14 March 2013

Stephen Tobin- Ch:4- Settlement in Tallebudgera, QLD

Settlement in Tallebudgera, QLD [i]

Stephen and Mary became pioneers of the Tallebudgera Valley (QLD) when it was opened up for selection on 4 October 1869, and Stephen selected two blocks of 80 acres and 320 acres. The following year he discovered that although the blocks he chose, Portion 16 and 20, appeared suitable, he wrote “when the wet season of 1870 set in, it was quite evident that the land was too low and not at all fit for agriculture or even healthy to live on. Still I tried and the wet season of that year confirmed my impressions of 1870.” He forfeited the land in 1872. Meanwhile in May 1870 he chose another block of 80 acres, Portion 21, which would become the heart of Tallebudgera township. In 1874 he purchased a further 400 acres.

The Brisbane Courier Wed 6 Oct 1869 p3 also has Crown Land Selection lists:
Of 58 applications the following were accepted:
Homestead Selections
Agricultural Land Stephen Tobin 40 acres Gilston (Parish of),
Pastoral Land 80 acres Gilston.

Tallebudgera on the Gold Coast, QLD

Land Allocation Map for Tallebuggera

Allocation of Land Selections- NB. there are three blocks assigned to Tobin on the left of the map and one in the main township

Taken from 
NB in this map, Tobin's block to the north of his other two blocks (see above map) has been subdivided and now owned by Leonard, Moylan and W. Dolan.

In 1852, the first landholder in the Burleigh Heads district was Alfred William Compigne from the Beaudesert area. His properties were known as Dungoogie and Murry Jerry runs. He later sold to William Ducket White and the lands were amalgamated and advertised for sale under one title, Talli Station.
James Cockerill leased the Dungogie run for five years with his brothers Benjamin and Edward, but forfeited it in 1869, selecting other land in Nerang. This became the Tobin land. The first applicant for land in Tallebudgera was William Dolan from Gerringong NSW, and others who selected land that year were James Dolan, Patrick Flynn and Stephen Tobin.

Tobin’s first selection in Nerang soon proved unsuitable during the wet season, so he forfeited his original selection and chose another selection in what is now the centre of the township of Tallebudgera, his land bordering Tallebudgera Creek. He would increase his holding to 465 acres on which he grew corn and maize.
The Queenslander Sat 10 Oct 1874 p2.:
At the Beenleigh Land Commissioner’s Court, on Friday October 2, the following selections were approved of:
S. Tobin, 400 acres pastoral, Tallebuggera

Stephen and his family moved there as of 1 June 1870, and called his property Mayberry. Whether this name had its origin from the Berry Estate is not known. Robert Longhurst suggests that the word Maberry was taken as the local Aboriginal name for the locality.
Stephen encouraged several families from the Kiama district to take up land grants, including his sister Catherine and her husband Timothy Guinea who arrived in 1871. His remaining four children would be born there.  On arrival in Queensland, the family’s supplies were carried by dray for about 12 miles from a wharf near the junction of Little Tallebudgera Creek and the Nerang River. This was a rough track first blazed by timber-getters in the area.

Typical Tallebudgera house in 1870 (this house belonging to the Veivers family)

In 1871, 39 people were living at Tallebudgera Creek. The Brisbane Courier Fri 2 Aug 1872 p.2: IMPORTS- on the City of Brisbane which sailed from Sydney, among other importers, 1 bag of seed, S. Tobin.
By mid 1872, there were over 60 residents in the area between Tallebudgera Creek and Currumbin Creek, described as ‘hardworking, struggling but prosperous.”  (The Queenslander 14 May 1872)

Farming at Tallebudgera

In 1873, an advertisement was placed in The Queenslander Sat 6 Dec 1873 p.1:
I HEREBY give 90 days Notice as required by Law, to S. Tobin, to ERECT his portion of the hardwood Three-rail FENCE dividing our farms; and also to assist at the Two-rail Fence on the same line when called on; or, __ Etc.
JOHN DWYER, Tallebuggera Creek
To S. Tobin, Tallebuggera Creek

The Queenslander Sat 25 Oct 1873 p.9 had an advert:
In the Estate of Wm Schmich- The insolvent was present. A debt was proved by Mr Boag of Beenleigh, representing Stephen Tobin, for £26.19.2d. Wearing apparel was allowed, the sitting closed.

