Sunday, April 17, 2016

BRS 20 The lands around Bald Hills - Bracken Ridge - Sandgate

The lands to the east of the Bald Hills Township became known as Brackenridge in 1866

While Brackenridge was not formally named as a suburb until 100 years after it's inception, it was necessary to research the areas either side to gain a picture of what the area was like.

From Wikipedia - Regarding Hoop Pines at St Paul's School, the original settlement of John Stewart and Margaret Duncan.  The Hoop Pines are symbolic with the early settlers of the area.

 In 2002 the trees at the school were Heritage Listed.  Which raises the question, why were they not chopped down like all the others?

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.

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.

In 1890, John Stewart took out a £600 mortgage from the Brisbane Permanent Building and Banking Company Ltd, which may have financed construction of a new residence. If he did, the Stewarts occupied their new house for only a few years, for in 1895 the main portion of the farm - nearly 67 acres, including what is understood to be the site of the Stewart family's first residence and the possibly c. 1890 house - was transferred to William Thomas Taylor.

The remaining Stewart property was developed as the Woodlawn dairy farm, managed by Alexander Caldwell Stewart until his accidental death in 1900. The Woodlawn Farmhouse survives at 15 Listowel Street, Bald Hills. Jane Stewart died in 1898, and her husband John in 1905, but at least one son continued to dairy farm at Bald Hills for many years.

Taylor held the original Stewart property for only a few years, transferring it in February 1898 to Samuel Unwin of Eagle Farm, who in November 1905 took out a £600 mortgage on the property. The residence located on this property and which now functions as the Administration Building at St Paul's Anglican School, appears to date to the 1890s or very early 1900s, but it has not been established whether it was erected by Stewart c. 1890 or a later owner.

A photograph dated 1906 shows the house prior to additions and verandah enclosures, with the two already mature hoop pines forming a natural frame to the front entrance. From this evidence it is clear that the trees were not late 19th or early 20th century plantings, and it would have been unusual for them to have survived to the 20th century, were they not incorporated within the earlier Stewart house garden

Hoop Pines was listed on the Queensland Heritage Register on 22 February 2002 having satisfied the following criteria.

The place is important in demonstrating the evolution or pattern of Queensland's history.
The Hoop Pines at St Paul's Anglican School, Bald Hills are indicative of the pattern of Queensland settlement, being associated with the evolution of non-indigenous settlement in the Moreton Bay district in the 1850s, and with the earliest development of the Bald Hills district in particular

The place demonstrates rare, uncommon or endangered aspects of Queensland's cultural heritage.

The larger of the two Hoop Pines is likely to pre-date non-indigenous settlement, and as remnant forest growth is rare surviving evidence of the valuable stands of Hoop Pine which made the Moreton Bay district so attractive for early colonial settlement, and which had been virtually removed from the Bald Hills district by the late 1860s. The two early Hoop Pines at St Paul's Anglican School are of horticultural interest and are rare specimens of trees of this age surviving in the Brisbane area.

The place is important because of its aesthetic significance.
The Hoop Pines have aesthetic significance for their landmark value on the ridge at Bald Hills.

The place has a strong or special association with a particular community or cultural group for social, cultural or spiritual reasons.

They also have a special association for the community of Bald Hills as evidence of the work of the Stewart family, who, together with their relatives the Duncans, were the first non-indigenous settlers in the area, and were instrumental in developing Bald Hills as an agricultural district supplying Brisbane and Sandgate; and for the community of St Paul's Anglican School as marking the administrative centre of the school.

Research shows that the lands were used for agricultural purposes.  The trees were removed, but why did these remain?

The answer may be due to Government legislation introduced in 1872 regarding the removal of trees on certain lands, or the realisation that the cattle needed shade!

Qld. : 1872 - 1947) Friday 12 July 1878 p 2 Article ... , to the effect that 'Pine trees of a diameter of less titan eighteen inches shall not be cut down ... is a 'regulation' that pine, trees of less than eighteen inches diameter shall not be cut down, and ... 

New timber regulations were proclaimed a few days ago under the Crown Lands Alienation Act of 1S70, to the effect that 'Pine trees of a diameter of less titan eighteen inches shall not be cut down under any circumstances, either by licensees or any other persons' and ' shall not be cut down for firewood under any circumstances upon any land reserved, set apart, or dedicated for public purposes.' Surely this is not all the provision for forest conservancy which the Minister for Lands and his colleagues deem to be necessary for the present. 

The reckless waste of our most valuable timbers which, has been going on for years past is not abated as yet in the slightest degree. On the contrary it has increased and- become more mischievous as the timber round the principal centres of population has become scarcer. The subject has been 1 discussed ; times out of number by the newspaper press of the colony  the Acclimatization Society took it up very warmly some time ago, and three years back, when the . Premier was a private member, he obtained a select committee of the Assembly to enquire into and report upon it. 

The committee obtained, some valuable information, and its report was in favour of most stringent measures being adopted to prevent what is  designated as 'the shameful waste of valuable timber that is going on, and that, if not checked, will cause serious inconvenience and a short supply, both for home consumption and foreign export.' And, after three years, the only visible result is a 'regulation' that pine, trees of less than eighteen inches diameter shall not be cut down, and that nobody shall cut timber for firewood on a reserve set apart and dedicated for public purposes Pine Pine is a valuable wood certainly, but it is not so valuable as several others which could be named, and which can only be obtained here. There is cedar, for instance, and yellow wood, cypress pine and a number of other woods which could be named. for many miles round Brisbane it is next to impossible now to obtain ironbark, beech, pine, or silky oak fit for any use except that of firewood ; no means are taken for securing a further supply, but every possible means for utterly eradicating these timbers from the district.

The Telegraph (Brisbane, 

The Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. : 1866 - 1939) Saturday 26 February 1876 p 22 Article
... stately pine trees towering over the scrub through which the tiny South Pine River begins to flow ; and ... anon, when I come to deal with the Bald Hills. Oaten hay and lucerne are 

Farming on the South and North Pine Rivers.

Farming on the South and North Pine Rivers.  (BY OUR AGRICULTURAL REPORTER.)
FINDING my way across the range to the head of the South Pine, I passed through a country uninteresting except as one of those natural ventilators and hydraulic arrangements which so much influence our atmospheric and meteorological condition. Rising from the sandstone formation the ridges become slatey and full of quartz veins, many of them very strong and wide, and frequent " blows " cover the surface.

 It is the same description of quartz as what has been worked at Enoggera. Timber-getting and bark stripping are carried on to some extent in these ranges. The principal trees I saw was the blue gum, the spotted gum, ironbark, box, blood wood, and Moreton Bay ash; the underwood is at some places dense and filled with the small prickly accacia, and where any partial clearing has been effected the myall and brigalow have sprung up.

