03 August 2015

Travels in East Moreton, 1859 (#4): Bulimba

No. IV
BULIMBA AND SCENES DOWN THE RIVER BRISBANE
(Moreton Bay Courier, 16 February 1859)

IN my present endeavors to give your readers a sketch of the several very interesting localities situated down the river, I fear I shall fail in conveying to their minds any adequate impression of their varied beauties, or portray them with that graphic distinctness and vivid delineation the subject demands. However, they are sketches literally taken at random without any previous attempt at arrangements or premeditation, and therefore presented to the public for what they are worth.

Bulimba, Toogoolawa, Tingalpa, and other soft-sounding names, convey, no doubt, in the aborigines dialect very significant meanings of these waterside localities; and one is led to regret that the surveyors, in laying out these sections of country, do not more generally confine themselves to the native name of the several localities they map out for sale. In a recent instance “Lytton” has been substituted for “Tingalpa;” a change, in my opinion, far from agreeable or euphonious, although no doubt, done in snobbish compliment to the great novelist, who at present holds the Colonial seals of Office. However let that pass, for after all what’s in a name? Tingalpa cannot (if the minister’s name in full was added,) command purchasers, if this embryo village is brought into market prematurely.

But, before I describe to your readers any particulars about Bulimba and its neighborhood, let us start fair upon our journey, taking, as usual, Brisbane for our starting point. With this view let us at once proceed to the ferry at Kangaroo Point, and endeavor to get the crusty old charon at that place to ferry ourselves and nags over to the South bank of the river. Here, as Jonathan says, we encounter a difficulty. Money nor fair words cannot prevail upon the obstinate old coon to place the punt at our disposal; and hearing the previous pleadings of a Pring, and the impetuosity of a Walker were contemptuously treated I deemed it advisable to Dowse my expectations of making a short cut, and go round by the way of South Brisbane.

This matter accomplished, we, that is you and I, my dear reader, will, in a social, friendly, manner have a pleasing gossip as we jog along the road. There, just pull up for a moment, whilst our senses drink in this scene of beauty lying stretched out before us. This road leads us to Kangaroo Point; and from this opening we obtain a magnificent view of North and South Brisbane. See, what a noble expanse of river greets the eye upon either hand? whilst immediately beneath our vision lies the Botanical Gardens, rapidly developing the scientific arrangements of the superintendent (Mr. Hill), - and conferring a lasting debt of gratitude upon the inhabitants of Brisbane. Beyond the gardens see how beautiful the township appears to swell upwards - to the windmill ridge; - the old mill standing in the back ground, like an old familiar friend, watching the gradual advance of this young metropolis, to the honorable distinction of a city and future seat of Government.  

Kangaroo Point, 1860s (John Oxley Library)
Kangaroo Point, 1860s (John Oxley Library)

As we proceed along the road towards the Point, one cannot refrain from stopping occasionally to take another passing glance at the panorama spread before us. At our left hand, upon the opposite bank of the river, we catch a view of the extensive stores and wharf of Messrs. G. Raff & Co.; as also those of John Richardson & Co., and the Custom House; whilst below us stretches the Point, the river sweeping round to our right hand in the direction of our journey. Before we proceed along the road leading us towards the new bridge crossing Norman’s Creek, let us mark the advantageous position of the Point for the future development of our manufacturing resources. With abundance of pure water to be obtained at a few feet below the surface, and an immense extent of deep water river frontage, we cannot conceive the possibility of these facts being overlooked by the speculative man of capital, on the look out, at no distant day, for a fitting site whereon to erect his factory, for the production of those articles in every day use and consumption, and only now procurable by foreign importation.

Here we pass the neat and beautifully situated residence of W. Thornton, Esq., Tide Surveyor, and Captain Thomas Collins, the latter an old salt of many years colonial experience, and who, like many other old tars, upon becoming tired of a roving sea life, took to the profitable occupation of some square miles of the Crown lands in these districts and became a grazier; or, in more vulgar parlance, a squatter.

