Pine Rivers township history

Albany Creek | Dayboro | Lawnton | North Pine (Petrie) 
Samford | Strathpine | Whiteside 

Albany Creek

Leitch Family Home

Although the Albany Creek area was first referred to as being part of the 'Pine' or 'South Pine' district, for several decades during the 19th century, the portion of this area on the southern side of the South Pine River became known as Chinaman's Creek. In 1859, a survey map was published which shows a small creek of this name flowing into the South Pine River. No official record can be found of how the creek got its name, and there are several versions of the story, but it is thought that a Chinese man passing through on his way to the Port Curtis goldfields may have died there.

Following the rapid influx of Chinese miners to the goldfields and the growth of anti-Chinese sentiment in Queensland, residents of the district petitioned the Government to change the name to Albany Creek. A short time later, this was consented to and the new name was gazetted on 6 June 1885. Albany was the original Celtic name for Scotland and the title of Duke of Albany was given to a prince of the blood-royal of Scotland; it appears that Albany Creek was named after the then Duke of Albany. This name was eventually confirmed by the Pine Rivers Shire Council in 1979 when the Shire's locality names were defined and gazetted.

The survey of "27 small farms on the South Pine River near Cash's purchase of 86 acres" in 1864 (Portions 4-30, Parish of Bunya) signalled the arrival of closer settlement in the area. These blocks were released for sale the following year and, by the end of 1866, all had been sold to a mix of new settlers and Brisbane-based entrepreneurs. A handful of farmers, such as Charles Ballinger, Frederick Greensill and Harrington William Mountford, were the first to clear the rainforest and plant crops in the fertile soil which was to be found along the floodplain of the South Pine River between James Cash's Portion 1 and the western bank of Albany Creek.

During the late 1860s and 1870s, other significant pioneering families, such as the Eaton, Leitch, Draper, Cuthbert, Ireland and Morgan families, arrived in the area and leased land from the entrepreneurs or purchased it as it became available. Despite this early rapid development, the population of the area grew very slowly during the remaining decades of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century. From a figure of only 67 persons in 1871, the population grew to 86 by 1881, 90 by 1911, 133 by 1921, 145 by 1933 and 163 by 1947.

The Albany Creek Cemetery, at the corner of Old Northern Road and Faheys Road East, is the oldest cemetery in the Pine Rivers Shire. It has major historical significance because of its age and association with many of the pioneering families of the Shire. It was originally gazetted on 6 March 1873 under the Cemetery Act of 1865. The first burial, which was that of George Edwards Draper on 9 February 1873, took place a few months prior to the gazettal.

Sadly, many of the earliest burials were in unmarked graves and the precise location of some of the original plots now remains obscure. As indicated, the Cemetery is the resting place of members of the oldest families who settled in the immediate vicinity including, amongst many others, the family names of Cain, Cash, Cuthbert, Davis, Draper, Eaton, Greensill, Hart, Kremzow, Leitch, Lemke, Mecklem and Mole. Trusteeship of the Albany Creek Cemetery was ultimately transferred to the Pine Rivers Shire Council on 3 February 1973.

Because periodic flooding of the South Pine River routinely created difficulties for travellers fording the river at Cashs Crossing, a petition from local residents requesting the construction of a low-level bridge was presented to a meeting of the Pine Divisional Board on 6 March 1890. After much discussion and dissension, tenders were eventually called two years later and the first bridge was rapidly constructed and officially handed over to the Board on 21 November 1892. Only three months later, however, the bridge was swept away by the massive floods of February 1893. Although a new bridge was rapidly erected, further floods in April 1908 washed away both the southern and northern approaches.

Cashs Crossing Bridge

Amazingly, this damage was not repaired until February 1912. The final death knell for the second bridge came early in 1931 when widespread flooding took away two spans on the northern end, along with Doug Steven's kiosk. After this catastrophic event, it was decided to construct a high-level bridge upstream from the original crossing. The new 'Cash's Bridge' was officially opened on 20 October 1934. This third bridge was to serve the district well for half a century until the growth of the road system demanded its replacement by the two existing modern concrete structures; the first of these was completed in 1982. After the 1934 bridge was dismantled a decade later, construction of the second stage commenced to provide for separate northbound and southbound bridges, side by side. The new Cashs Crossing Bridge was officially opened on 13 August 1993.