These, however, are somewhat kept down by the bark strippers, their bark being reckoned next to wattle bark at the tanneries. Shingle splitting baa been common here ; and the waste of valuable timber that one sees in disheartening for the future of our forests. The 3 reserve of forest land, for so it is, is well chosen and well suited for the purpose, being, in fact, fitted for nothing else than the growth of timber which thrives well on it. either in the richer dells of alluvial between the spurs of the mountains, or on their barer summits.

Descending the opposite side of the range the country improved very rapidly, and my first indication that I had been succesf ul in reaching my object was the appearance of two stately pine trees towering over the scrub through which the tiny South Pine River begins to flow  and here cultivation may be said to commence.

Maize and potatoes immediately put in an appearance, and the farmer is now busy preparing for planting his chief potato crop ; they talk of the last potato crop as having been a good one, •and from what I saw—for they were all busy -electing their seed—it must have been above the average quality. The potatoes were firm and clean grown, showing two or three eyes each.

Near the upper part of the South Pine River I found a great deal of active and intelligent farming going on, no doubt dropping now and then on a " slow 'on " who was waiting for the tide which he expected to bring him a rich purchaser for his land in the shape of a retired tradesman or lucky speculator who had made his pile and who would be easily dealt with. It was easy enough to pick such places out without asking for information.

I saw, and was vexed to see, some of the best land held in this way, when all around was bustle and cheerful activity. On the South Pine I saw excellent crops of maize, particularly on the higher scrub lands ; the stalks did not grow so tall as they did further down in the flatter alluvial; but looking at thee cobs I am safe in saying there were at least a third more ; of this corn, when I come to deal with the Bald Hills. Oaten hay and lucerne are grown upon some of the farms ; and I may notice Mr. Allen's property upon which I saw most excellent farming and lucerne hay under preparation for market got up in first-rate style.

On this farm all is activity under intelligent superintendence, and the great outlay now going on is most judiciously made. As a general rule, as I have said, this port of the district is fast coming under a system of civilised cultivation ; nor has what has been done at all curtailed the available country, for there is yet at least three-fourths of the higher scrub lands, though taken up by purchasers, still in a state of nature.

The scrubs here abound with the large fig tree, which at the root and stump—I may say—always presents a most fantastic appearance, very similar to a number of large sawn boards radiating from a common centre, sloping with a gentle concave curve to the ground, often five or six feet from the bole proper of the tree, and exactly like flying buttresses on a Gothic building. Passing through the scrub and over the ranges for about three miles, I came to Cash's crossing, having latterly passed through a well-grassed, openly-wooded pastoral tract, and deviated from the main road by visiting some German farms further up the river, which, as usual, I found managed with the " economy and industry characteristic of the people, though perhaps behind Lincolnshire, Norfolkslure, and Scotland, in the modern tactics of "high farming." Germans, as a .rule, make excellent husbandmen, only they have not capital enough, or if they have, they have not yet discovered the profitable application of it to the land. There are, of course, many of this nation who have been pioneers in this as in every other department of colonisation ; but what I mean is, that the German farmer is more of the workman and less of the improvement maker than, for his own interest, he ought to be.

Crossing at Cash's, I skirted along the large alluvial plain, which, for perhaps three miles, is chiefly cultivated with maize and potatoes. Oaten hay is grown, although, as far as I could learn, not to that extent it might be done. The soil is black alluvial with a fair admixture of sand, and, being moist, oats would, no doubt, be a bulky crop ; and the danger to be feared, if grown for a grain crop, would be obviated by cutting in time. I noticed symptoms of want of due attention to the principles of cultivation in this extensive flat. Everything looked green and growthy, but on examining the maize as to how it had cobbed, I was disappointed to find, in a majority of cases, only one, or at most two, cobs on each stalk ; and although it may be a while before our American cousins succeed in producing a cob from every articulation of the stalk, as they say they will do, I cannot look upon the production of one or two cobs on a six foot stalk as anything else than the result of poor farming.

The land naturally produces herbage in abundance ; it is for the farmer to produce the corn. Some patches of lucerne I saw were not in a very hopeful state; the soil is, in general, too loose on the flat for this plant, but on the undulating land around I would think that it could be grown to perfection. Sugar-cane is being grown to a small extent; and looking down on the plain the light green of the cane points out its position and extent.

The specimens I was amongst were not favourable, having been planted out of season, and having suffered much from the recent long drought The parties I spoke to had made up their minds, however, to continue their efforts to grow cane profitably, nor were they much dispirited by the untoward events of the past.

The chief location of the Bald Hills agriculture is on this flat, which is nearly a dead level, and seems very much to require draining, the South Pine River at one aide of the plain affording sufficient outfall.  At present the soil is too soft and swampy to produce anything first class, but with sufficient drainage, and by the introduction of steam cultivation, for which the locality is admirably adapted, almost everything might be grown to advantage. I trust that the experiment of steam cultivation on such plains as this one may very soon be a fact accomplished.

The combination, by a proprietor, of growing crops and rearing stock, has a marked influence on the farms under cultivation, and it is not difficult to tell from the appearance of the crops the probable extent to which cattle are kept The Bald Hills agricultural ground is well situated for such a purpose, as the whole of the homesteads stand upon the firm ridgy ground around it; while the pastoral district extends outwards into the forest.

The homesteads are good and tidy looking, aud occasionally a very neat Stirlingshire stack of oaten hay is seen—a reminiscence, no doubt, of the old country, where it was only the "well-to-do folk" who could enjoy the pride and luxury of an old hay stack. From the Bald Hills to the North Pine is about three miles; the crossing being near to what was " Petrie's," now known as the North Pine Hotel.
 This crossing is so exceedingly annoying one to a stranger who is not aware of the times of the tide, and, like myself, often lose from three to five hours' before they can cross. The bottom, no doubt, is a good one, but ordinary tides rise seven feet, and high tides nine feet, so that for uninterrupted communication a bridge is an urgent necessity now, since so much land is settled on the north side of the river, access to which is by the Gympie-road. As on the South Pine, so on the North River the under portion of the cultivation is upon low alluvial scrub consisting of a black soil sharpened a little by an admixture of sand. All this will require complete draining, and the farmers are well aware of the fact, and mean to proceed with it as soon as they can. There is plenty of clay suitable for making pipes or tiles on the ground.

Farming and the kind of crops grown are just the same as those of the Bald Hills and South Pine, and the grazing arrangements also correspond. The low lands are very liable to be flooded ; and one settler told me that last year he lost certainly not less than one thousand bushels of corn by the flood, but, he added, his fine crops of potatoes and his prospects on his maize crops this season would far more than make it up.

