John Baillie Henderson – “Hydraulic Henderson”
A cockney by birth to Scottish parents, John Baillie Henderson
completed his schooling in Scotland before the family emigrated
to Australia in 1852. He arrived in Queensland in 1878
when water was not recognised as a public resource. He
was appointed Queensland's first Government Hydraulic
Engineer in 1883. During his lifetime he earned the title
Hydraulic Henderson as his contribution to hydraulic engineering
in Queensland was gigantic.
Edward Deshon – Public Servant
Edward Deshon, 1836 - 1924 was an important Queensland
Public Servant who bought and sold land around Coorparoo.
family home Kemandine was built around 1885 and was later
acquired by Archbishop Duhig and opened as Loreto College.
Deshon Street at East Brisbane is named after him.
James Stone – Ginger Beer Entrepreneur
James Stone arrived in Brisbane in 1857 and acquired land
in 1875 at the corner of Logan and Old Cleveland Roads.
His intention was to establish a hotel but he was never
granted a licence so he only sold ginger beer. A hotel
was later built on the site. The area was subsequently
known as Stones Corner.
James Stone's grave in Balmoral Cemetery has recently
been beautifuly restored by his descendants.
Frederick Wecker – Cemetery Trustee
Frederick Wecker was one of the early cemetery Trustees
at Balmoral Cemetery. He emigrated to Brisbane from Germany
and purchased land near Stones Corner. Lucerne was reputedly
grown on his sloping land and the property became known
as Wecker's green slopes, giving rise to the suburb
Kirkland Avenue in Coorparoo was originally named Wecker
Street in Frederick's honour but it was changed in
1914 in the wake of anti-German sentiment. However, Wecker
Road at Mansfield, named for Frederick Wecker, reminds us
of his pioneer spirit.
Wecker's grave, located at the highest point of the
cemetery grounds, is the most imposing monument in Balmoral
Cemetery. Sadly, it is in disrepair.
William Parry-Okeden – Commissioner
William Edward Parry-Okeden was known as a public servant,
a police commissioner, a protector of aborigines and
a horseman. Born at Murrunumbla Station, Snowy River in New
South Wales, he commenced law but after 3 years, in 1860
he left to join his parents in Queensland. He began his
35-year public service career in 1870 with the Border
Force, which was established to to halt illicet smuggling
on the Queensland-New South Wales border. He was appointed
to the position of Immigration Agent dealing with migrants
in 1886. In 1889 he was appointed the chief public service
post of Colonial Under-Secretary (renamed Principal Under
Secretary). In 1895 Parry-Okeden was appointed Commissioner
of Police. He was an early resident of Hawthorne.
Acknowledgements: Elizabeth Smith, National Trust of Queensland,
Queensland Police Journal.
Honourable Herbert Freemont Hardacre – A
character of conscience and brotherly kindness
The Honourable Herbert F. Hardacre was Minister for Lands
in 1899, Minister for Education in 1915 and Lands Court judge
in 1919. He was 78 when he died and is buried with his wife
Alice (1879-1942) and son Herbert Maynard Hardacre (d. 1972).
He epitaph reads, in part, “His was a life of character
of conscience and brotherly kindness”.
Joseph Cornelius Marconi – Goanna Oil Man
Joseph Cornelius Marconi was born Joseph Mahoney in 1876
in London. Immigrating with his family to Australia around
1886, Joseph worked with his father in Sydney as a dealer
in building materials. From around 1900 the family spelled
their surname “Marney”.
Joseph married Mary Teresa O'Neill in Newtown Registry
Office, Sydney, on 27 September 1904.
Joseph became a member of a marionette show in a travelling
vaudeville troupe and then traded briefly as a dealer in
Newcastle, later joining the sideshow circuit, adopting the
name Marconi and basing himself in Brisbane.
As manager of Lyn Vane's snakebite act, and through
association with “Professor” James Morrissey,
Joseph learned of plants to which goannas were thought to
resort when bitten, and of the aborigines' belief in
the healing properties of goanna fat.
From about 1910 Marconi manufactured and sold liniments
and salves that included ingredients such as oils distilled
herbs and goanna fat. Sufferers of ailments ranging from
arthritis to varicose veins attested to the wonders of his
products. Marconi was a colourful marketer and he skillfully
used comic advertising and widespread signage to promote
Marconi was refused a patent when the Queensland Government
declared the goanna a protected species in certain areas
1918, but his sales in Australia and New Zealand continued
to increase. In 1920 he opened a shop in Brisbane and in
1922 the Marconi Curative Institute, specialising in massage,
hydropathic and herbal treatments was opened.
With a carefully cultivated Italianate appearance, Marconi
was one of the best known figures in Brisbane. His hospitality
was renowned and the small factory under his home Astra at
Bulimba was a Mecca for the local children.
Marconi ran as a Nationalist candidate in the strong Labor
ward of Bulimba in the 1921 Balmoral Shire Council election.
In his short time in office, Marconi proved to be an effective
and energetic councillor.
Tragedy struck on 21 October 1922 when Marconi intervened
in a fracas in Elizabeth Street and his skull was fractured.
He died a few hours later in the Brisbane General Hospital.
After a largely attended funeral service he was buried in
Balmoral Cemetery in Brisbane's inner east.
