Wednesday, May 11, 2016

BRM 5.11 Bracken Ridge Today - The need to make corrections!

As at 1st March 2016, Wikipedia have the following entry regarding Bracken Ridge.

This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed(July 2008)

·         The area now known as Bracken Ridge was originally called "Rose Hill". In the late 19th century, it was predominantly a rural area. 

·         Louis Hope was the first European landowner in the area, and he grew sugar cane and other crops

·         The Brown family and the Ferguson family were also important early landowners in the area

·         .Dairy became an important industry in the area, and continued to be the chief rural industry until the area became more residential. 

·         The first school in the area was opened in 1957.

·         In 1962, Lord Mayor of Brisbane Clem Jones arranged with the Barclay Development Corporation to develop a small community behind the suburb of Sandgate. 1,600 residential allotments were created, and the first homes were completed in 1966.

·         A state high school, a Catholic school were also established, with second primary school (Norris Road State School) established in the late 1970s, followed by the opening of the TAFE college on Norris Rd in 1982


When I first read this, my thoughts, at the time were  that Wikipedia hadn't done their homework very well.  But then the question was asked of me, "Has Bracken Ridge ever been known as Rose Hill?".

My reply was "No, but I have read that somewhere".  In actual fact so many businesses advertising on-line have simply copied the incorrect information, before long the internet will be smothered with incorrect information.

But even worse, this young family man, known to me for 35 or more years, told me his children were taught this at school.  Well, that changed the whole direction in what was my original idea to put together a history of the suburb.  

When initial research began, the focus was just on the statement of Rose Hill  and some research on Ferguson family.

It is the subsequent results of all the research, that reveals there was more than one point incorrect.

Not only was it necessary to change wikipedia, but also to provide to whoever produces the school syllabus the true facts about the origins, and even for the Brisbane City Council to amend their incorrect on-line entries.

In order to disprove those statements on Wikipedia, my decision then was to prove that at no time had it ever been known as anything other than Bracken Ridge,  (one word or two, or hyphenated) 
for 150 years.     

In the process an amazing story unfurled.  A story that revealed a never before known history, and one that had its beginning with the earliest Queensland settlers and confirmed that not only was there one serious flaw there were in fact 5. 

Each of the stories, and the historical information of the landowners confirms the true facts.

These are 5 points that require changing.

1.  The area now known as Bracken Ridge was originally called "Rose Hill". In the late 19th                 century, it was predominantly a rural area. 

2.  Louis Hope was the first European landowner in the area, and he grew 
sugar cane and other           crops. 

3.  The Brown family and the Ferguson family were also important early landowners in the area

4.  .Dairy became an important industry in the area, and continued to be the chief rural industry until         the area became more residential. 

5.   The first school in the area was opened in 1957

Louis Hope was the first European landowner in the area, and he grew sugar cane and other crops. 

That statement is totally incorrect

Louis Hope.

Indeed Louis Hope was a European and he also was involved in the sugar cane industry, however, he probably never once "farmed" in Bracken Ridge.

Who was Louis Hope?

He was the Hon. Louis Hope. He also has a very interesting biography, and hundreds of stories in the newspapers, but none that mention Brackenridge, Sandgate or Bald Hills.

Hope, Louis (1817–1894)

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 4, (MUP), 1972
Louis Hope (1817-1894), grazier, sugar planter and miller, was born on 29 October 1817, the seventh son of John Hope, fourth Earl of Hopetoun, and his second wife Louisa Dorothea, née Wedderburn. He became a captain in the Coldstream Guards and in 1843 went to New South Wales, moving north to Moreton Bay in 1848. In 1853 at Ormiston he took up land surveyed by James Burnett and with Robert Ramsay as partner bought Kilcoy station which became entirely his in 1863. He served in the Queensland Legislative Council in 1862-82.
At Ormiston and Kilcoy Hope lived as a landed aristocrat, building on each station a comfortable colonial house, though with every precaution against marauding Aboriginals. Reputedly he was once invited to attend Governor Sir George Bowen, then visiting Cleveland, but refused, declaring that a mere knight should attend on him as the son of an earl.