Turning to the right, the road to Bulimba runs parallel to the river, presenting as we proceed onward a very pleasing feature in the landscape. At Norman’s Creek a very substantial bridge has recently been thrown across near its mouth, thereby shortening the distance to Bulimba very materially. Some difficulty was encountered in getting this bridge erected, through the misrepresentations of a certain squatting lord, who having purchased land upon the bank of the creek, did not want the vulgar herd to pass through it. Fortunately the Hope he entertained of barring the way was frustrated; and the approaches to the bridge, consequently, does pass through Louis’ land. Emerging from a bit of scrub land bordering the creek the wayfarer begins to ascend a rather steep incline, upon the summit of which a most enchanting view meets the enraptured gaze. The long stretch of water upon either hand glittering in the sun’s rays like burnished silver, and its margin fringed with the dark green hue of the mangrove trees, backed up by the cultivated grounds around; the elegant mansions of R. R. Mackenzie, Esq., and Captain O’Connel, forming part of the New Farm property; - the somber hue of Taylor’s Range contrasting vividly with the lighter colorings of the country spread out beneath it.

Some couple or three miles further we reach Toogoolawa Point; passing in our route a small number of homesteads occupied by the Bulimba farmers. Here again, as at Moggil, we come in contact with some families of Dr. Lang’s importation; a lot of industrious, plain, plodding men, the right sort for a new settlement, and if we speak the truth, have not apparently lost anything by their sojourn in Moreton Bay.

A large portion of the river bank was upon its first occupation by the present possessors marked by a dense scrub, all of which has nearly disappeared under the vigorous arm of the sturdy farmers; and the productiveness of the soil, thus freed from its dark covering, is abundantly evidenced by the crops of maize, oats, potatoes, and other vegetable productions obtained from it.

Most of the small settlers living at Bulimba I found were the freehold possessors of the land and had, in addition, a goodly number of milking cows and cattle; from which they derived no inconsiderable revenue – particularly in the production of the article, butter. The advantages those and other industrious men possess of grazing their cattle upon the unoccupied lands around them, help materially to forward their progressive views. But I cannot help here remarking, that at this place, and many other similar localities I visited in my journeying through the district, I was struck with the suicidal policy practiced by these small stockholders; namely, that of permitting an incestuous intercourse of their cattle, or breeding as it is termed, in and in, whereby the stock is rapidly decreasing not only in size, but in their supplies of milk. Yet, how easy I thought it would be, if a few neighbors were each to unite in the purchase of a well bred bull, for common use, and thus save their stock from deteriorating in value.

A short distance before you reach Toogoolawa Point, the road turns off on the left hand to the waterside, following which, we reach a ferry established by Samuel Buckley, for the convenience of the Bulimba people in their intercourse with the Brisbane side of the river. But, strange to say, I ascertained from the ferryman, that the Government surveyors in laying out the land for sale on the west or Brisbane side of the river, had omitted, with their usual want of forethought, to leave a public approach to the river. The consequence is, that although on the east or Bulimba side, the market carts of the farmers might be punted over to the opposite shore with facility, there is no outlet in that direction to the main road, without passing through private property; the inconvenience of which is already felt by the people using the ferry, from the disinclination of the proprietor to permit of this trespass over his land. I have no doubt the government could remedy this defect, by proclaiming the ferry to be a public one, and making a road-way (the right of which is specially reserved in the Crown grants) through the property lying opposite Bulimba.

The view of the river scenery near the point is very charming. The open cultivated lands on both sides of the river affords a pleasing prospect to the eye. The well kept grounds of Newstead, the seat of Captain Wickham, R.N., Government Resident, the farm homestead of Mr. T. Childs, in close proximity to the former, Kingholme, the residence of James Gibbon, Esq., give the west side of the river a very pretty appearance. At the point of Toogoolawa we find ourselves at the mansion of D. Coutts, Esq., one of our successful graziers, who having made I trust a competency, is farming the lands of his freehold at this place, in a spirited manner; and although I hear he has met with some drawbacks - through unpropitious seasons yet, upon the whole, I think he does not regret having entered into his present occupation. Around Toogoolawa the land is occupied, and very successfully cultivated, by a number of industrious families, who have shewed their just appreciation of the value of their several clearings by the efforts they are making to clear their land of timber, &c. The dwelling places of the Bulimba farmers I must say do not add much to the natural beauties of the place; for with true Australian carelessness, so marked in the country districts of our new settlements, no attempt at adornment is made, but in a few exceptional instances, to take away the heavy repulsive appearance of the hardwood slabs forming the exterior of their houses. When the eye of the traveller does rest upon a snug though homely cottage, buried beneath the green foliage of the honeysuckle or other pretty creepers, how it delights to dwell upon its natural beauty. Fancy, at once, invests the possessors with those social virtues of which the love of flowers very often are the sure tokens. When I see a house standing in its naked deformity, without the slightest attempt at embellishment, although the land around may be highly cultivated and the wealth of the owner evidenced by the sleek cattle and horses, I at once put the owner down as a mere money-grubber, toiling from early morning till dewy eve to accumulate money, or perchance, add acre to acre, until, when in possession of a property far exceeding the most sanguine expectations of his early career, he finds himself incapable of enjoying the gifts God has given him, and repents when too late of his folly.

