14 March 2013

Stephen Tobin- Ch:5- Life at Tallebudgera

 During the 1880’s Stephen Tobin’s community leadership continued. He also expanded his business interests in the rapidly developing township of Tallebudgera.[i]

The Brisbane Courier 4 June 1881, reported  that :
“Our local mail contractor Mr Stephen Tobin is making complaint of the bad state of the main road after passing Tallebudgera and before meeting the border line. Nothing in the shape of repairs to this road has been done for some years, and it must not be in a most deplorable state, as it passes for the most part, through scrubby country.” In 1884 the Qld Government voted £2,500 for a proper road to the border from Tallebudgera, and a bridge was erected over Tallebudgera Creek.

In June 1881 Tobin chaired a Railway meeting at Mudgeeraba to urge for a line from the metropolis to the Tweed. (Brisbane Courier 1 June 1881 p.6) The report said:
The attendance which was good comprised the leading landholders of the district. Mr S. Tobin, who was voted to the chair, read the advertisement, convening the meeting, and said he was pleased to see the district so well represented in the meeting. He trusted that with the help of the initiators of the movement they would be able to soon to congratulate themselves on a successful issue. Resolutions were passed and a committee formed.
It was discussed that a line had been built to Nerang. Subsequently, it was proposed that it be extended to the border. Three routes were surveyed between Nerang and the border, the “Lower Route” being preferred, as the one past Tallebudgera known as the ‘Upper Route’ was considered more circuitous and difficult to construct. In May, Tobin led a delegation to the Minister for Railways, urging for the Upper Route to be chosen over the preferred Lower Route.

At an earlier meeting in April, convened at Nerang to consider the subject of the Brisbane and Tweed River Railway, a Resolution was proposed:
That in the opinion of this meeting the time has arrived when it is absolutely necessary for the proper development of the trade and agricultural and pastoral interests of the district that railway communication should be established between the metropolis and the Tweed River.
Mr S. Tobin spoke in favour of the resolution. The districts of Mudgerebah and Tallebudgera were but partially developed; in fact the splendid lands of those districts were not tilled at all, when it was considered what could be the output of crop if railway benefits were extended to them. His knowledge of the district and of the Tweed enabled him to support a policy which advocated railway extension, for there were millions of acres which would become gradually peopled and tilled if a railway were constructed between Brisbane and the Tweed.” Another speaker spoke about the cost of such a project, predicting it would cost about £93,000  at most £124,000 for the 62 miles of track, and advised the meeting to work together, form a committee to co-operate with other committees along the line of route at the different centres of population and thereby further their object. He also advised what steps needed to be taken. A second resolution was moved by Mr S. Tobin, as follows:
That a committee be appointed to consider the best means to be adopted to give practical effort to the first resolution; such committee to consist of Messrs R. Hope, E. Cooper, H. Smith, M. McLeod, E. Starkey, H. Bryant, S. Tobin, C. Batten, E. Bellise, and J. Cockerill , with power to add.
It was carried unanimously.
Another matter was raised at the meeting. Mr Linneberg rose to speak of a local grievance, and one of great importance to all about Nerang- namely, the state of the river. The traffic by it is now nearly stopped, and if steps are not taken at once, it will be a very serious affair, and should command the attention of all who use the river in sending or receiving goods. He should promise that a committee, formed of Messrs S. Tobin, E. Starkey, and H. Bryant, draw up a petition, showing the great necessity there was for the attention of Government being drawn to the state of the Nerang Creek. The channel is fast closing up, almost stopping navigation. Only lately a steamer was stranded for over a week, and a great deal of produce of the farmers spoilt. They also spoke of the serious drawback it would be to the timber trade if the channel closed. It was agreed that they would do their best to get up a petition. The meeting was a most successful one, one of the largest ever held in the district. (Brisbane Courier Fri 1 April 1881 p3

In September 1889  Stephen once again led a deputation, this time to the Railway Commissioners urging the commissioners to choose the Upper Route, with the argument that lack of transport was a handicap to settlers of the district getting their produce to market. They argued that the present route by road which was slower resulted in a high percentage of spoilage of the produce before it could reach the market.
In 1889 in a letter to the South Qld Bulletin signed by the settlers of Tallebudgera Creek and Currumbin Creek re the Upper Route option for the Railway, the settlers stated their landholdings, and Tobin , one of the signatories, gave his landholding at 465 acres. This was the 5th largest holding in the list. They held a public meeting on 29 December 1889 (Logan Witness Sat 5 Jan 1889 p2) to conclude the best route for the Tweed Railway, Stephen Tobin voted to the chair- nearly all the residents of the district were present. The Chairman said the meeting had been called in consequence of the surveyor, Mr McArthur, having finished the survey for the Tweed Railway. He had made three surveys and unless the railway was constructed on the upper route, viz. from Reedy Creek, through Tallebudgera to the Border, the railway would be useless to them, therefore the meeting had been called to pass resolutions in favour of the upper route. A committee of 12 were appointed to carry out the objects of their resolutions, including S. Tobin.

 In 1890 the Minister for Railways, Mr Nelson, and the Commissioners personally undertook a tour of the  surveyed routes, arriving in the area in the middle of a deluge, resulting in the roads becoming a quagmire and the trip being curtailed. Tobin had been unable to meet the Commissioners due to illness and the newspaper reported  General regret was felt at the absence of Stephen Tobin through illness during the Minister’s visit.”
The railway link was eventually built through Tobin’s land in the mid 1890’s.