 Stephen has been described by author Robert Longhurst, as an “especially literate and forthright man who figured as a prominent community leader”. He was also described as a “determined lobbyist, an articulate man who obviously had previous experience in rattling the bones of government. Tobin early on assumed a commanding role .  [ii]

The area was initially spelt 'Tallebuggera', which Stephen and other residents found offensive and vulgar. It is noticeable that Tobin’s letters to the Government consistently spelt it Tallebudgera, and the spelling was officially changed in 1876.

Stephen Tobin initially began clearing his land, felling the valuable cedar timber which had to be transported to Burleigh Heads where there was a saw pit. He employed local Aborigines to help clear his land for a shilling a day and rations. A visiting journalist described in The Queenslander, 20 September, 1973, p.10, ‘Country News by Mail- The Nerang River and the Southern Border’.:
I was at his place on a Sunday morning, when three of the blackfellows employed by him came up to get their breakfast, after which they asked for their Sabbath clothes, which were kept at the house for safety. Then they had a bath in the creek, and subsequently took a walk through the settlement dressed out most swellishly and the admired of all beholders. When they first engaged with Mr Tobin, they insisted upon having their wages every Saturday, but finding that their money could be depended upon they left it in his hands requesting him to buy clothing for them on his next visit to Brisbane, and saying that if they kept the cash themselves it would burn a hole in their pockets, and then they would be taking a trip to the next public house and spending it in drink, and making fools of themselves after the fashion of many white bushmen.

Timber fellers at Tallebudgera

The Brisbane Courier Tues 13 Aug 1878 p.5: The Season in the Southern Coast District:
At Tallebudgera, Messrs Andrews, Dwyer, Tobin, and others have got fine land and rich paddocks. Messrs Andrew make a good deal of cheese, and find ready sale for it at 9d. per lb. wholesale.

Stephen organised petitions in 1871 for a marine survey of the Tallebudgera Creek, the only suitable route for transporting the cedar felled in the area. He stated that a raft of cedar logs had been successfully rafted down the creek and towed to Brisbane, but a second attempt had failed with the raft breaking up and the logs scattered around Burleigh Heads. This route was fraught with problems and logs of cedar lined the banks of the river for decades. The farmers also desperately needed a quicker and more reliable route for transporting fresh produce such as grain. The survey was carried out by Commander Heath, Brisbane’s Port Master who concluded that the creek was not suitable as a navigable stream.[iii]

In 1875 Stephen wrote a letter to the Editor of The Queenslander, (Sat 16 Oct 1875 p.17) about the dangers of Nerang Creek Heads to shipping and suggesting the Government appoint a local, Richard Gardiner, as a pilot:

Journalists for “The Queenslander” described their travels through the area in the mid 1870’s, and made note of Tobin’s welcoming and convivial nature:

We had heard at Nerang of an accommodation-house at Tallebuggera- Mr Tobin’s. Let no one, however, imagine for a moment that Tobin keeps an accommodation-house or professes to do so. He finds himself sometimes in the presence of benighted travellers who want rest and accommodation, and to oblige them and discommode himself, like a genial-hearted Irishman as he is, he does the best he can for them for a consideration, and trusts to sharp appetites and weary bodies to do the rest. I again pause to make a remark, which is this- that one strong objection to Tobin’s is the bad tobacco he smokes; and I hope if he sees this that he will immediately sack the man he deals with, and grow his own.[iv]

From the beginning, Stephen Tobin was politically active. The "Queenslander", Saturday 22 November 1873 p4:
Meetings of the following Committees to secure the Return of P.H. Hind, Esq., will be held every Evening during the ensuing week before polling day, Friday next, 28th instant, viz:-
TALLEBUDGERA- Stephen Tobin, chairman; Sam W. Gray Esq, J.P., Joshua Bray, Francis McIntrye, John Johnson, and Samuel Andrews.
(Also committees listed for Beenleigh, Loganholm, Yatala, Alberton, Pimpama Island, Pimpama, Coomera, Nerang and Waterford.)