Conrad Martens’ 1851 sketch of Bulimba House, home of David Coutts in 1859 (John Oxley Library).
Conrad Martens’ 1851 sketch of Bulimba House, home of David Coutts in 1859 (John Oxley Library).
Also known as Toogoolawa, this residence is still standing.

Bulimba, in common with those properties situated upon and near the mouth of the River Brisbane, possess many valuable advantages over other less favored localities in this respect. And, further, when the contemplated improvements at the river bar are carried into effect, so as to permit shipping of large tonnage to enter the river and anchor below the Eagle Farm Flats, these farms and freeholds, with those on the Eagle Farm side of the river, will necessarily become of great value.

Passing down the river by a bush track, running at the rear of the farms at the river side, we approach the neighborhood of the Quarries, lying immediately abreast of the two islands, marking the whereabouts of the flats. A short distance before reaching the Quarries, we arrive at the residence of Charles Coxen, Esq., another of our Moreton Bay stockholders who, whilst enjoying his fortune and position at this beautiful part of the river bank, loses no opportunity of enjoying himself, in company very frequently with his wife, with boating excursions amongst the magnificent scenery of our beautiful bay, An example which will, no doubt, ere long be followed by many of his brother squatters; for what higher amount of enjoyment could these enterprising gentlemen secure for themselves and families, after perhaps eight or nine months close attention to their flocks and herds, than locating themselves for the remaining portion of the year at Brisbane, or rather its neighborhood, to enjoy the luxury of sea-bathing, and yachting, and boating excursion in the Bay.

The commanding position of Mr. Coxen’s residence gives a charming prospect up and down the river, and the view in that respect is scarcely to be equalled by any other situation I have seen. At the foot of the ridge upon which the house stands, coal of good quality has been found cropping out near the water’s edge, and a drift has been run into the hill side with the hope of coming upon a payable seam, but without success; although, I believe the worthy proprietor knows where coal is to be obtained in the neighborhood, when the time arrives that coal mining will become profitable.

The Quarry previously mentioned consists of freestone of durable quality, well adapted for building purposes; but stone of equal if not superior quality having been found nigher Brisbane, this place has not been worked for some time. No doubt when our wealthy graziers locate themselves in the vicinity of the harbour mouth, this Quarry will again become of much value to its possessor. Near the Quarries a shaft has been sunk to a considerable depth with the view of discovering “Coal;” but I understand without complete success. Whether deeper sinking will discover the treasure is problematical, although I hear the chances are very favorable. What a magical influence one is led to conclude will be the result of an extended mercantile trade with this province, by enlarged steam communication with other colonies; and then opening out the Torres Straits route to India and China for ocean steamers. The port of Moreton Bay may then, if right means are used, take rank with the finest of the Australian confederacy.

Below the Quarries, and crossing Doughboy Creek, (no very easy task for want of a bridge) we reach Tingalpa, and an open piece of low land known as Clunie’s Flats, and named after a well known military commandant of the penal times. A site has been fixed upon for the erection of a Custom House officers residence and look out place; and near which I believe the village of Lytton has been marked out into allotments for sale.

Tingalpa will at an early day become a valuable locality, and inhabited by those people whose avocations lay in the vicinity of the Bay. It possesses another advantage in being in the neighbourhood of that part of the Bay frequented by the “Dugong” fishermen; and will, when the ferry is established between Bulimba and East Brisbane, and a passable road made to the village at Tingalpa, (I can’t call it Lytton) be brought within the distance of some six or eight miles of the metropolis.

Immediately opposite the Quarries, the eye rests upon the cleared land of Eagle Farm. As we have to get a little information from the people residing in that quarter, let us for a short time cross the river, and have a look round this spot so full of painful associations of days gone; and we trust never to be again witnessed in this Island continent.