Further Community Meetings re local issues

The Queenslander Sat 16 Sept 1882 p.373: The Proposed Increase of Duty Upon Cedar
On Saturday afternoon the timber-getters interested in the cedar trade met at Tobin’s Music Hall, Nerang, in response to an advertisement to consider the action to be taken in the matter of the day. Mr McLean, M.L.A. was present by request, and there was a good representative attendance. Mr J. Maynard having been voted to the chair called upon Mr Starkey to propose the first resolution. He, when in town lately had made inquiry regarding the quantity of cedar exported last year and found that 2,593,370 superficial feet- of value of £19,556- of logs, and 103, 658 superficial feet of sawn cedar, value £1424, had been sent away in 1881, which gave them as near as possible 15s, and 27s, per 100 superficial feet respectively. Looking back upon the almost immediate past, an extra punt-load of cedar taken to Brisbane for saw-mill consumption almost blocked the market, and if the export trade was stopped, the quantity now being brought in would not be sold, and the little that would be used would realize a very small price. He thought the matter required consideration at the hands of Government. The figures quoted re export in 1881 showed that 1000 men were engaged in this one industry. He regretted that the pine and hardwood getters did not take a greater interest in the question, as if the duty were enforced many would be compelled to take pine and hardwood falling and drawing. He then moved-
That the timber-getters in the Nerang district interested in cedar protest against the imposition of the increased duty upon this timber, as it will stop the trade, and cause serious loss, as there is at present in the district a large quantity of cedar awaiting removal, which, if the proposed increase of duty come into force would not pay for removal.
Mr F. Fowler of Tallebudgera moved:
That the result of the proposed increase of duty would, if carried, only benefit the saw-mill proprietors, who would then exercise a monopoly of the trade, the quantity consumed by them being but small, while the quantity available is large.
The motion was carried.
Mr F. Nixon proposed the third resolution:
That the timber-getters being the pioneers, and having gone to considerable expense in making roads, etc, and as they form a considerable portion of the population of the district, claim consideration at the hands of the Government.
He stated that the roads had been formed by the timber-getters in places where the Government could never have gone, and that the roads being made opened up the country and induced settlement. The timber-getter was already heavily taxed with license-fee, divisional board rates etc. Mr Tobin supported the resolution, stating that upon leaving NSW he was induced to settle at Tallebudgera, in consequence of the timber-getters having previously made roads which enabled intending selectors to view the land. He knew of many more who had been induced to settle in the district from the quality of the land, who could never have seen it if the roads had not been made through the scrub. Mr McIntrye also testified to the fact that he came from NSW to settle in this colony. He came by roads made by the timber-getters, and the three who came with him to settle brought at least £1500 with them, which they had spent in the colony.
The fourth resolution was carried:
That copies of the foregoing resolutions, signed by the chairman, be forwarded to the Colonial Treasurer and all the members of the Parliament, and that a committee be appointed by this meeting to draw up a petition on the matter to be submitted to the Legislative Assembly, such committee to consist of Messrs Fowler, Nixon, Starkey and the mover.

The Queenslander Sat 2 May 1885 p.685, reported:
A Correspondent kindly forwards us the following account of a numerously attended meeting of timber getters and other persons engaged in the timber trade, which was held at the Tallebudgera Hotel, Tallebudgera, on Saturday the 18th April, to consider the new timber regulations. Mr Tobin being called to the chair, addressed the meeting, and explained that it had been called for the purpose of obtaining the opinion of the district upon the new regulations. Mr J. Midgley, after addressing the meeting proposed the following resolution:
That, in the opinion of this meeting, the new timber regulations are most unjust and oppressive, and also impracticable, and will, if attempted to be carried out, prove disastrous to the timber industries of the colony.
The resolution was seconded by Mr Andrews, and it was carried unanimously. The chairman read a letter which he had received from Mr Eden, timber merchant, expressing his regret at not being able to attend the meeting, and stating strongly his opinion of the injury likely to be done to the timber trade by the new regulations and proposed the following resolution:
That a copy of the proceedings of this meeting be forwarded to E. J., Stevens, esq., M.L.A. for presentation to the Minister for Lands.
 The resolution as carried unanimously.

The Brisbane Courier (Fri 13 Feb 1880 p.3 and Sat 21 Feb 1880 p.6) reported the weekly meeting of the Irish Famine Relief Committee held  in the Town Hall. Among a long list of subscribers:
From Mr. S. Tobin, forwarding £7.6s.6d collected by him at Tallebudgera, and enclosing a list of subscribers. He personally donated £1.1.0. while son Master J.C. Tobin donated 10s.
In 1881 he became a member of the Agricultural and Pastoral Society of Sth QLD.

The Logan Witness Sat 17 January 1880 p2: Tobin advertised:
There has been running on my enclosed land for some time a dark Bay or Brown Gelding, branded CD on near shoulder, short tail, the two hind fetlocks white.
The owner can have him by paying agistment and advertisement.
Tallebudgera 13th January 1880

Unnamed photo in family album, thought to be Stephen Tobin

The Tallebudgera Post Office

Tobin was appointed the first receiving officer for the QLD Postal Department in 1872, and the first Post Master in 1878. The small wooden heritage listed post office at Tallebudgera is thought to have been built by Stephen between 1873 and 1878 on his land, which included a number of surveyed roads or tracks including Trees Road. Its location was also a change over point for the Cobb and Co Coaches on the main stock route between NSW and QLD.

Is stephen in this photo?
Is the woman on the right his daughter Mary Tobin who was Post Mistress in 1889?

The former Tallebudgera Post Office is one of the oldest and one of the few remaining timber post office buildings in QLD. It consisted of a single room and verandah.[ii] There is no documentary evidence that the Post Office was ever owned by the Government and the size suggests it was privately owned and built, and as it was built on his land, it would suggest that  Stephen Tobin built it. When appointed as the first Post Master at Tallebudgera for 1878 he was paid a base salary of 12 pound per annum. In 1879 he secured the mail contract for the delivery of mail between Nerang Creek, Mudgeraba, Tallebudgera and Murwillumbah twice weekly for a period of two years, for which he was paid 120 pounds p.a.

Logan Witness (Beenleigh), 6 Dec 1879 p3

He relinquished the position in 1880, probably due to his advancing age, and his decision to change careers and become a publican at Nerang. However, the Logan Witness (Beenleigh) Sat 6 May 1882 p3, in a description of the area: 
Adjoining (the school) is the store and post-office, kept by Mrs and Miss Tobin, and they appear to have a good stock of goods on hand. 
Whether this meant that Mary Tobin and one of her daughters had stayed in Tallebudgera while her husband and other children had moved to Nerang, or whether they travelled from Nerang daily to run the store and post office, is unclear.
Their son Stephen William Tobin was Post Master from March until December 1887, when Mrs K. Grear took over, and Tobin’s daughter Mary was appointed Post and Telegraph Mistress in September 1889 and again in 1893, was paid an annual salary of 20 pound, and was the only staff member of the office. She was replaced in 1894. By then her parents had moved back to NSW.

