Surgeon. Passengers-Mr. Anderson, Mr. Gordon, Messrs. Leslie, Mr. Barrett, Mr.Sutherland, Mr. Sidey, Miss Bellow.

The Ann Milne, from Dundee, brings 253 emigrants, all in very good health. Sixteen infants (from measles) and three adults died during the voyage; a passenger named Ramsay died from consumption shortly after her leaving Scotland. She spoke the Samuel Bodington from London to Port Phillip, with emigrants, on the 25th November.




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The best stories about a person, time or place are often written by those who were there.  Their words written sometimes a century or more ago, with flowery descriptive words, provide an insight into the lives of their families.  

The story of their early life as told by their grandson.

Early Pioneer Colonists. ,   March 1905, written by one who was there


BY REV. J. STEWART.-

The pioneers of White Australia are rapidly passing away, and it seems a pity that more is not being done to collate the useful items of information available, before the line which is so surely becoming thinner every day disappears altogether. I am writing specially with reference to the company of brave, true, patriotic men and women, who free adventurous pioneers, came to Australia, from 1835 on to say 1865, and. of whom, only a comparatively few can now be found, with, memory fresh and clear, to tell their tale. 

I am led to write this, partly because being on holiday for: the first time on the Richmond River, I have met so many,- who are either original pioneers or sons and daughters of pioneers, and in the case of the latter often running well, into.the allotted span of human life. 

As the son of one of the pioneers myself, I have always held the best type of the early Australian in so .high. an esteem as almost to amount to veneration, and I have found great pleasure, here upon the Richmond, as elsewhere, in my travels, in tracing  out the early history until it would not be risky to venture the suggestion,

'Give him one 'or two links in family history concerning the early life, they say in the Hunter River district, and he 'will. soon make a chain of interesting facts.' 

Today I am. seeking some missing links, and 'I, hope  I may find them during my delightful holiday either upon the Richmond, Clarence or Tweed, because I know what, a strong tide of human migration set in from the Hunter in the closing years of the fifties towards these three rivers, with their magnificent wealth of natural, though undeveloped, resources. 

And so 1 am inquiring as I move about for some of the passengers by one of the vessels which came to Sydney in 1842, and so far I have found no sign, But I am confident I.shall be successful, and so I hope to see this in  print and circulated throughout the mother State, which I am proud of as my birthplace, as I am equally proud of Sunny Queensland and my ample centre of life and work since September 1857. 

And so I state a few facts which I know will be read  with very deep interest by. many, not only locally, but far, far away  even beyond. the boundary  of our Australian Commonwealth. 

It was on the 16th of September 1841, that the fine clipper ship, Ann Maine, under, the skillful command of Captain Thom, sailed out of Dundee ('Scotland) with over 300 passengers bound for Port Jackson.

 Not Botany Bay, for unlike many who left Great Britain for Australia, and who were landed at Botany Bay, they were willing voyagers towards the New Country, and they might safely be described as ''best of the best" for in most cases they were the brightest and most enterprising of the best types of family life in England, Ireland and Scotland. 

Most of them were young, and in every way, as far as physique and mental and moral qualities were concerned, they were equal, if not superior, to the best type of immigrants to Australia in 1905, and certainly better than the sample of the men and women who came under the free, or even assisted, schemes of immigration- in the later years. 

The ship made a good run for that period, and the anchor was dropped in Port Jackson on January 17th, 1842. As I am writing. here from memory, I will be thankful if any of the folk wlio came by the Ann Milne will correct or even verify  my dates and statements. But I feel fairly well intrenched, for I derived my information, on at first hand; from several of those who remember their arrival so well, and who still survive in lovely.sunny Queensland, to verify many of the  interesting memories of that pioneer period in the history of free white Australia. 

Among the Ann .Milne folk I will only mention a few whom I have known personally,. I remember, for instance, how often I heard in my boyhood that Jean Duncan reached her 14th birthday just as the vessel, like a living creation of beauty, glided gracefully in between the north and south heads of the beautiful Sydney Harbour. And Jean's father and.mother were there a very worthy couple; formerly known as James Duncan and Agnes Ross and who '''came 'from  Brechin.'

Her two brothers, Charles and David, sturdy lads, were also there, and were regarded as general favourites, because of their droll Forfar dialect and pawkv ways. There was also a trio from bonny Strathtay, Perthshire— John, Janet, and Margaret Stewart strongly fragranced of the Appia branch of the prolific  Stewart tree.