Below the cleared lands of the old farm the land continues at the same low level, only being a few feet above the ordinary rise of the tides; consequently, in a wet season, swampy. The Government, contemplating the future value of this particular locality for railway purposes have, I understand, reserved a portion of the land below the “Eagle Farm Flats,” as a railway termini; shipping lying in the secure and landlocked basin forming the entrance of the river, will, no doubt, at some future day receive their cargoes from wharves constructed upon the banks of the stream adjacent to the anchorage. Some good land lying upon the elevated ridges in the, vicinity of the bay will some day be found valuable, and made available for building and other purposes.

Between Breakfast Creek and Eagle Farm the land has been partially cleared of the scrub bordering the river; but there still remains some dense patches that requires the axe of the bushman to clear away; it being at present the rendezvous of the aboriginal tribes that occasionally come up from the coast to have a “corobbaree” or “pullen pullen,” with the half-civilized tribes about Brisbane. At these times they became a dangerous pest to the small farmers dwelling in that neighborhood. Again crossing the river, and passing through the bush in a southerly direction, we come upon the road leading to Cleveland; but as 1 have occupied the columns of your broad sheet I fear already beyond due limits, I must defer the description of that sea side locality for my next sketch; hoping that, if permitted to do so, I shall be able to give some pleasing particulars of this highly favored, though I believe, scarcely appreciated, watering place.

28 July 2015

Travels in East Moreton, 1859 (#3): Moggill

(Read the introduction to this series here.)  

No.III
MOGGIL AND ITS NEIGHBORHOOD

(Moreton Bay Courier, 5 February 1859) 

No doubt many of the readers of the Courier have thought, as they progressed up or down the river Brisbane, per steamer, or otherwise, and taken a partial survey of that primitive looking structure, known as the Moggil coal wharf, that little could be particularized about that locality, beyond the fact, that one John Williams, some eight or ten years since, discovered a seam of coal cropping out near the water’s edge in that neighborhood; and after extracting some hundreds of tons of black diamond from this fortunate find, leaving a fair marginal profit upon his working capital, sold a company all his right, title, and freehold interest therein. Such however is not the sole fact; and as I did not proceed to Moggil for the special purpose of investigating and reporting upon those carboniferous formations, or with the view of drawing speculative attention to any such deposits, I perhaps may be pardoned, if I endeavor to amuse your readers with other attractive qualities of this pretty, and may I add valuable, village site. Before I do so, or commence my gossiping remarks about Moggil, permit me first to take your readers along the road leading from Brisbane in that direction. 

As I am not in any respect a fast man, let us jog on in that sociable manner one sometimes witnesses upon the meeting of two old ladies, after having been separated some eight-and-forty-hours, and have a world of gossip to impart to each other. Having, therefore, fixed upon this quiet way of getting along the road, let us, as an old tar would say, take our departure for some well-known spot; and none presents itself to the mind’s eye so peaceably as this old fence, enclosing the mortal remains of those who have died, and perchance have long since been forgotten by those they left in lands far away. Yes! within this limited patch of mother earth, what relics of frail mortality lie therein buried, until the last trump summon them to the judgment seat of God ? What a host of recollections rise up in memory as an old Traveller like me, through this changeful world, moralizes upon the varied characters that here mix their poor dust together. Side by side lies the gallant soldier, and the thrice convicted felon; the guard and the guarded unmindful of each other, and quietly resting until the last great day. Here, perchance, the frail form of Innocence lies in peaceful security; and in close proximity to the housebreaker and man of blood. I give no fancy sketch here; the records of the past in this last sad resting place amply illustrates how Death levels all distinction when the spirit leaves its tenement of clay. Happily for this generation these records are all we at present possess, wherefrom to draw a moral, or “adorn a tale.” The presence of the felon and the debasing influence of a convict population has been spared us for many years past, and we trust our families may be long spared from those evils communications, that so rapidly corrupt the manners of a people. Yet, as we turn our horse’s head from the fence to proceed upon our journey a sadness comes o’er our spirits, as we contemplate that busy hive of human industry upon our right hand; because we know that at a cost of some £26,000 of the public money, they are there with building a Jail. Sad reflection to the philanthropist, that the first public building erected in Moreton Bay should be a prison.