Tobin's Post Office at Tallebudgera in late 1890's
(possibly Tobin's house to the left)

Tobin's Post Office today (at No. 17 Trees Road- see map previous chapter)

In 1884 Tobin subdivided his holding into a series of allotments fronting onto Trees Road- these were surveyed and sold, including the post office and police barracks.
(The Gold Coast Council purchased the heritage building for $90,000 and spent $30,000 restoring it. It is now on the Heritage Register and can be seen in the main street of Tallebudgera.)

In 2011, the University of Queensland and the City of Gold Coast's Office of the City Architect and Heritage conducted an excavation on the vacant block of land next to the Post Office, and over 800 building-related artifacts, including brick, nails etc., and 562 domestic artifacts were discovered, including clay tobacco pipes, glass stoppers and pieces of alcohol and medicine bottles. Whether these all relate to the residents who built dwellings on the plots subdivided and sold by Stephen Tobin in the early 1880's, or whether any of these items could have come from the Tobin's first house before they moved to their hotel after selling this land, is uncertain. As the Post Master, one would think that Tobin's house would have been in close proximity to the post office. As to the discovery of clay tobacco pipes, remember the journalist who wrote in The Queenslander (1 August 1874 p.7), when describing his stay at Tobin's accommodation house, saying, "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." 

Tobin’s first hotel, The Royal Mail Hotel

In 1880, Tobin applied for a “Country Publican’s License” for the “Royal Mail Hotel” at Nerang a few miles from Tallebudgera,  a 4 bedroom accommodation house with 2 sitting rooms. The Brisbane Courier Sat 22 May 1880 p.6 reported:
The Beenleigh monthly licensing court sat on the 11th instant. The P.M. with Messrs Savage, Gibson and Watt, JJ.P., were on the bench. An application for the transfer of B. Cockerill’s license at Nerang to Mr S. Tobin was granted.

 Brisbane Courier Wed 14 April 1880 p.5- Application for Publican’s License for the Royal Mail Hotel

Logan Witness (Beenleigh), Sat 17 April 1880 p2

Logan Witness (Beenleigh), Sat 15 May 1880 p3

Logan Witness (Beenleigh), 21 May 1881 p1

Logan Witness (Beenleigh), 21 April 1883 p3- Annual Licence Renewal

The Royal Mail Hotel (property of Benjamin Cockerill, but leased to Tobin) had two sitting rooms and five bedrooms, exclusive of those required for the use of the family.

The Logan Witness (Beenleigh) Sat 22 May 1880 p3 had an article which mentioned Tobin's new hotel in Nerang:
 "From our own Correspondent";
Our little town was thrown into a state of great excitement last Saturday night by a lot of young larrikins removing almost everything they could that was not either too heavy or too hot for them. And then, not satisfied with this piece of mischief, they let out all the water from the tanks of the Royal Hotel, leaving mine host without that necessary article of domestic use. Several other grand tricks were played about the place.
I must not emit to mention that mine host of the Royal Hotel is now in full swing. As a caterer for the public I think Mr Tobin will take a high rank. Every accommodation and attention is being paid to put the place in order, and it will be found a great retreat for the sportsman or the man of business seeking a quiet nice place on the sylvan banks of the Nerang whereat to spend a little time. The place is well worthy of a call, and Mr Tobin has the hearty good wishes of all the residents down south for his success.

A journalist using the pseudonym ‘Raven’ wrote an article “Ramblings in Queensland- From The Tweed to Nerang Creek” (Australian Town and Country Journal, Sat 17 Dec 1881 p26), in which he described:
A few yards further is a bridge over a deep gully: this we cross, and are in the township of Nerang; a quarter of an hour later and the festive board provided at the Royal Mail Hotel monopolises all my attention. Nerang has a population of about 200, supports two hotels- the Royal Mail being kept by Mr Stephen Tobin, an old acquaintance of yours, Mr Editor, and a well-known man down Kiama way, where he was formerly alderman.

One of the community meetings was held in ‘Tobin’s Music Hall’. This would appear to have been part of the hotel. Another meeting was held "at host Tobin's hall" for the purpose of forming a race committee, with Charles Philpott Esq. being voted to the chair. (The Tobins and Philpott's would be allied by marriage)

In December 1880, Tobin's daughters Mary and Elizabeth were called to give evidence against a patron who passed a forged cheque at their bar. (Logan Witness Sat 11 Dec 1880 p2. Both stated they were single women residing with their father at the Royal Hotel Nerang.

The Logan Witness Sat 21 January 1882 p4 had an article Ramblings in QLD from the Tweed to Nerang, which described, in part:
A bridge spans Nerang Creek: this we cross, and are in the township of Nerang; a quarter of an hour later and the festive board provided at the Royal Mail Hotel monopolises all my attention. 
Nerang is the head of navigation of the creek, being a distance of 16 miles from its mouth. It has a population of about 200, supports two hotels- the Royal Mail being kept by Mr Stephen Tobin, an old acquaintance of yours, Mr Editor, and a well-known man down Kiama way, when he was formerly alderman- three stores, butcher, blacksmith., and wheelwright and saddlers. There are rather a handsome court-house and police barracks, post and telegraph offices, Church of England, visited once a month by a parson; Wesleyan chapel, a public school with an average attendance of 40, public wharf and warehouse provided by the Government, a recreation ground of 12 acres, and on the other side of the river, a racecourse. Cobb and Co. run a daily coach to and from Brisbane..... 
This is a grand stretch of country for a railway, and I did not wonder that there is a cry for a railway to the Tweed, which would tap the trade of all the rivers on the route, and take their produce to its legitimate market, Brisbane. There is no doubt, however, that it would throw open large tracts of some of the richest agricultural land in the world, land almost perfectly useless at present on account of the difficulty encountered in getting produce to market. A great many of the early settlers on the Tallebudgera and Mudgeeraba Creeks, after having cleared their land at great expense, had eventually to let it run to grass on account of this great difficulty of transit. Almost every settler on these two creeks- and they number over 200- hails from the southern district of N.S.Wales. They all brought a certain amount of capital with them, and, what is better still, long experience, and some brought what is better than all in a new country, viz. large and robust families.