John was the youngest, and he reached his 20th birthday on the 1st of February, after he landed at Sydney, from whence he went up the Hunter and out to Matthew Gogg's station, Gammon Plains, as carpenter, on an engagement of two years, at £20 per year and rations.

After serving two years, he received an I.O.U. for £40, and walked to Maitland and found that he was one of the fortunate few who received gold to the full value of Matthew Gogg's p.n., and he found himself a rich man.

So he went to Dr. Scott at Wallalong, on the Paterson, and he took a farm and remained there till the floods of 1857, during which period he married Jean Duncan, whose father was also a tenant on Wallalong till he died in 1855. 

In 1871 I was born to John and Jean Stewart, and both father and mother lived to see twelve of their offspring (six sons and six daughters) grow up to manhood and womanhood.. 

In 1857  father removed to Moreton Bay, a locality with a very unsavoury reputation, and settled at. a place called Bald Hills, 12 miles from Brisbane, where I spent a few hours very happily with him on the 3rd of this month, just before leaving for the Richmond. 

I would  have brought him with me to let my friends see the man who has fulfilled God's end in our creation  so well, and to whom God has been so good, in letting him enter upon his 84th year. I rejoiced with him as he passed his 83rd milestone, and found him enjoying good  health and spirits, with all his senses clear, his memory faultless, and with a set of sound teeth, almost without a blemish, which he .sometimes has spoken of as 'The set I grew in Scotland on plain bread.'  

Among the Anne Milne folk was Thomas Gray, a giant from Rosslare, who learned  the shoemaking in his native country, and: whose sewn work was known over a wide  territory, with Brisbane as a centre. He, too, served two years on a. station almost, on the extreme frontier line of settlement in Northern Australia in 1842, and ; at the termination of that period he set up in Brisbane as a cordwainer. 

In 1855 he was married by Rev Lang (Scots' Church), in Sydney, to Janet Stewart, and shortly alter one of the finest young couples' ever set in Moreton Bay reached Brisbane, and went into their home, though but a humble one, in George-street, near Queen street, and where the business which was then begun, is still carried on.

He died there under a severe attack of English cholera, nearly 30 years ago, 'deeply regretted by all who knew him, and one of '''Nature's truest gentlemen.' 

His widow lived, on that spot till 55 years had passed, and in her 80th year left her three stalwart sons and three vigorous daughters to carry on the business which her helpmate and. she had so industriously and honourably established that the reputation lasts, and I am pleased to say is being maintained to this day. 

And there was John Connolly, a strong, laughter-loving boy from the South of Ireland, who married Margaret Stewart, and who after farming for a time on the Paterson migrated north to Moreton Bay, settled within a short distance of the Post Office in Brisbane, and began clearing the scrub and tilling the soil in; the central fifties. 

The  West End State school is situated near John Connolly's old home. John was carrying the mails on horseback between Brisbane and Ipswich, 24 miles apart, when father, took his wife and family to Moreton Bay, and he was drowned in a way which never had any explanation, in the Brisbane River, about 1858 or 1859. 

His widow, now 80 years of age, and with a memory as clear as sunshine, lives at Sandgate, twelve miles from Brisbane, .where I spent an hour with her and father, only a few weeks ago. 

It was amusing to hear them talking with such zest of enjoyment of the events of tho early, twenties, thirties, and forties. I have a very distinct memory of the marriage of Charles Duncan and Georgina McPherson (whose father and mother came out in 1838) in January, 1851. 

1 remember that a great number of friends, mostly Scottish style, and though I prefer and recommend the quieter function, with less whisky; and dancing, it must be admitted that weddings at that period were great events, sometimes lasting two or three days. 

This I could lived for a time on Wallalong, but many, too, migrated to Bald Hills,Moreton Bay, in 1857, and with the exception of five years spent in Perth, Western Australia, they spent most of their life in Queensland. 

They returned about two years ago, and, are living happily upon a farm near Laidley, 50 miles from Brisbane, one of the most fertile areas of soil in Australia. In September, 1857, David Duncan was married to Jane, youngest daughter of Hugh Stewart, another worthy Highlander, who, with his wife left Fort William, Inverness. Shire, about 1837 and who lived for many years near the Paterson township.


