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Mrs Dorothy Beavis and her husband Kevin Beavis were interviewed by Leigh Chamberlain in November, 2000. Adopted as a child, Dorothy recalls the circumstances which led to her adoption. At that time it was legal for adoption to be privately arranged.

Dorothy_Beavis

Dorothy Beavis

Dorothy Beavis (née Harper) was born in 1931 and is the only child of Mr Ben and Mrs Alice Harper. Mr Harper, who was a returned serviceman from both the Boer War and WWI, worked for the Queensland Railways at Ipswich as a foreman coppersmith.

Dorothy lived with her family at 15 Sandford Street, which at that time was in Toowong. Dorothy recalls:

I have lived in the house for 69 years, and my dear beloved, [indicating Kevin], for 52 years. I was brought here as a baby, adopted by my parents who brought me here. I was only 2½ lbs when born and was ten weeks ‘premmie’ when my mother brought me down from Townsville on the train.

My real mum died when I was only five days old. Her name was Violet Ethel Drewett (née Harper). She was unconscious when she had me and didn’t even know that I had arrived. This is what I was told. My parents had me wrapped up in cotton wool and had newspapers around the bottom of a washing basket — you know, the old cane washing baskets. That’s how I came down from Townsville.

And I believe — it was really funny — there was one old busybody on the train, and she came up to Mum, and she said, ‘I had heard that Ben Harper had had a child but I didn’t believe it.’ No way I could have been Ben Harper’s child — he was the father who adopted me — but there was no way that I could have been his blood because we are altogether different. He was tall and as broad as anything, while I was a skinny little runt. My real father was a tall man too. His name was Edwin George Drewitt. As a matter of fact, I’ve got a brother who was over six feet tall.

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Poster advertising the Glen Olive Garden Estate

In 1924–25, Mr and Mrs Ben Harper had purchased a double allotment in a new development called ‘The Glen Olive Garden Estate’. They had a house built which they then rented out. After the Harpers returned from Townsville with their new ‘bundle of joy’, they were not able to live in their Sandford Street property because it was still tenanted. Therefore, they rented a house in Aston Street until their tenants were able to vacate. The Aston Street house was the one later purchased by Sir Arthur Fadden. So Dorothy was about six months old when the family finally moved into their Sandford Street house.

Dorothy wasn’t initially told that she was adopted, or that she had brothers and sisters. This important piece of information was disclosed to her much later, and contact with her real father was restored. There was a history of adoption in the family as Dorothy’s biological mother was herself adopted. Violet was adopted by Ben Harper’s parents, Mr and Mrs Ben and Elizabeth Harper, a stone mason who lived in Townsville.

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Residence of Dorothy and Kevin Beavis in Sandford Street, Toowong. The tree at the back of the house is the last remaining olive tree from a grove which was planted in the area. (Photographer not known.)

According to the story handed down through the family, Violet’s mother was a servant girl who worked for the Harper family and when she became pregnant, the father abandoned her and her unborn child. Desperate for assistance, she turned to her employer, Mrs Harper, as she didn’t know what else to do. Although they already had two children of their own, Benjamin John and Louis Arthur Milton, they offered Violet’s mother a lifeline by deciding to adopt the baby. (The ‘Milton’ in Louis’ name was a family surname in the Harper family). When Violet died, her brother, Benjamin John, and his wife, Alice, decided to adopt Dorothy.

By adopting Dorothy when her mother died, the adoption was kept within the family. Alice Harper had a history of stillborn births, so the new-born baby gave Ben and Alice Harper a chance to enjoy parenthood that would have been denied them otherwise and she was their ‘only child’.

Dorothy had lots of extended family, both biological and adopted. Holiday time was a time for the extended family and Dorothy explains that when the family went to Scarborough:

…other children came with the family too. There were four kids, and Mum and Dad. Now, these other children that I’m talking about, who lived with me for years (I was thirteen at the time), were my brothers and sisters. I didn’t realise this at the time, as we were all brought up as cousins. This was only because my mother died while giving birth to me.

Thank you to Dorothy Beavis for the above reminiscences.