Here also potato planting was being briskly proceeded with, the sets used at this season being well-formed, smallish potatoes, although they could not be called the culls of the crop. About two miles above the crossing at Petrie's, the land on the North Pine somewhat changes in appearance as it rises, becoming a chocolate coloured scrub of great agricultural value. This kind of land continues and is settled for twentyfive miles up the river. I only saw the commencement of the country when the rain, which had been drizzling all forenoon, came down in earnest, and drove me under cover.

The settlers told me that they had much more rain on the Pine Rivers than there was in Brisbane, and the growthy appearance of the country betokens it. The entire district is well selected for agriculture, which is in a fairly forward condition, considering everything. Corn and potatoes at present are the staples sugar may succeed on the higher lands if the swampy flats were thoroughly drained, but it is very doubtful at present, as severe frosts are said to be frequent.  With thorough draining, and generally fair treatment, the Pine Rivers district must become one of vast agricultural importance.

Hoop pines, were felled by axe, then loaded on drays for export.


John Stewart was a vocal person in terms of his expectations of Government, as this letter to the Editor reveals.

The Government had allocated a Water Reserve, and then turned around and were offering it for sale!  He stuck to his guns and raised questions.

He was involved in a Civil Sitting against a neighbour who started a fire, causing damage

In 1887 there was a terrible flood in the area.  Many farmers faced financial ruin.  

The potato crop of Duncan McPherson, William Hockins, John Stewart, William Brown and Samuel Simpson all lost their potato crop.

Mr John Stewart died 1921, son of John Stewart the settler

The late Mr. 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 1850. 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 re-turned 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 I6 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.

A marriage announcement for Margaret Jane Stewart to Edmund Foran Mellor.  But also included is the marriage of another John Stewart, who was a grocer in Leichhardt Street Brisbane and his father was Hugh Stewart a glass and china merchant in Inverness.   

So many Stewarts!!!!  

All these interesting stories of the area! 

The Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. : 1866 - 1939) Saturday 15 December 1923 p 11 Article
... A BALD HILLS PIONEER. An interesting souvenir of a visit of Sir George Bowen, Governor of ... Dunmore Lang, D.D., A.M." The book bore the following inscription: "To Mr. Stewart, of the Bald Hills


An interesting souvenir of a visit of Sir George Bowen, Governor of Queensland, in December, 1861, is a book presented by his Excellency to Mr. John Stewart. The book is "Queensland. Australia, a Highly Eligible Field for Emigration and the Future Cotton Field of Great Britain: With a Disquisition on the Origin, Manners, and Customs of the Aborigine*, by John Dunmore Lang, D.D., A.M

." The book bore the following inscription: "To Mr. Stewart, of the Bald Hills (in memory of his hospitality), from Governor Sir G. Bowen, December, 1881.

On the occasion which promoted the gift bis Excellency, with a party, had gone out to look at the Bald Hills district. They called at Mr. Stewart's picturesque old home (Woodlawn), on the South Pine River, and on the right just after passing Bald Hills village, and went down to the river to the pretty, sheltered spot know as "The Basin." 

On his return to Woodlawn his Excellency and friends had luncheon with Mr. Stewart and his family. Mr. John Stewart came to Queensland from the Hunter River, New South Wales, in September, 1857. and settled at Bald Hills. There he lived until his gassing away at the age of 84. He farmed Woodlawn, beginning with maize and English- potatoes. 

Later he grew arrowroot and sent a parcel to an exhibition in London—perhaps that of IMS—and received two very fine medals, one of silver and one of bronze. Some years afterwards, at the request of Dr. Bancroft, he sent wheat to London to.-the Colonial and Indian Exhibition, and received a bronze medal in recognition. For a little time. Mr. Stewart grew cotton, and sent the product to Mr. O.. Raff, in Brisbane, to be ginned. For some years Mr. Stewart grew sugar, sending the cane to the Normanby mill, on the South Pine River, near Strathpine. Mr. Owen Gardiner bought the mill, which later was converted- into a distillery.

In 1888 there was a huge auction sale in Bald Hills.  Free train tickets were being offered.
Also on the same page is the notice about an auction on behalf of the John Stewart who was the shopkeeper.

The Telegraph (Brisbane, Qld. : 1872 - 1947) Saturday 8 December 1888 p 11 Advertising

... \ Auction Sales.Separation day. Monday; December 10. bald hills sale. free tickets by rail. wednesday .


Bald Hills lies to the west and Sandgate to the east.  The first records indicate the existence of Brackenridge in 1866.   Initially the lands between Sandgate and Bald Hills were unnamed.

James Ferguson's Brackenridge was generally expressed as Brackenridge, Sandgate.

There is mention online, that  Bracken Ridge was an outlying district of Bald Hills, and in 1877 the community at Bald Hills chose a site 3 km away for its cemetery. 

Like many statements about the area, that information differs.  The cemetery opened no doubt in 1869

Bald Hills
Bald Hills was settled by Scots families in 1857 who within six years built a Presbyterian church of simple slab construction. Two of the earliest families, the Stewarts and Duncans, cleared the surrounding slopes of the native hoop pine and established mixed farming enterprises. 

Another prominent family, the Carseldines, were of the Methodist faith. They opened the first store in Bald Hills (1869), donated land for a Methodist church (1870) and are remembered by the adjoining southern suburb named in 1975.

A year after the Bald Hills post office was opened in 1871 Cobb and Co began a regular coach and mail service. Seventeen years later the North Coast railway began operation, putting Bald Hills within easier reach of Brisbane. 

Maize, potatoes and local sugar productions in the river scrub were supplanted by dairying. The Railway Hotel (1886) catered for travellers and the Nundah local government division opened its offices at Bald Hills. (The division had lost its built-up area in the east to the Toombul division, formed in 1883).

By the early 1900s Bald Hills' population was around 500, and growing. The old Presbyterian church was replaced in 1911, the old school (1866) in 1913 and a telephone service was installed.

Historical information from the Moreton Shire Council states:

During the 1850s, in response to considerable pressure from immigrants who were clamouring for access to land, the New South Wales Government decided to survey and sell blocks of land suitable for more intensive farming. By the mid 1850s, surveyors had reached an area not far outside the present district boundary which became known as the Bald Hills Farms Subdivision. During 1857, the first lots of agricultural land in this area were offered for sale.

In many cases, however, new settlers simply sought out portions of land which had not been claimed as runs and leased land in the hope that they would be able to establish more secure tenure at some stage in the future. James Cash, who settled on the south bank of the South Pine River around 1851, was one such person who became well known in the Pine Rivers area. Eight years later, he became the first freehold landholder in what was to become the Pine Rivers Shire.