Although postal services were provided in the district as early as 1874 when a local farmer, Henry Day, opened a Receiving Office, it was not until around 1905 that Seth (Salah Seth) Mole (1867-1950), the eldest son of local pioneers Samuel and Sarah Mole, established the first general store in Albany Creek. At the end of World War I, Pugh's Almanac listed only 19 farmers and 11 fruit growers in the district, along with one poultry farmer (Matthew Hale Campbell), a Head Teacher (Clement Bleakley), a Post Master (Ellen Jane Fiedler), a butcher (Robert John Morgan) and a storekeeper (Seth Mole). ). Mole's shop persisted as the focal point of the area until about 1934.

The pace of change in Albany Creek remained slow until, commencing in 1960, parcels of farmland were progressively sold to various developers for residential subdivision. Due to the eventual popularity of the area, residential development gradually accelerated during the next two decades. From a total of only 280 residents in 1961, the population grew to 450 in 1966, 1,523 in 1971 and 4,552 in 1976. Since that time, almost all of the available land has been developed in Albany Creek, which rapidly became a very desirable residential address, but land is still being subdivided in the neighbouring localities of Eatons Hill, Warner and Cashmere.

Dayboro

Terrors Creek 1909

Dayboro was first known as Hamilton, having been so named after a farmer, Hugh Hamilton, who was appointed Receiving Officer for mail in 1875. In 1892, it became known as Terrors Creek from the creek on which it is situated. The creek and the adjoining area, which became known as Terrors Paddock, derived their names from a grey Arab stallion, Terah, owned in the 1850s by Captain John Griffin of the Whiteside run.

In 1917, however, as the Postmaster General declared that Terrors Creek sounded too much like Torrens Creek, once again, the township acquired a new name. Although the first known inhabitant, John McKenzie, operated a pit sawmill just south of the townsite from 1866, the third and final name selected for Dayboro honours another notable early settler, William Henry Day. Day was Clerk of Petty Sessions and later Police Magistrate in Brisbane. He first selected land in the Dayboro area in the late 1860s and pioneered sugar growing on his extensive properties in the district.

Settlement subsequently spread north and south along the North Pine River as more than 100 people took up selections in the Terrors Creek area. Timber, maize, vegetables and dairy products provided the main income for the settlers. The failure of Day's sugar growing experiment within a few years brought about the gradual breaking up of his large land holdings and facilitated the further development of the area. A store and hotel, the nucleus of the town, were established in the early 1890s and these were followed by a sawmill around 1900 and the Silverwood Butter Factory in 1903.

In 1915, in an article urging the extension of the railway from Enoggera to Terror's Creek, the township was described as "being set prettily on a hillside, and being the centre of miles of agricultural, dairying and fruit lands". According to the article [Australian Pastoralist, Grazing Farmers' and Selectors' Gazette, September 1915, Supplement, pp.2-3], there was "an up-to-date butter factory, bank, several stores, an excellent hotel, a large sawmill, public hall, etc., and a community ever ready to co-operate in the advancement of their district". The opening of the railway on 25 September 1920 greatly facilitated the transport of goods to Brisbane and was of great benefit to the district. The railway continued to operate until 1 July 1955 when it closed due to declining traffic.

Lawnton

Stephen Lawn

Until the coming of the North Coast Railway in 1888, the locality now known as Lawnton was considered to be part of the North Pine district. Closer settlement of this area dated from 1862 when country farm allotments along the North Pine River were surveyed and first put up for sale. A newspaper report in 1931 on "Lawnton's noted dairy farms" stated that:

Seventy years ago Lawnton was dense scrub, from which valuable timbers were obtained. Later, when the scrub was cleared, mixed farming was taken up, with much of the land being of exceptional fertility, owing to periodic floodings by the Pine River... [Brisbane Courier, 22 August 1931, p.9.]