You can read more of Dorothy’s reminiscences in the Toowong and District Historical Society’s publication, Toowong: A Tram Ride from the Past, 2008, p.41. To order see details on the Publications page.

Roden_smlStuart Roden’s family came to settle in Toowong in about 1919 or 1920 when his father Olof Clarence (‘Clarrie’) Roden purchased land at 8 Augustus Street, three doors up from Bennett Street, and had the family residence built on this land.

Starting with memories of his childhood home, Stuart recalls nearby local streets and the people who lived here, and concludes at Toowong Memorial Park, the source of many wonderful childhood memories for Stuart.

According to McNaughts, our topside neighbours, the 1893 flood just reached the bottom side fence. Extensions were later added to the house. It was the place of birth for all three of us — Clarence James, who was known as ‘Jim’, born in 1921 Stuart (me), born in 1925 and my sister Eleanor Vera, born in 1926. Dr Wheeler, of Sherwood Road, delivered all three.Sherwood_Road

Originally, there was an ‘out-house’ dunny in the backyard. Augustus Street was one of the earlier streets in Brisbane to be connected to the main sewer to Pinkenba. The street was bituminised during the Great Depression by ‘Relief’ workers. The milkman, whose name was Mr Shields, delivered milk in big quart metal pots and pint pot. He had a utility truck covered at the back, with two big milk cans with taps on them and he’d fill our containers.

Delungra Street, off the north side of Augustus Street, was an easement which was lined with huge old gum trees on its eastern side and belonged to the Swain family who lived in a large old house down the easement. There was a white picket fence with double gates on Augustus Street. The hearse with the body of the grandfather of my friend, Wally Swain (full name: Walter Edward Swain) came out those gates, probably around 1937.

In Golding Street, that part of the street east of Earle Street was opened up in the mid-1930s with five look-a-like houses built on the north side. The area covered by the five houses and the extension of Golding Street was previously a big paddock which belonged to the Swain Senior family.

My friend Wally lived in a house on the eastern end of the old Golding Street, on the topside, with their northern fence on what was then a paddock. Cowboys and Indians and building cubby houses out of small trees in the paddock were what sometimes occupied my friend Wally and me. My mother took me to school (at the Toowong State School) on my first day and I was expected to find my way home. But Wally’s mother brought me home on the first day of school (along with Wally) from Toowong State School through their yard, the Swain Senior’s yard, the easement and the double gates on Augustus Street. Wally was a life-long friend until the day he died! He was my best friend at school and later I was his Best Man.

Next door, on the top side of Wally’s place, were the Fardons. Then there was a pedestrian lane here between Golding Street and Augustus Street. The lane is now closed. Then there were the Cribbs (he was a dentist); the Steers (and this house was later bought by the McGregor Lowndes) and then Charles Elliott, who was on the corner of Golding and Jephson Street. The latter was a stockbroker. On the right-hand side was the fire station, which I will discuss later. There was an easement from the lower end of the new part of Golding Street to Standring Street, which ran eastward to Bennett Street.

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Church Street, now Jephson Street

Earle Street ran from Golding Street to Sylvan Road. Sylvan Road met Croydon Street at the corner with Church Street (now Jephson) and ran westwards to Milton Road. Just near the corner of Croydon Street on Milton Road was the Elite Picture Theatre where I used to go to the pictures with the family on Saturday nights. My father used to ring up and book our seats and we used to walk down and home again. Your eyes became accustomed to the dark and you didn’t really need a torch. You could see the Milky Way clearly in those days and it was beautiful to see!

Lands’ Wholesale/Retail Butcher Shop and Ice Works was on the corner of Earle Street and Sylvan Road. Augustus Street and Golding Street joined Jephson Street, formerly Church Street, as did Sylvan Road, which continued westward to Milton Road near the Brisbane General Cemetery (or Toowong Cemetery).

The Walker and Roberts families lived next door to each other in Sylvan Road, Toowong. Cecily Walker moved to here with her parents in 1929, while her cousin Erl Roberts and his family, didn’t come to live there until the 1940s. Erl was born about 15 years after Cecily.