A report of  the Nerang Ploughing Match was reported in the Logan Witness on Sat 18 March 1882 p3;
Last Friday was a grand gala day at Nerang. The committee having been fortunate enough to be well supported in their endeavours to promote and get up a good ploughing match. The day was very favourable for the workmen and the horses, it being rather cloudy and not over close. Between 70 and 80 people attended. The competition was very close and spirited. After the match was over, people began to wend their way towards the Nerang township, and especially towards Tobin's Royal Hotel, where a grand supper was provided. After spending some time in preliminary arrangement, at about 8 o'clock a large number of people sat down to an excellent spread in the Music Hall, etc. Mr Hinchcliffe proposed a toast of "The Host". It was a good many years since he first crossed the Nerang Creek, and it was a good while since he was last there, but he believed Mr Tobin was at Tallebudgera then, When Mr Tobin was farming at Tallebudgera everybody knew him a right good sort of a man, and when he travelled to town they all knew him on the road to be the same. (Cheers) They had sat down to an entertainment which he could say was hardly equalled in Beenleigh or Brisbane, and, but very seldom surpassed. They had all enjoyed themselves, they had had a grand day and before parting they must assist him in the toast of the Host (Loud Cheers)
Mr Tobin , in thanking Mr Hinchcliffe for the kind manner in which he had spoken of himself said that he was very glad to have the honour of their company and promised that he would always try to do his duty to the public. (Cheers).
The company then were enlivened by songs, further toasts, and many humourous anecdotes till about 12 o'clock. A ball in the music hall lasted much later, and everything passed off in a most successful manner.

The Southport v Nerang Cricket boys match was held at Nerang in March 1882 (Logan Witness, 25 March 1882 p2):
The Southport teams was thus thrashed by a club eleven for the fist time, and our boys were doubly proud of their victory. A first-class dinner was discussed at Host Tobins'; and the ball which followed was the most successful we have had for a long time.

The following advertisement appeared in the Logan Witness, Saturday 12 January 1884 p3:

A John Ryan, contractor from Southport applied for and took over the licence and lease  in March 1884 (Logan Witness, Sat 8 March 1884 p2).
This did not prove to be good business venture for Ryan as by January 1885, John Ryan was declared insolvent (Brisbane Courier Thurs 8 January 1885 p8).
Logan Witness Sat 31 January 1885 p2: 
In the Matter of JOHN RYAN, of Nerang, in the Colony of QLD, Licensed Publican, an Insolvent. Theodore Lenneberg, Southport, Storekeeper, has been appointed Trustee of the property of the Insolvent.

An Old Resident of Nerang wrote to the Editor of the Logan Witness (Sat 7 February 1885 p3):
Closing an Old Hotel
Sir- There is some talk of closing the Royal Mail Hotel Nerang. It is to be hoped the Licensing Bench will think better of it, as a very great injustice would be done to a very old and much respected resident, Mr B. Cockerill, who has been unfortunate in getting an unsuitable tenant that has not looked after his business properly; but not that Mr Cockerill has already commenced to thoroughly renovate the hotel, and will for the future be more careful in his choice of a future occupant, I am sure the universal voice of the people of this district would be- "Give old Ben a chance."

In the Brisbane Courier Tues 7 April 1885 p8, an advertisement appeared for the:
Insolvent Estate of John Ryan, Nerang Creek. The LEASE, LICENSE, FURNITURE AND GOODWILL OF THE ROYAL MAIL HOTEL, NERANG CREEK. etc. Ten Years lease guaranteed to good tenant. Tenders to be sent in not later than the 28th March.

The Tallebudgera Hotel

In April 1884, (Brisbane Courier, 12 April 1884 p.6), in a report on Tallebudgera:
Mr Tobin, late of the Royal Hotel Nerang, is about to put up a large hotel.
The report from TALLEBUDGERA, (From our own correspondent), was written by a local, possibly Tobin himself. It revealed that he had subdivided his block in the centre of the township and was selling the blocks, including one to the Government for the Police Barracks (marked Police Reserve on the maps):
As you do not seem to have a regular correspondent from this place, perhaps a few notes occasionally from my pen may not come amiss. 
Ours is a very quiet little community, but since the advent of Cobb's coach daily the traffic through to NSW has been considerable.
The Government neglected to reserve a township here in the early days of selection, but I hear of some private land in the centre of the settlement being cut up into building sites on speculation (viz. Tobin's). The Government have already purchased a block, and tenders have been accepted for building police barracks and lockup thereon.
Mr Tobin, late of the Royal Hotel, Nerang, is about to put up a large hotel, and there is a great deal of talk about a sawmill being shortly erected; the wonder is that the latter had not been done long since, there being such quantities of good timber available that such an enterprise would be certain to prove remunerative to the mill-owner and the district at large. The present good price for pine seems to have given an impetus to timber-getting in that direction, and a considerable quantity is being drawn in the log to Nerang water. We are looking forward confidently to the time when the railway will run through our midst and diffuse great and widespread benefit. Some of our "knowing ones" predict that the time is not far distant.
Contrasted with reports from other places, this district has no cause to complain of the manner in which the clerk of the weather has treated us latterly, as we had some very fine rains early in March, with occasional refreshing showers since. Water is now plentiful, and the fields are beautifully green.

In May, the Brisbane Courier (Tues 13 May 1884 p.6) reported:
Work will soon commence on the Tallebudgera Road to the border, in connection with the Government grant for that purpose. Mr S. Tobin, late of the Royal Mail Hotel here, is putting up commodious hotel premises at Tallebudgera, on the main coach road.
Tobin built the small Tallebudgera Hotel, with 4 bedrooms and 4 sitting rooms and opened it late in 1884.