However, at Ormiston he became a major figure in establishing the colony's sugar industry. Some twenty acres (8 ha) were put under sugar cultivation with Kanaka labour from 1865 onwards. He had a mill built and in 1864 produced three tons (3.04 tonnes) of sugar and fifteen cwt (762kg) of molasses.

He supplied plants for the several experiments of John Buhôt and cuttings for plantations in the Oxley district. He also advised another sugar pioneer Claudius Whish. In August 1865 the Queensland parliament refused his petition for a grant of at least 2000 acres (809 ha), but in 1867 he was given the right to take up 2560 acres (1036 ha). Of these 1800 (728 ha) were taken up near the mouth of the Coomera River (Hope Island) and 760 acres (308 ha) at Kilcoy.
As early as 1862 suggestions had been made that Whish should buy the Ormiston property but the price was too high. In 1870 Hope negotiated with Pruche Aubry, a French sugar planter from the island of Bourbon, but the price of £20,000 was still too high.

However, Aubry was installed as manager and sublet thirty acres (12 ha) to his son-in-law, Victor Noaques. Hope retained the mill and, after a dispute over the milling of Noaques's cane, a court awarded £1207 damages against Hope in May 1874.

Swearing he would never again crush a stick of cane, Hope dismantled the mill and sold it in 1875, some of the machinery going to (Sir) Joshua Bell at Jimbour. Hope retained his Kilcoy lands.

 In 1882 he sold the Coomera property and returned to England where he lived at the Knowle, Hazlewood, Derbyshire. He died on 15 August 1894 at Geneva, Switzerland.
On 12 October 1859 he had married Susan Frances Sophia, daughter of William Dumaresq. He was survived by his wife (d.4 December 1901), three sons and five daughters.

When St John's Anglican Cathedral in Brisbane was opened in 1910 the family donated a grey granite pulpit as a memorial to their parents. Ormiston House is now owned by Carmelite Sisters and on the front lawn is a memorial to Hope, erected by the sugar interests in Queensland.

Perhaps if he had made his home in Brackenridge on his land, there would be a tourist attraction for all to see his foresight and way of life.  Instead that home is across the Gateway Bridge way down the other side of Brisbane, and is known as Ormiston House

He owned cattle property at Kilcoy, Ipswich, two days drive away.  That link is to the correct information about Hon Louis Hope

Captain the Hon. Louis Hope | Ormiston House

But his life is much fuller than the biography.  He was a civic leader, and he also was involved with so many other of the Bracken Ridge early landowners, with the fight for separation from New South Wales.  He petitioned for housing for the new immigrants,  

In 1854 he was included on the electoral list 

The Moreton Bay Courier (Brisbane, Qld. : 1846 - 1861) Saturday 2 September 1854 p 4 Detailed Lists, Results, Guides

... /.James Hnuley .Geo. Holt Louis Hope A. I. Henderson J. G. Housman W.T.A.Hartfiistcin »Jno. H.rris Jno ... of Moreton, residing in the Police District of Brisbane. N

And like all the other landowners, he was a speculator.

The Moreton Bay Courier (Brisbane, Qld. : 1846 - 1861) Saturday 11 September 1858 p 2 Detailed Lists, Results, Guides

... .. , 51 0 0 14., , J. H. Atkinson., , 32 0 0.. 32 0 0 l8.. , Hon. Louis Hope., 50 0 0.. £0 0 0 20., do ... . Louis Hope., , 40 0 0.. 40 0 0 All the lots situate at Brown's plains wore sold, but few of those in ...

Classified Advertising

The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser (NSW : 1843 - 1893) Wednesday 5 February 1851

IMMIGRATION TO MORETON BAY. To the editor of the Moreton Bay Free Press.
The Moreton Bay Courier (Brisbane, Qld. : 1846 - 1861) Saturday 17 September 1853 p 2 Article

... labour in this rich and thriving   District. I am, Sir, your obedient servant, LOUIS HOPE. ... from the number of immigrants remaining in the depot at Brisbane, ¡n November, 1853, 'it is manifes

The Moreton Bay Courier (Brisbane, Qld. : 1846 - 1861) Saturday 26 February 1859 p 2 Article

... confess, but then I don't like to be too greedy in these matters. In the neighborhood of the Point, Louis ... Hope, Esq., one of the fortunate class of Moreton Bay squattocracy,

In 1859, his property was described as per the following transcription....................