Foundation of Tallebudgera State School

Tallebudgera State School 1894

Beginning in mid 1872, as secretary of the School Committee, Tobin began lobbying for a school. He wrote several letters urging  the government to supply a school and teacher for the quickly growing community of Tallebudgera. The  residents were employing a Mr Coll as a teacher in a rented house which became a private school. (Tallebudgera- Brief History of its School and the District p1)
On 18th June 1872 Stephen Tobin wrote to Charles Coxen:

I write you this note to remind you of the promise you made me the other day at Beenleigh, viz; That you would see Mr McDonell relative to the School at this place, and that you would use your influence with him to make our school a vested one. I hope you will do all you can to forward the matter. I do not ask you in an official way but as a friend of the rising generation. I may here mention that our creek is increasing in population every month and all the newcomers are coming from the right place viz, New South Wales, they are all old Colonists and come here at their own expense. I believe in a very short time we shall have all the hard working settlers of the Tweed, as they cannot get a living on that River owing to our Tariff and the heavy freight to Sydney, as I told you we have promises for forty pounds. We have 27 children with every prospect of doubling that number at no remote day and as you know well, we are all hard up for cash, being scarcely able to pay our rent with the low prices, I hope you will endeavour to persuade Mr McDonell to recommend us to the Board for a little assistance to build our school. I have done all that man could do and after all I could raise no more than forty pounds and some of that I fear cannot be paid as the people’s hearts are better than their means. I know the Board have power to aid poor people. I firmly believe there never was a case presented to the Board more deserving their support than ours.
Hoping you will use your own influence on our behalf and that you will let me know the result at your earliest convenience.
                                                                        I am Sir,
                                                              Your Humble Servant.
                                                              Stephen Tobin
P.S. I forgot to inform you that Mr John Dwyer has given 2 acres of land out of his selection as a site for the school. Mr Tully, Under Secretary, has it from Dwyer in writing so he will be able to give Mr McDonell all information about the land.

On 5th August 1872, a further letter to the Board of Education again stressed the need for a school and outlined problems regarding the raising of money towards the cost of erection of the building:

R. MacDonnell Esq..
Secretary and General Inspector,
I am in receipt of your letter of 17th ultimo informing me that Mr Charles Coxen forwarded to your office two letters addressed to him by me in reference to the establishment of a vested school at this Creek and stating that the Board is always willing to give favourable consideration to my proposal for the establishment of a school and you request me to address myself directly to your office.
In reply I beg to state  for the information of the Board that the settlers on this creek requested me in April last to call a public meeting of the farmers for the purpose of raising funds for the erection of a school, I done so by advertisement in the “Queenslander” and the meeting took place on the 11th May last at which meeting a Treasurer, Secretary and Local Patrons were duly elected. A farmer named John Dwyer gave a grant of two acres of land as a site for the proposed school. The Secretary appointed at the meeting was authorised (by resolution) to write to the Under Secretary of lands requesting him to withdraw two acres of land from J. Dwyer’s selection and make it over to the local Board with the view of having it vested in the Board of Education, the land has been withdrawn from Dwyer, and is now ready to be vested in the Board, no doubt, Mr Tully has communicate to your office on the matter.
When I spoke to you last March in your office about this place, the population did not warrant the people to ask for a vested school, but since then the settlement is steadily advancing, the Government are opening new roads, repairing old ones, and building substantial bridges, this will be the means of inducing people to settle, and no doubt the proposed school will add to the above ten fold.
In January 1870 there was not a soul living on this creek, and in the short space of 2 ½ years we now muster over 70 of that number 27 are children under 15 years and I have good authority in stating that in a few weeks a man with 9 children will be added to our present number.
At the public meeting we got promises of aid to the amount of forty pounds but the low prices ruling for the only produce we raise, viz. maize, I am afraid we cannot collect much over half that sum. There is not a single man of wealth on the creek, everyone of us have nothing but what we make of our maize and when I state that we have to pay 5 pence per bushel land carriage and 4 pence per bushel water carriage, and the highest price for maize in Brisbane being only 2/6 to 2/8 per Bushel (wholesale). The Board will see that it is out of our power to contribute much towards the proposed building.
I have laid our case honestly before you and earnestly request that you will do all you can in getting the Board to give us a vested school, and grant us aid in its erection and furniture.
                                         I am Sir Your very Humble Servant
                                         Stephen Tobin
                                         Secretary Tallebudgera School

