A BROOKFIELD FARMHOUSE

Researching this house at Brookfield took me back to the very early days of European settlement in the district. The land was purchased  by members of the pioneering Brimblecombe family when the area was first opened up for sale. Indeed the part of the land on which the house sits remained in the ownership of the descendants of this family for 122 years. The house is much younger however. It was built as a home for newlyweds, George Harpur Jones Junior and Stella Dalrymple (née Walker) in about 1932. They lived together in the house for over forty years. It had changed little from the time it was built until it was purchased by the current owners in 2015. It has since been re-located on the block to make way for the construction of a large new house. Now beautifully renovated for use as a guest house, it will no doubt be around for many more decades to come.

BROOKFIELD HISTORY


The area that is now the Brisbane suburb of Brookfield, was within the exclusion zone of the Moreton Bay Penal Colony. However, after Moreton Bay was opened to free settlement, the rich timber reserves of the area west of Brisbane Town were harvested from as early as the 1850s. The logs were hauled by bullock teams to Moggill Creek, where they were rafted down the Brisbane River to the sawmills in Brisbane. The names of Rafting Ground Reserve and Rafting Ground Road are a reminder of this early industry. In 1875, Charles Patterson also established the “Bon Accord” steam sawmill at Brookfield and some of the timber was then sent there as well. 

Several farm selections were taken up in the area in the late 1860s. These early residents grew crops including lucerne, pineapples and bananas. The district was first known informally as Moggill Creek and Indooroopilly, but it is often cited that Lucinda Brimblecombe, from one of the earliest European families in the district, suggested the name Brookfield in the late 1860s.

Transporting timber by raft down Moggill Creek, c1891 (left) and bullock teams at the Brookfield Sawmill, c1890 (right) (State Library of QLD)

Regardless of its origins, the name Brookfield was certainly in regular usage by 1871, when a series of newspaper articles were published extolling the virtues of the settlement. This same year, Brookfield State School opened and three years later, a teacher's residence was built for the school. This building was later relocated and is now the Brookfield General Store and Cafe. Brookfield Post Office opened on 12 August 1876 and Brookfield Cemetery was opened in 1882. 

In addition to fruit growing, dairying first began in the 1880s and also became an important industry in the area. The successful agricultural and pastoral pursuits of the district were the impetus behind the formation of the Brookfield and Moggill Show Society in 1905. The idea of this organisation was to hold an annual show to help promote the district and its produce. 

The first Brookfield Show was held in 1906 and a fourteen acre reserve on which to permanently hold the show was declared in 1911. The show continued until 1926 and then resumed in the 1950s. The Brookfield Showgrounds remain in use for the show today, as well as for a variety of other events. 

Descriptions of Brookfield from 1871

Cutting lucerne at Brookfield, 1912

A homestead at Brookfield, 1922

A banana farm, 1922 

A view over the suburb, 1932 (State Library of QLD)

Gold Creek and Gold Creek Road were so named because of the early discovery of gold in the area. A few payable amounts seem to have been found over the years and the 1920s saw a resurgence of interest in the area. A number of larger mining concerns were established and remnants of mines can be found scattered throughout the suburb.

Gold Creek was dammed in the early 1880s and Gold Creek Reservoir was completed in 1885. The reservoir featured the first concrete stepped spillway in the world at the time. The dam supplied water to the Kenmore area by gravity feed until 1919 and was connected to Enoggera Dam in 1928. It was then used to supply water to Brisbane, a use that continued until it was decommissioned in 1991.

Outing at Gold Creek, Brookfield, c1890 (left) and Gold Creek Reservoir, c1895 (right) (State Library of QLD)

Reports of gold discoveries at Brookfield

THE LAND


James Brimblecombe


When land at Brookfield was first opened up for selection by the Government, a gentleman by the name of James Brimblecombe took advantage of these early land sales. He purchased seventy-one acres for £10 15s on 24 April 1869. This land was bordered by Gold Creek on the north, west and east and what would become Gold Creek Road, to the south. The subject property is today located on part of this land. He also purchased three other land holdings nearby in the same year, including a huge 515 acre portion, east of today’s Boscombe Road.

Brimblecombe was living in Maitland, in the Hunter Valley District in New South Wales when he bought the land in Brisbane. On relocating to Brisbane shortly after, he built a small, rough house made from slabs of hardwood and roofed with timber shingles. He christened the home Bannerfield and he was joined there by his wife and children in August 1869.

Maps showing two of Brimblecombe’s allotments

Brimblecombe’s Land Purchase Certificate for Portion 220. The subject house today sits on part of this land.

James had married Lucinda (née Logan) in 1861. She is the woman credited with naming Brookfield.  Lucinda was the sister of James' first wife, Anne, who had died in 1860. He and Anne had two sons together and he and Lucinda had a daughter by the time they relocated to Brisbane. The small slab home must have been quite crowded, especially when another two daughters arrived in 1871 and 1873. Most likely as a result of this need for more space, the Brimblecombes built another house, Fairview, on another portion of land along Moggill Creek in about 1876.