Closer settlement of the region commenced in earnest during 1862 with the sale of country farm allotments in that part of the Strathpine/Lawnton area east of Gympie Road and on the north bank of the North Pine River in the area then designated the Redcliffe Agricultural Reserve.

They faced challenges

Native police were stationed at Sandgate from late 1852 until 1862 to "disperse" the Bribie Island and Ningy-Ningy people, and facilitate non-indigenous occupation of the land in the Cabbage Tree Creek and Pine Rivers districts.

With the removal of hostile indigenes, Sandgate/Shorncliffe developed slowly from the 1860s as a seaside excursion venue. By 1868, Cobb and Co was operating a twice-weekly service to Sandgate, and by the mid-1870s, three coach companies were offering services to the bayside resort. In the 1860s six hotels were established at Sandgate, although only two, the Sandgate and the Osborne, survived the decade. 

The Landscape

The following Wikipedia information regarding Bald Hills and the Hoop Pines provides an overall picture of the vegetation of area as it was in 1850's.  There are perhaps only two of these magnificent trees remaining, and they are in the grounds of St Paul's School

               The two existing hoop pines in front of the school.    (Thanks to St Pauls Headmaster) 

The two mature Hoop Pines situated in front of the Administration Building of St Paul's Anglican School, Bald Hills, are believed to mark the location of the original Stewart Farmhouse at Bald Hills. 

The Stewart family, along with their relatives the Duncans, were the earliest non-indigenous settlers in the Bald Hills area (known to Aboriginal people as Wyampa) and later established one of the district's most successful dairy farms. The taller of the Hoop Pines may be remnant old growth vegetation, approximately 190 years old. The smaller Hoop Pine may be approximately 140 years old - either planted or a seedling from the older tree

The old Stewart Farmhouse, now housing the Archives of St Paul's School 

St Paul's Anglican School is sited on the old Stewart lands at Bald Hills.  The choice of school for many of the residents of Bracken Ridge.  

The 125-acre site was first settled in 1857 by the Stewart and Duncan families, emigrants from Scotland who met on the voyage to Australia and became lifelong friends. The land was used for planting of crops and raising of dairy cattle.

Throughout the research, so many stories come back to the beginnings of Sandgate.

This paper no doubt, is available in any number of resources, but is included here, as it relates to Alfred Slaughter, the original post master and his son Charles Slaughter and mentions Mr Tom Dowse and Mr Somerset in fact so many of the settlers and speculators!

 EARLY BRIGHTON AND SANDGATE (Read at a meeting of the Society on August 23, 1956.)

 The Brighton Hotel (Sandgate) and Captain Townsend [By E. V. STEVENS, Hon. Life Member of the Historical Society of Queensland.]

This paper relates the story of the Brighton Hotel at Sandgate, Queensland, a landmark in Brighton Terrace, and although the hotel licence has not been continuous, the hotel site is one of the earliest reserved for that purpose in Queensland, The site is included in Portion 57, Parish of Nundah. A Proclamation in the New South Wales Government Gazette dated October 12, 1858, lists land which was to be offered for sale at the Police Court, Brisbane, to be held on December 14, 1858, County Stanley, Parish of Nundah.

The land is described as "Lying on and near the shores of Moreton Bay, and between the waters of the Pine River and Sandgate." Forty-four lots were offered, the price ranging from £1 to £3 per acre. Lot No. 17 was Portion 57, Parish of Nundah. The first purchaser of Portion 57 was Daniel Rowntree Somerset of Brisbane, who was given a Deed of Grant (No. 949) of 37 acres for £37. This original Deed of Grant can be seen in the Titles Office, Brisbane, Vol. 2A, Folio 2. The land was purchased on August 29, 1859. As a matter of interest, the next Deed of Grant, for land adjacent to Portion 57, was issued to Joshua Jeays. Nehemiah Bartley in "Opals and Agates" (page 93) relates a story which shows D. R. Somerset to be one of the most gullible of men.

 Near the Customs House, Brisbane, was Richardson's (later Brights') wharf, where D. R. Somerset had the upper floor. Bartley describes him as "a kindly honest simple- hearted gentleman, all too easily imposed upon," and relates this story. "Captain John Murphy, of the barque 'Bella Vista,' was a bluff, bold seaman, and never 'stood on repairs'" much . . . One day Murphy brought the barque up the  river, all sail set, with such a vigorous rush, that her flying jibboom went through the roof of Somerset's wharf shed. Murphy hauled off clear, anchored, and was ashore in his boat instanter, and in the upper office. 'Come out on the wharf for a moment, Mr. Somerset,' said he, and Mr. Somerset did so. 'Do you see those goats on the roof of the shed, and those loose shingles?' said Murphy.

'Indeed, I do. Captain Murphy, and I had no idea, till now, they were such destructive animals; I am much obliged to you for telling me of it, and I will see that it does not happen again'." The Survey Office and the Titles Office possess plan 29109, showing a survey of Portion 57, by L. LeGould on December 20, 1865. This plan records, between Sub- divisions 65 and 66, a "Reserve for Hotel Purposes" on the site where the Brighton Hotel now stands. What appear to represent buildings are marked on this reserve. The first person to obtain a free-holding title to this site was Patrick Dunne—Certificate of Title No. 10147, Book LXXXI, Folio 167. The memo of request for a free-hold title was signed by Patrick Dunne on January 31, 1866, for one acre, being Subdivision 66A of Portion 57.

It will be noticed that when this reserve, lying between Subdivisions 65 and 66, was free-holded, the number 66A was given to the subdivision. The property passed from Patrick Dunne to William Townsend on March 22, 1867, at a purchase price of £1,154. This sale was registered at the Titles Office on April 29, 1867. The next transfer is from William Townsend to William Williams on May 8, 1882, and from Williams to Samuel Hamilton on September 4, 1882; on November 24, 1888, a transfer was made to Tom Coward, and on the same day to Boyd Morehead and John Stevenson. The Government Gazette for 1864 lists William Rae as Licensee of The Brighton Hotel, Brisbane District. The same licensee is given in the Gazette for 1865, and also James John Tubbs. The Gazette for 1866 gives the names of William Denver as transferring to James Hartley. There is no reference to a hotel licence in the year 1867, which is the year the property was bought by Captain Townsend.

 The next year in  which a hotel licence is listed is the year 1883 (Government Gazette page 472) when the licensee of the Royal Hotel (Brighton) is given as S. Hamilton. The Titles' Office records a sale on September 4, 1882, to Samuel Hamilton, who had previously been the licensee of the Hamilton Hotel at Hamilton. The hotel building has had many occupants, but the most unusual were orphan children.

