Wordwood History

As far as we can tell, the property was originally part of a selection of land under the Roberston Land Act 1861. The Act was intended to encourage close settlement based on agriculture. It provided a free selection of land before survey in units of between 40 and 320 acres. The price of land  was £1 per acre requiring a deposit of 25% to be paid at the time of selection. The balance could be paid at will. Interest was charged each year.  Freehold was granted when all moneys were paid in full. Other conditions included that the selector had to live on the holding and make improvements, such as fencing and clearing. While 40 acres may have been an adequate farm to provide a living for a family in England, it was inadequate in this part of Australia. The property was run as part of a 240 acre dairy farm.

The dairy farm was subdivided in 1978 into 6 blocks. The block was purchased in 1980 by an investment trust for $15,000. It was left vacant, except for agistment of horses from next door.

And we are now lucky enough to be its carers.

Crows Nest Shire History

The following history of the Crows Nest Shire was on the Crows Nest Shire Council’s website prior to its merger with Toowoomba Regional Council in 2012.


Information concerning Aboriginal occupation around Crows Nest is sketchy and hard to come by. The Archaeology Branch of the Queensland Department of Community Services states:

The local tribe that used to occupy the area around Crows Nest was called Jarowair. Neighbouring tribes adjoining Crows Nest were the Waka-Waka, Giabal, Jagara, Barunggam, Kaiabara, Kabi-Kabi, Undanbi and Batjala.
The Waka-Waka tribe also used to venture down to the bottom of the D’Aguilar Ranges and Upper Brisbane river.

In the 1966 Aboriginal Languages of Australia map by O’Grady, Wurm and Hale, the local sub-group is shown as the Ngoera, with the Dalla to the east, Kabi-Kabi and Waka-Waka to the north, the Barunggam to the west and the Giabal and Jagara to the south.

Tindale’s Aboriginal Tribes of Australia shows the Garumga, a small tribe of the Dala (Dalla) in the crows nest, Esk, Toogoolawah, Linville, Nanango, Cooyar area. To the west, in an area bounded by Oakey, Dalby and Bell were the Jarowairi (also known as Yarrowair, Yarow-Wair or Yarrow Wair).

The Garumga (or Garumnga or Garumgma) were sedentary and spoke a slight dialect and were a small rain forest tribe. The Dalla, together with the Kabikabi, hosted the Bunya feasts in the Blackall Range. The bunya pine yields some seed cones every year, sufficient as a rule for the local inhabitants, but the third year harvest was the important one. People came from as far away as the New England plateau, the Clarence and Richmond rivers, Fraser Island and the Dawson river.

Crows Nest Settlement
Timber – A Driving Force for Queensland Development

By the end of the 1800s, many foresters predicted a world wide wood famine. The policy the Forestry Department established in 1900, was to make further reservation of well timbered lands near railway lines containing good hardwood suitable for railway timbers.

The first ply mill was established about 1914 and by the early twenties, several plywood mills were in operation in Ipswich and Brisbane. On-rail mills were supplied with logs which were hauled to country stations and sidings and then loaded onto railway trucks for delivery.

And So They Came

Following the rapid growth of settlement at “The Swamp” (Toowoomba) in the 1850’s, the demand for timber grew and timber mills spread north along the Highfields Range. With as many as 100 workers at these mills, townships sprang up to service them. Thus, in the 1860’s, we saw the development of Highfields, Cabarlah, Geham and Pechey, followed by Perseverance, Pipeclay, Ravensbourne and Hampton in the 1870’s and 1880’s.

In the wake of sawmillers came the selectors. The Queensland Lands Acts progressively made it easier for hard working settlers to work the land and make a living for themselves and their families. Great numbers of early settlers, particularly German migrants, settled at Glencoe and Gowrie. From there they spread in all directions towards Meringandan, Kleinton, Douglas, Plainby, Bergen, Haden and later Pinelands and then back over the range to the eastern slopes like Perseverance, Ravensbourne, Anduramba and the Bluff.

Early white settlement, in the area now known as the Crows Nest Shire, spread its tentacles in all directions. Before separation from NSW, most of the squatters travelled to the area outside the Moreton Bay Penal settlement via the Darling Downs.

The Pastoralists

As far as can be ascertained, Campbell Livingstone McDonald of Durandan Run, Boonah, followed the trail of the aborigines from J.C. Pearce’s Helidon station to the Perseverance Creek area and from there over the range to Crows Nest.
In 1842, he was granted a license to depasture stock in the Perseverance Creek area and one for the Crows Nest area in 1843.

Many of the early licensees were very wealthy (being the adventurous sons of industrialists and aristocrats). The large parcels of land they selected and the huge stock losses often suffered, forced many of them to forego their licences.

James Canning Pearce held the original license of Crows Nest Run as a Pastoral Holding in 1849. The Crows Nest Run was located at the top of the Range dividing the Moreton Region from the Darling Downs Region, reputed to be good, high altitude, fattening country. The head station of the Crows Nest Run was situated 20 miles from Ivory’s station (Eskdale) on the east and 21 miles from Hughes and Isaac’s station (Gowrie) on the Darling Downs. The head station consisted of a superintendent’s building, seven huts for men, a paddock of 500 acres, stockyards and 4000 sheep.

After separation from N.S.W. in 1859, the Queensland Parliament wished to attract wealthy southern squatters, so they passed the Crown Lands Alienation Act of 1868. The selectors could hold land for a fixed term lease (generally 14 years at 10 shillings per square mile for 4 years rent reviewed after that), plus they must stock at a rate of 25 sheep and 5 head of cattle or horses per square mile. Rent concessions were given for certain improvements but failure to carry out the terms meant forfeiture of land.

