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The History of Stockleigh…

4 Sep 2012 Jimboomba 0 Comment

George Hawkins and Will Elworthy took up land here on 1 September 1863 and named the area in memory of Elworthy’s home in Devon. George’s wife Mary Ann was Will’s sister. The Hawkins family planted willows from St Helena along the Logan River. Mary Ann provided midwifery services to local women and her daughter often rowed them both downstream to Logan Village to deliver babies. George conducted church services and funerals from his home. The family initially lived in a slab hut, but built a substantial house Sunnyside in 1885. Other residents of the Stockleigh region included Fred Richardson, Richard Evans, T. Flood, John Garsden, William Walsh, George Carter, William Norris, J. Gibbons, Christopher Thompson and Andrew Banning. Catholic Priest Benedict Scortechini lived between Stockleigh and Logan Village.

Residents of the Chambers Flat area established a school in the home of John Garsden in 1872. This was a short lived venture and a provisional school was established in Stockleigh from 1873. The school was built to service families on both sides of the river. A new building was constructed in 1877. A further school building was constructed by Mr Leitzow in 1899.

Another family with links to Stockleigh were the Traces. James and Sarah Trace initially settled in Coopers Plains and moved to Stockleigh shortly after the birth of their eighth child Richard in 1878. Richard married Chambers Flat girl Agnes Hayes in 1901 and the families have remained in the area for generations.

Tragedy struck the Chambers Flat area on 7 July 1882 when timber-getter Richard Evans lost his wife and three small children. Mrs Emma Evans was the daughter of settler William Norris. Richard Evans had left home in the morning and his eight-year-old son Ned accompanied him to the river, so he could take his father across and then return with the punt so he could use it later that day. His mother Emma wanted to put some timber and bark on a new humpy the family was building near Stockleigh School. Later that day Emma, Ned, five-year-old Ruth and three year old Richard tried to cross the river in the punt, which was apparently eaten out by cobra worm. All were drowned. When Richard finished work for the day, he went down to the river to call for Ned or Emma to bring the punt over to fetch him. There was no response, so he went around the neighbourhood asking if anyone had seen them. Eventually it was too dark for him to return home, so he waited till morning, staying with his sister-in-law’s family, the Marks. He borrowed a boat and went to the humpy and found that they had been there as there were new branches on the ground that the children had left. He eventually went home and found the house locked up and the dogs out. He went with the oldest dog to the river bank where his wife’s bucket lay. The dog looked into the river and howled. Evans then sought help from the neighbours to search the river. Eventually all bodies were located and Constable Moylan was called from Beenleigh and an inquest was held.

Stockleigh remained a dairying region into the 20th century with local farmers taking out shares in the Kingston Butter Factory including Hawkins, Carters, and Holloways. The school closed in 1935 and the building was sold off in the 1950s.

community history

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