The first farmers grew a variety of crops, but later farmers specialised in dairying and pig raising and cultivated lucerne, maize, wheat and cow cane as fodder crops. From 1888 until the 1930s, when road transport took over, large quantities of fresh milk were railed to Brisbane from the Lawnton Railway Station.

Stephen Lawn (1836-1917) was a farmer, blacksmith and wheelwright in the North Pine/Lawnton area during the late 19th century. Lawn migrated to Queensland from Helmsley, Yorkshire, England, in 1862 and selected land north of the North Pine River in partnership with John Atkinson Thompson. As Lawn was a blacksmith by trade, he put up a small smithy so that he could supplement his income from farming by obtaining work from other settlers. The extra traffic brought about by the Gympie goldrush provided sufficient business to enable him to concentrate on blacksmithing full-time. In 1873, he bought better land south of the River and moved his business to the new site located near today's Lawnton Tavern. As some of this land was acquired for the construction of the North Coast Railway in 1887, the Lawnton Railway Station and the surrounding district were named in his honour.

An important local industry, first known as the Lawnton Cornflour and Starch Mills, was established in 1898 by Walter Francis. This landmark complex of buildings stood for more than 90 years on land bounded by Four Mile Creek and Gympie Road (near present day Paisley Avenue). Walter's sons, Herbert Stephen Francis and Harold Walter Francis, operated the business for some years in partnership with Robert Joyce who was familiar with the process of extracting cornflour from maize. Maize was bought from farmers in surrounding districts and railed from further afield to the Lawnton Railway Station. Water for the mill came from nearby Four Mile Creek; Walter Francis had tested the water in creeks around Brisbane and found that the purest water came from the Four Mile Creek.

By the late 1920s, the mill was producing between three and four tons of cornflour every week. The name 'Paisley', under which the cornflour was marketed, came from the town of Paisley near Glasgow (Scotland) which had a very large cornflour mill. A third generation of the family, James Walter Francis and his brother William Herbert Francis, took over the operation of the mill and carried on producing cornflour and starch until the business closed down in the 1960s.

The Queensland Acclimatisation Society, first formed in 1862, moved its operations from Bowen Hills to 100 acres (40 hectares) of land on the south bank of the North Pine River at Lawnton in 1905. The Society had been established to facilitate the development of Queensland agriculture by importing, acclimatising and domesticating overseas animals and plants. By the end of 1908, sugarcane, pineapples, papaws, cotton, raspberries, date palms, mangoes, olives, sweet potatoes, citrus trees and cassava, as well as various fibres and grasses, were being trialled on the Lawnton property.

Over one hundred other plants were being grown in bush and glasshouses. In later years, particular success was achieved with avocados, custard apples, pecan nuts and soya beans. By the late 1930s, as the land in the Lawnton area had been worked out as a consequence of several decades of very successful activity, the Society decided to move its operations to Redland Bay. Not long after this, however, the Society voluntarily went out out of existence because it was considered that the C.S.I.R.O. and the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Stock were better equipped to make further contributions to agricultural knowledge.

By the late 1960s, Brisbane newspapers were reporting that developers were rapidly subdividing farms in the Lawnton area into residential lots to cater for the suburban housing boom that had encroached upon the area. By 1969, the population passed the 2,000 mark. Only a few years later, by 1973, this figure had grown to nearly 5,000.

North Pine (Petrie)

North Pine

The first change of horses for Cobb and Co. coaches after leaving Brisbane took place at Tom Petrie's Murrumba homestead but, by 1870, increasing demand led to the establishment of a separate hostelry, known as Petrie's accommodation house, which offered a range of services to travellers. The coach stop soon became an important centre in the district with the beginnings of a township springing up around it. In 1872, Edwin Willett was granted a country publican's licence to trade from the hostelry. The opening of the North Pine Post Office in the same building, also in 1872, gave the locality official township status. The North Pine River crossing near the township, originally a ford impassable after heavy rain or at high tide, was improved in 1877 with the opening of a low level bridge which directed all traffic through the area now known as Sweeney Reserve.