A few days after  their wedding David and Jane Duncan left for, Moreton Bay for their honeymoon, and settled beside father at Bald Hills, and they. have never travelled far since, as far as residence is concerned, for during the l7 years they could be found quite easily,. either at Bald Hills or Gympie .90 miles north. or at their present home at Caboolture  20 miles from Brisbane.

Both Charles and David Duncan followed my father's example in having goodly families. There were no sounds of. complaint in those good old days of diminution in the birth rate and none of them had occasion to be ashamed, of their offspring.: 

My grandmother Agnes Duncan  was 56 years of age when grandfather .died in.:. 1855, and she felt the loss: of her helpmate so keenly that she felt a great' ' desire, to die with him. But, like many more of the 'rustic parrish fed,' she found 'dying was ''no' sae eaiy,' and so she continued 'to sing,, as she sang so sweetly, and. to work,, as she did so industriously, and to tell the funniest and best of stories of the Scottish folk lore, till one -day when she had passed her 90th, year, she grew real tired,- for she was -not yet sick; and she slipped away' 

She was found by Louisa Mellor— her widowed daughter with whom she lived in Brisbane, where she had died— standing upon her feet at the foot of the bed, where she had been lying, and 'where she was talking only half an hour before. I was Agnes Duncan's first grandchild, and maybe on that account somewhat of a favourite, and when I trained for our Presbyterian Ministry she 'said, 'Eh, James, I am gay and prood.' 

Even when she lost some of her marvellous powers of .sight, song, strength, and memory, she would always recognise me when I 'crooned' the grand old 23rd psalm to- 'Martyrdom,' the tune to which she had so . often- sung it as precentor, in Hinton Church, or in tho simple services in my father's house, where- we only saw a minister now and then before, a church was built in Bald Hills in 1803. 

I was not so surprised as many when ''granny"died in a standing: attitude— 'a perfect pose for statuary,' the doctor said for so often when I called' upon her, and 'found her busy at work, 

I would remark, 'Well, granny you're ayo busy.' ; And she would respond in her cheery way, .-'
so busy, James ; I'm thinking I'll dee on my feet!'

I have mentioned that the Ann Milne arrived in Sydney on January 17, 1843, and that it was mother's fourteenth birthday. And when 58 years had passed, bringing, many wonderful historic changes in Australia, the circle composed of John, Janet, and! Margaret Stewart, who came out from Perthshire^ and Jane, Charles, and David Duncan who 'came from Brechin,' remained an unbroken circle, apparently hale and hearty after their years of strenuous pioneer service.

But in the November of 1899 my mother died in her 73rd year, and in the September following Janet Gray 'passed, ' not so sick or son;, as tired, in her 86th year, just a year younger than her sister, Aunt Crichton, who died in her native land, and whose bonny helpmate, ..James Crichton, died' where he had lived all his life, in Madderty parish, Perthshire,  the day after his dear old Minister - died, ' with whom he had been associated as member and ruling elder for .60 years -.or more, and by whose graveside- lie was buried: by a great company of relatives, the Minister 'being only one year younger than the elder I to whom he was so warmly attached.

When the sixty-third anniversary of tho arrival of the Anne Milne folk came round last month, the remaining quartette (John Stewart, Margaret Connolly, Charles Duncan, and' David Duncan), were hale and hearty, and I am confident that if they heard the sound of the Scotch 'fiddle' or bagpipes, would have none through in merry mood cry 'hooch !' as they passed and touched hands, as they had so often done in their younger days. 

My object in writing this history is maybe somewhat selfish. I wish, if possible, while I am enjoying my pleasant, profitable holiday in my native State, to meet some survivors of the splendid company of 'real and true' men and women who came' in the Ann Milne, and who worked so well and so unselfishly to lay the foundations, and build up the superstructure of .a free, progressive, Christian Commonwealth in the sunny land, under the Southern Cross. 

And since 1 have been -writing this hastily written sketch, entirely from memory, and so liable to fair criticism, I have heard of the first of this company I am looking for in tho neighbourhood of Lismore, and I hope to see not only Owen M'Donough and his brother Edward, but others, or the descendants, of others, either here or upon the Clarence,  or Tweed. 