When Erl and Cecily were interviewed in 2003, Erl provided the following memories of how his family celebrated Christmas during his childhood (from the mid-1940s to the early 1950s). Erl remembers:

I can remember the ice cream—people considered it a treat to obtain ice cream but there was no way of keeping it without freezers. We eventually bought a big flash refrigerator called a ‘Silent Night’. It had a freezer and then, of course, Mum could make ice cream. You could buy a cardboard cup of ice cream like Peters from the shop next door and take it home. You couldn’t buy chicken commercially like it is now. It was something you had at Christmas and Easter.

We used to go to Maroochydore. My grandparents on Mum’s side, the Smiths, had a little house they owned at Maroochydore and so Mum and Dad had the old Chev ‘ute’ (which we covered in at the back for holidays) and we’d take most of the baggage up there. We used to stop at Burpengary on the way up to have a cup of tea and a break.

We used to go up there every Christmas and every Easter with a couple of chickens on the running board—that was Christmas dinner! At the time, chicken was a luxury and you only had it at Christmas and Easter. [Cecily says: We all looked forward to that chicken twice a year.] The same with ice-cream — you only had it at Christmas and Easter. Mum used to make ice-cream, but prior to that, we used to buy it from the shop.

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Elaine Roberts and the backyard chook pen

Dad used to kill the chooks, then we would pluck them, clean them—and those sort of things! Dad used to get young chicks and fatten them up for Christmas and Easter. Of course, I used to give them all names and got to love them all—nurse them and everything. And then the time would come! ‘You can’t kill Susie!’; ‘You can’t kill Betty’ and ‘You can’t kill Sebastian’. And he’d have to go and buy a chook! He spent all those months fattening them up and then he had to go and buy one! Uncle Dick used to buy the chickens from the Chinese market gardener down at Sylvan Road. You could buy ducklings from him and day-old-chicks.

An article featuring Erl Roberts and Cecily Walker’s memories of Toowong titled Cousins Share Memories of Toowong is published in Toowong: A Tram Ride from the Past, Memories of the Toowong Community Vol. 4, ed Leigh Chamberlain and Lindy Salter, Toowong and District Historical Society, 2008, p.14.

To order see details on the Publications page.

Elizabeth Harpur Toowong Historical Society

When widowed with three small children, Elizabeth Bailey set out to earn a living and to provide for her family’s financial security. During her lifetime she displayed drive and a willingness to work hard; showed resourcefulness and initiative and was ambitious for her children.

Elizabeth Harpur Bailey (née Tabb) was the daughter of William Whitford Tabb, a Cornish mining engineer, and his first wife, Joanna Trevanna. Various records spell the name as ‘Harpur’ also as ‘Harper’ and ‘Harpeur’. Friends and relations of her generation gave her a pet name and to them she was known as ‘Birdie’. William had migrated to Australia from Cornwall where he managed a number of mines in Cobar. Prior to her marriage to William, Joanna had managed a guest house in Cobar where William had stayed.

Joanna having died, William Tabb re-married, to Mary Ann Johnson and, upon his retirement, bought a property on the northern bank of the Logan River which he called ‘Cornubia Park’, no doubt named after his family home in Cornwall. ‘Cornubia’ is Celtic for ‘Cornwall’ and the Tabb family, a prominent Cornish family from Wennap, Cornwall, held property in Cornwall called ‘Cornubia Park’. Today the suburb of Cornubia is part of the subdivision of the original property.

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Elizabeth Bailey

Elizabeth married George Livingstone Bailey, one of ten sons of Southport pioneers Alfred George and Sarah Bailey (their only daughter not surviving childhood). He was a plumber by trade.

Little is known of Elizabeth’s childhood and life as a single woman. She lived and worked in Mitchell or on a property just outside. This is how she met George.

After their marriage, Elizabeth and George Bailey lived at Mitchell where their eldest son, William Whitford Tabb Bailey, was born here on 22 July 1913. George worked as a plumber for a few years there before the family moved to Brisbane in 1915. They had two other children, George Lenova Bailey (b. 25 November, 1915) and Edris Adelaide Bailey (b. 6 May 1918). Only sketchy details about this period are available to the family from this time.