The "Week" for March 10, 1893, reports the following: "In view of the serious difficulties which have arisen at the Goodna Lunatic Asylum through the floods, the Minister for Education arranged to transfer mild lunatics to the Diamantina Orphanage Buildings. It was first intended to remove the orphans to Peel Island, but on Saturday, March 4, 1893, forty orphans were removed to the old Brighton Hotel, Sandgate.

Mrs. May, the Matron, was absent on leave, but was recalled to take part in the work of removal." The Inspector of Orphanages in his report for the year 1893, referring to the Receiving Depot at Brighton, states that "as the children are all boarded-out the maintenance accounts are not a quarter what they used to be." The Receiving Depot was termed, "A most useful and necessary institution, and as it was at present situated at the seaside it comes in handy as a sanatorium for sickly children who have been up country and need a change."

What was locally known as "Mrs. May's Orphanage" occupied the Brighton Hotel until January 1910, when the orphanage was transferred to "Rowallan" at Wooloowin. At this time, Mrs. May was still Matron, and Mrs. Holmes Sub-Matron. After the removal of the orphan children, the first hotel licence granted was to Charles E. Sauzier. Captain William Townsend, a retired sea captain left London, England, on March 31, 1866, for Moreton Bay in one of the Black Ball line of clipper packets— the "Netherby" of 944 tons, under the command of Captain Owens. During the voyage, the day by day life of the ship was printed, and published later as "The Netherby Gazette," a copy of which is in the Oxley Library  1. "The reek," I8th August, 1893. Memorial Library. The editors of this gazette were H. D. Vincent and Captain Townsend.

The clipper was bound for Moreton Bay, but the passengers were not destined to reach this district without being exposed to serious danger. The vessel become a total wreck against the western side of King's Island, Bass Strait, on July 14, 1866. By good fortune, all the passengers and crew were saved and brought to Melbourne by H.M.S. "Victoria" and "Pharos." Some idea of Captain Townsend can be gleaned when one reads in the Gazette: "It was found that a few of the first-class passengers were still on shore, upon which a message was sent requesting them to come aboard as quickly as possible, to which an answer was returned by a Mr. Townsend to the effect that he had not packed his luggage."

A testimonial was given to Captain Owens by the passengers, published in the "Netherby Gazette,"
and the list of signatures include Wm. Townsend, T.R., G.R., M.C., and E. J. Townsend. The Moreton Bay District lost some settlers for the Gazette records that "the majority of the passengers expressed a determination to take up their abode in Victoria in preference to proceeding to their original destination in Queensland." Captain Townsend, however, decided to come to Moreton Bay, and accord ing to information supplied by the Registrar-General (Vol. 15/251) arrived in Brisbane by S.S. "City of Melbourne" on August 6, 1866. The same source gives the names of Captain Townsend's children as Isabella 4, Victor 10, Mary 12, George 16, and Edwin 17. After a short residence in Brisbane, Captain Townsend, as previously stated, purchased in 1867 the building known as the Brighton Hotel, where he and his family resided for ten years (2), removing then to his villa at Shorncliffe, where his death took place.

Captain Townsend took a prominent part in public affairs, and it is evident that his property occupied far more land than that now occupied by the Brighton Hotel. As proof of this it is only necessary to quote 2. "The Week,"  August, 1893.  Victor Drury, who in a series of articles published in the Brisbane "Telegraph," commencing in May 1939, has this to say of Captain Townsend. "When I first remember Sandgate, Captain Townsend occupied Brighton House—the grounds running down to what is now Flinders Parade. It was a beautiful property planted with fruit trees and flowering shrubs.

When Captain Townsend left Brighton to reside in Sandgate, the old house became an hotel, Mr. Samuel Hamilton being the licensee. Mr. Hamilton for years had the Hamilton Hotel at the corner of the river and Racecourse Roads, Brisbane." In Pugh's Almanac for 1870, recording up to December 1869, Brighton is listed as a Station. The census of 1871, published in Votes and Proceedings, includes Brighton in the census district of Caboolture. Two squatters at Brighton are recorded in this census. The Government Gazette of February 25, 1873, announces that "W. Townsend to be a member of the Marine Board vice Alexander Raff." The Post Office Directory of 1874 informs us that W. Townsend, Brighton, was a Justice of the Peace, and a squatter. Pugh's Almanac for 1869 confirms the fact that W. Townsend was a Justice of the Peace.

 An excellent booklet, commemorating the eightieth anniversary of the Sandgate State School, 1873-1953, is in the possession of the Society. This booklet states that the "State School at Sandgate was opened in a temporary building on September 15, 1873. The building was the first Baptist Church which was situated behind the Osbourne Hotel in Loudon Street.

 It had an opening enrolment of forty-seven pupils . . . "The first School Committee consisted of William Deagon (Secretary), Captain W. Townsend (Treasurer), Rev, B. G. Wilson (Baptist Minister), and Messrs. Cowsley, Cookesley, and A. Slaughter

At the first triennial election thereafter, Mr. R. Board replaced Mr. Cookesley." The Queensland National Bank opened for business on June 3, 1872. Captain Townsend was prominently connected with the initiation of this bank, and was one of these who signed the prospectus for its establishment. At a meeting on February 27, 1873, F. 0. Darvall  and Captain Townsend were elected auditors of this bank.

The "Week," June 5, 1880, contains this report on the first municipal elections for Sandgate: "The election of six councillors for the new Sandgate municipality took place on Tuesday at Sandgate. There were seven candidates and the following is the result of the poll: R. Board 31, George Bott 31, Robert Kift 31, Edward B. Southerden 29, William Townsend 28, William Deagon 25, William Feuerriegel 14. The first six-named were declared by the Returning Officer, Mr. W. T. Blakeney, duly elected. Captain Townsend was forced to relinquish his public positions owing to a serious affection of his eyes, which culminated in total blindness. His death occurred on August 11, 1893, at the age of eighty-three years.

3) Sandgate Despite the fact that persons living at Sandgate, so close to Brisbane, must have had a decided influence on the growth of Brisbane, very little has been published on the early history of Sandgate. The Oxley Memorial Library have in their possession the valuable Dowse papers. Nehemiah Bartley and Mr. Victor Drury have mentioned Sandgate in their reminiscences, but a connected history has yet to be published. According to the Sandgate State School booklet, the first survey of Sandgate was completed by Surveyor J. C. Burnett, and his plan of Sandgate was forwarded to Sydney on September 9, 1852. The first sale of land took place a year later on November 9 and 10, 1853.

The aboriginals called the district "Warra," meaning "An open sheet of water." Agitation for a settlement at Sandgate is said to be due to the loss of lives after the shipwreck "The Thomas King"*). This ship was wrecked on Cato's Banks in Torres Strait on April 17, 1852, and six persons, including the captain, decided to try to reach Brisbane in the ship's boat.