In later years, mounted troopers on gold escort from Gympie would change horses at the new Courthouse which was constructed in 1882. This building stood on Old Dayboro Road until 1962 when it was sold for removal. Following use by the Kallangur Baptist Church, the building was ultimately moved to the North Pine Country Park and restored. The North Pine Hotel, now a commanding feature of the North Pine Country Park, is a replica of the original building which was erected in 1887 to replace Petrie's accommodation house. Although it was originally located on the north-eastern corner of the River Street and Old Dayboro Road intersection, in 1906, it was moved several hundred metres to the site of the present Petrie Hotel where it remained a prominent landmark until it was destroyed by fire in 1956.

By the early 1890s, the North Pine district had a population of 500 and the Post Office Directories for the period list the presence of a visiting police magistrate, six justices of the peace, a clerk of petty sessions, two police officers, a postmistress and savings bank officer, a stationmaster and telegraph operator, two teachers, five clergymen, two bakers, one blacksmith, one butcher, two carpenters, one hotelkeeper, several insurance agents, one painter and two storekeepers. The branch of the Queensland National Bank employed a manager and an accountant and office bearers were listed for the School of Arts and the Moreton Agricultural, Horticultural and Industrial Association.

In 1911, the Department of Railways changed the name of the North Pine Station to Petrie as a tribute to Tom Petrie who had died the year before. As postal operations were being conducted from the Station at this time, it also became necessary to change postal addresses. Many local residents opposed the name change and the issue generated a great deal of controversy for several years.

Samford

Samford Garage

Although they are closer to Brisbane than most other areas in the Pine Rivers Shire, the secluded valleys of the upper reaches of the South Pine River were not settled until the mid 1850s.

Archibald Young's application to lease land in the area to run cattle was accepted on 24 February 1854, but some evidence suggests that he had 'squatted' on the land from at least the middle of the previous year. From 1847, all runs in the settled districts were surveyed and mapped by way of numbered sections, each containing a minimum of one square mile of land. Young's successful tender was for 21 sections of land containing a total of 14,800 acres, close to 23 square miles. This pastoral lease, which became known as the Samford Run, changed ownership many times and gradually diminished in size throughout the 19th century. For a short time thereafter, only the three large runs of Whiteside, Samsonvale and Samford covered the bulk of the area now encompassed by the Pine Rivers Shire.

After 1861, the Samford Run changed hands several times within a few years, first going to Clarence H. Ball, then to a partnership of two former army officers, Captain Townley and Lieutenant Williams, then to George Harris, a stock and station merchant of Brisbane, and then back to Townley. William Townley, with his wife and family, made his home there until 1868 when he became the Gold Commissioner and Magistrate at Jimna and later a distinguished public servant in Brisbane.

From 8 March 1865, when the first sale of 49 country farm allotments in the Parish of Samford took place, the provisions of a number of Crown Lands Acts facilitated closer settlement in the area and the size of the Samford Run was reduced so that these smaller parcels of land could be taken up by individual settlers. At first, these farm allotments sold very slowly, but the process of land settlement accelerated after the passing of the 1868 Crown Lands Alienation Act.

In 1877, what remained of the Samford cattle station was taken over by John Delaney Bergin, a pioneer settler who had already acquired large land holdings in the Bunya district. Bergin's name has been commemorated by Bergin Creek and by the road of that name. The historic Samford pastoral property has given its name to Samford Village, the Samford Valley and Samford Road.

The area was thickly forested with pine scrub which provided a rich source of Hoop Pine and some Red Cedar. Gradually, farmers cleared their land, grew small crops and commenced dairying.

There was no Samford Village in existence prior to the development of the Dayboro Branch (Ferny Grove to Dayboro) Railway. The construction of the Samford Railway Station, in what is now John Scott Park, provided the incentive for a number of scattered businesses to relocate nearby to form the commercial centre. Buildings began to appear in Main Street in 1916, the first being a shop and bakehouse built by Alex Lawson.

In 1919, the year after the Railway Station opened, Jim O'Hara shifted the hotel, then known as O'Hara's Hotel or the Samford Hotel, to its present location from the site later occupied by the CSIRO laboratories. The structure was moved in three sections by bullock teams. In the late 1950s, this hotel again changed its name from the Samford Railway Hotel to the Golden Valley Hotel. The Post Office, which had been operated by the Fitzgerald family in a store opposite the Catholic Church, also moved to the new town centre in the middle of 1919.