Elizabeth and George settled for a time at Dutton Park and then re-located to Toowong where they lived at 109 Sherwood Road, not far from the then Salvation Army Hall. Sadly, George died of tuberculosis in 1921. Because he died while so young, not much is known by his children about his early life. He seems to have had difficulty finding congenial employment (no doubt exacerbated by the health problems he faced) but he was employed at one stage as a debt collector.

Her son-in-law Ron Archer points out that:

…Life wasn’t very easy for Elizabeth Bailey after she was widowed, as she was left to raise three very small children, aged eight, five and three. She had to battle on, mainly without help. Her eldest son William (known as ‘Bill’) assisted where possible and he had this weight on his shoulders from a very early age. There was no Widow’s Pension in those days, and Elizabeth had to become the breadwinner. While her husband had taken out a life insurance policy, it wasn’t enough to live on, so Mrs Bailey decided to open her own business. She successfully ran a real estate business in Toowong for many years which, as well as bringing up her family, was no mean feat.

Mrs Bailey initially entered into a real estate partnership. The business was located in premises in an arcade situated in the front of the Jubilee Picture Theatre which fronted Jephson Street, Toowong. Later this site became the BP service station in Sherwood Road, Toowong but this has now been demolished. Elizabeth moved her family from the house near the Salvation Army in Sherwood Road to 109 Sherwood Road. This was a large, grand old Queenslander converted into five mainly self-contained flats (with two toilets downstairs). She herself lived in one of the flats. Although it was only a relatively small flat, she took in Ada, her older widowed sister who had lived in Vera Street. The other sister Nell lived next door in a house fronting Warrawee Street. At one time, after she had married, her daughter Edris (along with husband Ron Archer) also lived in one of the flats.

When her real estate partnership broke up, she decided to shift her business office out of the arcade and she transferred her business operations to her residence at 109 Sherwood Road, where she turned the front room into an office, and ran her business from here. In addition to sales, Mrs Bailey’s business offered a property management service which included collecting rent. She traded under her own name, ‘E. H. Bailey’, and she was the first local real estate agent in Toowong. It was not until some time after World War II that suburban real estate agencies started to become established.

Elizabeth Bailey set about securing her family’s long-term financial security by developing an investment property portfolio, and in the process showed great shrewdness and business acumen. By the time she retired, the Bailey family owned a significant investment property portfolio in Toowong, with at least six properties identified (including the house at 109 Sherwood Road). All of the titles were bought as joint-tenants, as she placed her children’s names on the title deeds. Two of her children Bill and Edris, with their respective spouses, bought their family homes from properties which were part of this portfolio.

All of Elizabeth Bailey’s children are now deceased, and of her children’s spouses, only her daughter Edris’s husband Ron Archer is still alive. Her daughter-in-law Pat Bailey died just recently. She is survived by her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Both Pat and Ron referred to their mother-in-law as ‘Mrs Bailey’, a reflection of a time of more formality in inter-personal relationships than at present when people are more likely to be on a more informal first-name basis with their in-laws. Ron and his sister-in-law Pat were interviewed in 2003 and their memories about Elizabeth not only reveal interesting facets of her personality but also the depth of the respect and fondness that her children’s spouses have for their mother-in-law.

Ron (who was also in real estate) recalls:

Mrs Bailey was very ambitious for all of her children and she did all she could to assist them. My wife used to learn music from a music teacher who lived near Toowong State School in St Osyth Street.…She also learned Art of Speech.

My mother-in-law had shares in Blocksidge and Ferguson…Because of these shares she had a close association with the company. Her family had some shares too…and I attended a few of their Annual General Meetings on behalf of the family.

Mrs Bailey persuaded Bill to stand (I think Bill was reluctant) as an Independent candidate for the Ward of Toowong in the Brisbane City Council election. Although he did not win the ward, he had the highest vote of any independent in that election, so he was well supported and therefore did not forfeit his deposit! The Bailey family was well-known and it was felt generally that Bill would have made a good alderman and would do a good job if he was elected.