.I shall also he very pleased to hear of any of my schoolmates who enjoyed the training of our beloved, revered teacher, Mr. George Sanders, between January, 1853. and September, 1857, when I played  with Messrs. David, John, Joseph, and Samuel See, Brian Broughton Buckley,  .Joseph Lock, Charles Lane, Thos. and Charles Blain. John and Sarah King, Agnes and Sarah Stubbs, and the Searles, the Bishops, Mc Murrays, McLeods, McGregors, and many others too numerous to particularise.

 A year last September 1 met Angus  McGregor. Joseph See, John King and some of their relations for the first time for 43 years, and if anyone had seen us as we met in Hinton cemetery, all unexpectedly, as we greeted one another by our schoolboy, names and romped up and down through the quiet graveyard, where our ancestors and friends were reverently laid to rest.They I might have thought there was only a short, space between Tarhan Creek Asylum and Hinton cemetery. 

So for the time did we old boys forget the proprieties and go in for a 'good time.' We had our romp, then we doffed our hats, and made the village ring with our clear, strong harmony, as we  sang the four familiar lines of the Doxology to the Scottish National Anthem, 'Auld I Hunner.' 

And then I gathered up the tangled thread of precious memory for 50 years, and pictured our dear master and his 'faithful hound, 'Tye.' and told how in  that early time he sent John See to Parliament. Brian Broughton Buckley to the bar, . Joseph Lock into the surgical profession, I and your's gratefully for promising to publish this sketch, to the Presbyterian pulpit  and ministry. —

James Stewart, New Farm,  Brisbane, Queensland. 









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Jane Stewart died 5th November 1899 in Brisbane


Her immigration records suggests she was only 10, not 15, and as such she would not be able to carry out work as an adult, so the allowed subsidy of £10 could not be paid.

Jane Duncan arrived with her family on 17th January 1842, and the siblings were Charles, William, David and Ann.

She married John Stewart in 1846 at Butterwick, Hinton NSW.

The children were 
James                         1847   Butterwick Hinton  d  1907   m Margaret McNevin  1872
Agnes                         1849   Upper Hunter    1933
Margaret Jane              1855   m Edmund Mellor  1884   d 1924  Toowong Cemetery
William                      1857       d 1932   m  Mary Cooper   d 1931 Broken Hill
Ann                            1860      died in 1943  Lutwyche Cemetery
Charles Alexander       1862       m  Fanny Charlotte Hickson  1891  d 1950
Jessie                         1864    m  Samuel Latham  1883    d  1921
Elizabeth                    1866    m William Bell    d   1947
Alexander Caldwell     1868         d 1900
Alfred David               1872    m  Rosamond Tucker    1902     d 1952  
Mary Louisa               1884       d   1952
John                           1852    m Elizabeth Brown 1898    d   1921 

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DOMESTIC INTELLIGENCE.
The Moreton Bay Courier (Brisbane, Qld. : 1846 - 1861)Saturday 10 October 1857 p 2 Article



... ; three families from the Hunter bringing with   them three superior draught horses, settled on







Settlers on the Bald Hills, from the Hunter River.-The effect of the late floods on the population of the Hunter River District is  already appearing in the emigration of a few of  the inhabitants, to be followed doubtless by larger numbers, seeking homes for themselves and their families in other parts of the colony not subject to the disasters which have for some time past destroyed the fruits of enterprise in the District of the Hunter.

 Some have, we believe, settled on   the Richmond, and we rejoice to find that a few of them have deemed our new colony an eligible place for their future settlement. Sometime ago two or three of them came as pioneers, purchased   land in the neighbourhood of the Bald Hills on the Pine River, and reported favorably of it for agricultural purposes. 

Following up this first step  three families from the Hunter bringing with  them three superior draught horses, settled on  Tuesday last on freeholds on the Bald Hill near to  Sandgate. A number of their late neighbors have determined to follow them should the first twelve month's experience in the new country  be favorable. 

We give the enterprising men of  the Hunter a hearty welcome and wish them complete success. It may not be gratifying to those  of our Maitland friends who have determined "to  stick to the old ship" to lose their friends and neighbors, but they will rejoice with us so soon  as they learn that the newcomers have formed  smiling homesteads and fertile fields instead of being the residents of a district in which for so long past black ruin has been staring the humble settler in the face.   







The Stewarts


The establishment of Bald Hills as a farming community in the late 1850s was closely linked to the move by Scottish squatters John and David McConnel of Durundur on the Upper Stanley River (south of the Conondale Range and west of the Glass House Mountains), and their pro-Brisbane, pro-John Dunmore Lang associates, to establish a port at Cabbage Tree Creek, Sandgate in the 1850s.

