Thomas Boyland

Margaret Boyland


Thomas Boyland¾a farmer and close friend of the Grenier family and of many other early settlers at Cooper’s Plains¾was born to John and Charlotte (née Quigley) Boyland in Antrim Ireland, about 1817. He travelled to Australia on the 716-ton barque Alfred (Captain Eastmure) which sailed from London on 7 September 1840 with 263 bounty immigrants on board. After fresh provisions had been obtained at the Cape, the ship proceeded to Sydney and arrived there on 19 January 1841. Aged 23 at the time, Thomas was accompanied by 21-year-old Sampson Courtney Boyland who, more than likely, was a cousin of his. According to shipping records, they were from County Antrim in Ireland and were recommended for the £19 bounty voyage by ‘Samuel Peacock and two others’. Both carpenters, they were literate single men of the Presbyterian faith.

Thomas was not the first of his family to emigrate to Australia. His brother John (b. 14 August 1812, a carpenter and sawyer) and his sisters Eliza (b. 4 January 1815, a farm servant) and Sarah (b. 9 March 1816, a farm servant and dairymaid) set sail for Sydney from Plymouth on 8 October 1838 on the Andromache (Captain Thomas New). The ship with its 220 bounty passengers arrived on 31 January 1839. Eight infants died and five were born en route.

Thomas suffered a serious financial setback when, on the evening of 4 July 1848, his ‘house, situated in South Brisbane, was forcibly entered, and money, consisting of sovereigns and silver, with about thirty shillings in orders, and amounting in the whole to between £40 and £50 sterling stolen therefrom’. He offered a reward of £20 for information leading to a conviction of the offender(s).

On 21 March 1849 Thomas Boyland married Margaret Orr in the Presbyterian church at Kangaroo Point in a service conducted by the Reverend Thomas Mowbray MA. The witnesses were James Reid, the business partner of John Boyland, and the bride’s sister Jessie.

A few observations might be made, in passing, about these two witnesses who are part of the Boyland story. James Reid ‘of the steamboat Hawk’, married Ann Gallon (née Ross), the relict of Peter Gallon of South Brisbane, on 9 March 1852 in St John’s Church, North Brisbane. The Reverend Henry Offley Irwin conducted the wedding service which was officially witnessed by Francis and Elizabeth Ede. James Reid became a prosperous pastoralist and land speculator. Ann died on 6 September 1864.

Jessie Orr, the ‘third daughter of Mr John Orr of Brisbane’, married John Wylie Wilson (b. 28 August 1828), the eldest son of Archibald and Elizabeth (née Wylie) Wilson of Dysart (Kircaldy), Fifeshire, Scotland, by special licence on 28 October 1854 with the Reverend Mr Sinclair presiding and John Orr and C Frederick Bell acting as witnesses. The couple settled in Bowen, North Queensland; and it was there at Wylie Park that Jessie died on 15 December 1897. Her 72-year-old husband, devastated by Jessie’s death took his own life six months later on 1 June 1898. ‘Respect for deceased and sympathy for his family were shown by nearly all the flags in the town being at half mast.’

Thomas and Margaret lived originally in Russell Street, South Brisbane. It is there that they would have met the Grenier family for the first time; for Thomas Grenier was then the licensee of the Brisbane Hotel in that street. In 1863 they moved with their growing family to Cooper’s Plains where they operated the ‘Chilmurah Dairy’ at ‘Meadowlands’—an 11-acre property bounded by Beaudesert Road, Meadow and Boyland Avenues and the interstate railway line (UBD 199), not far from God’s Acre. At some stage they relocated to a new residence on a property (possibly purchased by their son George Thomas) on the corner of Boundary and Beenleigh Roads.

Thomas’s pastoral activities, which focused on sheep and cattle grazing, had actually been in train for more than a decade when this move was made. According to the New South Wales Government Gazette, he had leased five tracts of land, totalling 4040 acres, on the west side of Oxley Creek. His interests also extended to the other side of the creek where he held leases jointly with a partner. In this connection it is significant that the area between Chelmer and Seventeen Mile Rocks was known as Boyland’s Pocket.