The Brimblecombes prospered at dairying and agriculture and sold butter and eggs. James was involved in establishing and building the first church in the area and also in the provision of the first school. The school commenced operation from the church building in March 1871. This church building survives and is now Brookfield Uniting Church.

James and Lucinda Brimblecombe

The Brimblecombe family in front of Fairview in 1887 (left) and the house in the 1920s (right) (State Library of QLD)

When Gold Creek Reservoir was completed in 1885, the water supply pipeline to Kenmore was constructed through the Brimblecombe’s land on Gold Creek. The pipeline approximately followed the alignment of Gold Creek Road.

In September 1890, James Brimblecombe sold his portion of land along Gold Creek to his wife’s brother, Whitmore Logan. Lucinda and James remained at Fairview together until Lucinda’s death in 1912. James passed away three years later and the couple are buried under an impressive headstone in Brookfield Cemetery.

James and Lucinda's children remained in the district and this early pioneering family is commemorated by Brimblecombe Circuit at Pullenvale.

The pipeline from Gold Creek Reservoir through the Brimblecombe’s land 

Whitmore Logan


Whitmore Logan purchased James and Lucinda’s 71 acres of land on Gold Creek in September 1890. He already owned significant land in the area, as did other members of the Logan family. His holdings included a total of close to 350 acres on the northern side of Gold Creek, part of it directly across from Brimblecombe’s land. 

Whitmore was born in New South Wales in 1844 and had married Harriet Josey on 7 February 1876. For reasons that aren’t clear, five years after Whitmore bought the land, it was transferred into his wife’s name. Again, for unknown reasons, the property passed back to James Brimblecombe in 1898. Although Whitmore and Harriet resided at Brookfield during their period of ownership, it couldn’t be confirmed if they lived on this portion of land or not.

Whitmore’s land on the northern side of Gold Creek

Whitmore and Harriet had thirteen children together. Astoundingly, five of their seven sons served in the First World War. Thomas James (born 1877), Whitmore Charles (born 1882), Alfred John (born 1886) and Josey Matthew (born 1895) all served in the Second Light Horse Division, whilst Peter Albert (born 1890), was in the Field Artillery. During the Gallipoli campaign, Thomas was killed in action and Josey was severely wounded. Josey was no longer fit for duty and was discharged and returned home. Peter was also later wounded and invalided home before the end of the war.

Making this period an even more tragic time for the Logan family was the death of patriarch Whitmore Senior in 1917. He passed away before he could see his final two sons, Alfred and Whitmore, return safely from the front. Although Harriet was to see all her surviving sons once more, she herself died shortly after the war, in 1920. 

Although this branch of the Logan family had relocated west of Brisbane to Forest Hill before the war, they retained land and familial ties in the Brookfield area. Their family was commemorated in 1922, when a new estate at Brookfield was named after them.

Whitmore, Josey and Alfred Logan

The Logan Estate at Brookfield, 1922 (State Library of QLD)

THE HOUSE


The Jones Family


In February 1901, a month after Australia both celebrated Federation and mourned the death of Queen Victoria, James Brimblecombe transferred the property to his twenty-eight year old daughter, Alice Martha Jones. The 71 acre property seems to have been transferred to her under a type of “rent to buy” scheme, as a Bill of Encumbrance is recorded on the Certificate of Title, requiring Alice to pay a weekly sum to her parents.

Alice was a student teacher at Brookfield State School and had married George Harpur Jones in August 1900 at Fairview. George was born in about 1870 in Georgeham, in northern Devon, England, to farmer George Harpur Jones Senior and Mary, née Webber. Mary died in January 1881, likely as a result of complications following the birth of the couple’s second daughter, Ann. Only a year later, the widowed George Jones Senior, his six children and his two unmarried sisters, emigrated to Australia aboard the Compta. The family initially lived on Norwood Street, Toowong and George Harpur Snr worked as a labourer, whilst his sons, George and Ebeneezer, were employed as a grocer’s assistant and clerk, respectively. The family may also have owned horses or cattle however, as in 1884, they registered the brand “G1J”.

George and Alice on their wedding day

The transfer to Alice and Bill of Encumbrance on the Certificate of Title  (left and middle) and George and Alice’s wedding notice (right)

Alice and George relocated to their 71 acres at Brookfield shortly after receiving the land from Alice’s father. In 1903, the couple had their first child, also called George Harpur. To try to avoid confusion with three members of the family having the same name, they were known on official documents as George Harpur Jones, Senior; George Harpur Jones, The Younger and George Hapur Jones, Junior. Another son, Silas Stephens, followed in 1905. They then had two girls, Alice Edna in 1908 and Mary Lucinda in 1912.

George and Alice subdivided their property on Gold Creek into three in 1903. They sold one portion, Subdivision 1, measuring just over nine and half acres, but retained the other two lots, Subdivisions 2 and 3. This reduced the total size of this land holding to just over 61 acres. Subdivision 2 made up the bulk of the land, measuring about 60 and a half acres, whilst Subdivision 3 was only about half an acre. The subject house would later be located on part of their Subdivision 2.