By 1908, banana growing on the steep ridges at the foot of the ranges had become one of the most important industries in the Samford district. After World War 1, the Government created additional small farms so that returned servicemen with limited capital were able to get started in the industry. During 1926 and 1927, more bananas were consigned to southern markets from Samford Railway Station than any other railway station in Queensland. This success was short-lived, however, as a virus which had wiped out banana growing in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales, 'Bunchy Top' disease, finally affected the crop and was the primary reason for the decline of the industry in the Pine Rivers Shire.

After the subdivision of farms into acreage homesites commenced in the 1960s, Samford became a desirable rural residential address and hundreds of residents now commute from their homes to work in Brisbane. Only a small number of fully functioning farming properties still remain in the district.

Strathpine

Replica Cobb & Co

Strathpine, originally a farming community undistinguished from the surrounding Bald Hills and South Pine areas, was named by the Railways Department in 1887 when a distinctive name was sought for a railway station which was to be brought into service the following year when the first section of the North Coast Railway opened as far as North Pine (Petrie). The name is derived from a Scottish word 'strath' which means valley; hence the valley of the Pine Rivers. According to a Queensland Railway publication on the nomenclature of railway stations, the name means "between the Pines". The opening of the railway was of great benefit to Strathpine farmers, as it enabled them to send produce to market with comparative ease.

Prior to the coming of the railway, the North Pine settlement provided most of the commercial facilities required by both the North and South Pine areas, but the discovery of gold at Gympie in 1867 caused an upsurge in the number of travellers passing through the region and this provided the impetus for some limited development. Although Tom Petrie's changing station and hostelry in North Pine catered adequately for the twice weekly Cobb & Co. coaches which passed through on their way to Gympie, occasional flooding of the crossings over Four Mile Creek and the North Pine River caused delays to the service which provided the incentive for another early Pine Rivers settler, James Wallin, to establish a second coach house on land he had selected in 1869 on the southern side of Four Mile Creek near the corner of Gympie Road and Buckby Street on what is now part of the playing fields of the Pine Rivers State High School. As this building also operated from 1871 until 1877 as a licensed premises, known as the Four Mile Creek Hotel, it was the first hotel to open in the Pine Rivers area. All that remains of this important site, which later became closely associated with the pioneering Buckby family, is a large Moreton Bay Fig tree which once shaded the coach house.

In the 1870s, the Strathpine region had been a sugar growing area with at least three sugar mills in the vicinity. The most successful was the Port Royal Mill which opened early in the decade and was owned by a prominent Brisbane businessman, Owen Gardner. The distillation of rum from molasses, a by-product of the sugar milling process, was an activity carried on in many of the early Queensland mills. The Port Royal, which had changed its name to the Normanby Mill and moved to a more central position in 1873, commenced producing rum in 1875. When the growing of sugar eventually fell into disfavour in the Pine Rivers area, the Normanby concentrated solely on the production of rum using molasses obtained from other mills.

The rum, named in honour of the Marquess of Normanby who was Governor of Queensland from 1871 until 1874, quickly became popular and it achieved the rare distinction of being awarded the Bronze Medal at the Paris International Exposition of 1878. During the first ten years of its operation, the Normanby Distillery produced a weekly average of around 260 gallons (1,180 litres) of proof spirit. Small steamers, especially the Normanby commissioned by Owen Gardner in 1884, navigated the South Pine River on the high tide to deliver molasses from mills on the Logan, Albert and Coomera Rivers and take away the rum. By 1889, the Distillery was producing between 300 and 400 gallons (1,300 and 1,800 litres) of rum each week.