Thomas and Margaret Boyland raised a large family: John (b. 3 March 1850; d. 29 May 1938); Jessie (b. 16 May 1852; d. 28 October 1943); Albert James (b. 31 May 1854; d. 19 June 1929); George Thomas (b. 1 May 1856; d. 13 October 1908); Mary Mayne Amelia (pictured, b. 18 September 1858; d. 6 February 1964); William Henry (b. about 1861); Courtney1 (b. 21 October 1864; d. 22 October 1864); Eleanor Jane (b. 30 April 1867; d. 9 August 1959); Courtney2 (b. about 1868; d. 28 April 1956); Ernest Wylie (b. 1 January 1872; d. 7 January 1943); Francis Orr Leichhardt (b. 30 July 1873; d. 26 October 1958).

Before concentrating his efforts on his farming and dairying interests, Thomas once transported freight and passengers between Brisbane and Ipswich, initially on the steamer Experiment which he owned jointly with James Reid, and then on three steamers he had purchased (probably in partnership)¾Bremer, Hawk and Swallow. One who availed of his services on several occasions was the prominent businessman Nehemiah Bartley who in 1854 recorded in his book Opals and Agates:

The ‘Swallow’ steamer was sunk by catching under the wharf; she tilted, and filled by the rising tide, and the steward [Richard Brandon], who rushed on board to get his money out, was drowned in the cabin; so I travelled up and down [to Ipswich] in the ‘Hawk’, Captain Thomas Boyland; a guileless hard worker was old ‘Dash it’ (as his nickname was).

Refloated after this mishap, which occurred at Towns and Co.’s Wharf, South Brisbane, on 6 March 1854, the steamer Swallow was even more badly damaged when it ran aground at Seventeen Mile Rocks on 31 August 1855 en route from Ipswich to Brisbane with a cargo of wool and tallow.

In the shipping business Thomas was following the lead of his brother John who, in partnership with James Reid, was a South Brisbane ferryman and a pioneer of the Brisbane-Ipswich trade. Their barge, Mary Ann (50 feet x 11 feet), was launched in Brisbane on New Year’s Day 1847 and soon began carrying wool and other goods between the two towns. In this connection John moved to Ipswich to supervise the erection of a large storage facility which was duly opened in September 1847. This partnership was ‘dissolved by mutual consent’, possibly because of failing health on John’s part.

John Boyland died in Ipswich on 16 August 1853 in the presence of his brother Thomas and was buried there on the following day. In the absence of a Presbyterian minister, the local Baptist minister, the Reverend Thomas Deacon, officiated at the service. Only a month before John’s untimely death, advertisements had appeared in the Moreton Bay Courier listing rates of freight for the steamboat Hawk and confirming that he and his brother Thomas had become partners..

As John, who never married, died intestate and without any dependents, Thomas signed a statement on 25 June 1862 before a commissioner for taking affidavits in which he declared himself ‘heir at law’ to his brother’s estate. He duly inherited John’s property ‘in the now colony of Queensland’.

Charles Melton, writing under the pseudonym ‘Nut Quad’, recalled Thomas’s shipping activities in one of the many articles he contributed to the  Brisbane Courier:

Many of us can recall the genial captain, who was well known in connection with the river trade between Brisbane and Ipswich in the early days. In fact he was connected with the first steamboat that plied between the two towns, for in 1846, with Mr. Reid, he [or John?] purchased from Mr. J. C. [James Canning] Pearce, for £200, the unlucky steamboat Experiment, which was said to have been the first steamer built in Australia, and was stated to have originally cost about £2000. But it was as master of the steamer Hawk—built by Captain Taylor Winship, in 1840, on the river bank, about 300 yards from the present West End Brewery—that Captain Boyland was best known. The Hawk and the Swallow (the latter built by Mr. Winship in 1852) did a fair passenger trade between Brisbane and Ipswich in the fifties, for there were no coaches in those days. The steamers also conveyed large quantities of station requirements to Ipswich, whence they were taken by bullock dray to the various pastoral holdings in West Moreton and on the Darling Downs, the return loading consisting of wool, tallow, and hides. Captain Boyland was a fine type of man, who looked the strenuous life of those days squarely in the face. Earnest resolution was written in well-marked lines on his face, and his eyes had the seaman’s trained keenness in their gaze. Even now one can recall his cheery voice as he called out “Let go that bow line there,” when the little steamer was moving from the wharf. When the present scribe was a lad he was privileged to possess Captain Boyland’s friendship, and made several trips to Ipswich with him in the middle fifties. In those far away days the steamers left Brisbane at an hour that enabled them to pass the Seventeen-mile Rocks at high water; so that while at times they left McCabe’s wharf before daylight in the morning, it was often 10 or 11 o’clock in the forenoon before they got away [‘Nut Quad’ goes on to name some of the squatters who were on board on a trip he made on the Hawk in September 1855 and recalls the camaraderie that existed among them. He singles out for special praise Boyland’s cook ‘who was a past master in the art of coffee-making’.]