Logan Witness (Beenleigh),  1 March 1884 p.2

Logan Witness (Beenleigh), Sat 4 Oct 1884 p2

Logan Witness, Sat 13 December 1884 p2- reported:
TALLEBUDGERA- We are glad to see Mr S. Tobin of Tallebudgera invite all his old friends and customers to his house-warming next Friday evening the 19th Inst. Mr Tobin is an old resident of the southern portion of our district well known for his kind and genial heartedness on the road, and to all strangers visiting his hostelry, and we are sure everyone will be heartlily welcome. 'Tis a pity the weather is so hot for a long journey or we should feel inclined to travel all the way to Tallebudgera to do honour to our old friend on the occasion. But we hope those nearer will not fail to put in an appearance and let us have a good account of the enjoyment.

The Queensland Figaro Sat 20 Dec 1884 p.14 announced:
S. Tobin of Tallebudgera, has opened his new pub and was to give a house-warming there tonight. Tobin is well-known on the road, and makes everybody heartily welcome
An advertisement in the Logan Witness Sat 13 Dec 1884 p2,  had:         

                              Tallebudgera Hotel and street in 1894

Tallebudgera township  c.1904 . The hotel shown may have been called the ‘Victoria’, the new name for the Tallebudgera Hotel.

The Logan Witness Sat 17 January 1885 p.3 reported on Tallebudgera (From our own Correspondent):
Saturday was a gala day for the children here, the teacher, Mr Duggan, going to a great deal of trouble to provide a day's amusement for them during the Christmas vacation. They had all the usual sport-running, jumping, swings, etc., a plentiful repast, spread in the shade of trees, and a Christmas tree, on which there was a present for every scholar. At the close of the day, Mr Tobin distributed the special prizes, saying a few words of encouragement to each fortunate recipient, and called for three cheers for Mr and Mrs Duggan, which were heartily given by young and old. 
Works on our much needed bridge have been at a standstill for a month past, but tenders are now called for its erection, and we may hope to see it completed shortly. Much inconvenience has been felt by passengers in the coach at high tides.
The new police quarters are growing apace, and give quite a look of importance to our quiet little settlement.
Our cricketers are busy practising. They meet the Coomera team here on Monday, and on the Monday following go to Point Danger, Tweed, to play a friendly game there. They look forward to a pleasant holiday if the weather if favourable, as the ride along the beach is always invigorating, and to anyone with an eye for the sublime, the scenery at Coolangatta is charming.

The Queenslander Sat 14 Feb 1885 p.245- A Correspondent’s report from the Tweed:
The meandering and zig-zag road, from the Upper Tweed to Tallebudgera is now in fine condition for an enjoyable ride on horseback, and the Tallebudgera is to be bridged not far from the new hotel erected by Mr. Tobin, and travelers from the South are beginning to avail themselves of increased facilities by coming on for Brisbane in increasing numbers- a movement to be a good deal augmented soon by the opening of the Beenleigh railway.

The Logan Witness Sat 21 August 1886 p3 reported on a Banquet held for local elected government representative Mr Stevens MLA, during which a toast was proposed to the Army and Navy, giving us an insight into Tobin's time in the army:
Dr Geoghegan proposed a toast to “The Navy and Army”-(laughter)- whilst the English army was the most insignificant in Europe, the British Navy was the greatest in the world. He drew an amusing and ludicrous picture of the Southport Volunteers marching out to meet an enemy when loud calls for Mr Tobin were made.
Mr S. Tobin, said he thought his friend was a little astray as to the precedence of the two services. The Army preceded the Navy on all occasions. (Cheers) It was all very well for a bit of a sailor boy to blow about fighting when they know they had their heads safely jammed behind 15 or 18 inches of armor plate, but he could boast of that service that went to fight sword in hand and man to man- (Cheers) without any plating but their red jackets. (Cheers) In the Sikh war of 1848, he was an able bodied soldier, and was ordered out to India under Lord Gough, where they made short work of Shere Ali, Mere Ali and a lot of ‘Alis” (Cheers) He had been no drawing room soldier; but was in the ranks and fought through a frightful war in a bad climate. (Cheers)

The Western Star and Roma Advertiser Wed 25 Aug 1886 p3 reported in an article “A Trip down South” by W. J. Lawson:

Now for a little chat about my present home. Tallebudgera, so called by the aboriginals and being interpreted, means Talla (fish) budgera (good), thus it reads Fishgood. The name is very appropriate as the river is literally swarming with fish of every variety. This river is very similar to the Mudgeraba, as it is ever and anon running from springs in the Macpherson Ranges. The water is always beautifully cool and as clear as crystal. This river empties itself into the ocean about two miles from the township. The industry here is timber getting. There is very little farming done here. I often wonder there are not more farmers settled here because the land has a richness of fertility unsurpassable in any part of the colony. In a fair season the land will return from 80 to 200 bushels of maize to the acre, and in the worst of seasons the yield amounts to 40 bushels, which is worth 4s.6d. per bushel. But the population comprises the real good old sort of timber-getters, and it matters not where you meet them, at their homes, or in the scrub, their first request is almost invariably “come and have a feed, old man,” and in every way they are a good natured class of men. They make plenty of money, and consequently are always happy. In a day’s ride through the dense tropical scrub I have often met forty bullock drivers, all drawing logs down to the ariver, in order to raft them top the sea, when they are then towed to Brisbane. There are vast quantities of pine, beach and cedar growing here, and in many cases the timber has enormous dimensions.

Now, as I have clearly shown that the industry here is timber-getting and farming, I have nothing more to do but invite anybody who may ever travel as far as Southport, just to take a ride as far as Tallebudgera and stay a week at Mr Stephen Tobin’s hotel, and I’m sure they could not meet with a more obliging host and hostess than the landlord and landlady, who spare no trouble in taking their guests into the beautiful dense tropical scrub, in which grow magnificent ferns of all kinds, lawyer canes, and midgen canes. Wild fruits of every description, raspberries, gooseberries, strawberries, passion fruit, oranges and lemons grow all through the scrub in profusion. A great many residents of Brisbane annually visit this place for the sole purpose of botacizing. Hundreds of trees covered with golden fruit are to be seen everywhere. Yet strange to say none of the settlers attempt to make a living by the production of oranges, though the land is well adapted for it.