The Crows Nest Run was transferred to J.L. Montefoire, who subsequently sold it to John Reeve. From there the run passed in succession to Mort and Brown, Jeremiah B. Rundle, the Bank of N.S.W., Watt and Taylor and, finally in 1858, to W.B. Tooth.

In bringing his Crows Nest holding under the Act of 1868, Tooth was granted a definite lease over half his land, with the remainder being resumed by the Crown and opened up for closer settlement. In 1875 the lease being unpaid, the leased section became forfeited and so Crows Nest was open to selection in April 1875.

In 1845, the Archer Brothers, coming from the Brisbane Valley, settled at the headquarters of Emu Creek. They had decided, on earlier exploration, that the more open, well watered country would be suitable grazing for their stock. The Emu Creek Run stretched to the northern end of what is now the Crows Nest Shire. Although the Archers left in 1848, Emu Creek remained a large cattle run until 1906. Some portions were opened up for selection in the 1880s.

Hampton Settlement
The Five Mile Camp Township

Hampton is situated on the Great Dividing Range, thirty two kilometres north of Toowoomba. The first name given to this location was Five Mile Camp. It was five miles from the Albert Mill (Pechey Mill), established in the 1860s. The timber from the mill, as well as the supplies for the mill and surrounding settlers, came to and from Murphy’s Creek.

The Five Mile Camp was situated at the top of the Hampton-Murphy’s Creek road and would have been an ideal resting spot for the teams after the long haul and rise of 1515ft. up the range from Murphy’s Creek. The camp road was also at the junction of the following roads: Crows Nest to Toowoomba, Old Perseverance Road and the road from Jericho Station.

And Beyond

The Hampton area was one of beautiful open forests with wild oats and other grasses growing feet high under a canopy of big timber. One factor in Hampton’s development was the potential for the milling of timber. Some of the mills established in the vacinity of Hampton were AD Munro’s mill at Geham, Filshie and Broadfoot’s mill at Perseverance, Bradys Mill at Merritts Creek and the Pechey Mill.

The railway played a vital part in promoting the timber industry and consequently Hampton’s development. The Crows Nest line opened on 6 December 1886 and Hampton was officially named Perseverance Siding. It was not until April 1887 that the name Hampton was officially used. Also in this year a receiving office opened at the railway station. Little is known about the origin of the name Hampton and why it was applied, other than it may have been named after a town in Middlesex, England. The name Hampton was in vogue before the railway was extended from Cabarlah.

With the advent of the railway, milling commenced in the early 1890s. Haulage of logs to the mills was with bullock or horse teams. The Munro brothers decided to use a tram line on which to haul logs to the Palmtree Mill. By the 1900s Munro was aiming to replace the horses with locomotive . Hampton became a very active rail station with all the timber being handled. The tram made it possible for the Hampton store to develop a sound trade as groceries and other requirements could be transported regularly to the settlers in Perseverance and Ravensbourne.

The first business house in Hampton was an hotel. In 1899, Daniel Horrigan became Hampton’s first licensed victualler. The first hotel passed through a number of hands with Horrigan taking the licence again in 1903. Towards the end of 1904, he left Hampton and the Hotel closed down.

As Hampton became populated, most of the people were in some way involved in the timber industry. By 1915, there were about eleven families in the township. In the 1920s and 30s Hampton slowed down. To a large extent this reflected the declining use of the railway, due to the gradual depletion of big timber in the area. The Broadfoot Mill closed in about 1910 and Munro’s closed in 1937. Thus employment opportunities in the area declined. There was also a movement of families to more built up areas in order to obtain education (secondary) and employment for their children.

The Hampton school opened in August 1938 and closed in 1959 when Crows Nest became an area school. Before this, some children went to the Geham School and some to Merritt’s Creek School.

By the 1960s, Hampton consisted of a store, a Post Office, an hotel, two tennis courts and a small number of residents. The railway line from Toowoomba to Crows Nest closed on 1 July, 1961 due to the increased use of road transportation. Once the big timber was removed, dense bushes grew up in their wake, giving the area a very inhospitable appearance. This was the Hampton scene up to the 1970s.

Now Hampton has come out of its decline. Modern Hampton is a pretty village consisting of a shop, a real estate agent, a small park and several dozen homes. The majority of the residents differ in their livelihoods to that of the pioneers. Today’s residents commute to the nearby towns of Crows Nest and Toowoomba for their daily work, while a few have sought Hampton as a retirement village. Within little more than a century, this town has experienced three distinct stages. It began as a bullocky’s camp and grew into an attractive little railway town. Its second stage was to decline into a lifeless, unattractive area. Hampton’s third stage entails its present development as an attractive, sought after location.

Perseverance History

The following pages are copied from From Tall Timbers … A Folk History of Crow’s Nest Shire to 1988

Page 97

Page 98

Page 99

Further Information

We have come across a number of interesting local history sources:

  • Warrior by Libby Connors (we have a copy)
  • One Hour More Daylight: A Historical Overview of Aboriginal Dispossession in Southern and Southwest Queensland
  • From Tall Timbers … A Folk History of Crow’s Nest Shire to 1988 (we have a copy)
  • Beyond Tall Timbers 1988-2008 (we have a copy)
  • Ravensbourne Then & Now (Beck has a copy)
  • Munro’s Hampton Tramway (we have a copy)
  • Squatters of the Eastern Darling Downs (we have a copy)
  • History of Crows Nest (link attached under History)
  • They Came They Stayed (link attached under History)