With a view to retiring, Mrs Bailey bought a block of vacant land on the corner of Dean and Elizabeth Streets. She built two two-bedroom maisonettes on it and lived in one and let the other. Later she bought the very old colonial cottage next door, the total land (including what had been a tennis court at the back) fronting Dean Street.

Pat Bailey (who married Bill) during WWII adds these memories:

When I first knew her, she operated her office in her house in Sherwood Road…My sister-in-law Edris, who later became Mrs Archer, used to do quite a lot of the work for her.

I had been training as a nurse in the General Hospital but, in those days, if you got married, you had to leave. I wasn’t very happy as a nurse so I wasn’t at all sorry to leave. Some months after I left, a law was brought in that, if you married a soldier, you simply had to go on with your training — but I didn’t finish my training! However, my mother-in-law, who was really very clever at this sort of thing, got me a job in the Taxation Department, so I worked there for the rest of the war. Bill’s mother was very resourceful!

[She] was indeed a very resourceful lady — she would let nothing beat her! She was very, very keen on politics. She belonged to the Queensland Women’s Electoral League (QWEL) and whenever there was an election, she used to go and help, and so on. She was, in fact, the first female member of the REIQ.

She was very good at managing. She could manage anybody’s life — and she did! I found that a little bit difficult to get on with but many years later, I became very fond of her. As a matter of fact, in 1953, Bill stood for the council election as an independent. His mother, of course, supported him in that and quite a lot of the people who had previously supported the Liberal party, came over and supported him. I did a trek all around Toowong knocking on people’s doors…I was a bit scared about the door knocking but I did it anyway. We apparently got quite a lot of votes. Bill didn’t get in…Anyway, we did well enough and Bill didn’t lose his deposit. That was when my mother-in-law and I became real friends — I realised what a fine woman she was.

Elizabeth Bailey passed away in March, 1956.

Plaque honouring Elizabeth Bailey

Plaque honouring Elizabeth Bailey

On 14 March 2012 the Toowong and District Historical Society placed a plaque honouring Mrs Bailey’s achievements at 109 Sherwood Road, Toowong, and Mrs Bailey’s descendants were invited to attend.

Afterwards, Mrs Bailey’s son-in-law, the late Mr Ronald Archer hosted TDHS members and guests to morning tea at the Toowong Uniting Church, the church attended by Mrs Bailey when she was alive.

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Ron Archer, Elizabeth Bailey’s son-in-law and Pamela Bennett, Chair REIQ

Charles Patterson

You can read more about Charles Patterson and his family and some of the history of Patterson’s Sawmills in the TDHS publication Charles Patterson: Toowong resident, sawmiller, contributor.

[Note: In many of the Scottish documents, the name is spelt as Paterson. To ensure consistency, the family’s spelling of the surname is used. Click on each image for a larger version.]

Charles_Patterson

Charles Patterson

Charles Patterson was one of the many early emigrants to Brisbane who contributed much to their new homeland. He established businesses, committed himself to his Church and became deeply involved in municipal affairs, becoming the first Mayor of Toowong.

Charles Patterson was a Scottish emigrant who was born in Newhills, Aberdeenshire, in the north-east of Scotland. He was the fourth of eight children born to William Patterson and Ann McKenzie. William Patterson was born about 1802 and he married Ann McKenzie, born about 1813, on the 03 August 1836 in the parish of Old Machar, Aberdeenshire.

At the time of his marriage, William was a farmer at Maidencraig, in the parish of Newhills, while Ann lived in Forbes Street, in the parish of Old Machar. Ann’s father was William McKenzie, a linen weaver and her mother was Margaret (maiden name was possibly Reith or Ruth).

 

 

There were 8 children born to William and Ann:

  • William born about 1837 at Newhills
  • James born 1839 at Newhills
  • Alexander born about 1840 or 1841 at Newhills
  • Charles born about 1843 at Newhills
  • Margaret born about 1845 at Old Machar
  • Hugh born about 1849 at Kinellar
  • John born about 1852 at Kinellar
  • Ann born on the 20 December 1854 at Kinellar.

By the 1851 census, the Patterson family was living at Kinellar, Muir of Glasgowego, where William had 28 acres.  James was not at home as he was visiting his grandmother, Margaret McKenzie, who lived in Donald’s Close (Schoolhill) while William was away working as a labourer.