Tobin's foray into property speculation appears to have failed dismally and the following court case was reported in The Queenslander, and may have been related to Tobin's monetary problems:

The Queenslander Sat 26 March 1887 p504
No. 319 of 1887
Mr Justice Harding
Between SCOTT, DAWSON and STEWART, Plaintiffs,
And STEPHEN TOBIN, Defendant
Wednesday the 16th Day of March 1887
Upon hearing the Solicitor for the abovenamed Plaintiffs, and upon reading the affidavit of William Henry Bell, sworn and filed herein on the Sixteenth day of March instant, it is ordered that service of a copy of this Order and of a copy of the Writ of Summons in this action, by sending the name by prepaid post letter addressed to the abovenamed Defendant, and to the Wife of the said Defendant at Tallebudgera, and advertising a copy of the Order once in the “Government Gazette,” Logan paper, Queenslander, and Week, shall be good and sufficient service of the Writ.
Dated this Eighteenth day of March 1887.
Chambers H.J.

In August 1887, Tobin's land, including the land he had subdivided for private sale, and stock were put up for auction, with his son-in-law Dr. Karl Rommies acting as his attorney- Logan Witness Sat 13 August 1887 p2

Stephen advertised his hotel for sale in October 1887. It failed to attract a buyer, and Tobin’s son took over the license. 

Northern Star Lismore Sat 22 Oct 1887 p4- Advertisement
To be sold immediately, by the Proprietor, his Licensed HOTEL.
Also Stock-in-Trade and Furniture, and 663 acres of splendid scrub and forest land, in one block, or in farms to suit purchasers. The land is subdivided into paddocks by two-railed fences, and laid down in artificial grasses; it has a frontage of over one mile to the Tallebudgera Creek (fresh water).
This district is known as the Illawarra of Queensland. The Brisbane Tweed Railway, now in course of construction, will run through the property. The Hotel is a first-class new building, 68 by 26 ft., with two verandahs of 8 ft., good new kitchen, stables, &c. The whole will be sold, as the proprietor is leaving the district.
TERMS- One-fourth Cash; balance in 1,2 and 3 years, bearing interest of 8 per cent. Apply to the Proprietor Stephen Tobin, at the Tallebudgera Hotel, who will give every information to intending purchasers.

Stephen did not leave Tallebudgera but would appear to have transferred his licence to his son, John Conway Tobin, who extended the hotel in 1888, calling it ‘The Victoria’, and transferred the license to his brother-in-law Adolph George Poulsen the following year. It is uncertain how long Poulsen retained the license as his son Theodore was born in Tallebudgera in 1890 and his daughter Myra was born at Lismore in 1892. Adolph, a Danish immigrant (who arrived at Mackay in 1882, where he lived for 3 years before moving to Southport), had married Stephen Tobin’s daughter, Katherine, in 1886. Daughters Marjorie and Eileen were born in 1887 and 1888 respectively.

On the 24th May 1887, Queen Victoria’s birthday, the whole district celebrated the “Tallebudgera Sports”, at which, Adolph Poulsen, a concert trained violinist, provided the music. After 4 years in Lismore, where their remaining two children were born, Myra b.1892 and Raimond b.1894, Adolph and Katherine moved to Sydney where he played in the Sydney Orchestra and taught at the Conservatorium of Music. His wife Katherine died of pneumonia in 1901 leaving Adolph with five young children to raise.

An amusing, albeit rather obscure article was written in the Queensland Figaro and Punch, Sat 7 April 1888 p.22S, about the state of the new bridge which had collapsed:

The Queenslander Sat 6 Feb 1886 p220, gave a favourable report from 'A Correspondent from Tallebudgera' about the bridge which was officially opened 13 November 1885:
Things are looking up considerably at Tallebudgera. Now that the main road to the border is in working order, I believe it is the intention of Cobb and Co. to send a daily coach through to the Tweed. The bridge over the creek, which was completed some time ago, is a first class affair, and a very great convenience to all.
Something must have happened for the bridge to deteriorate so badly in less than three years.

QLD Figaro and Punch Sat 20 Oct 1888

Ball at Tallebdugera

Notwithstanding the boisterous weather and incessant rain which has prevailed during the last three or four days, the plain and fancy dress ball, tendered by the Tallebudgera bachelors to their friends, on Friday evening, 12th inst., was a decided success. Undaunted by wind and rain, not to mention boggy roads, the fair sex and their admirers mustered to the extent of some 25 or 30 couple, and a well-arranged programme of 25 dances was so thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated that half-a-dozen extras had to be added, and the entertainment was not broken up until the sun would have gilded the horizon, had he been permitted by the clouds. Mrs Dwyer’s well-known hall had been tastefully decorated with flags, ferns, &c., for the occasion, and the music was supplied by Messrs Skott and Poulsen, of Southport, deserves special mention, and gave unqualified satisfaction. At 12 o’clock, a substantial cold collation was partaken of, which was served in Mrs Dwyer’s customary creditable style. The fancy costumes were all sell chosen and appropriate, and their respective characters excellently sustained. Among the most noteworthy were those of Miss Alice Tobin, as Maritana (an opera), Miss Lily Tobin, Fairy Queen; Mr J.C. Tobin, Royal Midshipman; Mr S. Tobin, Mounted Trooper; Mr D. Guinea, jockey; etc. These local entertainments are becoming so popular that our esteemed hostess will no doubt soon find it to her advantage to enlarge her hall. The present gathering consisted almost entirely of local friends, and had not the inclemency of the weather prevented a number of guests from the surrounding district from attending, our present accommodation would have been found very limited.

