Tuesday, March 29, 2016

BH 2.7 First Settlers Charles and David Duncan - John Stewart's brother -in - law

With their wagons and their belongings the Duncans left Paterson in the Hunter Valley and travelled to the new land at Bald Hills.  

Whilst the flooding of the area in 1857 was the reason for their leaving, the Paterson area has suffered many floods over the years, the latest in 2015, according to the Newcastle Herald.  

The area has some similarities with the Bald Hills area!

Hunter Valley flooding. Image shows Paterson. Picture: Darren Pateman

According to the Queensland Government archives the lots purchased in 1857 by the Duncans were:

Charles Duncan                         Lots 32, 40  (Portions 35 and 40)      29th June 1857
David Blackether Duncan            Lots 39  29th June 1857 

 (Portion 34 of 27a which appears to have been subsequently incorporated into/with portion 107 for a total of 94a in the name of G. Collin)           

David Duncan also owned Portion 106 with river frontage, and of 119 acres of land.

Charles Duncan owned Portion 35 a parcel of 33 acres 1 rood and 30 perches, and Portion 40 with 27 acres and 36 perches.  A more detailed comparison of the lot numbers and explanation follows in the next chapter.


The area of his farm is now the Canterbury Park, but originally the area was dairy farms.

David Blackether Duncan was born in 1837 in Scotland.  

His parents were James Duncan and Agnes Ross.  He arrived in Australia on the Anne Milne, along with many other of the Scottish families, along with his siblings, Jane, Charles, and William.

His father was listed as a shepherd.  His father was under the employ of Mr Eales at Morpeth.

David  married 
Jane Isabella Stewart in New South Wales in 1857.  Jane was the daughter of Hugh Stewart and his wife Margaret Ann McIntyre .  She was born in Argylle, Brute, Scotland in 1832   

Hugh Stewart was the son of William Stewart and Jeannette McIntyre.

Jane (6 ½)arrived in Sydney on the Heber on 27 July 1939, with her parents, Hugh who was listed as a shepherd, and her siblings Jannet 14, Christie 13, Margaret 4 and Jessie 2   all from Perthshire. They were included as ‘Immigrants introduced by Donald Macintyre Esq. of Hunter River in pursuance of the Colonial Secretarys (sic) letter to him of the 20th March 1838, and who arrive here on Ship “Heber” Captn Thomas on the   July 1839’

Jane and David made their way to Bald Hills, and her parents purchased land in the Ipswich region.  .
Clipping from The Moreton Bay Courier, 31 Mar 1858.

Hugh purchase his land on 31st March 1858, shortly afterwards his wife Margaret died.  Her parents were McTurvis.

At Moggill, on the 31 st of August, 1858 Margaret, wife of Hugh Stewart, aged 60 years, formerly of the  
Paterson River

Hugh seemed to be a successful farmer, showing his produce and winning prizes.  
By 1866 he was growing cotton and tobacco

In 1869 he was selling his property   and he died in 1871.

In 1866 there was a severe financial crash in Queensland.  This affected many of the residents.  At the time of the financial crash, many farmers and settlers went bankrupt.  David Duncan was one such farmer.

The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933) Friday 22 February 1867 p 4 Advertising  ... . Duncan, BALD HILLS. By Virtue of a Bill of Sale. DICKSON & DUNCAN have received instructions to sell by ... auction, at the Premises known as David B. Duncan's Farm, Bald Hills, on MONDAY, February 25, at 12 o ... 5982 words
Classified Advertising        
 The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933) Saturday 18 May 1867 p 7 Advertising ... Insolvent Estate of DAVID BLACKETHER DUNCAN, of the Bald Hills, Farmer.—Whereas the said David ... 

In 1905, he was living at Bechmere, with his wife,  and was a dairyfarmer.  He died 23 June 1905

Jane died 15 September 1910    Both are buried at Caboolture Cemetery (King St) , Plots 156 & 157

Charles Duncan  brother of David  owned Lot 35 and Lot 40 

In 1870 he applied for a replacement of the title of Deed of Grant for 14 acres on Lot 40  

By 1880 he has 4 lots in total  Portion 40 with 28 acres with improvements, Portion 36 cleared and with improvements and cultivated, Portion 27 all cleared and cultivated with house, stables and improvements, and Section 116 (9) 20 acres 7 acres under lucerne.

The physical location of Lot 116 is now towards  Roghan Road then to Beams Rd

The ground was obviously quite fertile, as there used to be a great strawberry farm on the corner of Beams and Gympie Roads.


Their brother William Duncan married Anne Downey in 1853 in New South Wales.

In late 1860's a William Duncan was selling his farm at Eight Mile Plains.

He was a draper in Brisbane at the time of his death in an unfortunate boating accident near Mackay in 1875.