Fund raising efforts continued and by February 1875, ₤40. 4s. 6d had been subscribed by 32 subscribers and a further ₤20 6s. being promised by  a further 18. Land was donated by John Dwyer.

A Government officer was sent from Brisbane to inspect the proposed site for the school and wrote his report on the 25th March 1875. He was not pleased by the outcome, and it would appear neither was Stephen Tobin:

I beg respectfully to inform you of the result of my journey to Tallebudgera. I arrived at Nerang Creek by coach on Tuesday evening, no convenience from thence, I started on foot for Tallebudgera next morning Wednesday, March 17th 1875. Country flooded, arrived at Beenona Creek that evening, unable to proceed. Path stopped; stayed thereon Thursday, on that evening I sent a note by a man passing on horseback to Mr Tobin who is the Secretary of the School Committee requesting him to send me a conveyance, started next morning Friday, met Postman on the road who had brought a horse for me, by which I proceeded to Mr Tobin’s. He (Tobin) was away from home when I arrived there. I delivered my letter to him that evening. He called a meeting of the School Committee the next evening Saturday, the opinion expressed by them was, that the money was subscribed for a Primary School, and they would not spend a sixpence in erecting a Provisional School, unless the Board would allow them the amount so paid out, as part of the sum collected, for the Primary School. Mr Tobin said he would apply to the Board again, and asked me if I would wait until an answer was received from them, I agreed to do so, the next day he told me that he had further considered the matter and that he did not think it would be any use my waiting, as there was no likelihood of their getting the use of a Building suitable for a Provisional School. They were not disposed to spend any of the money collected for the Primary School, and he having a large family had no convenience for my staying. I asked him to give me a letter to you, he did so and I posted it, and started on my return to Brisbane on Monday the 22nd Inst., rain incessant and the Country flooded, the party who had offered the Building of the Provisional School was gone to Brisbane, and the Committee were not disposed to lay out any money in repairing it, and they also said they would not pay School Fees, I explained to them the Terms on which they could have a Provisional School, but they would not entertain them. I have thus been put to considerable expense and have had a toilsome journey to no purpose.
                                         Your most Respectful and Obedient Servant,
                                         Sam Goodwin.

On the 24th August a formal application for the establishment of a new school was lodged with the Department of Public Instruction. The schedule of children likely to attend the proposed new school included 5 children in the Dolan family, 2 named Gripschi, 2 named Dwyer, 4 named Guinea (Timothy and Catherine’s children), 7 named Leonard, 3 named Cockerill, 5 named Laver, 5 named Andrews and 8 children of Stephen Tobin, totalling 41.

The ‘Brisbane Courier’ 10 August 1877 p7, Public Notices had a list of Subscribers to Tallebudgera School Premises who have paid up- Total ₤63.13.6. Stephen Tobin one of the largest contributors, subscribing  ₤3. (One subscribed ₤6, and one ₤4, and two for ₤3, the remainder for less.) It concluded;
The School Committee beg to lend their warmest thanks to the above gentlemen who so liberally subscribed and assisted them.
Stephen Tobin
(Notably many of the subscribers came from elsewhere than Tallebudgera, including Brisbane, and two MP’s)