They landed in the Wide 1 Bay area, and decided to continue the journey over land to Brisbane. Only two eventually arrived on May 17. Four others lost their lives in skirmishes with the aboriginals in the Caloundra-Bribie area. According to the statement of Captain Walker he and the other survivor had been hiding in the neighbourhood of Cabbage Tree Creek for several days, and it was thought that had there been a settlement there, the lives of at least two of the seamen might possibly have been saved. An agitation was thereupon started for the establish ment of a village on the coast in the vicinity of Cabbage Tree Creek.

The first settlement consisted of blocks lying roughly between the present Yundah Street and the sea. One of the first purchasers of land at Sandgate was Tom Dowse, who went there with his two sons in November 1853. On December 3 a party of aboriginals tried to steal tobacco and other supplies from Mr. Dowse's hut, but were driven off. Mr. Dowse deter mined to return to Brisbane by boat, but a larger party of aboriginals attacked before they could leave. Mr. Dowse with his sons managed to escape with their lives, and in one boat reached the mouth of the Brisbane River.

Tom Dowse received a head wound and a son was speared in the leg during the affray. Fortunately the Oxley Memorial Library have acquired the Dowse papers. Nehemiah Bartley in his book "Australian Pioneers and Reminiscences" (edited by J. J. Knight, pp. 262 et seq.) describes his first visit to Sandgate. "I first went there in September 1858 in company with Dr. Hobbs and the Reverend George Wight. I remember how Lieut. Williams, of the Native Police, and I threw spears over the fork of a high gumtree near the Ein Bunpin Lagoon. The population of Sandgate was then, I should estimate, about twenty-five souls.

The 'hotel' was kept by one, Charles F. Davie, who came there to try and prolong his days on earth by the soft sea air. Butchers and bakers and shops there were none, so all the fare was salt beef and damper; bottled beer, wine and spirits were procurable." Bartley, however, continues, "Months after this, again, the blacks from the north end of the Bay (Bribie  way) came down and made the place uncomfortable. They bailed Tom Dowse up in a slab hut, which, fortunately for him, had no glass windows . . . This was spear-proof, and he escaped, and after this Lieut. Wheeler, of the Native Police, cleared out the aboriginals, who never again troubled Sandgate ..

. " Bartley is apparently astray in assigning the year 1858 as the date of the attack on Tom Dowse, for other references give the year as 1853. Further recollections of Sandgate by Bartley state that "Cabbage Tree Creek was a 'teazer' to cross at high water, but after 1861 it got a bridge . . . 'Jordan Cottage' was built about 1860, Loudon's about the same time, McConnel's house ('Morven') (in 1896 D. L. Brown's) was put up in 1866." Bartley returned to Sandgate in 1872 and stayed at the "Sandgate" hotel kept by Frank Raymond. Mr. Victor Drury's articles in the "Telegraph" of 1939 contain further references to Sandgate.
 "Our family went to Sandgate for the Christmas holidays. We travelled down in a hired landau and the luggage was taken down by furniture van. After passing Newstead we drove over the Albion Hill down the old Sandgate Road to the German Station where Mrs. Schattling kept what we called the Halfway House.

 There the horses had a spell and a bucket of water . . . "After leaving German Station we drove over the big hill on towards Sandgate. The first residence after getting over the big hill and coming towards Cabbage Tree Creek was occupied by an ex-officer of the Police Department, Mr. Stephenson. We then crossed Cabbage Tree Creek Bridge and on to Sandgate. The lock-up was at the foot of the hill leading into Sandgate. On the rise we came to the Osbourne Hotel, Dover Cottage, Bayswater Terrace, and then the Post Office in charge of Mr. Charles Slaughter.

 Mr. Deagon had two cot tages, Barnstable and Devonshire Cottage. He also had a large hotel. The Sandgate, facing the Upper Esplanade where Cobb and Co. coaches put up. " 'Morven' in those days belonged to Mr. McConnel, later purchased by Mr. D. L. Brown. Mr. Chancellor of the Customs had a cottage on the corner opposite where the pier now is, and Mr. Thompson of the Union Bank occupied the opposite corner. Messrs.

 Graham Hart and E. R. Drury built 'Saltwood' on the Shorncliffe end of the town, and adjoining on the upper esplanade were the well-known Shorncliffe cottages of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Kift. "Going down to Cabbage Tree Creek you came to John Baxter's Oyster Saloon. The leading tradespeople of Sandgate at the time were Messrs Buck, George Walker, and George Mockridge. Mrs. Tempest was the draper. Later Mr. Griggs, a draper, built a two-storied brick shop and dwelling. The hotels were the 'Osbourne' kept by Mr. L. Drouyn and 'Sandgate' by Mr. Tom Coward, who was formerly in the native police.

"Cobb and Co.'s coaches ran between Brisbane and Sandgate meeting at the German Station (Nundah). The Sandgate pier was built about 1884, but as there was not sufficient water at low tide, it was lengthened as at present. "In later years Mr. Robert J. Gray, Under Secretary of the Colonial Secretary's Office, and later Commissioner for Railways, lived near Cabbage Tree Creek. A builder, Mr. Young, near Cabbage Tree Creek, prepared a wonderful mixture called 'Young's Mineral Oil' which we used for cuts and scratches.

 Mr. Tom Persse of the Lands Department had a house next to Mr. Gray's. Mr. George Wilkie Gray (Quinlan Gray and Co.) also had a house near 'Saltwood.' William Street, of white-ant fame, also lived in Sandgate, and was a builder and contractor. Dr. John Thomson built 'Clutha' at Shorncliffe ... . "Another well-known family I must not omit to mention was the Bests. One had a bus and he used to drive us to the train ... " The opening of the railway on May 11, 1882, undoubtedly led to a rapid expansion in the growth of Sandgate. Legend has it that when the first sod was turned, a high public official, in attempting to wheel away the first barrow-full of earth, found to his dismay that a practical joker had wired the wheel to the barrow so that he could not shift it.

A sensation was caused in 1890 when it was learnt  that Gervaise Dubroca, known as the "French Basket- maker," was found murdered in the Brighton Paddock on Good Friday, April 4. Dubroca was said to have been a jeweller, and to have resided previously at Rockhampton, but lived a hermit-like existence at Brighton, earning a living by making baskets.

 Captain Townsend died in the year 1893, and a survey of Sandgate at that time, taken from Pugh's Almanac for 1894, includes the names of many well- known families. The Mayor of the Municipal Council was Alderman J. A. Hayes. Captain Townsend, after leaving Brighton, lived at "Mango Cottage" adjacent to Moora Park. This cottage was next to "Goonan Goonan," the home of Alderman J. A. Hayes.