Joseph's wife Mary had pre-deceased him but he was
survived by three of their four daughters and three sons.
Son Norman Charles (1905-1959) was a pioneer of aviation
Joseph Marconi was remembered by the Bulimba schoolchildren
in their chant:
Old Marconi's dead,
Knocked on the head.
Goannas are glad,
Children are sad.
Acknowledgements: Australian Dictionary
of Biography, Volume 10.407.
Eric Abraham – Last of the Dungarees
The people of Australia came to know Eric Abraham because
he was a veteran: 4355, Sapper, E.K. Abraham, 5th division
signals company, 5th Australian Division, First Australian
Imperial Force; holder of the 1914/15 Star, the British
War Medal and the Victory Medal, Chevalier of the Legion
of Honour of France. He was our beloved “last of
the Dungarees” whose final resting-place is Balmoral
The son of English migrants, Eric Kingsley Abraham joined
the first AIF on 26 November 1915 by way of the famous Dungaree
march. He was one of five brothers who enlisted in the course
of the war.
In his memoirs, Eric would say that his thoughts were of
Gallipoli and glory. By the time he completed his training,
the Gallipoli campaign had ended and he found himself instead
confronted by the horrific reality of war on the Western
Front. By his own account, Eric's decision to enlist
in 1915 was an impulsive act prompted by the strains of “la
Marseillaise” played by a country band as the Dungaree
recruitment march passed through Boonah. After his war service,
Eric was left with a deep abhorrence of war that he carried
for the rest of his life.
Eric Abraham was proud to be the last surviving Dungaree
Digger and one of the last members of the generation of Queenslanders
who served during World War One.
His final resting place, with his father Jabez, is at Balmoral
Cemetery, where the Friends of Balmoral Cemetery like to
keep a careful and caring eye on that special monument.
Acknowledgements: Mrs Beryl Wilson and Dr Graeme Killer
My Whip Bird
By Eric Abraham, July 2002 (aged 104)
My whip bird is back,
I'm so glad to say
I've just heard his call
From the bushes away.
I thought he'd diced me
But I'm thankful to say –
To hear his call again
Has just made my day.
Keep on going my friend
Till at last I am gone,
Keep cracking that whip
Don't be sad; just move on.
Captain John Mackay – Discoverer
An explorer, sailor and harbour-master, Captain John
Mackay led a party that explored the Mackay district. He
the Brisbane Harbour-Master from 1892 to 1902, Chairman
of the Queensland Marine Board until 1914 and, at the
time of his death in 1914, Port Master.
Johnston Family - Pioneers of the Bulimba District
James and Helen Johnston emigrated from Scotland to Australia
aboard the famous ship Lima in 1849. With their young sons,
they settled in Brisbane and James took up the position
of gardener at Bulimba House, at that time the home of
David and Mary McConnell. Helen gained employment as the
McConnell’s housekeeper and helped Mrs McConnell
with the care of her baby.
With his earnings, James purchased 70 acres of land which
adjoined the McConnell property and this became the first
scrub farm on the Brisbane River. James called their new
home Mt Lang Farm, in honour of the Reverend John Dunmore
Lang whom he greatly esteemed. The settlers worked hard
to carve out a home and a livelihood in the new colony
and with the occupation of these farms the settlement of
the district may be said to have begun.
Stories abound of James’s relationship with the Tugulawa
people, the traditional owners of the Bulimba area. Apparently,
James was a great favourite and was tagged kiwanan, and
a great display was made upon meeting him, with the people
calling "kiwanan – wanan!: kiwanan – wanan!".
There was a strong mutual respect between many of the area’s
European settlers and the indigenous people, and it is
said that the Tugulawa people “could never do enough
to help the old farmers and their families”.
James grew arrowroot, wheat, cotton and bananas with
a mixture of success and failure. Around 1862, the heavy
flooding of the river made it impossible to get to Brisbane
and the farmers and their families had to exist solely
on bananas. James tried his luck at growing sugar and he
also erected a sugar mill at Tingalpa, where Kelly's brickyards
Tragically, in 1874 James’s foot was caught in machinery
at the mill and was so badly crushed that it had to be
In June 1876 James was elected to the Queensland Parliament
to represent the people of Bulimba but sadly his new
role was short lived. Perhaps the accident at the sugar
a few years earlier had taken its toll, bu James died
on 3 November 1876 with paralysis recorded as the cause
James Johnston was a leader in his community and worked
hard to help establish the district and support its
people. This earliest of settlers of the Bulimba district
a successful agriculturist, horticulturist and community
leader whose contribution is remembered to this day.
Acknowledgements: Des and Renee Johnston.
Sir James Blair KCMG – First Lieutenant Governor
Queensland’s first Lieutenant Governor was born at
Coalfalls in Ipswich in 1870. He was admitted to the bar
on 6 March 1894. As the independent candidate for Ipswich
he was elected to State Parliament in 1902 and appointed
Attorney-General in 1903. After losing his seat in 1915
he returned to his legal practice and in 1925 was appointed
Chief Justice. From 1930 he acted as Deputy Governor and
was formally appointed Lieutenant Governor in 1933. He
was knighted in 1930 and appointed KCMG (Knight Commander
of St Michael and St George) directly by the king in 1935.