In the 1861 census of Scotland, we find the family still at Kinellar. William is aged 59, born in Towie and living with him is his wife Ann aged 47, born Old Machar and the following children:

  • William aged 23 and a coachbuilder (carpenter), born Newhills
  • Charles aged 18 and a farmer’s son, born Newhills,
  • Margaret aged 16, a teacher of sewing, born Old Machar
  • Hugh aged 12 and a scholar, born Kinellar
  • John aged 9 and a scholar, born Kinellar
  • Ann aged 6 and a scholar, born Kinellar Towie.

James and Alexander are not at home in this census.  Alexander may well have died (no death record can be located for him) and James was living at 38 Frederick Street, in the parish of St Nicholas, and working as a tailor.

Sadly, the following year, in 1862, William junior died on the 30 December, 1862 at only 25 years of age. His death notice lists him as a railway coachbuilder. Eight years later, Ann died on the 28 February 1870 with the family now living at Rose Cottage.

In the 1871 census, taken on the night of 7/8 April, only two weeks prior to Charles and James leaving Scotland to come to Australia, living at Rose Cottage are:

  • Charles aged 28 a farmer’s son
  • William a farmer of 28 acres, aged 69
  • James aged 34, a tailor
  • Margaret aged 26
  • Ann aged 16.

Patterson_familyThe shipping records show that at the age of 28, Charles Patterson and his brother James, aged 32, travelled together from London as steerage passengers (third class) on the barque Indus and arrived in Brisbane on 21 July 1871.

The following year Hugh, aged 25, his father William aged 70, Margaret aged 24 and Ann aged 18 left London, again on the Indus, on the 10 April, 1872. Hugh and William travelled in steerage while the girls came as free passengers. The ship arrived in Brisbane on the 1st July 1872, almost 12 months after the arrival of Charles and James.

Charles initially worked as a gardener in the Botanic Gardens with Walter Taylor who later was the builder of the Walter Taylor Bridge at Indooroopilly. The Botanic Gardens, at this time, was a 32-acre reserve on a bend of the Brisbane River near Queensland Parliament House. He applied for land in 1871 but this application was rejected for ‘informality’.  The following year, his application was successful and he received 40 acres at Yeerongpilly as an immigration selection.

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Horse team pulling a log jinker in High Street, Toowong, ca. 1920
John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, Negative number: 15863

By 1873, Charles had started his sawmilling business.

On the 5th July, 1876 at 33 years of age, Charles Patterson of Bon Accord, Indooroopilly married Janet Mitchell at his father’s house in George Street, Brisbane. The bride was the daughter of John Mitchell and the former Isabella Leslie.

The Brisbane Courier Thursday 6 July 1876
PATTERSON—MITCHELL.—On the 5th July, at George-street, by the Rev. J. F. McSwain, Charles Patterson, of Bon-Accord Sawmills, Indooroopilly, to Jessie, daughter of the late John Mitchell, of Largie Insch, Aberdeenshire, Scotland.

Alex Christie was best man and the bridesmaid was Maggie de Louis Patterson. Charles and Janet had seven children:

  • Leslie Charles, who never married, and lived at Charles Patterson’s residence in Sherwood Road, Toowong (known as Kinellar) all his life. He was a great reader and loved all sport.
  • William, who married Jessie (née Donaldson) and lived at 167 Sherwood Road. He and his wife had no children.
  • Raymond, who lived at Moore and Linville, married Ethel (née Latter). Raymond and Ethel had a daughter.
  • Charles, who never married, loved antiques and lived at Redcliffe.
  • There were twins: John, who died at eight months, and Allan, who lived in Dunmore Terrace, Auchenflower. Allan, who married Elsie (née Davis), worked at Moore and Toowong. He and Elsie had four children who all worked at Toowong at some stage.
  • Jessie did not marry. She lived at Kinellar and looked after the family.

In 1883, William Patterson died and was buried in the Toowong Cemetery.