In 1876 the government wrote giving official approval for a school on the basis that the community contribute towards the cost of erecting the building.
16th November 1876;
The Secretary for Public Instruction has approved of a State School at Tallebudgera, provided one fifth of the cost of the buildings is locally subscribed. For this purpose the sum of ₤75 at least is required, and ₤80 should be raised if possible.
If any difficulty is found in raising funds this year, I would suggest that a School-room and outhouse only be erected in the first instance, and that the School be carried on for a time, as a Provisional School. As soon as the necessary funds were raised, and the attendance justified it, it could be converted into a State School. In this case the Committee would have to arrange for quarters for a Teacher and the School buildings would be leased to them at a nominal rent. If any building is available for a School-room, a Residence could be first built on the same terms. The site I find has been duly gazetted,
                               C. Graham,
                               Under Secretary.

Sufficient funds had been raised locally to finance one fifth of the building costs. The school was described by the first inspector as “exceeding well finished and pleasing to the eye”.[v]

A school teacher was appointed to the school in October 1877 and the Government officially opened the state school in 1878.
Stephen wrote a letter of appreciation, and polite reprimand, to C. J. Graham Esq.: [vi]

Your telegram dated 6th Inst. I received at noon this day.
I am glad to inform you that we had information from a private source that the Teacher for our school would arrive at Nerang this day, so that a Spring Cart was sent for the Master and his family, at daybreak, his luggage will also be here tonight, by bullock dray.
I am glad we had this information, as without it the Teacher would have to stay at Nerang this night.
Allow one here, Sir, to tender you my earnest thanks for your kindness in providing a Teacher for Tallebudgera so soon after completion of school Premises.
                               I am Sir, Your Very Humble Servant,
Stephen Tobin, Secretary

P.S. Sir, I would reply by Telegram, but I am 15 miles from Nerang, the nearest Telegram Station.

The shingle-roofed and pit-sawn timber school opened on 17th October 1877 with the 31 yr old Mr Richard Bamford  (arrived from England 1872) as teacher and by the 15th November he had enrolled 33 pupils, seven of whom were Tobins.
Following the opening of the school, Stephen Tobin relinquished his position of Secretary of the School Committee to Mr John Dwyer.

The Queenslander, in November 1877, reported on progress at Tallebudgera saying:
Two events have occurred here lately which I though you would hear of form an abler pen than mine. First, the State School was opened by the teacher, Mr R.E. Bamford, on Wedenesday 17th October, when thirty children of both sexes put in an appearance. Some of them never saw a schoolmaster before and were naturally shy and timid, but Mr Bamford's kindness soon banished all fear of him, and I am glad to state that the teacher is well satisfied with the progress made by the children in so short a time; etc

On 5th July 1878, the school Committee inspected the school and the Secretary, John Dwyer, informed the Department of Public Instruction, that,
 “The Children present a lively, clean, and healthy appearance, are apparently very diligent in their studies and attentive to their Teacher, whose kindness and courtesy has entirely won the love and esteem of them all.”

Accommodation House

Initially farming maize, and not one to miss a financial opportunity, in 1873 Tobin converted part of his dwelling into an accommodation house for travelers passing through from Nerang to the border. The building was destroyed by fire in 1877, the same year he opened the township’s first general store.
Two articles about the fledgling Tallebudgera community were written in “The Queenslander” in 1873 and 1874. They give an interesting insight into Tobin’s character, and the lifestyle of the small community.