Petrie Terrace Gaol, c.1862 (John Oxley Library)

However, let us pass over this ridge and leave these sad moralising reflections behind us; at the foot of the ridge we cross the town boundary, and enter the suburbs, comprising the west, or aristocratic end of Moreton Bay’s embryo metropolitan city. At present, the western suburbs can boast but little of its architectural adornments, and unlike the eastern or down river suburbs, has not increased in a similar ratio the number of its inhabitants, yet it requires not the voice of prophecy to proclaim the future of this locality. Passing to the side of the river we obtain a view of “Milton
,” the town residence of J. P. McDougall, Esq., one of the Moreton Bay squattocracy, and who sets the laudable example of spending his income within the province wherein it is derived. The grounds about Milton, I may remark en passant, are being brought under judicious cultivation, and will very speedily form a very pleasant feature in our river scenery.

Crossing a small creek, by a very durable and creditable looking wooden bridge, we pass a quaint looking building in the course of erection, which might be very appropriately named “The House with the Three Gables,” having a centre ornament overtopping all, looking for all the world like a miniature castle of Blue Beard’s, with a lookout turret for dear sister Anne. It is here that indefatigable old die-hard, Honest Bob Cribb, I understand, intends to pass the evening of his days; and from his look-out, take an occasional view of the progressive improvements of the land we live in.

Crossing a second bridge of similar construction as the first, we pass the modest cottage orneĆ© of the Moreton Bay Stultz (Mr. John Markwell) and take a glance at the beautiful vista presented to view, up and down the three miles reach, the cleared lands on the south bank of the river showing at the present season to much advantage. A short distance beyond the second bridge, the road inclines to the right hand, skirting the back fences of a beautiful clearing known as “Lang Farm,” and named after the worthy Doctor of that ilk. As my duties compel me to visit the various tenements and holdings in my route to Moggil, let us have a gossip and a look round the nursery garden of friend Payne, the present occupier of the farm. To enable us to do so, we will let our horse nibble the grass in the outside paddock, and, taking our course across the creek by the aid of the fallen tree, we enter the nursery through a magnificent grove of bananas, the pendant fruit issuing from which bespeak the richness of the soil from which their roots derive sustenance. In the open portion of the grounds some hundreds of orange grafts evidence the supply of those valuable and nutritious fruit trees, to be obtained here. The easy distance “Lang Farm” is from the metropolis, places it in an excellent position for the inspection of visitors, should the Brisbane folk feel desirous of spending an idle hour in the inspection of this very pretty spot. As my duties impel me to proceed further along the river bank, I must leave a more detailed description of Payne’s nursery garden to some future visit; and take your readers with me through this bit of scrubland bordering the Brisbane river; bearing in mind as you force your way through the pendant vines, or runners, interlacing and almost obstructing one’s progress in every direction, that great caution need be exercised to escape the tormenting fangs of the bush lawyer, a very formidable looking customer I assure you to come in contact with in passing through a piece of scrub land. To give your readers some faint idea of a scrub, let them conjure up in imagination a wood or forest in the old country, with the underwood left untouched; to which they may add any quantity of briers or thorns they may deem desirable to make the description perfect. I have often, in my young days, thought what a cunning old fox Robinson Crusoe was in planting the trees around his cave so thickly and impenetrably; but, I certainly think, the poor solitary would have gained a wrinkle, if he had dropped across a bush lawyer, to warn off trespassers; for I found out this much in passing through the same, pilley, scrub, that this indigenous grab-all, like those gentlemen who in towns do congregate, have very little mercy upon those persons who foolishly place themselves within their clutches. In this respect, the passage of an Australian scrub strongly reminds me of the progress of a Chancery suit through the law courts. In either case the luckless wight that finally gets clear of the obstructions in the way, will find himself denuded of all superfluous toggery. What an immense variety of shrubs, creeper and botanical specimens meet the eye in every direction; and the mind of the inquisitive is speedily filled with wonder and amazement at the bountiful productions of native wild. At last we reach a clearing:- a spot of some half dozen acres from which the trees and brushwood have been but recently removed. In this patch we behold a splendid growth of early maize, the well cobbed stacks of which give the hard working proprietor a sure token that his 30, or perhaps 50 acre farm, is amply worth all the labor he can bestow upon its clearing and cultivation. From 70 to 80 bushels to the acre may safely be set down as the produce of the crop, now almost ready for gathering. I found in this neighborhood several other farms, recent purchases from the Crown, and like the one described, giving unmistakeable evidence of what crops may be raised. From the scrub and forest lands bordering the rivers and creeks of this district, splendid potatoes, gigantic pumpkins, huge melons, and other vegetable productions, call up incessant observations for the uninitiated in these matters. However we will, for the present, leave our gossip upon the productiveness of East Moreton until a future paper, and in the meantime, resume our journey along the road to Moggil.