 It is worthy of mention that Alderman J. A. Hayes was a foundation member of the Historical Society of Queensland. He presented to the Brisbane City Council an excellent map of Brisbane in 1861, which is now in the possession of this Society. Other Aldermen were G. Prentice, W. A. Field, J. W. Todd, R. W. Kingsford, J. Joyce, M. Quinlan, G. T. Lightbody, and J. Potts. Overseer of Roads was H. Shepherd. The Auditors were R. Board and W. R. Barfoot. Mr. W. Webber was the ganger. Mr. E. B. Southerden was Chairman of Trustees of the cemetery. The clergy were represented by the Rev. Canon Matthews (Church of England), Rev. W. P. Cairns (Wesleyan), Rev. J. B. Sneyd (Baptist), and Revs. J. P. M. Connolly and J. Power (Roman Catholic).

The Matron of the Convalescent Home was Mrs. Hutchinson, with Mrs. Nesbitt, the Matron of the Lady Musgrave Sanatorium. Miss Darcy conducted a private boarding school, and she and Miss Suter taught music. The Head Teacher of the State School was William J. Bevington, and assistants were William G. Patterson, Miss McDermott, Miss Frances C. Roper and one pupil teacher. The average attendance at the school was 295.

The President of the School of Arts was Mr. C. B. Fox. The trustees were G. Agnew, W. Barham, the committee members being Dr. Girdlestone, J. A. Hayes, J. H. Bean, W. H. Bell, T. Dinsdale, Dr. Paul, A. W. Field, and W. J. Bevington, with W. Smellie as Treasurer and Miss Turbayne as Secretary. In the sporting field, M. Quinlan was Secretary of the Racing Club, G. Agnew was President of the Cricket Club, of which E. S. Hale was Hon. Secretary and Treasurer.

Public positions were filled by Sergeant H. Primrose as Clerk of Petty Sessions, W. Shapcott as Railway Stationmaster, and C. Slaughter as Postmaster, Telegraph Officer, and Savings Bank Manager. Drs. Girdlestone and Paul have already been mentioned. A. W. Field is recorded as Chemist and Druggist. Under "Trades and Professions" are found S. Hale and H. Mahoupt, Booksellers; G. Bott, P. H. Churton, James Gardner, Bakers; John Best, P. Peppier, Coach Proprietors; M. Robinson, W. Street, and J. C. Thomson, Builders.

The Banking profession was represented by Mr. F. E. Matthews, Acting Manager of the Queensland National Bank. Other names mentioned are Prosser, Taylor and Coy., C. C. Braun, C. Cohrs, C. Prackart, H. Darragh, J. J. Spalding, J. Gilpin, and W. Webber

Last but not least, the newspaper was the "Moreton Mail," published at Nundah, and established on January 9, 1886. Acknowledgement is made for information supplied by the Oxley Memorial Library

3. Additional notes on Sandgate compiled by C. G. Austin {Hon. Librarian). 4. See J. J. Knight, "In the Early Days," pp. 314-5. 117

An interesting snippet about Saltwood.  

My father-in-law went to inspect the property, at a time when it was for sale.  He had been working and did not attend the appointment with the agent in a coat and tie.  He had cash to purchase the house, but due to the attitude of the salesperson, who perceived that he must not have been qualified, due to his appearance in his "working attire", he walked away.

One lesson that stayed with me throughout my real estate career!

This sprawling, single-storeyed timber residence was constructed apparently in several stages during the 1870s and 1880s, as a holiday residence for the Hart and Drury families.
Sandgate/Shorncliffe began development in the 1860s, particularly for those who could afford private transport and holiday residences. With the extension of the railway from Brisbane to Sandgate in 1882, the permanent population grew, and weekend holiday-makers turned the township into a bustling seaside resort.
The Saltwood site was first alienated from the crown in 1854 by William Sheehan of Brisbane, as a 2 rood allotment. In 1867 it was subdivided into five blocks, and in January 1874 the four which fronted Shorncliffe (Parade) were acquired by Graham Lloyd Hart of Greylands, a prominent Brisbane solicitor. The first section of the building was erected probably for Hart in the mid to late 1870s, as a seaside holiday residence. A transverse section along the western side, and two rear wings, was constructed probably at a later date, possibly in the 1880s, although the southern wing may have been the original detached service wing.
Although Edward Robert Drury, general manager of the Queensland National Bank, did not acquire Saltwood until 1895, he and his family appear to have shared the house with the Hart family, as a holiday home. As early as 1882, Drury had acquired the fifth subdivision of the original site, fronting Swan Street, and this became part of the Saltwood grounds. A photograph dated c. 1901, shows a separate timber building on the fifth subdivision, which may have been erected soon after Drury's purchase of the site. This building is no longer extant.
Drury died at Saltwood early in 1896, but the residence remained in the Drury family until 1919. It may have functioned as a boarding house or guest house from about 1900.
From 1920 to 1979 the property was owned by the McMenamin family, who used two rooms as a doctor's surgery and locum's room in the late 1960s. During their occupancy, the original picket fence was replaced with the present masonry and timber structure, and by the early 1950s, a tennis court had been created on the lawn to the south of the residence, and the open space between the two rear wings had been covered.
The residence was renovated in the 1980s, and verandahs added to the rear extension after 1986. Most of the present planting dates to the early 1980.


Shorncliffe in the 1950's was the "beach".  If one was lucky, the picnic basket was packed, and we caught a steam train all the way to Shorncliffe.  Up the hill we walked, and down to the beach.

The pier was an attraction, full of penny arcade machines.


Some Historical Facts regarding Sandgate                         From the State Library of Queensland

This information follows on from the Bald Hills information, in terms of the construction of a port.