 In the neighborhood of the Point, Louis Hope, Esq., one of the fortunate class of Moreton Bay squattocracy, has secured for himself, by purchase, a beautiful block of rich pasture and agricultural land, situated upon the shore at the head of Raby Bay, and bounded by Wogan Creek, to which property the appropriate name of woojanness has, I understand, been given. 
In my previous visits to this locality I thought I had formed a pretty correct opinion of the growing capabilities of the land in the direction of Cleveland ; but I must confess after a look round the recently formed cultivation paddock of Mr. Hope, it went far beyond my previous conceptions. The
growth of every foreign shrub and tree therein planted was indeed most luxuriant ; and the careful attention of a very few years will, no doubt, add a thousand charms to the many present beauties of woojanness.

 A walk round the paddocks amidst grass reaching above the knee, made me fancy myself in some old English park. The stately trees sparely scattered about - a few quiet milkers contentedly chewing their cud beneath the shade of their wide spreading boughs, brought the almost lost remembrance
of Home back to recollection.

The proprietor of woojanness is preparing a beautiful site, overlooking the waters of our magnificent bay, whereupon to erect his country seat ; and from Mr. Hope's known taste in these matters, we cannot doubt but the building will not only be an ornament to the grounds, but a bountiful feature in our Bay scenery. Messrs. T. B. Stephens and T. L. M. Prior have also large landed properties purchased in this neighborhood. The former gentleman has, for some time past, upon a portion of his purchases formed a fellmongering establishment.

Although every unprejudiced person must commend the foresight of these and other gentlemen, who have secured to themselves these compact freeholds, which at no distant day must become desirable holdings, yet, I confess, I for one do wish that this pretty bit of country had fallen into the hands of a few practical " farmers" with their families ; knowing how necessary it is this community
should, in the course of a little time, be enabled to grow sufficient cereals for home consumption.

However there is plenty more of the right sort to tempt the hardy husband-men to settle down here in contented happiness, and gather round his roof tree the substantial comforts of Home. I must not omit to mention that amongst other improvements going on in the vicinity of Cleveland, the salt works in the course of construction at Wooganness, by Mr. Hope, that gentleman having already two capacious
reservoirs excavated and puddled. Brine tank, and evaporating pans are the works already in the progress of completion, covering an acre of land.

 As an article of colonial production we hope to see the salt from these works extensively used, should the article manufactured be of an average quality.  The superintendent of the works and improvements upon this property (a Mr.Fryar) although, I believe, not practically acquainted with these matters, evidently understands how things should be done; and doubts not that all will be brought to a
successful completion.

Since the total destruction by fire of the fine brig Courier in January, 1854, whilst loading with wool, &c, for London, off the point, Cleveland, as a township, has been retrogressing, until it has become a town almost destitute of inhabitants, and after absorbing a large amount of cash, brings no present returns into the pockets of its proprietors and speculators ; yet, I believe a little energy, combined with a little speculative pluck, on the part of the extensive proprietory, would start this very pretty sea side
locality ahead, and in the right direction.

Could a little of the Yankee character be diffused amongst our Moreton Bay community, more generally, I feel positive, that Cleveland would not escape the progressive impulse of some wide-awake customer, who would see at a glance what might be made out of the raw material lying ready to hand, to be turned into the all-mighty dollar. Perhaps the coming advent of Separation may
bring amongst its many other supposed advantanges, the introduction of, and to be amalgamated with this easy going people, some of that restless, ever-devising go-ahead spirit of brother Jonathan. Then we may hope to see the wind blowing over, and the water flowing through these lands, made
available for many purposes, now totally unattainable through the scarcity or rather high rate of out-door labour.