George and Alice with their children (L-R): Alice Jr, George Jr, Mary and Silas 

Whilst still running their farms, George and his brother, Silas, also worked on the construction of the water pipeline between Gold Creek Reservoir and Enoggera Dam in 1928. This work was all done by hand, with no heavy earth-moving equipment. The 36” cast iron pipe crossed Gold Creek and passed through the Jones’ farm. This turned out to be very useful, as during floods, it was often the only way of crossing the creek and getting the cattle to the dairy for milking.

In August 1932, the Jones’ further split up their land. The western side of the lot, measuring just  under 15 acres, was transferred to their eldest son, George Harpur Jones Jr. 

George Harpur Jr’s portion overlaid on a 1946 aerial photograph, showing the location of the subject house

George Jr had married Stella Dalrymple Walker on 16 July 1932, so it seems possible the land may have been a wedding gift from George’s parents. Stella was a school teacher near Gympie before her marriage and was the daughter of Thomas Lewis Walker and Alice Evelyn, née Cooper. 

As a house is shown on their block of land in the 1946 aerial photo, it must have been built some time between 1932 and 1946. The architectural style of the cottage, known as a “nested porch double-gable”, is consistent with a date of construction in the late 1920s or early 1930s. The house was built by George and his father, using the best quality timber and located on the highest part of his property and close to the road. 

George, Stella and a nephew at the cottage c1950s

George and Stella

George and Stella didn’t have any children of their own, so they adopted two. The children worked hard on the farm, helping their parents tend crops of sugar cane, corn, green peas and lucerne. The latter crops were used as cattle fodder and were processed in the barn using a chaff cutter. They also had horses and pigs on the farm, however dairying was the main concern. The family had a herd of about thirty cows and had a milking shed behind the house with eight bails. The milking was done by hand and the whole family was involved.

Initially they only sold the cream from the milk, which required a separator. A second building was constructed near the barn and milking shed for this purpose. The separator was operated by hand, the cream was then deposited into cream cans, which were picked up on the roadside and delivered to Indooroopilly Railway Station. They then travelled to the Pauls Milk Factory at West End. In the days before refrigeration, this meant that the family often had to get up at 2am as the milk or cream had to reach Brisbane whilst still fresh. After their chores, the children would then have to walk the approximately two miles (3.2km) to Brookfield State School. They repeated this and the milking in the afternoons, as well as doing their homework.

The milking shed with the subject house in the background

George and Stella lived together in the house for over forty years. During this time, dairying became a much less profitable concern and although they continued to supply a small amount of fresh milk, they also sold off a large amount of their land. George’s parents remained on the neighbouring allotment to the east of them, as did George’s brother, Silas. Silas had married Florence Elizabeth Jones on 25 April 1931 and received his own portion of land from his parents in 1936.

In 1949, Silas took over ownership of the remainder of his parent’s land and the original Jones family homestead. George Harpur Sr was about 80 by this date and likely getting too old to manage the property. He and Alice moved to Indooroopilly and he died two years later, on 31 October 1951. His wife, Alice, passed away in 1964, aged 91. Both are buried at The Brookfield Historical Cemetery & Memorial Gardens. Jones Road at Brookfield, which runs through their former land, remains as a tribute to these long-term residents of the area.

George and Alice’s headstone and Jones Road at Brookfield

In October 1961, George Jones Jr subdivided his property and transferred a portion to his nephew, David Silas Jones. George and Stella retained just under six acres. 

George reconfigured his land holdings again in April 1973. At this date, he owned two adjacent allotments on Gold Creek, one measuring just under six acres and the other was just under fifteen acres. He amalgamated these two properties and then re-subdivided them. This produced the current parcel that the subject house sits on, of 10 acres, 3 roods, 24 4/10 perches or 44 120m2. It also generated a second parcel that was about ten acres.

In 1980, aged 77, George was still recorded as a farmer at the address. After Stella passed away in December 1988, George remained at the property until he sold it in April 1991. This saw the end of 122 years of ownership by the Brimblecombe/Logan family and their descendants. It was a difficult decision for George to make and he was broken hearted at having to move out of the house and into an aged care facility. He passed away five years later and he and Stella are buried with his parents in the Brookfield Cemetery.

George Jnr and Stella buried with George's parents at Brookfield Cemetery

The house subsequently passed through a number of owners, before being purchased by the current family in 2015. They have since constructed a striking modern home on the site, designed by renowned architect Shaun Lockyer. The Jones family cottage has been relocated on the site and rotated 180 degrees. It has been renovated and is now used as a guest house for the property. It retains many of its original features and the overall character of the original design. No doubt George and Stella would be happy to know that their home will be around for many more years to come!

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NOTES

This is only an extract from the full history I uncovered for this house. References citing the sources of  the information contained in this report have been omitted from this online version to make it easier to read. Some images and maps have also been cropped to show details more clearly. Please contact me if you would the details of any references, or if you want to know where to find the full size versions of the images and maps.

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