Thomas Boyland had been living in Australia for 42 of his 71 years at the time of his death at Cooper’s Plains on 18 June 1886. His funeral, which was conducted by the Reverend John Stewart Pollock of the Presbyterian Church, took place at ‘Grenier’s Cemetery’ on the following afternoon in the presence of official witnesses, Job Minchenton Sr and John Rowcliffe.

The Boyland name lives on in Boyland Avenue and Boyland Street in Cooper’s Plains and Seventeen Mile Rocks respectively. It is also remembered in the locality of Boyland near Canungra in the Beaudesert Shire. In this last instance the name derives from the railway station which was named on 15 October 1914 after George Thomas Boyland, the son of Thomas and Margaret, who was chairman of the Tamborine Shire Council (1907-08) and a strong advocate of the Canungra Branch Railway.

Margaret Boyland and her siblings travelled to Australia with their parents, John and Janet (née Orr) Orr, on the 482-ton Hero of Malown (Captain George Grundy). The ship with 244 emigrants on board sailed from Liverpool on 20 November 1838 and, having reached the Cape of Good Hope where it was quarantined on 12 February 1839, arrived in Port Jackson on 1 April 1839. After a distressing voyage during which two adults and 20 children died (largely from measles and smallpox), the vessel was quarantined a second time until the evening of 24 February. There were also ten births en route, three of them in port.

Shipping records list the names and ages of the Orr family members as follows: John (38, farm labourer), Janet (36, farm servant), Jane (16, house servant), John (15), James (12), William (10), Margaret (7), Jessie (4), Mary Mayne (6 weeks). The last mentioned child was born at sea on 15 March 1839—probably with the assistance of Mary Mayne, one of the few cabin passengers. The same records indicate that both parents were literate, that all members of the family were adherents of the Church of Scotland faith, and that John and Janet’s respective native places were Irvine and Dundonald, both in Ayrshire. Another son, George Gipps (b. 5 March 1843), was added to the family in Australia.

According to her death notice in the Moreton Bay Courier, Janet Orr passed away aged 55 on 16 July 1856 when she and her husband were living at Stanley Quay, Stanley Street, South Brisbane. She was the second daughter of James and Jean (née Galt) Orr of ‘Towerlands, and Slane Castle’, near Irvine, Ayrshire, and the sister of the controversial Reverend George Orr DD, Symington, Ayrshire, of the Free Church of Scotland. Her parents were married in Dundonald on 1 August 1796.

Janet’s husband, John Orr Sr, the son of John and Margaret (née Young) Orr, was a native of Knowehead in the parish of Dundonald, Scotland. He worked as a gamekeeper/farmer at Cooper’s Plains where, having been cared for in his last illness by Dr Albert Emmelhainz, he died on 11 August 1871 aged 82 years. His remains were interred in the ‘Presbyterian Burial Ground’ (presumably in the old Paddington Cemetery, Lang Park) three days later. The Reverend Charles Ogg led the burial service which was certified by George Barney Petrie (undertaker) and witnessed by William Baynes.

Margaret Boyland’s death certificate indicates that she spent seven years in Victoria before accompanying her family to Queensland where aged about 18 she married Thomas Boyland. She passed away in Cooper’s Plains on 10 August 1911 and was laid to rest beside her husband according to the rites of the Presbyterian Church two days later. The Reverend John Stewart Pollock presided; the undertaker was W Cannon and the official witnesses to the burial were George Sutherland (the son-in-law of the deceased) and JH Cripps.