The Queenslander
20 September 1973 page 10
The Nerang River and the Southern Border
Next there is Tallebudgera Creek- only one of the four creeks on which there has been much settlement. Here there are located nine families and ten farmers who are unmarried or have not their families with them making a total of 61 persons. They hold amongst them an area of 3354 acres of which 250 are cultivated. On the 1st January 1870 there was not one solitary farm on the creek. Agriculture is yet in its primitive stage here; there is not a plough in the whole settlement, the work of subduing the soil being done by the axe and hoe only. Several of the aboriginal blacks are employed to help in clearing the land; they receive a shilling a day and rations, but although very useful for a time, cannot be depended upon for a continuance.
Travellers on their way South can get accommodation at Mr Tobin’s house. He has about 400 acres of land, 30 of which were under corn last season; but as he has been clearing fresh ground, he expects to have a crop of 80 acres next year. I was at his place on a Sunday morning, when three of the blackfellows employed by him came up to get their breakfast, after which they asked for their Sabbath clothes, which were kept at the house for safety. Then they had a bath in the creek, and subsequently took a walk through the settlement dressed out most swellishly and the admired of all beholders. When they first engaged with Mr Tobin, they insisted upon having their wages every Saturday, but finding that their money could be depended upon they left it in his hands requesting him to buy clothing for them on his next visit to Brisbane, and saying that if they kept the cash themselves it would burn a hole in their pockets, and then they would be taking a trip to the next public house and spending it in drink, and making fools of themselves after the fashion of many white bushmen. The nine families on the creek are well endowed with children, with “liberty to add to their numbers”- a privilege which apparently is freely exercised. One of the farmers has seven olive branches. But these children are growing up without the benefit of a school and even were their fathers in every case able to teach them, a man who has been wielding the axe of hoe all day in the hot sun is more inclined at night for his bed than to act as a pedagogue. With the exception of one German, the whole of the settlers are immigrants from across the border of New South Wales and a considerable proportion of them are natives of Australia. They form certainly, a useful class of settlers, and the introduction has cost the colony nothing- not even the issue of a land order. They have, therefore, some sort of right to expect that their legitimate requirements should receive a degree of consideration from the Government. The case being a special one, it would scarcely be unfair to the rest of the colony to establish a public school here, even although the number of children attending might at first be lower than what the regulations of the Board of Education require. But, beyond all doubt, these 61 persons have a thorough right to demand that the road running through their settlement, which is one of the main roads between Brisbane and NSW, should be made passable in ordinary weather. It was a perfect slough when I saw it, and after a day or two’s rain, traffic by vehicles becomes impossible. In one place the farmers have cut a new line of their own labor, but that will soon become as bad as that which it has superseded. At the outside, only a couple of miles or so in the way of farming and draining the Main Brisbane and Tweed-road and the track to the coast, by which produce is taken to market, will be required. Frost is almost entirely unknown in this climate, and the settlers would grow sugar cane, with every chance of profit, were there a mill on the creek.
From the cultivated part of Tallebudgera to the mouth of the creek is Burleigh Head a distance of 5 miles. A small sum would put the road in good order, and it affords the only route by which produce can be taken to market. A couple of swamps have to be crossed, which could be made passable by a small outlay. A new line of road over ridges has been surveyed, but nothing has been done to make it, beyond surveying, which is probably as well, because an unnecessary expenditure would have to be incurred. Owing to the badness of a part of the present road, along the creek, although that along the coast is naturally all that could be desired, a charge of 5 pence per bushel is made by teamsters for taking maize to the heads of Nerang River, whence it is shipped to Brisbane at a cost of 12 shillings per ton. The Tallebudgera Creek is not included amongst the navigable waters of the southern coast, for although entitled for a portion of its course to be called a river, it has a bar at its mouth where the water is shallow. Some time back a raft of cedar logs was successfully taken down the creek and towed to Brisbane, but a second attempt resulted in failure, through some mismanagement, the raft broke up, and ever since then the Tallebudgera has ceased to be considered navigable. (Writer continues about Burleigh Head.)