Footbridge over Moggill Creek at Brookfield, ca. 1887. (John Oxley Library)

Like all the roads stretching away northerly from Brisbane, the one to Moggil is very hilly; and certainly but little adapted for wheeled vehicles, except the cumbrous bullock dray. But the river renders a ‘road’ in this direction at present almost unnecessary except for equestrians. About nine miles from town we reach “Pullen Pullen” Creek, only navigable a short distance up for small boats. At the crossing place we arrive at the sheep station of Mr. John McGrath, who for some years past has done well, with a few sheep depasturing upon the country about the Pine Mountain Range. An immense quantity of fine pine timber has been procured from the scrubs, lying in dense masses at the foot of these picturesque mountains. Bullock teams convey the logs to the “Creek,” from which place they are rafted and brought to Brisbane. The timber cut from this locality possess a harder and therefore more durable texture than the pine previously obtained in the low lying scrubs on the river bank. I am sorry to say, the paucity of building operations at present in progress in these districts have diminished the demand for all descriptions of building materials. The sawyers in this neighborhood, in common with other workinghands, find some difficulty in clearing expenses, yet they put a good face upon present prospects, from the fact that they fully expect to see “a good time coming.”

Shortly after leaving McGrath’s the traveller begins to ascend a spur branching from the Pine Ranges towards the river; reaching the top of which, the admirer of the grand and beautiful will be amply repaid for his toilsome ascent. The view obtainable of the country lying to the eastward, and in the vicinity of these productive mountains, is very fine, whilst to the westward, their towering peaks, lifting their lofty heads in grand sublimity towards the clouds, mark the whereabouts of the splendid plains of Normandy, back up in the distance of the blue outline of the vast Australian Cordilleras; a couple of miles further brings us down upon Moggil Creek, and the cultivated farms of the residents in that quarter. The valley of the Brisbane in this direction does not embrace a very considerable tract of country, the land away from the river breaking off into rather poor ridgey forest upland although the cultivators of the soil at Moggil, have no reason, I understand, to complain of its fertility, very fair average crop of the usual Moreton Bay assortment of farm produce recompensing the exertions and outlay of the husbandmen. The Moggil district has much to look forward to in the future reasonable progress of Moreton Bay. Its underlying stratum of Carboniferous formation, from which coal of a very excellent quality has been obtained in large quantities, and which, I believe, only requires capital to develop their abundance and richness more fully, carries the mind of the speculator to that period when the steam  traffic of this vast province will employ, and demand an enormous quantity of this description of fuel; for which the coal fields of Moggil and other localities will then reap a rich recompense. Moggil is further surrounded with mountains, clothed to their very summits with gigantic pine trees, thus possessing a mine of wealth below and above its surface. The removal of the 17 mile rocks, and other obstructions in the River Brisbane below Moggil, must necessarily add much to the importance of that locality; however, I will not pursue this interesting subject further, leaving the reader to make his own calculation in this “sketch,” of what may be made out of the future as regards the progress of “Moggil.”

Tree-fellers cutting timber and preparing logs for rafting at Moggill Creek,
Brisbane, c.1898. (John Oxley Library)

Before I finally quit this scone of rural industry let me make one observation, which I, for one, deem worthy of a passing remark. The first occupiers of the farms laid out by the Government Surveyor at Moggil, were immigrants brought out under the auspices of Dr. Lang; and, although only two or three families of that importation remain at present upon the original clearing, one memento yet stands upon the road side, that proves that the worthy Doctor’s selection of these people were not only creditable to himself, but reflect credit upon the land of their. The memento I allude to is the erection, by those “Lima” men, of a modest mansion, dedicated to the worship therein of the Almighty God. Yes! these travellers to distant lands felt, I have no doubt, when they sat down upon their several freeholds how much they were indebted to Him, for thus placing them in safety upon the sea shores; and their first fitting acknowledgement of His goodness was the voluntary erection of this house of prayer. Contrast this proceeding my dear readers, with that too often practised in other, and similar bush localities, instead of dedicating a house to the Father of all, we see them dedicating one to the Father of evil, and therefrom supplying those liquid fires that burn out and obliterate all that is good here, and destroys every hope of the good promised hereafter.