The Brisbane Courier Mon 7 May 1888 p.6
Mr Castles addressed the electors of Albert at Tallebudgera on Wednesday evening in the State School. There was a large attendance, the chair being taken by Mr Stephen Tobin. Mr Castles spoke for some time upon the Land Act of 1884, approving of the part relating to grazing farms and the homestead provisions. He condemned the principle of perpetual leasing and said he considered that injury would be done to settlement and to the introduction of the best kind of immigrants owing to the high price asked for the land in fee simple. He looked upon the Act as a financial failure and hoped that such amendments would be introduced as would facilitate settlement. The royalty upon timber and protection of the timber industry, the Chinese question, the Naval Defence Bill, continuation of the subsidy to divisional boards, federation, railway resumption, law reform, payment of members, water conservation, and other questions of interest were treated in a way that received approbation of the audience. Mr Fowler moved and Mr Anderson seconded,- "That Mr Castles is a fit and proper person to represent the Albert electorate", which was carried without one dissentient. This is the first vote of confidence which has been given to any candidate at Tallebudgera.
SIR HENRY NORMAN, Governor of QLD, visited Tallebudgera in 1891 (The Queenslander Sat 25 July 1891 p150):
Our sleepy little town was excited last week, when it became known that Sir H.W. Norman would pass through it on his way to the Tweed River. At an early hour the townspeople busied themselves in erecting an arch of evergreens opposite the hotel at which his Excellency purposed having lunch. Flags were hoisted in carious directions, and at the hour appointed for the arrival of the vice-regal party the State school children were marched by their teacher to the place where the distinguished visitor would alight. On the arrival of the party cheers were given for him, and the children sang “God Save the Queen”, The Governor was accompanied by his aide-de-camp and Mr W. Stephens M.L.A. Mr Tobin, on behalf of the townspeople, spoke a few appropriate words of welcome, and wished the vice-regal party a safe and pleasant journey. His Excellency thanked them for their kind reception, and after an hour’s rest, during which luncheon was partaken of, the party left Tallebudgera for Murwillumbah. It was a lovely clear day, and the party expressed themselves enchanted with the magnificent scenery between the two border towns.

An article in the Freeman's Journal (Sydney- Saturday 19 December 1896 p.28) stated that Stephen carried with him credentials from Sir Henry Norman (then Governor of Queensland) with whose regiment he served in India. And in a statement Stephen Tobin made in 1897, he said he was “for years Sergeant in the British Army (The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate (Parramatta), Sat. 28 August 1897)

In 1889, there were 66 selectors on the Currumbin and Tallebudgera, of which there were 60 'homesteads'. A large number of them signed a petition to the Railways Department for the proposed train rail route to be routed through their district and that would make 'land available for 60 more families', and that 'running it though an agricultural and thickly settled district like Tallebudgera could be adding another mainstay to the backbone of the colony', rather than using 'the coastal route for the sole purpose of accommodating a few gentlemen and property-owners there'. The following are the selectors from Tallebudgera who signed the petition. along with their acreages (Railways Department, Construction of Nerang-Tweed Heads line [QSA A/8937, file 1]; and Southern Queensland Bulletin 2 March 1889 p.2):

TALLEBUDGERA CREEK- (petitioners & acreage)
P.C. Cox 640; Oskar Tommison 160; __ Smith 160; James Hately 160; C.W.; Cox 320; Dr Rommeis 250 (Tobin's son-in-law); __Petche 320; Nelson Reids 160; Washington Walters 160; William Andrews 520; John Roseman 320; James Leonard 120; William Arrell 106; William Dolan 546; Samuel Andrews 3,200; Henry Gripski 80; John Andrews 260; R.W. Hardy 160; _-Smith 160; William Borthwick 160; James Hately Sr 160; William Lamb 160; Henry Johnston 120; George Mellon 80; Thomas Dolan 80; Redmond Weedon 320; Frederick Fowler 530; Patrick Leonard 450; Stephen Tobin 465; James Moylan 106; James Dolan 220; Mrs J. Dwyer 80; William Simpson 200; Thomas Buck 160.

A rare mention of Mary Tobin in the newspapers- The Queenslander Sat 5 Sept 1891 p437:

In 1892, Stephen and Mary left Tallebudgera and went back to NSW. The ‘Brisbane Courier’ of 27 October 1892 p5, reported “general and wide-felt regret is expressed at the proposed departure from Tallebudgera of one of the pioneers of that district Mr Stephen Tobin who is leaving for NSW. A farewell banquet is to take place at Tallebudgera on Monday evening 7th November at which the member for the district (Mr Plunkett) has consented to reside.”