The Brisbane Courier Monday 26 February 1883
The Friends of Mr. WILLIAM PATTERSON are respectfully invited to attend his Funeral to move from his late Residence, Sherwood-road, Toowong, THIS (Monday) AFTERNOON, at 3.30 p.m., for Toowong General Cemetery.

By 1880, Charles was a member of the Toowong Divisional Board.

Janet (spelt as Jennet in the records) Patterson, Charles’s first wife died on the 25 June, 1889 and was buried in the Toowong Cemetery. She left a family of six young children.

The Queenslander Saturday 13 July 1889
PATTERSON.—On the 25th June, at Merivale-street, Toowong, Janet Mitchell, wife of Charles Patterson, aged 43 years.

Six years later, Charles married for a second time. His new wife was the former Barbara Paterson who brought the Scottish name of Skene into the family, harking back to the Scottish lands of Skene and Loch Skene which bordered the original family estate in Aberdeenshire.

The Brisbane Courier Monday 30 April 1894
PATTERSON – PATERSON. On the 25th April, by the Rev. James Crookston, Toowoomba, at the residence of the bride’s father, Prospect Hill, Well Camp, Charles Patterson, of Toowong, to Barbara, eldest daughter of William Paterson, of Prospect Hill, Well Camp, Toowoomba.

Barbara Patterson

Barbara Patterson

Charles had travelled halfway around the world to find not one but two brides who had lived almost next door in Scotland!

Charles and Barbara had six children from this marriage:

  • Jeannie, who married Heinrich Gessner, had four daughters, one of whom died as a young child. The Gessners lived in Curlew Street, Toowong
  • Twins, Alexander, who was killed in the First World War, and James, who married late in life
  • Gordon, who married Millicent Woodhead and had one daughter, lived in Macquarie Street, St Lucia, and worked all his life in the Toowong mill
  • Wallace, who married Phyllis Worley and had two sons, was killed on the Kokoda Trail, New Guinea, during WWII; and
  • Margaret, who married Malcolm Finlayson jnr, was the youngest of Charles Patterson’s children.
Kinellar

Kinellar

The Patterson residence, Kinellar, was built at the corner of Little Maryvale Street and Sherwood Road, Toowong. Kinellar was at first a single-storeyed dwelling, with a gabled roof and an attic, and featured timber decorations befitting a leading member of the industry. The name Kinellar was chosen in memory of the parish in which their farm was located in Scotland.

As well as his business pursuits, Charles had a number of other interests, He was the founding member and president of the Toowong Horticultural Society. He was committed to his church and on Sunday mornings, could be found arranging the flowers in the Toowong Presbyterian Church in Sherwood Road. He had an unbroken period of 38 years of service to this church, had been session clerk since 1905, and had occupied the highest office open to a layman.

He was very active in local government, serving as a divisional councillor on both the Indooroopilly and Taringa Shire Councils, the Toowong Shire Council and later as Mayor of Toowong for three terms. As well as his political interests, Charles Patterson was chairman of the first Toowong State School committee and was always a great supporter of the school.

Charles Patterson died on 4th January, 1926, aged 81. He was survived by his widow, eight sons and three daughters. A fitting tribute was paid to this esteemed emigrant by the Mayor, Alderman Jolly, who said of Charles:

He was indeed a worthy citizen and leaves behind him a splendid family of sons and daughters, which, after all is said and done, represents the best type of citizenship.

[Click on the thumbnails for larger images. There are additional photos of the Ferris family in the Gallery.]

Both these allotments belonged to Mr Thomas ‘Tom’ Ferris, the Toowong Station Master. Mr Ferris’s residence occupied allotment 104. Thomas Ferris had married Bridget Morton on the 9th April 1895.

Tom Ferris

Tom Ferris

When Tom and Bridget arrived in Toowong, they rented a house down by the railway line in Sylvan Road until they could afford to buy a property. Then at last they decided they could afford to purchase a block of land upon which to build their home. Tom had heard that there were blocks for sale around the Kate Street area, but when he went to inspect these, he found that there were only two blocks in the street available for sale. One was on the eastern side situated next door to the school on the top of the hill while the other was on the western side at the bottom of the hill.