The move was given impetus with the reinstatement of the northern passage to Moreton Bay, around the northern end of Moreton Island and south past Redcliffe and Cabbage Tree Creek, as the principal shipping passage in 1848, following the wreck of the Sovereign in the South Passage in March 1847.

In the early 1850s the McConnels and their associates, who supported John Dunmore Lang's vision of the development of a "cotton colony" north of Brisbane between Cabbage Tree Creek and South Pine River, lobbied for the establishment of a port at Cabbage Tree Creek, which they claimed was more convenient for shipping than the Brisbane River, offered safe berths for larger vessels, and in particular, would give more direct port access to the Stanley River squatters, who could travel via North Pine through Bald Hills to Cabbage Tree Creek.

The McConnels were joined by a number of prominent Brisbane businessmen, including John Richardson, Thomas Dowse, Robert Davidson and George Raff, who in 1852 called for a port to rival Cleveland, and the development of a resort suburb, at Bramble Bay.

The New South Wales government had already set aside a village reserve at the head of Cabbage Tree Creek, and now the Scottish connection was pushing for its survey and the survey of a road from Brisbane. The village was surveyed in 1852 and in November 1853 the first Sandgate town lots were offered at public auction. There was much interest, and high prices were obtained, with the McConnels, Dowse and Robert Davidson purchasing heavily.

Sandgate never did develop as a port, development being retarded by government decisions, the inaction of early speculative landowners, poor communication with Brisbane, and strong Aboriginal resistance to European settlement. However, the lobby group did not give up hope through the 1850s, and the enticement of agricultural settlers to the Bald Hills area behind Sandgate in the mid-1850s may have been connected with move to develop a port at Cabbage Tree Creek.

The link is Thomas Gray, who was responsible for encouraging the Stewart and Duncan families to take up land at Bald Hills, and who was connected with the McConnels; and the fact that both he and WJ Loudon, who had invested heavily at the first sale of Sandgate allotments, both purchased allotments at the first sale of Bald Hills land.

Thomas Gray, a Brisbane bootmaker, had emigrated to New South Wales in 1841/42 from the Black Isle, Scotland, to work for fellow highlanders the McConnels at Moreton Bay. During the voyage Gray befriended fellow Scots John Stewart and his sisters Jessie (Janet) and Margaret, and the Duncan brothers and their families.

In 1845 Gray married Janet Stewart and John Stewart married the Duncan's sister, Jane. Stewart and the Duncans eventually settled on the Hunter River, while Gray established a bootmaking business in Brisbane in 1844. In the mid-1850s Gray convinced the Stewarts and Duncans to leave the flood-stricken Hunter River district and move to the South Pine River north of Brisbane, to the area now known as Bald Hills.

Stewart made a preliminary trip to the district c. 1855 to select suitable land, not just for himself and the Duncans, but also for a large number of Hunter River settlers who were equally interested. Stewart immediately applied to the New South Wales survey office to have the land surveyed, but it was not proclaimed available for sale until December 1856, with Stewart finally purchasing land in February 1857.

Due to the delay in survey, most of the interested Hunter River settlers meanwhile had moved to the Clarence River where new land was available. Only Stewart and the Duncans and their families from the Hunter took up land at Bald Hills, moving onto their selections in early October 1857. They are generally acknowledged as the first non-indigenous settlers at Bald Hills.

After their experiences on the Hunter River, the settlers selected the higher ground for their farms, erecting their first houses (apparently slab and bark) on the low ridge above the South Pine River where St Peter's Anglican School is now situated. Fearing attack from Aborigines, their houses were loop-holed for rifles and located within sight of each other. These precautions proved unnecessary, for at the request of Thomas Gray and other settlers in the area between Cabbage Tree Creek and Caboolture, a detachment of Native Police was stationed at Sandgate from 1858 to 1862. Under the command of Lieutenant Frederick Wheeler, the Native Police eliminated Aboriginal resistance to white settlement in the Pine Rivers, Cabbage Tree Creek and Caboolture districts by the early 1860s.

The Stewart and Duncan families cleared the gentle slopes along the South Pine River for their crops. By the end of the 1860s most of the valuable stands of red cedar and hoop pine in the Bald Hills district had been removed, although much scrub remained.