The Queenslander
1 August 1874 page 7
Burleigh Head has been surveyed and laid out for a township by the Government. The land has been taken up but yet no road has been made to it. Burleigh Head, with thy magnificent beach, with thy rugged bluff, with thy glorious hills and dales, I must leave thee for ever!
 I find I have been spooning over this really charming spot; but in order to disarm prejudice, let me say that although the land has been surveyed and sold, I do not own a perch- more’s the pity. However, I must on. From Burleigh Head back to Cockerill’s is 18 miles; and if others who may visit this spot will stay lingering as long at the “pebbly strand” as I did, they will want accommodation and refreshments, without having to ride that distance for it. We had heard at Nerang of an accommodation-house at Tallebuggera- Mr Tobin’s. Then back from Burleigh Head across Reedy Creek, leaving Reedy Creek to the left and following the marked Government road to Tallebuggera Creek, across Tallebuggera, and Tobin’s is on the summit of a hill to the right, about 5 minutes’ ride. Let no one, however, imagine for a moment that Tobin keeps an accommodation-house or professes to do so. He finds himself sometimes in the presence of benighted travellers who want rest and accommodation, and to oblige them and discommode himself, like a genial-hearted Irishman as he is, he does the best he can for them for a consideration, and trusts to sharp appetites and weary bodies to do the rest. I again pause to make a remark, which is this- that one strong objection to Tobin’s is the bad tobacco he smokes; and I hope if he sees this that he will immediately sack the man he deals with, and grow his own.
Enterprise and energy is a marked feature of the residents of Mudgeereba and Tallebuggera. At  the latter place alone, within the last four years, about 600 acres of scrub land have been cleared and made ready for the plough.
Between Mudgeereba and Tallebuggera there are located about 136 souls, and one great want of the district for the young folks is an itinerating schoolmaster. At the latter place from 20 to 25 children could be got together at any time. Representations, it is said in the district, have been made to the Board, but beyond the fact that a site has been reserved for a school, nothing further has been done. Can nothing be done for these bright-eyed, rosy-cheeked youngsters?
One has only to visit this part of the country, which is within a couple of hours ride of our Southern border at the Tweed River, to see the necessity that exists for some effort being made by the powers that be to secure the trade of the Tweed; everything there is languishing from the fact that there is no easy means of getting the produce of the district to a market.
If something is not done speedily, many of the holdings will have to be abandoned, as men will find it more profitable to work for wages elsewhere than to raise produce, and see it waste before them.
A visit to the district will, I am sure, be sufficient to satisfy the most sceptical. Having exceeded the fair limits allowed to a wandering scribe, I will now conclude with the wish that others may enjoy the trip as much as I did, and when they return fill up in your columns the many interesting details that I have overlooked for want of keeping notes by the way

In 1873, Tallebudgera hosted the first horse race on the South Coast, and in 1877 a racecourse and cricket club opened. Tallebudgera boasted an annual race meeting from 1879, and had an enthusiastic team of cricketers who challenged teams from other nearby communities. Sports seemed to play an important part in the young community. In 1878 the first combined team of Nerang, Coomera and Tallebudgera cricketers met a Brisbane team at Nerang.

In 1876, Tobin opened the first store in Tallebudgera, and the following year, 1877, the first Roman Catholic Church in the southern districts, (originally called "All Saints" when listed in the Brisbane Catholic Directory of 1880, and dedicated to St Malachy by 1892) with the support of Father Scortechini, a pioneering priest from Logan who visited every three months. A cemetery was established beside the church, and although the church has long gone, the cemetery on Trees Road remains (at 48-58 Trees Road). One source (goldcoast.com.au/about-gold-coast/gold-coast-history-2.html- the old Gold Coast Bulletin website) stated that Tobin donated the land, but other sources such as author and historian Robert Longhurst state that William Dolan donated the land. Maps clearly indicate that the church was built on Tobin's land. 
(My grateful thanks to Susan Cokley who shared her knowledge, and maps she found showing the boundaries of Tobin's land and the exact location of St Malachy's Church). 
It is known that Margaret, wife of William Dolan was responsible for the fundraising for the church. As the Dolans also came from Gerringong at around the same time, and were Irish Catholics of similar age to the Tobins, no doubt there was a long-standing close friendship between these families. Many members of the Dolan family are buried in the small historical cemetery.
(Ref: Patrick J. Tynan, Pioneer Priest and Botanist: The Life Story of Benedetto Scortechini, 1989 Toowoomba,  pp.44-45)

The Queenslander Sat 9 Oct 1875 p4

Tallebudgera Catholic Church in 1904

One of Tobin's  blocks of land (No. 21) in centre of Tallebudgera township divided by Trees Road on which the positions of St Malachy's Catholic Church and Tobin's Post Office are shown.

