Dalaipi | James Cash | John Oxley | Tom Petrie
Tom Petrie's Reminiscences of Early Queensland, compiled by his daughter in 1904, provides the most detailed of all surviving accounts of Aboriginal life in the Moreton Bay region. Petrie established his homestead, Murrumba (meaning 'good' in the local dialect), near the North Pine River in territory held by the Aboriginal community which he called the North Pine tribe.
In the 1840s and 1850s, Dalaipi was an elder and rain maker of this clan of the Turrbal people. According to Petrie, Dalaipi "was good and very reverent looking and carried himself with an air as though he were some one of importance, as, indeed he was, for his word was law among the tribe, and he was looked up to by every one".
Dalaipi was the Traditional Custodian of several known sacred sites: the Petrie bora ground known as ‘Nindur-ngineddo’ (literally ‘leech-sitting down’ and so associated with a leech dreaming place), the main ring of which was located near the present Petrie roundabout; the ‘Mandin’ (or Mundin) fishing hole near the present North Coast Railway Bridge, and a rain increase site on the north bank of the North Pine River a short distance upstream from the fishing site. Yebri Creek nearby was also a popular camping area.
It was Dalaipi, then nearly sixty years of age, who encouraged Petrie, who was searching for good grazing land, to establish his cattle run in the North Pine area in 1859. Dalaipi's son, Dal-ngang, accompanied Petrie on his first trip to select the land. It has been suggested that, by giving his land to a person he could trust, Dalaipi was, in fact, protecting his most valuable possession from unsympathetic landholders.
Petrie thereafter continued to enjoy the protection of Aboriginal people and never experienced the stock losses and other problems which plagued other landowners whose relationships with local indigenous people were less satisfactory.
To commemorate the memory of Dalaipi and his North Pine clan, which has since become known as the Dalaipi clan, the Dalaipi rainforest nature trail was established near the site of Tom Petrie's Murrumba homestead on land now part of Our Lady of the Way School at Petrie. A Dalaipi Aboriginal Cultural Festival was held as part of the Pine Rivers Heritage Festival on 6 June 1998.
In 1858, James Cash (ca.1803-1870) wrote to the Lands Commissioner requesting that he be permitted to buy the land upon which he had erected his improvements. An area of 86 acres was subsequently surveyed as an extension to the Bald Hills Farm Subdivision. The Surveyor, James Warner, recorded that Cash had two buildings, two stockyards and a large garden on the river flat. By purchasing what became known as Portion 1, Parish of Bunya, in September 1859 at the price of 1 pound per acre, James Cash became the first freehold landholder in the area now defined as the Pine Rivers Shire.
Cash's home stood on a rise overlooking the South Pine River alongside the main road leading northwards from Brisbane and his establishment became legendary for the hospitality the family provided to passing travellers. After a visit to the area, Thomas Dowse wrote in the Moreton Bay Courier of 29 January 1859:
Cash's shanty stands alongside the road leading to the Upper Brisbane and the North or Burnett country, and is consequently much troubled with the visits of the passing tramps; but I must do Cash the justice to say, that though his means and accommodation are far from ample, I never heard of a man passing his door without getting a feed or a pot of tea, if he required one. Rough bush hospitality may be sure of being secured by the foot-sore or weary traveller at Cash's.
By the time of his death in 1870, James had increased his original land holdings to more than 1,000 acres by progressively adding selections north of the South Pine River. The original ford over the South Pine River had become known as Cash's Crossing and the Cash family name has since been perpetuated by the modern road crossing and nearby James Cash Court. James Cash's youngest son, Joseph Henry Cash, who had been born at the Crossing in 1865, continued to live on a section of the original property until he died in 1951. The naming of the locality of Cashmere, gazetted in 1979, also commemorates the pioneering achievements of James Cash; the component mere meaning 'lake' or 'land bordering lake' has been added as the locality borders Lake Samsonvale.
The story of John Oxley's discoveries in the Moreton Bay region begins on 15 April 1823 when three ticket-of-leave convicts, John Finnegan, Thomas Pamphlett and Richard Parsons, were shipwrecked off the coast of Moreton Island. They had been sailing south from Sydney to Illawarra to take on a cargo of timber when they encountered a severe storm which blew them off course. Believing that they were still south of Sydney when wrecked, they survived with the assistance of the Aborigines and spent many weeks wandering around the shores of Moreton Bay. During this period, they made an extensive foray up a large river (the Brisbane) and, whilst still heading north in the hope of reaching Sydney, they used Aboriginal canoes to cross the mouth of the Pine River and Hays Inlet.