Tom was enthusiastic about the block at the top of the hill because of the beautiful view it had. However, his wife reserved her opinion and declared that she wanted to have a look at the two blocks herself. So the next day, she walked around there to have a look and when Tom came home from work, she declared, ‘No way! You can buy the block on Sylvan Road, but not up there!’ She would be the one that would be pushing the stroller and carrying the groceries home, and there was no way she’d be carting them up the hill!

In his retirement years, Tom’s great source of pleasure was to sit in his squatter’s chair on the verandah, and watch the daily funeral processions make their way past his home along to the Toowong Cemetery. He would have his newspaper handy so he could look it up and see whether he knew the person about to be interred—and what religion they were! If it was a member of the Catholic Church, he would send for the children to come and stand erect beside him as a mark of respect, with hats off and the boys with a hand over their chest. He wasn’t so concerned about the Protestants in his midst. If he had gone ahead and bought on the top of the hill, this delight would not have been his.

When Tom’s son, William Ferris was to be married, Tom arranged for his block to be surveyed for re-subdivision. On 23 May 1939, the survey plan of allotment 102, which was a 16 perch block, was prepared and Mr Tom Ferris subsequently sold the allotment to his son, William ‘Bill’ Ferris. Sadly, Mrs William Ferris died, and later, Bill re-married. His second wife’s name was Mary. After she was widowed, Mrs Mary Ferris lived at 102 Sylvan Road until 2003.

Ferris house

102 Sylvan Road

Bill Ferris applied for permission to build his house on allotment 102 at a time when City Hall was in the final stages of a process of conducting a civic survey. This civic survey had been commissioned in 1934 when Alfred Jones became the Lord Mayor of the Brisbane City Council (BCC). One of his first acts as the new Lord Mayor was to re-institute a civic survey, which had almost completed when the City of Mackay and Other Town Planning Schemes Approval Act was passed in 1934. This act required elaborate definition of the area to be zoned and also required Ministerial approval of any town plan prior to publication in the Government Gazette. As result a new survey was instituted and R. A. McInnes was appointed on a part-time basis to prepare a new survey which would form the basis of ‘a living scheme’ to ‘shape, control and idealise the growth of Brisbane’. McInnes was appointed to the permanent staff as City Planner in April 1938. Eventually, the project was completed in May 1939 and zoning boundaries were defined thereafter.

Ferris_Blueprints_Sylvan_Rd_Subdivision_sml

Blueprints for subdivision

Thus, when Bill Ferris applied for permission to construct a house on the block, initially the BCC had reservations. It appears that under the BCC’s new Town Plan, which had to comply with the guidelines of the new Act, the block was considered too small to build a house on. Mrs Mary Ferris’ understanding was that this was the first time that the BCC was asked to approve the building a house upon a 16 perch block (probably in the Toowong area). It would seem that the difficulty resulted from the adoption of the new Town Plan. Lord Mayor Alfred Jones wrote a letter to the family (which Mrs Ferris still had) and proposed a truncation of the corner of the block. It seemed that permission to build on the 16 perch block was dependent upon the provision that the BCC be allowed to truncate the corner of the block. Lord Mayor Jones felt that truncation of all corners was necessary so that car drivers could have a better field of vision and thus prevent accidents. He could foresee that in future, car usage of the road would increase. This was done in this case and was probably the first truncation to occur in Toowong, and maybe even in Brisbane. In retrospect, it seemed that Lord Mayor Jones’ dream to introduce truncation all over the city of Brisbane did not eventuate. The reason is not hard to explain. The Jones’ administration used a financing strategy based upon debt, rather than rate increases which was electorally popular and the increasing levels of debt was causing significant disquiet in some quarters. The issue came to a head when war was declared and of avenues of debt raising through loans available to Council dried up completely. The Ferris family are of the opinion that their truncated corner was the first and probably the only one in Toowong – part of Alfred Jones’ grand vision for the future of the City of Brisbane, for which the necessary underlying financing was not forthcoming.

Bridget died in 1951 and Thomas died in 1954.

Mrs Mary Ferris was interviewed by Leigh Chamberlain on 25 February 2003.