Well, having taken your readers to and round about Cleveland, and gossiped a bit relative to the past, present, and future prospects of that town and silent streets, let us, in making our back tracks to Brisbane, take another route; and instead of again trespassing upon the hospitality of Mr. Alfred
Slaughter on the Doughboy Creek, take the marked tree line, in the direction of Cooper's

Emerging from our bush track we come out upon the Logan road, and running that down a short distance come to a pretty commodious cottage lately erected by Mr. Pratten, of the Moreton Bay Surveying Staff, but now in the occupation of his father, Mr. Job Pratten, one of those genuine samples of English farming men, hardworking, pains-taking, never stand still sort of men, that appears to exercise an almost magic influence wherever they set their hands to work. A farm of seventy acres that Pratten has lately quitted on the other side of the plain, amply testifies what
one pair of hands, with a strong fixedness of purpose, may accomplish in these beautiful
sunny lands.

At this new farm so lately occupied, and consisting, I believe, of some 100 acres of thinly timbered forest land, the eye already runs over long lines of strong substantial three-railed fences, whilst kitchen, stables, and various other out-buildings erected by the farmer himself, assisted by an occasional helping hand, gives the observant traveller a pretty fair idea what the future yeomanry of Australia should consist of to rightly develop and bring forth to the world the productions of this fertile soil and climate. And I would have it remembered, and borne in the mind of our present farmers, that some two years ago Mr. Pratten afforded unmistakeable evidence of the possibility of
growing wheat below the Main Range ; for I myself, and many others saw, at that time, a field of 20 acres under a wheat crop, ripe, and ready for the sickle in the month of November ; the seed having been only put in the earth the previous June and July thus giving, in a period of about four months,
a return of from 25 to 30 bushels to the acre ...................................

Family Notices
The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954) Saturday 12 November 1859 p 10 Family Notices

... , the Honorable Louis Hope, son of John, fourth Earl of Hope-town, to Susan Frances Sophia, elder ..

Empire (Sydney, NSW : 1850 - 1875) Saturday 26 November 1859 p 5 Article

... a rather clever allusion to the Hon. Louis Hope, who was chairman of the melting at Mort's rooms ... Queensland  a separate colony.

Initially there was rice grown and prizes were won.

The Courier (Brisbane, Qld. : 1861 - 1864) Saturday 19 October 1861 p 2 Article

... of the Hon. Louis Hope, obtained as a prize the silver medal.

He bought a boat

The North Australian, Ipswich and General Advertiser (Ipswich, Qld. : 1856 - 1862) Tuesday 14 January 1862 p 3 Article

... steamer Hothin. has been purchased bv the Hon. Louis Hope, for the sum of '£250. and tbat Mr. Hope ...

The Courier (Brisbane, Qld. : 1861 - 1864) Monday 28 April 1862 p 2 Article

... , Attorney-General; and the Hon. Louis Hope, of Kilcoy. Appointments .?Tho following aro notified in Saturday ... colony this season. I believe thero is a ship to sail from tho Clyde 

The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954) Saturday 4 October 1862 p 3 Advertising

... Apply to J. R. YOUNG, Esq., George ana Market streets, Sydnoy ; or tho Hon. LOUIS HOPE, Kilcoy, Ipswich ... Queensland, a first rate CATTLE STATION, advantageously Bituatod within two dayB' ride of

The Courier (Brisbane, Qld. : 1861 - 1864) Saturday 18 October 1862 p 5 Article

... that the superintendent of the Hon. Louis Hope's property at Cleveland has succeeded in procuring canes

CULTIVATION OF SUGAR.-We understand that the superintendent of the Hon. Louis Hope's property at Cleveland has succeeded in procuring canes enough to plant twenty acres, and this is, therefore, the most extensive experiment yet made in this colony in the cultivation of this plant. It is stated that the canes are all remarkably fine, and that there is every probability of success finally attending the enterprise.