The Logan Witness (Beenleigh), Saturday 12 November 1892 p3 reported the banquet celebrations:
A Banquet was given to Mr Stephen Tobin on Monday Evening by the residents of Tallebudgera, amongst whom he has lived for twenty-two years. The member for the district, Mr Plunkett, occupied the chair, with the guest of the evening on his right-hand and Mr Castles upon his left, and amongst the gathering were visitors from Mudgereeba, Nerang, The Tweed, Beenleigh, and Currumbin. Apologies were read from Wm Stephens MLA and Mr P. Leonard. After full justice had been done to the splendid repast prepared by Mrs Dwyer.
The Chairman, after proposing the usual loyal toasts gave the toast of the evening.
"Our Guest- Mr Stephen Tobin".
He said he was glad to be present to do honour to a colonist of Mr Tobin's stamp, and sorry that the occasion was one to bid him goodbye, as he was a man the district would miss- being always prominent in taking part in anything which was for the benefit of the district- and he wished him prosperity and success in whatever part of the colonies he intended to reside.
Mr Tobin, in replying, said there must be something wrong when men like himself who had come to the colony with youth, strength, energy, and a little money, had to go away as he was doing after spending the best twenty-two years of his life and being unsuccessful. He thanked them heartily, and especially those who had come from a distance to do him honour- an honour many greater men than himself could not have commanded. The exhibition of kindly regard would be remembered by him as long as he lived.
In proposing the toast of "The Parliament of Queensland", coupled with the name of Mr Thomas Plumkett, Mr Samuel Andrews said he could not praise the present Parliament nor any of the preceding ones, as their district never had a fair share of the expenditure of public money. Ten years ago they had been promised a railway, but as yet it only came as far as Nerang- some 15 miles distant. He did not blame their member for that as he believed that gentleman had done his best for them.
Mr Plunkett then replied.....
Mr Tobin proposed prosperity to 'Tallebudgera, Mudgereeba and Nerang', coupled with the names of Messrs Samuel and Isaac Andrews, John Veivers, A Wilson, and S. Joseph, who suitably responded.
Mr Joseph briefly thanked them for the way in which they had received the toast, and said it would give him great pleasure to welcome Mr Tobin back amongst them.
Mr Wm Castles, in responding to the toast was cordially received, and said that he regretted the occasion of their meeting that evening, and he must reiterate the words of the chairman by stating that the district could ill-afford the loss of such a man as Mr Tobin. He had known their guest over twenty years and had frequently enjoyed his hospitality during that time, for his hospitality and open-handedness was known to all who travelled in the district. The expression of their guest "that there must be something wrong in the country where men of energy, industry and perseverance, had to retire from the struggle beaten,' after being on the land for more than twenty years required more than passing consideration. He thought that a great deal of the cause was attributable to the Governments of past years neglecting an industry upon which the prosperity of the country rested. They had allowed older colonies to undersell its own farmers at their own doors while they were struggling through the experimental stage if ascertaining what could be successfully produced, seldom getting a full crop of anything owing to climatic influences, but undersold in what little they had to offer. He unhesitatingly said that if the small amount of protection which had been granted by Parliament during this session had been enacted five years ago, the industry would be in a much more prosperous conditions, and the guest of the evening, instead of leaving them in the way he was doing, would now be a prosperous and thriving colonist. Another difficulty settlers had to contend against was the miserably inefficient manner in which the railways of the colony were conducted. We had imported and appointed Commissioners at an aggregate salary of £6,000 per annum, who were doing their level best to inconvenience the settlers along the lines of railways. Fancy the ability required to run two of the most necessary trains per day without allowing them to stop at Oxenford, Pimpama or Holmview. Only farmers reside at those places.....Now these trains were really a necessity to the settlers in those localities, but being only farmers they had to be content with what was doled out to them .......He thanked them for the kind manner in which they had drunk the toast of the visitors.
(Further toasts)
Songs were then given by the Misses Hardy, McArthur and Messrs Richardson, Hately, Schuster and McArthur, and after the health of the chairman and vice-chairman had been drunk a most successful banquet was brought to a close.

Stephen and Mary joined their daughter Louisa who had been posted to Mulgoa west of Sydney as Post Mistress  a few years earlier.

According to Stephen's obituary in The Catholic Press (Sydney) Thursday 3 November 1904 p.4 (see next chapter for full obituary), Stephen "had settled in Queensland, where he prospered, but owing to the bank crisis, was ultimately a heavy loser." The 1893 banking crisis occurred in Australia when several of the commercial banks of the colonies within Australia collapsed. During the 1880's, there was a speculative boom in the Australian property market. The commercial banks lent heavily but following the asset price collapse of 1888, companies that had borrowed money started to declare bankruptcy. The full banking crisis became apparent when the Federal Bank failed on 30 June 1893, and by 17 May, eleven commercial banks had suspended trading which was a significant proportion of the Australian financial system. There were no government provided deposit guarantees at this time and this led to a severe depression during the 1890's, far worse than the 1930's in Australia. It would appear that Stephen must have lost most of his investments during the crisis. 

In 1894, an application appeared in the ‘Brisbane Courier’  26 Feb 1894, p8, which showed that Stephen was living at Mulgoa, Penrith NSW. It was an application for “Transmission by Death” of three parcels of land at Smithfield and nearby Cooktown in northern QLD. His sister Ellen Koch had died in 1878, and the Statute of limitations for Claims for the estate was due in a couple of months. He was described in “Particulars of Will” as “Heir-at-law”. The section under Name of Claimant described: “Stephen Tobin of Tallebudgera near Nerang, farmer, but at present of Mulgoa, Penrith, NSW.” Stephen also inherited a parcel of land at Dalby, where the Koch’s had lived in the 1860’s and early 1870’s before moving to Cooktown. (see chapter on sister Ellen Tobin.) This must have been done to recover some of Stephen's financial losses.
The Telegraph (Brisbane), Mon 18 March 1895 p8:
NOTICE is hereby given that I intend, on or after the 6th day of April, 1895, in conformity with the provisions of the 95th section of the Real Property Act of 1861, to dispense with the production of Deed of Grant No 5433, in the name of Ellen Koch, for allotment 11 of section 66, town of Dalby, and more particularly described in Register Book volume 13, folio 198, and will then permit a Transmission by Death, No 285271, in favour of Stephen Tobin, of all the land aforesaid, to be entered upon the duplicate of the said Deed of Grant in the Register Book, volume and folio aforesaid, which entry will complete the registration of the said Transmission by death; the aid original Deed of Grant having been either destroyed, lost or mislaid.
J.O. Bourne, Registrar of Titles
Registrar of Titles' Office
Brisbane March 16, 1895

Stephen Tobin's sister Catherine Guinea followed her brother to Tallebudgera with her husband Timothy and his son Daniel Guinea (see separate chapter for details). The Tobin and Guinea families have been honoured with local streets in Tallebudgera named after them

see Tobin Way and Guinea's Creek Roads

In 1896, Stephen and Mary decided to follow the majority of their children who had made their homes in Perth. The editor of the Freeman's Journal, who obviously knew Stephen well, wrote the following piece about his departure for the west.
Freeman's Journal, Sat. 19 December 1896 p.28:

Two excellent books recommended for those interested in the history and development of the Nerang, Tallebudgera and Mudgereeba areas to the NSW border, were written by local historian Robert Longhurst:

 Nerang Shire: A History to 1949, Albert Shire Council 1994
 Tallebudgera to the Tweed, Gold Coast City Council 1996

© 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] Former Post Office Tallebudgera- An Assessment of Cultural Significance, produced by Allom Lovell Architects Brisbane for the Gold Coast Council.