Legends of the Brisbane River Valley

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  • P. Somerset was arguably the most influential man in the Brisbane River Valley region between 1904 and 1920 when he served as the Member for Stanley in the Queensland Legislative Assembly. His background was aristocratic and he brought an inclusive, small-‘l’ liberal philosophy to the representation of his electorate  He oversaw the introduction of the Brisbane Valley branch railway line to Yarraman and determined the location of the Somerset Dam that now bears his name.  He had a life-long interest in, and prodigious memory about, horse breeding and wrote a book about his early experiences in Queensland called “Trombone’s Troubles: Experiences of a Queensland Jackeroo in early pastoral days”.  He expected this to be published by his brother-in-law after his death in 1936 with the royalties willed to his daughters but it was not published until 2010 by Boolarong Press with Griffith academic, Denise Bender, as editor.  The local government area that encompasses most of the Brisbane River Valley is now called the Somerset region.
  • Jack Maloney was a stockman on Eskdale Station at the outbreak of WWI and was assigned to the Remount Unit in Egypt with the eldest son of the property owner, Les Lord. This placement could have been influenced by Les’s father, E.F.Lord, who was also Captain of the officially unrecognised Legion of Frontiersmen (Esk) at the time.  The two men remained there, together, until the end of the war when their unit commander was A.B. (Banjo) Patterson, famous for writing The Man from Snowy River and Waltzing Matilda.  Jack Maloney was painted by a local artist, Lyn Felsman, from an army photograph and can be seen at the Toogoolawah R.S.L.
  • Billy Mateer had delivered cattle to H.P. Somerset’s property, Caboonbah, just before the 1893 flood and he was one of two horseman to be sent by Somerset with urgent advice to Brisbane about the impending disaster. His ride was dangerous but successful and his horsemanship applauded.  But it is his story as a member of an Irish immigrant family who made good when so many others were failing that provides a fascinating backdrop to his famous ride.
  • F. Lord was the son of the local Member for Stanley (Fred Lord) at the end of the 19th century but chose not to follow his father into politics. But he was an activist for many causes just the same, notably as the leader of the local Bushmen’s contingent to help break the General strike as special constables in 1912. He returned to become the chairman of the local divisional council.  E.F. Lord’s placement of his son with his stockman, Jack Maloney, in the Remount Unit during WWI is documented in Jack Maloney’s story above. E.F. Lord founded the Esk League of Frontiersmen after the war as well as the Bushman’s Carnival that became the well known Esk Campdraft.. He imported the 1920 Melbourne Cup winner, Poitrel, to stand stud at Eskdale and, at the time of his death several years later, he was agitating for the development of an Agrarian League in Queensland.
  • S. (Scamp) White’s story is summarised with the publication of the “Life and Times of R.S (Scamp) White under ‘Merchandise’ on the home page menu.

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