Classified Advertising
The Courier (Brisbane, Qld. : 1861 - 1864) Tuesday 4 November 1862 p 3 Advertising

... to the Hon. Louis Hope; W. A. Brown, Esq., the Sheriff and B'lico Magistrate (to whom I thill 

Written by Mr Joseph Darragh 

North Australian and Queensland General Advertiser (Ipswich, Qld. : 1862 - 1863) Tuesday 4 November 1862 p 3 Advertising
... receired ia, Jj Btrnctions from the Hon. Louis Hope to sell by private contract, his LAND on tb North side ... , landed, and stored, at the Consignees' risk and e

The new Government House occupied for
the first time by Sir George Bowen and family.—
The Hon. R. Pring and Hon. Louis Hope
gazetted as members of the Legislative Council.

DIARY OF EVENTS FOR 1862. (Extracted from Pugh's Queensland Almanac.) JANUARY.
The Courier (Brisbane, Qld. : 1861 - 1864) Saturday 17 January 1863 p 6 Article
... George Bowen and family.— The Hon. R. Pring and Hon. Louis Hope gazetted as members of the Legislative ... com-peting.—The usual New Year's Day Races were held at South Brisbane. 3rd.—Initiatory meeting held at ... 15925 words

The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933) Wednesday 6 September 1865 p 2 Article
... grant of 2000 acres of land in the northern districts to the Hon. Louis Hope for tho purpose of sugar ... arnmont to Bell the prosont South Brisbane comotory, and with tho proceeds of tho sale to form a now ... 2024 words

The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933) Tuesday 3 October 1865 p 3 Article

Classified Advertising
The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933) Saturday 22 December 1894 p 8 Advertising
... LOUIS HOPE, formeily of luleoy in lho Colony of Queenaland, but lato of La Gravel lies Eaux Vives ... the personal catato and eftocts m Queensland of the about enanied thLouis Hope deceased ... 8412 words
e Honourable

Louis died in 1894 in Switzerland, as per the biography.


Clearly though pineapple growing was what the land was used for.

G.A. Pope

There was an owner of land in Bracken Ridge Lot 100, originally owned by W. Hobbs and then owned by G. A. Hope.

He married Helen Riddell in Glasgow in 1867

Name:G . A . Hope
Marriage Date:14 Oct 1867
Marriage Place:Central District,Glasgow,Lanark,Scotland
Spouse:Helen Riddell             

That person was George Alexander Hope.  He was a merchant, and in 1868 was selling a quantity of drapery goods, possibly as he had just returned from a trip to London.

Name:George Alex Hope
Birth Year:abt 1823
Ship Name:Zelandea
Port of Departure:London, England
Port of Arrival:Brisbane
Arrival Date:6 Jul 1868
Classified Advertising
The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933) Tuesday 11 August 1868 p 1 Advertising

... all com-plete. Apply to Wm. PARKER, Kangaroo Point Slip, or G.A.HOPE, Edward street. 1390 STEAM ENGINE ... superior DRAPERY GOODS, just fresh from tho English market. Will bo sold cheap, for Cash. GAHOPE, near ... 5

He was the son of Frank Hope and Margaret Turner and he died in 1900, and is buried at the Gold Coast.   He became a farmer in the Nerang area, and it is his name that is attached to  Gold Coast Council:

George Alexander Hope (26) - died 1900

A farmer, who selected land in the Molendinar area. This suburb today bears the name he gave to his homestead.

Name:George Alexander Hope
Death Date:01 Nov 1900
Death Place:Queensland
Father's name:Frank Hope
Mother's name:Margaret Turner
Registration Year:1900
Registration Place:Queensland
Registration Number:002631

He married Helen Liddle and had at least two children.

Name:William George Alexander Hope
Birth Date:23 Sep 1875
Birth Place:Queensland
Registration Year:1875
Registration Place:QueenslandAustralia
Father:George Alexander Hope
Mother:Helen Riddle
Page Number:6922
Name:George Hope
Death Date:20 Oct 1872
Death Place:Queensland
Father's name:George Hope
Mother's name:Helen Riddle
Registration Year:1872
Registration Place:Queensland
Registration Number:B007462

According to Mary's collection of historical records and documents, in 1860 Robert's father-in-law, George Alexander Hope selected the land where the present day island is and he went on to name that portion McIntosh Island in honour of his son-in-law.

The Hope and McIntosh families were very early farmers on the Gold Coast although that particular piece of land was swampy and no good for farming.
Despite the dispute over whose family can claim the real heritage, one thing both men had in common was a love of sailing.

