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The History of Woodhill & Veresdale…

4 Sep 2012 Jimboomba 0 Comment

Woodhill and Veresdale evolved from the Townsvale plantation established by Robert Towns in 1862. William Tutin Walker was the manager at the Townsvale plantation and he remained on the property until his death in 1920. He had an adventurous life having worked as a gold buyer for the Victorian government on the gold fields in the Ballarat region. Having run the gauntlet of bush rangers one too many times he turned to sheep grazing near Ballarat. In 1865 he moved to Queensland to work for Captain Towns on his cotton plantation. He later turned to timber getting and dairying, with his dairy at Townsvale being one of the largest in the district. His four children remained living in the district at the time of his death.

Early settler William Everdell had first worked on Collin’s Mundoolun station before moving to Oxley in 1862. He returned to Veresdale in 1869. Land for the school was donated by William Everdell. The Townsvale State School opened in 1873, was renamed Veresdale in 1874 and changed to Woodhill in 1899. Verdon and Matthew Hinchcliffe whose family were the first settlers in Waterford, had a store in Logan Village, and another on the Townsvale Plantation in the early 1870s. It is possible that Veresdale was named after Verdon. Woodhill was the property name of the Ferguson Family.

A Wesleyan Church was built near to the school on the adjoining property owned by Joseph Binstead. The Veresedale Wesleyan Church was built opposite the Woodhill Hall. Land had been allocated by the family which the Everdell’s had purchased from (possibly Tanner) but Mr Hinchliffe who lived at Veresdale had donated a substantial amount of money for the church and insisted that it be named Veresdale, even though it is at Woodhill.

Veresdale and Woodhill continued to grow as a regional centre revolving around the old Townsvale plantation. The Townsvale State School opened in 1873, was renamed Veresdale in 1874 and changed to Woodhill in 1899. A post office run by D Morrison opened on 1 January 1874. Matthew and Verdon Hinchcliffe opened a new branch of their store at Veresdale early in 1878. The township boasted a police station from 1877 and a Court of Petty Sessions was established in early April 1879. A ten-acre cemetery reserve was proclaimed on 26 April 1879, and a board of local trustees was appointed. William Everdell established the Walton Hotel (named after his hometown in England) at Woodhill from about 1875. It functioned as a staging place for the mail run between Logan Reserve and Telemon. Hotels were centres of community activities at the time and the Walton Hotel hosted a public meeting in August 1879 to discuss the route of the proposed Upper Logan Railway. Land was also set aside here for a School of Arts later that year and, when the Tabragalba Divisional Board was established, it first met at Veresdale.

Veresdale was described by a correspondent to the Logan Witness, 11 February 1882, as ‘the centre of one of the finest basaltic districts of Australia, and is congenial to the successful growth of most sorts of European fruits with a large plantation of pine in the vicinity. However the transport costs to Brisbane are prohibitive to local farmers. The township boasted a stipendiary magistrate, police quarters, and a state school’.

David and Jane Ferguson also donated the land for the cemetery, when their 11-year-old son George was killed after a fall from a horse on 13 March 1873. The first police headquarters in the upper Logan district was established at the home of William Everdell. The first constable was Martin Quinlan who was transferred from Beenleigh in 1876. A courthouse opened down the road at Veresdale in 1879, which operated until 1880 when a new courthouse was founded in Beaudesert.

The Walton Hotel was built by William Everdell in 1875. The substantial timber building was built from local cedar and hardwood. It was the changing station for the coaches of the Logan Reserve and Telemon Mail Runs. When the railway came through in 1888 the local station was called Walton.

The Woodhill Cemetery was gazetted on 26 April 1879, although was called the Veresdale Cemetery at the time. Trustees included William Tuton Walker, Verdon Hinchcliffe, John Hopkins, Archibald Auld, John Waters, David Ferguson and George Smith.

David Ferguson had a store at Woodhill from mid 1870. It was located to the north of the school, on a one acre lot with a four roomed cottage. In 1878 he offered it for sale at auction. The store remained in business until 1956. During that time it was the hub of the local community with local farmers also using it as cream depot.

In 1894, the former Veresdale courthouse was relocated by bullock dray to Woodhill for use as a community hall. Committee members included David Day, Richard Day, Verdon Hinchcliffe, William Hiscock, David Ferguson, George Plunkett, John Hopkins and G. Wilson.

The Cavell Family came to live at Woodhill in 1879 from Coopers Plains. Edwin Cavell named his property Rose Hill which comprised a number of properties bounded by Hiscock, Hall and Undullah Roads. He had earlier worked on the construction of Mundoolun Homestead for John Collins and later purchased his own bullock team. He worked in the timber industry around Jimboomba before taking up the Woodhill land. He was treasurer of the school committee and trustee for the church committee. His youngest son Joseph then managed the property.

The Hopkins family came to the area in the 1870s where John Hopkins selected land. His property was known as Woodlands. Son Joseph left school early to assist his father in taking care of the large family. He was initially employed by William Walker at Townsvale working on the sawmill. His mother died when he was 17 and he continued to support the family. When Walker subdivided, Joseph was assisted to acquire his own property. He married neighbour Lillie Everdell in 1899 at her family home Walton. Joseph was chairman of the Beaudesert Shire Council for 27 years and a member for 32 years. He was secretary of the Woodhill School of Arts Committee from the time he was a youth and was trustee of the hall at the time of his death in 1948. He was also a director of the Logan and Albert Co-operative Dairy Association and the first president of the Beaudesert Bowls Club. He was the first Queensland councillor to cross over the border into New South Wales at Urbenville, with Main Roads Commissioner Kemp and Chief Engineer Crawford. The track that was to become the New England Highway until 1954, when it was renamed the Mount Lindesay Highway.

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