Normanby Distillery

After changing ownership several times, the Normanby Distillery was taken over by Frederick Bennett and a partner in 1908. A lightly built branch line connecting the Distillery with the North Coast Railway line was constructed about 1911. Horses, bullocks, and later tractors, hauled wagons across Gympie Road near the present site of the Westfield Strathpine shopping centre to the Distillery, which was located on the western bank of the South Pine River. By the late 1920s, the Distillery's production had increased to over 1,100 gallons (5,000 litres) of rum per day and the Commonwealth Government was receiving 300,000 pounds per annum in excise duty. The railway siding was strengthened in 1942 to enable locomotives to shunt across the road. Bennett family members continued to manage the Distillery until 1963 and it finally ceased production in 1968.

One of the first bakeries in the Strathpine area was built in 1882 by Richard Piggott who, with his wife Ellen and other members of their family, operated the bakery and later a store until the business closed down in 1961. During 1889, the building of what is now known as the Old Shire Hall determined that Strathpine would become the administrative centre of the Pine Divisional Board (later the Pine Rivers Shire). In 1895, the Post Office, which had operated from the Strathpine Railway Station, was transferred about 400 metres to John Dow's bakery and general store on Gympie Road.

By 1910, the year in which it was decided that Strathpine should have its own school, the township contained two stores, one hotel (the Clyde, which had opened in 1874 and was located on the same site as its more modern successors, the Country Club Hotel and the Four Mile Creek Hotel), a butcher, two bakers, two blacksmiths and one saddler, as well as the Normanby Distillery. Strathpine also had its own racecourse which was situated on the western side of the railway line opposite the Clyde Hotel. The races, which were held fortnightly, attracted horses and riders from all parts of the district and special trains brought other participants and spectators from Brisbane.

The population of the area was greatly increased during the early 1940s when a large army camp was established off Samsonvale Road and three airfields, the largest of which extended along the present day alignment of Spitfire Avenue, were constructed in the area. Both Australian and American servicemen made use of these facilities.

Gympie Road

After World War II, development continued slowly until the 1960s when Brisbane's rapidly growing population spilled over the boundaries of the Pine Rivers Shire causing many farms to be sold to satisfy an insatiable demand for residential land. Much of the residential and commercial development which took place during the late 1960s and early 1970s can be attributed to W. H. (Bill) Bowden who successfully marketed and developed numerous estates. Many Strathpine residents will remember Bill Bowden's slogan: "Little Aspley - that's Strathpine".

Whiteside

John Griffin

In the middle of 1843, Captain Frank (Francis Henry) Griffin (ca. 1813-1881) of Sydney became the first free settler to occupy land currently part of the Pine Rivers Shire. A short time later, Frank was joined by his brothers John and William. The run taken up by the Griffins for raising both cattle and sheep, which was named Whiteside, was an extensive portion of 28 square miles of land on the north bank of the North Pine River stretching from the sea coast as far west as Terror's Creek and northwards nearly as far as the Caboolture River.

The father of the Griffin brothers, Captain George Griffin (1783-1851), a former Royal Navy Officer, East India Company Master and Agent and latterly Ship's Master for a Sydney firm, was head of the family company, but Frank continued to manage the property for some time while his father carried on his profession as a master mariner.

By 1845, Captain George Griffin was residing full time at Whiteside with his wife Jane (nee Taylor, ca. 1793-1863). During that year, as changes to the land legislation limited the size of a run which could be held under one licence to 20 square miles, the Griffins were required to split Whiteside into two sections, thereby creating the coastal Redbanks run east of Sideling Creek. After the death of George Griffin at Whiteside in 1851, the properties were operated by George's widow, Jane, assisted by one of the sons, John Broomfield Saunders Griffin (ca. 1824-1885), the other sons having moved elsewhere.

The following year, by marrying Isabella Joyner, the widow of William Joyner and then owner of the neighbouring Samsonvale run, John Griffin came to play a significant part in the management of both the large runs then covering most of the Pine Rivers area, especially after his mother's death in 1863. By the late 1860s, however, with increasing closer settlement, the Griffin family had relinquished all connection with lands to the north of the North Pine River.

The Whiteside run is remembered today by names such as Whiteside Road, which formerly led to the homestead, the Parish of Whiteside which incorporated most of the land once part of the station and, more recently, by the locality of Whiteside. The Griffin family's pioneering achievements have also been perpetuated by the name of the locality of Griffin and Griffin Court in Murrumba Downs.

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