Classified Advertising
The Courier (Brisbane, Qld. : 1861 - 1864) Wednesday 27 May 1863 

Over the years he was the owner of the Queensland Hotel at Laidley in 1863

He had businesses in Brisbane, including a bakery


He had land for sale at Nerang.

Land and farms were being advertised for sale in 1863

    The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933) Tuesday 24 April 1866 p 2 Article
    ... fruit, GAHope ; 5 kegs butter, W. J. Costin ; 5 kegs butter, Brabant and Co. ; 1 case, E. H. Booth ... ; 1 parcel, Eden ; 1 parcel, G. Slator ; 1 packago drawings, Officer Ad-ministering the Government ; 1 ... 2176 words
    This resource may have relevance to your query (score: 0.011)
    This resource may have relevance to your query (score: 0.011)
    The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933) Wednesday 10 January 1866 p 2 Article
    ... lippies, 1 box cheese, GAHope ; 10 eases oil, 30 bags flour, 9 kegs butter, Hughes ; 20 cases whisky ... clearance, and a pilot and stnff have lately been appointed, by tho Queensland Government. The captain ...2511 words

The Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. : 1866 - 1939) Saturday 11 September 1869 p 10 Article
... , 100 acres, Pine River. GAHope, 300 acres, Nerang. J. Connors, 320 acres, Blunder Creek. R. Power ... , Durandur Road. A. G. Littleboy, 120 acres, Sampson Yale. G. Biggs, 75 acres Bunyah. E. Collins, 80 acres ... 1986 words

Another relationship that two of the land speculators held was

A, Norris and G.A. Hope

As the immigrants arrived before separation from New South Wales, their future was in the hands of Captain J.C. Wickham.  The man in charge before separation.  The same man who would not record the arrivals of the settlers, who did not think they should be coming to his colony.

Perhaps then it became almost to a man, their resolve and determination to ensure that Queensland was separated from New South Wales, and allowed to become a Government in its own right.

The Officers of the Moreton Bay District in the Colony
 of New South Wales

Government Resident,-Captain J. C. Wickham, R.N.

Clerk,-Mr. C. Carrington.

Port Curtis-J. Jardine, Esqr. Leichhardt--H. Wiseman, Esqr. 
Burnett and Wide Bay-A. E. Halloran, Esqr.
Maranoa-H. Boyle, Esqr. 
Darling Downs-M. E. L. Barrowes, Esqr.

LAND AGENTS.-Brisbane-A. A. May, Esqr. 
Ipswich-  F. C. Daveney, Esqr.


Resident Judge, Hon. Samuel Frederick Milford. 
Registrar,  Gustavus Birch, Esqr. 
Judge's Associate and Registrar's   Clerk, Mr. G. R. Milford. 
Clerk for entering Deeds, George 1t. Watson. 
Tipstaff and Court keeper, John Halloran.
Messenger, Thomas Dickens.

CROWN LAW OFFICERS.-Crown Prosecutor, Ratcliffe
Pring, Esqr. Crown Solicitor, Robert Little, Esqr. Clerk to latter, Mr. Edwin Norris.

Sheriff, William Anthony Brown, Esqr. 
Bailiff, Mr. Jeremiah Daly. 
Bailiff's Assistant,  Charles Davis

Chief Commissioner of Insolvent Estates,His Honor Judge Milford. 
Official Assignee and Curator  of Intestate Estates, W. Pickering, Esqr.

John Clements Wickham (21 November 1798 – 6 January 1864) was a Scottish explorer, naval officer, magistrate and administrator. He was first officer on HMS Beagle during its second survey mission, 1831–1836, under captain Robert FitzRoy.

The young naturalist and geologist Charles Darwin was a supernumerary on the ship, and his journal was published as The Voyage of the Beagle. After that expedition, Wickham was promoted to Commander and made captain of the Beagle on its third voyage, from 1837 and conducted various maritime expeditions and hydrographic surveys along the Australian coastline.