His will was probated to Charles Duncan and John Stewart.



In 1903, Herbert and Alice Day were living at Cessford, and Jane Day the Bald Hills Road.

The Feurriegel family were living on Day's Road, Bald Hills.

Both these families were dairy farmers.
The Days were living on the  property Cessford, which was on Lot 106.  The same lot as David Duncan settled.


  SEVEN-ROOMED HOUSE,  to sell by auction, at 107 Queen-street, on MONDAY, 30th July, at  Eleven o'clock,

  Portion 106,Parish of Nundah, containing 119 acres  The heart of a thickly-populated district, and
with extensive and substantial improvements the Prettiest Paddock within miles of the ....

Outbuildings.  working a Large Dairy. improvements as above enumerated.
This block of land is without exception one of if  not the finest piece of land in the famous district   of Bald Hill, and it has a large frontage to the River
  The present tenant is paying £100 per annum
 Terms-One-quarter Cash; balance on mortgage for four or five years at 8 per cent if desired.

·  Workers mark your diaries, or tie a knot in your memories, so that you will not fail to remember
·  ISLES, LOVE, & CO. are favoured with  Auction Sales.


His life as told in his obituary. 27 Jun 1925 - DEATH OF MR. CHARLES DUNCAN


One of the old pioneers of Queensland Mr. Charles Duncan, aged 91 years passed away last week at the Mater Misericordiae Hospital. The late Mr. Duncan arrived in Australia by the ship Ann Milne more than 80 years ago.

He lived for a time with his parents in the Hunter River district, where his father was engaged in superintending the work of convicts, who were at that time sometimes contracted out. Although the system was then passing away, and he was but a boy at the time, he could remember many stirring happenings in those days.

He came to Queensland as a young man, took up land at Bald Hills, and married. He engaged in farming, but, hard times coming on, he took a horse and dray to Gympie, where gold had been discovered, And engaged in carting. He assisted Mr. (afterward Sir) James Burns in his first commercial venture in Gympie.

 Returning to Bald Hills, and meeting with the usual set-backs of the pioneer, he got together a bullock team, and took loading to and from Ipswich and Dalby. Later he entered upon business in Laidley, where he continued for many years, gaining a high place in the esteem of all citizens. For a long time he was a member of the original Laidley Town Council, and for more than one period Mayor.

Leaving Laidley, he re-sided for a time in Western Australia,   but afterwards returned, and again engaged in business. This he continued until the infirmities of age forced him to retire, and the business, was taken, over by his daughter. In his quiet seclusion in Laidley he took a keen interest in passing events, and filled the days with gardening, carpentering, and in devotion to his violin.

Always busy, always kindly, and quietly humorous, he delighted to meet those who had endured, the   rigours, of pioneering, and who could expunge memories of the past. Greatly interested in the aboriginals, he could tell many stories about them, and was always eager to, discuss their habits and customs.

 He was induced to make some record of his early days, and this, together with his photograph, appeared in the "Courier" about the time of his 90th birthday. His wife predeceased him in November, 1922, and, after the fire which. destroyed Miss Duncan's business, he came to Brisbane, and resided with his daughters at Ekibin. He is survived by   four, sons and four daughters, most of whom reside in Brisbane.   

THE LATE MR. CHARLES DUNCAN, who had reached the ripe age of 91
A Pioneer's Recollections    



In this article Mr. Duncan, who is 90 years of age, tells of the Brisbane of 66 years ago, and of his experiences at Bald Hills, Ipswich, Maryborough, Laidley, and other places.  

When I came to Brisbane in the early part of 1857 there were two grocers' shops in Queen-street-one kept by Mr. Richard S. Warry and the other by Mr. Reuben Oliver. I remember that Mr. Oliver sold coffee in tins, labelled in large red letters, "Roasted and Ground by a process only known to the undersigned." 

There were also two butchers' shops in Queen-street-one kept by Mr. Geo. Edmonstone (who represented East Moreton in the first Parliament of Queensland) and the other by Mr. P. Mayne. The   Post Office was kept by the widow of Colonel Barney; in her own house, situated in Queen-street, nearly opposite the present Bank of New South Wales. 

Her husband had been in charge of the military in Moreton Bay, and had died here. In 1857 one police magistrate and two mounted police, with Chief Constable Samuel Sneyd and two or three ordinary police, constituted the guardians of civil order, and when the new gaol was built on Petrie-Terrace Mr. Sneyd was appointed Governor.

There were two doctors-Drs. Hobbs and Bell. Dr. Hobbs's house, in Ann-street, was afterwards rented as a residence for Sir George Bowen, our first Governor.

lu 1857 there were two solicitors Robert Little, in George-street; and Daniel Foley Roberts, in Queen-street. Mr. Chas. Lilley was the third solicitor to commence practice in Brisbane. After separation Mr. Roberts and Mr. Lilley contested the Valley-seat, and the vote went to Mr. Lilley. 