A beautiful morning’s sunrise greeted the vision of those who, like myself, had to be up and doing in this battle of life early. How peacefully, how refreshed and refreshing, every thing looked the eye rested upon. The dew drops flashed and sparkled as the gentle breeze waved the leaflets, and wafted up the aroma from the fragrant blossoms around. The cows as they quietly stood in the yard, patiently waiting their turn to be released of their milky burthen; and for a few moments to be, permitted to greet their young sucklings had, to my fancy, something of that mute eloquence poets often speak about, and which testifies a grateful heart.

A stroll down to the coal pit after breakfast, put me into possession of this fact, that the present supply of coal from the Moggil mine is not very extensive. The working scam (I found, upon making enquiry of a young lad who was using very striking efforts to induce an old horse to take his everlasting round at the mill crank, that put a force pump in motion) was at present nearly exhausted, only one man being then employed to get out coal for the steamers Hawk and Bremer. The entrance to the workings is by a cut made into the hill side. A shaft has I believe been sunk, but with what success as regard the finding of coal I did not hear; but lower down the Moggil Creek, I was informed a Mr. Lamsden had sunk a shaft to the depth of about 100 feet, and was very sanguine of dropping upon an extensive coal formation very speedily.

Quitting the farms and crossing the creek we came to a cluster gunyahs occupied by the families of those men who are, and have been some time, employed in the timber trade in this neighborhood. I was pleased to find, that in several instances, these generally unprovided bush operators, had not knocked down all their hard won earnings at the grog shops in Brisbane; but wisely laid a portion of them out in the purchase of land, which I was further pleased to see was fenced in with good substantial three railed fences; and above all a comfortable looking house built upon each of these freeholds. May their example be followed by many of their fellow workmen, whenever their timber trade takes a turn for the better! Upon asking one of their numbers, who is among them known as Little Dick, how it was he had not, after so many years toiling, got a bit of land in his right, he made answer, “sure sir, if I hav’nt bought any land, I have helped to build a good many houses.” Very significant this, and certainly strengthens me in my previous opinion, that it will be the very opposite of a blessing should this neighborhood reckon amongst its conveniences a Public House, or liquor store. A bush track made by the passing drays proceeding to and from the Pine Ranges, takes one through a very interesting region of hill and dale, the route being well marked by these dense scrubs fringing the steep acclivities of the mountains.

A ride of some five or six miles brought me to an extensive natural clearing, or opening in the hills, named by the timber-getters the paddock. A large quantity of valuable timber has within the last few years been cut from the scrub in that direction, and I found a number of men still busy falling and cross-cutting pine logs for market; the drays conveying them to Pullen Pullen Creek, and from thence they are rafted to Brisbane, where the steam saw-mills speedily convert them into boards and scantling for the home and foreign markets.

A large quantity of good agricultural land is to be found between the heads of the two creeks, (Pullen Pullen and Moggil), a portion in close proximity to the river, has been surveyed, and some portion purchased; but some excellent farms must some day be formed at the foot of these partially explored pine ranges.

My wanderings in the direction of Moggil being brought to a close at this point of my journey, in consequence of the service I had to perform being completed in that quarter, I must wind up my present “Sketch” with again hoping, that in the perusal of my sketches of East Moreton, some pleasing information may be obtained by those who reside therein, and some profitable hints gathered by those who dwell in the land beyond the sea; and who feel the wants of a young and increasing family bear too heavily upon their resources, and look with great anxiety to the future provision of their households. To them I would conscientiously say, emigrate, and whilst you make the necessary inquiries that may rule your future movements, don’t forget to learn every particular about Moreton Bay - now speedily about to be made a separate colony, and ruled and governed by laws of its own construction.

My next sketch will, with your permission, be dedicated to Bulimba, and other down river localities.

Other articles in this series

Travels in East Moreton, 1859 (#1): Kedron Brook and Nundah
Travels in East Moreton, 1859 (#2): Sandgate and North Pine