In 1843, after his retirement from the Royal Navy, Wickham was made Police Magistrate and, later, Government Resident of the Moreton Bay District, in the Colony of New South Wales (NSW). Wickham retired in 1859, when the Moreton Bay District was separated from NSW, forming basis of the Colony of Queensland. When the Queensland and NSW governments disagreed over which was responsible for his pension, Wickham moved to France, where he died.

The complete history of Bracken Ridge comes down to the Scottish immigrants from Dr John Lang's ships, and their common goal of separation from New South Wales, for Queensland to become a separate state.

They were all businessmen, all who had money in which to be able to speculate with land purchases.

From the Stewart's at Bald Hills - the Fergusons at Brackenridge, Sandgate to John Mc Connell at Sandgate, the area may not be what it is today, had it not been for the dedication that these families showed, in creating farms and useable land from the heavily timbered growth and extensive bracken ferns.

The Mc Connels at Cressbrook
Stewart's Bald Hills (St Paul's Archives)

Bracken Ridge has always had a history, it just had to be found!

Statement             The first school in the area was opened in 1957

The first school in Bracken Ridge has been documented as operating in 1915,  as the children collected money for the Belgium Fund,  documented in the media.  Where that school was sited is unknown.

The state high school, was originally Nashville State High School which opened in 1967, developed in the area known as Nashville.

Nashville State High School opened on 23 January 1967. It was renamed Bracken Ridge State High School from 25 September 2000.  

That decision, if I recall at the time, was not without its controversy!

The complete history of Bracken Ridge begins with the Scottish immigrants from Dr John Lang's ships, and their common goal of separation from New South Wales, for Queensland to become a separate state.

They were all businessmen, all who had money in which to be able to speculate with land purchases.  

From the Stewart's at Bald Hills - the Fergusons at Brackenridge, Sandgate to John Mc Connell at Sandgate, the area may not be what it is today, had it not been for the dedication that these families showed, in creating farms and useable land from the heavily timbered growth and extensive bracken ferns.

Most landholders had a business or family relationship with one or other.

A question that still needs to be answered, is "How did the State Government and the Brisbane City Council come to be in possession of such large tracts of land.

For the construction of the Water Tower, no doubt land resumptions took place, or did the economic situations and desperate times mean that because the farms did not seem to be able to be sold, as records show, did those speculators simply walk away? 

How did Mancel Brace's land become the site for the Sandgate High School, when he died 40 years before it was built, yet on the 1938 land map he is still shown as the owner!  That seems to be another common theme.

Bracken Ridge has always had a history, it just had to be found!

Referring to Wikipedia again the following information is noted.

In the 2011 census, Bracken Ridge recorded a population of 16,799 people, 51.2% female 
and 48.8% male.

The median age of the Bracken Ridge population was 35 years of age, 2 years below 
the Australian median.

74.6% of people living in Bracken Ridge were born in Australia. 

The other top responses for country of birth were New Zealand 4.7%, England 3.8%, Philippines 2.2%, India 1.3%, Fiji 0.8%.

85.6% of people spoke only English at home; the next most popular languages were 1% Tagalog, 0.9% Hindi, 0.8% Filipino, 0.5% Cantonese, 0.5% Samoan.


There are a number of schools and educational institutions in the suburb:

St John Fisher College
Bracken Ridge State School
Norris Road State School
Bracken Ridge State High School (formally known as Nashville State High School)
St Josephs Catholic Primary School

Brisbane North Institute of TAFE, Bracken Ridge campus.
Shopping strips are located in Gawain Road and Barrett Street. A more substantial shopping centre is located on the corner of Telegraph Road and Norris Road.

There is also a small shopping centre near the Bracken Ridge Tavern incorporating a Woolworths, chemist and a newsagent on Barrett St.

There is a pub (The Bracken Ridge Tavern which incorporates 'Phoenix') on the corner of Barrett and Denham Streets, and a sports centre located on Bracken Ridge Road. There is also a local Council 

Library located on the Corner of Barrett St and Bracken St, next to Ferguson Park.

Bracken Ridge is also home to Bracken Ridge District Cricket Club based at McPherson Park, with McPherson also being the home ground of the Bracken Ridge Little Athletics Club "Roadrunners".