Mr. Roberts was appointed a member of the Legislative Council, and was chosen Chairman of Committees, a position he hold for the rest of his life. After a few years Mr. Little retired, and built a house on the high ground to the east of Albion, and named it "Whytecliff"."

The Church was represented in those days by two clergymen-Rev. Father McGinty (Roman Catholic) and Rev. Charles Ogg (Presbyterian).

 When I arrived in Brisbane there was no bridge over Breakfast Creek; the traffic was handled by a punt capable of carrying a horse and cart and about half a ton of loading. We went by this route to Bald Hills, and then followed the creek to higher ground, to what in later years was called Albion. 

Then the track turned to the north to German station. My brother and I marked a tree line in a north-westerly direction to a fairly good   crossing over Kedron Brook, thence north about five miles, thence north-westerly to Bald Hills.      

We had no compass, but we had some of the instinct of the carrier  pigeon.


Thomas Gray bought an allotment in George-street and on it built a cottage. He then went to Sydney and married   Miss Jessie Stewart, returned to Brisbane and commenced his trade of boot and shoe maker. His nearest neighbour was James Davis, who had been for 14 years among the blacks in the Wide Bay   district. 

The blacks gave him the name "Dooroomboi". He had at this time   a smithy, made mountings for bullock yokes, bows etc. for me. Mr Gray told me not to mention his connection with the blacks when talking to him. This was not because he did not wish   this known but because it recalled his past. 

He and another man had escaped   from the convict settlement, and, crossing the North Pine River, had kept on  northward. Here his mate lost his life under peculiar circumstances. 

They had established friendly relations with the blacks and on one occasion were with them gathering oysters. Looking round for something to carry them in his mate found a dilly bag hanging up under a tree. On taking it down he found it to contain   some small bones. 

Thinking these  of no account, he turned them out and filled the bag with oysters That night the two white men were   camped by a fire some distance from the  blacks, and from the commotion made   Davis could see that something unusual was taking place. They seemed to be  having a council of war. There were no gins about and this generally meant   trouble. 

The disputation went on far into the night, when apparently with reluctance a decision was arrived at. His  mate was sound asleep but Davis was too concerned to sleep. By-and-by he saw  three or four natives coming towards their camp and, without more ado these men clubbed his mate in his sleep. He quite expected his turn turn would come next.

But nothing further happened, and he continued on the best of terms with them.   Not for many months, when he had  learned something of their language, did  he understand what had happened. 

It  seems that when his mate turned the bones out of the dilly bag he had turned out the bones of a gin's child, and had committed sacrilege according to their customs. For this death was the penalty.

The blacks had a great argument as to whether they should exact the penalty, but they decided at that there was  no other way.


While in Brisbane I noticed what a   number of local residents were named   Thomas. I remember Tom Dowse (journalist) , Tom Gray (boot and shoe maker), Tom Warry (chemist), Tom  Hays (dairyman). Tom Fraser (piper - a shipmate), Tom Petrie. &c. Mr. Petrie married the daughter of Mr. James Campbell, and was the first settler on the North Pine. Mrs. Petrie is still living.

All the earliest settlers on both the North and South Pine were Scotch.

I broke up all my land at Bald Hills with the help of working bullocks, and also did a good deal of timber hauling for Birley and Cox, sawmillers at Kangaroo Point, and for W. Pettigrew, North Brisbane.

I also supplied the timber for the South Pine Bridge at Bald Hills (R. Porter, contractor). After a time timber became so low in price that it did not pay, and there being no demand for it there was no work for bullock teams. I therefore decided to take to carrying until I could get a buyer. I went to Ipswich, and, as I had a letter of introduction from a friend to G. H. Wilson, I got loading at once. 

My first trip was to Bendemeer station, on the Upper Yeulba, owned and occupied by Mr. Coxen, locally known as " Scrammy," a name supposed to be descriptive of his hand, which had been shattered by the bursting of a gun. My "furthest out" was to Mitchell Downs station, owned by E. Morey, and situated on the west bank of the Maranoa River.

This station consisted of a few "bark huts" and a woolshed. Mr. Morey had his home in Toowoomba on account of the education of his children. After about two years I met a buyer for my team in Dalby, as I was returning to Ipswich. 

We agreed as to terms, and I was to give delivery when I returned. I got back loading, and handed the team over lock, stock, and barrel, and I ave never owned a working bullock since. That was in 1866. It was during these travels I fell in with the late Mr. Alex. Hunter and his brother-in-law, Mr. Scott. These good pioneers later settled in the Laidley, district, to which place I found my way later.