Lieutenant John Oxley, the Surveyor-General of New South Wales, was engaged on an exploring expedition in H.M. Cutter 'Mermaid' on 29 November 1823 when he rescued Pamphlett close to Point Skirmish on Bribie Island. Finnegan was found the following day. Oxley had been instructed by the Governor, Sir Thomas Brisbane, to assess Moreton Bay, Port Curtis and Port Bowen as potential sites for convict settlements.
Whilst searching for Finnegan's large river, Oxley, with Finnegan as a guide and one other crew member, rowed up the Pine River on 1 December 1823. As Finnegan had mistaken the mouth of the river as that for the Brisbane, Oxley later referred to it as the Deception River. The party landed at Oxleys Inlet and climbed a small hill two or three kilometres east of Petrie. On the return journey, Oxley observed a large number of Aboriginal people in the vicinity. He also noted the presence of "a great many very fine cypresses" which he later correctly referred to as pines. The site of Oxley's landing has since been commemorated by the John Oxley Reserve in Murrumba Downs.
The following day, Oxley's party discovered and named the Brisbane River. As a result of Oxley's favourable report on his expedition to the Moreton Bay area, Governor Brisbane decided to establish a convict settlement there.
Oxley returned to Moreton Bay nine months later to select and chart suitable sites for the convict settlement. During this visit, on 30 September 1824, he also returned to the Pine River to collect samples of logs of the Hoop Pines which he had sighted on his first trip to the area. Allan Cunningham, the botanist and explorer, accompanied the party.
As it was Cunningham who identified the Hoop Pine as a species of Araucaria, it was subsequently named Araucaria cunninghamii in recognition of his work. Although there is no record of Oxley naming the Pine River anything other than the Deception River, the former name was in popular usage by the early 1840s.
Tom Petrie (1831-1910) was the third son of Andrew Petrie who had been appointed on 28 August 1837 as the first civilian public servant, the Superintendent of Government Works, at the Moreton Bay convict settlement. Andrew and his descendants were to make an enormous impact upon the history of the Pine Rivers Shire. Andrew made a number of private journeys through the Pine Rivers area and he was the first European to climb Mount Beerwah, one of the Glasshouse Mountains. He was also the first person to bring back samples of the Bunya Pine.
As a young child, Tom was allowed to mix freely with Aboriginal children. Accepted by the Aborigines as a friend, he was encouraged to share in all their activities and he learnt to speak the Turrbal Aboriginal language. During journeys with his father, he also gained knowledge of bushcraft and surveying and so became indispensable as a messenger or companion to early exploration parties.
After several years on the New South Wales and Victorian goldfields, Tom returned to Brisbane, married Elizabeth Campbell in 1858, and, with the help of Aboriginal friends, inspected the North Pine area and negotiated with Mrs. Jane Griffin, the widow of Captain George Griffin, to purchase the lease of ten square miles of the Redbank section of the Whiteside run in 1859. The property, which he called Murrumba (meaning 'good' in the local Aboriginal dialect), extended from Sideling Creek in the west to Redcliffe in the east.
As Mrs. Griffin had raised money by mortgaging Redbank, technically she was unable to make an agreement with Petrie who subsequently found himself left without clear title. From 1862, in response to changing land laws and in order to protect his investments, he was obliged to purchase some of the land. In so doing, he became one of the first freehold landholders north of the North Pine River. By 1864, the Murrumba homestead had been built on the eastern side of Petrie Hill (on land now owned by the Roman Catholic Church) replacing early temporary structures used by the family.
Although increasing closer settlement reduced the extent of the Murrumba property, by 1888 the Petries still held 3,000 acres which were closely fenced and well stocked for horse and cattle raising. By this time, Murrumba had become an important centre for the local community. Tom was a foundation member of both the Caboolture and Redcliffe Divisional Boards and he continued to play a significant role in local affairs until his death at Murrumba on 26 August 1910.
The following year, the Department of Railways changed the name of the North Pine Station to Petrie and a stone memorial was unveiled in his honour. His epitaph, engraved on the stone obelisk, reads "Pioneer, Patriot, Philanthropist". As well as Petrie and Petrie Street, the name of the locality of Murrumba Downs celebrates Tom Petrie's achievements.