Some of the early activity and some of the early settlers in the area includes:
  • the first early lobbying for a settlement in the Cabbage Tree Creek area commenced from 1852.
  • J.C. Burnett undertook an official land survey of the area (1852).  The name Sandgate was first used as an official name in his published survey report.
  • the site for the proposed village of Sandgate is gazetted (19 March 1853).
  • the first official land sales in the area take place (9 November 1853).
  • the first purchasers or settlers include Thomas Dowse and John Baxter (from 1853).
  • the Slaughter, Davie and Loudin families settle from 1864/5.  
  • Mr. Slaughter became the first postmaster for the district.
Some businesses and industries in the Sandgate area have included:
  • the first hotel, known as the Sandgate Hotel established by Charles Davie (1858).
  • John Baxter’s cafĂ© was established at Cabbage Tree Creek (1862).
  • seaside cottages are listed in newspapers as being available for rent at £3 per week (late 1860s).
  • there is growth in the number of accommodation houses including Villa Marina, Belair, Musgrave (from the 1870s).
  • a horse drawn coach service was established by the Best family.
  • soft drink manufacturing commenced from the 1880s.
Some of the area’s historic hotels include:
  • the  Sandgate Hotel, later to be known as the Belvedere Hotel, established by Charles Davie (1858).
  • the Claredon Hotel (David Mitchell) (1861).
  • 1862 – the Sandgate Hotel, built by William Loudin in 1862.  This was a different hotel to the Sandgate Hotel mentioned above, which by this time was trading as the Belvedere Hotel.
  • the London Hotel built in 1863 for Thomas Cahill.  This hotel was abandoned in 1864.
  • 1865 – Brighton Hotel built for William Rae and dating from 1865.
  • Masons Hotel (George Mason).
  • 1867 – the Osbourne Hotel built for Hiram Wakefield (1867).
Some significant dates in Sandgate’s history and development include:
  • 1861 – a bridge across Cabbage Tree Creek was constructed.
  • 1865 – a company is formed with the aim of constructing the Sandgate Pier.
  • 1868 – a regular coach service between Brisbane and Sandgate was established.  In the initial phase this was not a daily service.
  • 1873 – Sandgate State School was established with the original classes being held in the chapel of the Baptist Church.  The first teacher was W.R. Barfoot.
  • 1874 – the first permanent Sandgate State School building was constructed.
  • 1876 – daily coach services from Brisbane to Sandgate, via Nundah commence.
  • 1880 – Sandgate was proclaimed a Municipal Borough.
  • 1880 – Sandgate was proclaimed a Town.  The names of some of the first Town Councillors are honoured in the names of local streets including Townsend, Board, Bott, Kift and Deagon streets.
  • 1881 – a railway construction contract was awarded for construction of a line to Sandgate.
  • 1882 – (11 May) the railway line to Sandgate was opened.

   From the historical research the early settlers had to consider moving their crops to market.

There were waterways along the Pine River now known as Deep Water Bend, and there was Cabbage Tree Creek.  From reading many of the for sale notices associated with the different farms during the period 1900 onwards, many make mention of close access to Bulimba Jetty.  Perhaps referring to a wharf in Cabbage Tree Creek, because the distance between Brackenridge and Bulimba was miles.

Cabbage Tree Creek  and a jetty 1920.

A selection from John Oxley Library.  On the beach 1920, the "protest" about water 1919.  There was a suggestion of piping water from Bracken Ridge, looking towards the Town Hall, and to the right, is almost 4th Avenue, where Dale Herron worked in a fruit shop in the mid 1950's, and strolling on the pier.

According to a historical book about Sandgate (published by the local historical society) Cabbage tree Creek was named after a hat (cabbage tree hat)that was worn by European settler who whilst at the creek had a dispute with the first people of the area. He was shot in the head but the hat saved his life.

Australian writer Marcus Clarke wearing a cabbage tree hat, 1866

cabbage tree hat (also known as a cabbage palm hat) is a kind of straw hat made from the leaves of the Livistona australis, also known as the Cabbage-tree Palm. It is known as the first distinctively Australian headwear in use. Seeking protection from the sun, early European settlers started to make hats using fibre from the native palm, which soon became popular throughout the colonies. The process involved boiling, then drying, and finally bleaching the leaves.
 The Powerhouse Museum describes a cabbage-tree hat thus: "Finely woven natural straw coloured hat; high tapering domed crown, wide flat brim; applied layered hat band of coarser plaiting with zig-zag border edges."

During the convict era, gangs of insolent youths were known as cabbage tree mobs because they wore the hat. One of their favourite pastimes was to crush the hats of men deemed too full of themselves. Cabbage tree mobs are recognised as a predecessor of the larrikin

The Missing Pieces to the Jigsaw Puzzle

After reading all the attributes of the many speculators and settlers in Bald Hills and Bracken Ridge, there were some common denominators.

·         Mostly they came from Scotland!

·         Another common link is that many of them arrived on the same ships!
·         They also had business or family relationships with one another.

·         The sat on the same boards associated with Banking and Immigration

·         They worked with the Customs Department

·         They held senior Government positions

·         They had a goal, and that was to work towards separation from New South Wales.

  The missing link was   Dr John Dunsmore Lang!    Co-incidence or a planned operation?

Memories from an Old Colonist:

In 1867, the Gympie Goldfield was discovered. A Mr Nash,, gold prospector, after many weary months of fruitless toil among the ranges, most fortunately was led to prospect a gully, afterwards well and favourably known as Nash's Gully. here he came across rich deposits of the precious metal. He reported the same to the authorities and claimed the one thousand pounds reward previously offered by the Government, together with a prospecting area. 

The news spread like wildfire, both in Maryborough and Brisbane. Thousands wended their way to the new Eldorado. All sorts of vehicles and conveyances were pressed into the service. One man landed on the Field having wheeled a barrow containing his little ones and necessaries over a hundred miles. His indomitable pluck carried him through. A man of such stamina was bound to succeed, which was verified in his case. 

He became one of the leading men of the town and held a prominent position there. This rich field came most opportunely for the country. It had universally been acknowledged as the salvation of Queensland. At one time over a thousand men (breadwinners) from the Valley alone were working at the alluvial ground, all getting something. 

There was no capital required or months to wait before any return for labour expended, as in the case of deep sinking on the Reef, nor any costly machinery to invest in. The outfit consisted of a pick and shovel, prospecting dish and cradle, and to start work at once, and, possessed with a Miner's Right (a Licence to Mine), the field was before him

From an "Old Colonist"

The effects of the 1866 financial crisis.

Time to pose some questions!

Did some of those people affected by the financial crisis then sign their lands over to the more influential members of the community?  Was there a form of "barter" going on?

Did many mortgage holders become released from their obligations when Henry St John Bridgeman's Bank fail?  Could that be the reason he retained ownership of such large parcels of land?

Were many of the original "leases" of the farmers not renewed, thence reverting back to the Government?

Had the Government secured wide corridors of land suitable for roads and railway lines and held them?

Were the lands around the Telegraph Road and Lacey Road intersection on the northern side only ever leased lands?

Did the finding of gold offer an alternative income stream for the many early residents of Fortitude Valley?

That would explain why people like Mancel Brace ended up on the goldfields.

Go Forth and Multiply...and they did


  1. A wonderful overview. Thank you so much.
    The early period of settlement around Brisbane - Sandgate was known by locals as"The Fighting Fifties" because of conflict with the Indigenous -Between 1854 and 1858, it seems Thomas Dowse and others made three unsuccessful attempts to set up huts at Sandgate, but were repelled each time and forced to flee.