Bracken Ridge has an Indoor Sports Centre and also has a netball club "Ridgettes" whom are a part of the Brisbane Netball Association on Rode Road in Chermside.

There is a large number of parks in the suburb, including Enbrook Parkland and the Bill Brown Sports Reserve on Telegraph Road, Bracken Ridge Reservoir, Ferguson Park and Stanley Day Park. 

There are also a number of churches present, including the CatholicBaptist, and Uniting Church denominations.

Heritage listings

Bracken Ridge has a few heritage-listed sites, including:

Bald Hills Cemetery: 225 Barrett St.


     Even that description of Bracken Ridge is rather sparse.  Not one mention of the Bracken Ridge
     Central Lions Club and the Miniature Steam trains.  Not one other Brisbane suburb has such an attraction . 

S   Some key points discovered include:

      Land surveyed in 1861
      First mention of the name of Brackenridge in January 1866.
      100 years after the first land survey the locality becomes a suburb.

      The first settlers were all Scottish crofters from the West Coast of Scotland, and all provided with land through the various immigration schemes.  All but 2 arrived on the Helenslea in 1862, the remaining two families also arrived in 1862.

     There were either family or business relationships between most of the families. 


      It is a pity that it has taken so long for anyone to find out the facts about the area. What a history it holds, and these days everyone wants to know "where they came from".

     Another disappointment is that 20 years ago, had this information been known, the local alderman, Keith Murray would have been shouting from the rafters and telling all and sundry about the upcoming 150 Years.    

     He would have plans in place for some worthy celebration, he would have ensured that those important residents, as identified in the research, were remembered in some form or other.

     Copies of the book would have been printed, and available in the libraries.

     Wikipedia would be corrected immediately.   


     My thanks to Lord Mayor Graham Quirk for his enthusiastic approach to the project, and for planting two hoop pine trees in the Park at the Reservoir, and for agreeing to erect a signboard outlining the area's history, when the new Library is constructed.

If you have been to England, you may have seen this type of signboard. 
 The village was Coldred, the sign tells in word its history.  

 These sorts of boards are very descriptive, and great for learning about an area.

     To those family connections of Ferguson and Carseldine, thank you for the help and assistance.
     When undertaking any research project, either of a family member or of an event, or area, it has been my decision to always undertake my own independent research.  It has been proved conclusively that technology and updated facts can be sourced, which provide a different viewpoint of past ideas.

     That was proven in this research, when the various maps provided previously unknown facts.  The real stories are best told by those who were there, and so for that reason, extensive research and reading of newspaper archives is completed.  Once again, those old stories provided often, just a snippet of information that made the next piece of research make sense.

     But the biggest disappointment is why were we never taught anything at school about the influence of the Scottish people on the settlement of South East Queensland?

     About all we seemed to learn was that Queensland separated from NSW in 1859!  The facts and the truth paint a totally different picture than that statement!

     There were so many amazing stories unearthed.  The drowning of the three Carseldine cousins in 1920, was rather sad.  Especially as he was the builder of the now burnt Memorial Hall in Bald Hills.

     Where are the 17 trees planted in Bald Hills to remember the 16 men who died in World War I?

     Will Clarence Leslie Smith receive an apology from the media, and have is Military Medal rightfully attributed to his name?

     Will the Memorial Board at the Bald Hills Memorial Hall be restored, and will the additions names of be included in another appropriate board?

     Will John Flewell-Smith have some sort of permanent recognition placed in Bracken Ridge?

     By far the decision to place the Soldier's Settlement in the Wetlands, must score quite high as one of the most ridiculous decisions the Commonwealth ever made.

     2016 is certainly a Special Year for the Community:

     Bracken Ridge was first mentioned in January 1866, making it 150 years old

     The Bald Hills School is 150 year old

     The Bracken Ridge Kindergarten is 40 years old

     The Bracken Ridge Central Lions Club Miniature Steam Train Track is 20 years old.

     This research was done for the community, and as a Resource.   It has been my privilege to have been able to give back to the community, after my exit 13 years ago.

     Kris Herron
     May 2016






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