I think I can just about claim to be a local to the Central Highlands region of Queensland. I’m proud of the fact that all four sets of my great-grandparents and some of my great-great grandparents were pioneers in this area.
My paternal great-grandfather, John Baker, was born at Wollombi, NSW, in 1864. He came to the Capella area in 1888, where he worked as head stockman at Cotherstone Station. In 1889 at Inverell he married Amelia Marsh, and returned to Cotherstone with his new bride. In about 1897 John moved his family to Capella where he operated a butcher’s shop, then worked at the hotel and had horse teams prior to purchasing a nearby cattle property, Malthoid, in 1910. He and Amelia lived at Malthoid until their deaths in 1930 and 1952.
My father’s maternal grandfather, Richard Eddy (Dick), was born in 1851 in Geelong, Victoria. He married Mercy Limpus in Rockhampton in 1880. Mercy had emigrated from England at the age of twelve with her widowed father, William Limpus, who worked on the railway line at Westwood. Dick Eddy had teams at Lilyvale and moved to Capella when the railway line arrived there. He carried wool from Capella to Rockhampton via Marlborough and would be away from home for six months on a trip. In 1913 he bought Hillview at Capella but soon afterwards he and Mercy moved to Rockhampton where they lived until their deaths in 1920 and 1942.
My mother’s paternal grandfather, Robert Purvis, emigrated from Scotland and married Emma Beaumont at Rockhampton in 1879. Emma’s father was a teamster at Westwood and Robert Purvis had bullock teams, carrying wool down the Dawson River. He originally selected “Glenmorgan” in partnership with William Scott but in 1880 purchased a property near Banana which he named Drumberle. He phased out sheep in favour of cattle and established a Clydesdale stud, crossing them with Thoroughbreds to breed cavalry mounts for the Indian market. Ill health forced him to retire to Emu Park in 1902. Stuart Barrett, who had married Robert’s daughter Beatrice, later purchased the property. Four of Robert’s five sons, Robert (Bob), John (Jack), William (Bill) and Henry (Harry) took up properties in the Clermont area. Robert Senior died in 1919 and Emma in 1932.
My mother’s maternal great-grandfather, Charles Paine, was born at Port Macquarie in NSW in 1843 and came to Queensland as a young man. He worked as a jackeroo in the Roma district where he married Mary Smart in 1866. They lived at Cornwall Station and Bungewogaria Station near Roma. Later he went into partnership with Henry Roberts at Cooroorah Station on the Mackenzie River. The Aborigines were very hostile and Mary had to hold off attacks with the help of an Aboriginal girl to load her rifle. This led Charles to accept the management of Collaroy Station in the Broadsound district. In 1892 he took over the management of Bladensburg Station at Winton.
Their son Frederick was born at Euthella, Roma in 1870 and married Lucy Ussher in 1891. Lucy’s father, Neville Ussher, was a mining engineer at Cawarral. Frederick and Lucy lived at Bladensburg where their two daughters were born but sadly Lucy died after giving birth to the second child in 1894. Their firstborn was my grandmother Lil who lived at Bladensburg until she was five, when she went to her Ussher grandparents who were now at Mount Morgan. Frederick Paine passed away at Longreach in 1929.
My grandparents have their own stories but I will save them for another day.
John Thomas and Amelia Ellen Baker, 1889