Through the 1860s, 1870s and 1880s maize, potatoes and some oaten and wheaten hay were the principal cash crops, and John Stewart had early experimented with arrowroot and cotton, for which he won bronze and silver medals at the London International Exhibition of 1862.

 Following the opening of a railway to Bald Hills in 1888, dairying became the principal economic activity in the district. By 1929, dairy farmers at Bald Hills were supplying up to 1000 gallons of milk daily to Brisbane and Sandgate.

John Stewart and his family were well respected in the Bald Hills community and active members of the local Presbyterian church, John serving as an Elder for nearly 40 years. The earliest Presbyterian services in the Bald Hills district were conducted at the Stewart home until a small slab and shingled church was erected in 1863 at the corner of the Strathpine and Bald Hills roads.

In 1889 the slab church was replaced by a milled-timber building erected on land donated by John Stewart in 1887, further west along Strathpine Road. (This building was destroyed by fire in 1909, and replaced with the present building in 1911.)

Two of Stewart's sons, James and Charles, became Presbyterian ministers. Rev. James Stewart was the founder of the Brisbane City Mission.

Many local events also were celebrated at the Stewart home, including the opening of the bridge over the South Pine River in May 1865, when a ball was held in the Stewart barn


GatheringGardiners: Jane (Jean) Duncan (Stewart) 1828 - 1899
gatheringgardiners.blogspot.com1280 × 960Search by image

In 1957, there was celebration to record the 100th Anniversary of the first settlers in Bald Hills and a book was produced. The booklet was compiled by Garth .



PASSING OF THE PIONEERS.


John Stewart, of Bald Hills, whose death took place recently,was the last of the original settlers
and pioneers of the district. When only 4 years of age he accompanied his parents from the Hunter River, and with their relatives (the Duncan family),were the first to select land at Bald
Hills in 1856. Not knowing the quality of the scrub soil in those days, they chose to settle on the "Forest" land (the poorer soil), and struggling amid many hardships carved out homes in the
bush. 

On approaching manhood, Mr.Stewart left for Gympie, where the gold-seeking fever was high, and
spent several years there. On returning,he went to Sydney and followed the plastering trade. About 1890 he returned to Bald Hills, and settled down as a market gardener till the dairying 
industry became the principal occupation of the Bald Hill farmers. 

He most successfully followed this till 1918, when failing health obliged him to retire from 
active life. He was an elder of the Presbyterian Church for 16 years, and he also took an active part in local affairs. He was chairman of the State School Committee for several years, and the high esteem in which he was held was manifested by the numerous attendance at.the funeral. He is survived by
his widow, two sons, and a daughter.




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PASSING OF THE PIONEERS.

The Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. : 1866 - 1939) Saturday 9 April 1921 p 27 Article









Abstract: John Stewart, of Bald Hills, whose death took place recently, was the last of the original settlers and pioneers of the district. When only 23

His property at Bald Hills was known as Woodlawn.  John Stewart married Jane Duncan.


Death of an Old Pioneer


Yet another of the early pioneers of the Hunter River and Moreton Bay passed away on Sunday (says the Observer) when Mr John Stewart died, in his 84th year at Woodlawn, Bald Hills where he has lived for over 47 years, and where he has gained the highest esteem of all who knew him.

He died surrounded by his six daughters and three of the five sons who have survived him.  He passed without a sign of pain and was conscious to the last moment.

John Stewart was one of the adventurous young men who left Scotland in the Ann Milne in September 1841 and he landed in Sydney on the 17th January 1842.  He worked as a carpenter with the later Mr. M.B. Googs on the Upper Hunter, for two years, and then he took a farm on the Paterson River, where he lived till the memorable floods of 1857.  Afterwards he came to Brisbane and make his home  at Bald Hills, when it was considered risk to go 12 miles from the town, and he lived there up to the time of his death.

He was ardently attached to the Presbyterian Church, in which he had been senior elder for over 40 years, and in which one of his sons is a minister.  His son William is living at Johannesburg, in South Africa, and Charles Alexander  at present at Murphy's Creek, doing Home Mission work, where his brother has laboured for seven years.

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The members of the Stewart and Duncan family have completed a full historical account of their ancestors.


The Stewart family are honoured in the following blog, which also gives the history of Stewart House at St. Paul's School Bald Hills



http://gatheringgardiners.blogspot.com.au/2015/08/john-stewart-1822-1905.html



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