Maps showing lot 7 on section 21- which is St Malachy's RC Church and cemetery site
(courtesy of Susan Cokley)

Tobin subdivided his block no. 21 in 1884, selling the blocks privately, including one to the Government for a police barracks and lock-up, marked on the above map as 'Police reserve'- as reported in the Brisbane Courier Sat 12 April 1884 p.6:

The opening of the Tallebudgera school and the Catholic Church were reported in The Queenslander Sat 17 November 1877 p8:


Stephen Tobin gave a speech at the opening of the Tallebudgera Presbyterian Church in 1888 during which the Catholics were thanked for their contribution and in return Tobin acknowledged that the Protestants in the community had subscribed to the building of their Catholic Church and that one good turn deserved another, which was reported in The Queenslander Sat 1 Sept 1888 p368: 

Reminiscences of the opening of the RC Church, and old residents of Tallebudgera, were reported in 1929 in the South Coast Bulletin (Southport), Fri 2 August 1929 p8:

Stephen's interest in the political scene continued and he was often reported as canvassing for local electoral nominees. Voting in elections was conducted at his premises.
An advertisement in The Queenslander Sat 20 Sept 1873 p4:
All Electors whose names are on the Roll of the LOGAN ELECTORATE are hereby notified that they can obtain their Electors’ Rights by applying at the following places:-
Beenleigh Court-house; Coomera Post Office; Nerang Creek Post Office; Mr Stephen Tobin, Tallebudgera; etc.

In September 1877, Tobin posted a Notice in the newspaper that he was making application to the Court of Petty sessions:
 “for a License to enclose the road running through Selection No.122, Beenleigh district, the property of the applicant, on which road it is intended to erect swing-gates, according to the Enclosure of Roads Act of 1864.”
(Brisbane Courier 1 Sept 1877)

In 1879, Tobin applied for a Certificates of Fulfilment of Conditions on 350 acres, which was granted on 16 August 1879:

Logan Witness (Beenleigh), 2 August 1879 p2

Logan Witness (Beenleigh), 16 August 1879 p3

(continued next chapter)

© B.A. Butler

Email contact: butler1802 @hotmail.com (no spaces)

Link back to Introduction:

Links to all other chapters in this blog:

Tobin and Driscoll family in Tipperary Ireland

Tobin family settle in Gerringong, NSW, Australia in 1857

Tobin family settle in Tallebudgera Queensland in 1870

Life at Tallebudgera for the Tobin Family until 1892

Tobin family move back to NSW and Western Australia- deaths of Stephen and Mary

Stephen Tobin's sister Catherine Tobin- marriage to Timothy Guinea

Bushrangers in the family

Stephen Tobin's sister Ellen Tobin- an Irish female orphan immigrant in 1850

Stephen Tobin's daughter Katherine Tobin- marriage to Adolph Poulsen

Sons of Stephen Tobin and Mary Driscoll

Daughters of Stephen Tobin and Mary Driscoll

Irish Roots of Tobins, Driscolls, O'Briens, and Whites

[i] Useful source of information on Tallebudgera: Centenary Tallebudgera Presbyterian/Uniting Church 1888-1988, compiled by Reg & Heather Schuster, 1988, and a reprint of the Brief History of the Tallebudgera School and the District 1877-1988, compiled by John Elliott 1977
[ii] Robert Longhurst, Tallebudgera to the Tweed, Gold Coast City Council 1996, p.40
 Robert Longhurst, Nerang Shire: A History to 1949, Albert Shire Council 1994, p.62 
[iii] The Queenslander Sat 3 June 1871 p.6- Tallebudgera Creek- G.P. Heath Commander R.N. Portmaster- Report
[iv] The Queenslander, 1 August 1874, p.7, ‘Out for a Holiday II’
[v] Report of the Secretary for Public Instruction, 1878, vol. 1, p.1097 (Qld State Archives)
[vi] Report of the Secretary for Public Instruction, 1878, vol. 1, p.1097 (Qld State Archives)