In 1867, when gold was discovered in Gympie, a number of Brisbane draymen started for that place with loading, travelling by what was known as " Postman's Track," through Durundur. I thought of doing the same, but while in Brisbane one day I met A. Markwell, whom I knew. 

He had just returned from Gympie, and strongly advised me not to think of going by land, but to go to Maryborough by steamer. I took his advice, and instead of inquiring for loading I booked my passage, with drays and horses, by the steamer Clarence.

 On the way down the river I met an acquaintance, James Burns (afterwards Sir James), who had been a storeman in his brother John's warehouse. He told me his brother had supplied him with groceries, so that he could go to Gympie and make a start on his own.

 As he required a carrier I agreed to take his loading, and we were both suited. The steamer arrived at   Maryborough the next day, and we loaded and went out five miles, and camped at a waterhole. On the third day we reached Gympie, and unloaded.

 James Burns had a tarpaulin, and with this he made a shelter for his goods and camped under the same cover until he could get a rough building put up. I carried for him for several months, but prices getting low   gave it up and returned to Bald Hills. 

I came by the " Postman's Track"' through Durundur, and was not  surprised that young Markwell had advised me not to go that way. Mr. W. R. Thurlow took his place as carter to John Burns, and later was employed in the store. On the death of Mr. Burns, he succeeded to the business.


In 1884 I came to Laidley, and put up the first building on the west side of Patrick street an a general store. At that time Laidley and district were part of the Tarampa division, and about two years afterwards Laidley became a division by itself, the western boundary being the Little Liverpool Range and the northern the railway line.

 When the board was elected I became one of the members, and continued so until 1897, when I went to Western Australia. I was chairman in 1894. In 1884 the police station was at the Old Township, but soon after this the Government resumed land opposite the railway station, and quarters were built for the police, and a couple of cells to accommodate any one who could not find his way home!

Later a court house was built. I was one of the several residents appointed as justices of the peace, and as I was nearest was oftener called upon.  

There are certain cases which can be dealt with by one justice, and not in-frequently I had to act alone. Drunkenness was the usual charge, and, on, those occasions, if the culprit had money, I inflicted a fine, because at that time all the police court fines -went to the nearest, hospital -in this ease, Ipswich. 

If the  unfortunate had no money, I usually cautioned him and discharged him. I could not see the reasonableness of keeping a man locked up and kept at the public expense, and, further, I thought, that he was punished sufficiently for having lost his time and money without any chance getting any return.

For several years after I came to Laidley there was neither a doctor nor solicitor. Most of   the produce of the farms was brought to the railway station in bullock drays; very few of the settlers had even a dray of their own. The only spring cart was that used by the butcher. It is a far cry from that time to the motor cars and motor lorries of today. 

Yet in those days, if ready money was scarce. there was no starvation. There was plenty of work, and many willing hands. Taken all round, the people were happy, and, I think, more neighbourly than they are to-day. Any straggler was-sure of some-   thing to eat, and, if he chose, could camp for a day or two, and go on again. During this time the Rev. Dr. Nelson» Presbyterian Minister at Toowoomba, caused a slab building to he put up at the Old Township for worship. The money was raised by public subscription, and the building was used by all Protestant ministers.    


In 1884, when I first went to Laidley there were at least 50 or 60 aborigines in the district, but they gradually died out. I remember one in particular named Dummy, who had three or four children. They were about Laidley for many years. Dummy was not a pure-blooded   aboriginal; it was stated that her father was an American negro. 

She looked like one. being stouter than the ordinary aboriginal, and instead of being a dark brown, colour was a shiny black. I saw by the "Courier,'' in 1914, that a son of hers had enlisted, and had returned in 1918 to the camp near Ipswich. I have not seen a black, for seven years.

The last was a lad employed by a local medico as groom. He had a gin and three or four pickannnies, and they camped in a gunya of the old style near the lagoon at the old township. In 1864 or 1865, ten missionaries were sent from Germany to civilise and Christianise the aboriginals of Australia. They were sent by the Government at Sydney to Brisbane, and   given grants of land at Kedron Brook. 

They were supported by their society for   three years, and after that were expected   to manage for themselves. I have conversed with a number of these missionaries and asked if they believed that
they had been of any service to the  blacks, but their reply was always that their mission had been a failure.


Canterbury Park Estate, the land belonging to David Duncan in 1856.

Canterbury Park
70 Feuerriegel Road
Bald Hills Jr Cricket Club facility, barbecue (electric), bikeway, dog off-leash area, fitness trail, half court, picnic area (Rush Worth Street), playground (Rush Worth Street), water (bubbler/tap/dog bowl), wetlands (Feuerriegel Road)

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