The following obituary notice appeared in the Brisbane Courier:

Many relatives and friends will regret to learn that Mrs. Boyland, widow of the late Captain Boyland, passed away at her residence, Cooper’s Plains, last Wednesday night, at the ripe old age of 80 years. One by one the links binding the present to the past are being broken, yet there are many persons still living who can recall the genial captain, so well known in connection with the steamer trips between Brisbane and Ipswich many years ago. Mrs. Boyland had lived at Cooper’s Plains for 48 years, and there are many people who will miss the kindly old lady, who was always ready to lend a helpful hand when any neighbours were in distress. The deceased leaves six sons, three daughters, 22 grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. One son [George Thomas] died about three years ago [13 October 1908].

In one of his numerous historical articles, sharing his recollections of our pioneers, in the Brisbane Courier, ‘Nut Quad’ (Charles Melton) wrote of Margaret Boyland:

But one by one the links which attach the past to the present are broken, and a paragraph which appeared in your paper a little while ago announced the death of a very old colonist in the person of Mrs. Boyland, widow of the late Captain Boyland, at the age of 80 years. Many old residents of Brisbane will remember the deceased lady when she lived with her family in Russell-street, South Brisbane, near the site of the present Melbourne-street railway station. Mrs. Boyland possessed a kindly and lovable personality, and during the 48 years she lived at Cooper’s Plains she made many friends, who now sadly miss her, for her ministering hand was always helpful when neighbours were in trouble.

The truth of the last sentence is borne out by the fact that Margaret Boyland fostered and provided employment for many ‘State children’ over the years, including Frank Hubert Hall and his friend who was with him on the day that he was accidentally shot, George Lee. Her ministrations in that tragedy and her part in the subsequent inquest are outlined in the Hall entry.

George Thomas Boyland
Sylvia Boyland

George Thomas Boyland, the son of Thomas (a master mariner) and Margaret (née Orr) Boyland was born on 1 May 1856. He married Ann Bryans (b. 9 August 1868 in the Lady Bowen Hospital, Brisbane, known as Annie), the daughter of John and Mary (née Barrett) Bryans on 1 October 1890 in the Albert Street (Brisbane) Wesleyan Church.


George Thomas and Annie built a residence named ‘Solitude’ on a 24-acre block (about 10 hectares) on the corner of Beaudesert and Boundary Roads at Cooper’s Plains. They became the parents of: Daisy (b. 14 August 1891; m. William Robert Ferguson 20 October 1911; d. 11 August 1976); Sylvia (b. 18 June 1893; d. 14 March 1895) and George Thomas (Tom or Tum) Bryans (b. 18 December 1895; m. Edith Minnie (Cis) Hinchcliffe, the daughter of Harry and Annie (née Colvin) Hinchcliffe, 5 February 1917; d. 29 April 1945).

George Thomas Boyland, a justice of the peace, served as chairman of the Yeerongpilly Shire Council for many years; and, in addition to pursuing his own farming interests, he assisted the Chinese market gardeners to establish vegetable gardens beside Stable Swamp Creek.

Following in his older brother John’s footsteps, George and Annie later purchased a large property (approximately 2000 acres) between Canungra and Tamborine Village. Having cleared the land, they established a dairy and piggery and erected a fine home which they called ‘Fenwyke’. He continued to take a keen interest in local affairs and, as noted previously, served for some years as the chairman of the Tamborine Shire Council.


George Thomas Boyland died on 13 October 1908 and was buried in the Cooper’s Plains Cemetery two days later. Those present at the interment in an official capacity were: William Cannon (undertaker), the Reverend John Stewart Pollock of the Presbyterian Church, and WJ Mitchell and Otto Henry Mewing (witnesses).

A year later the following in memoriam notice appeared in the Brisbane Courier:

BOYLAND.—A tribute of love to the memory of George Boyland, late of Cooper’s Plains, who passed away suddenly October 13th, 1908. Waiting until the day breaks and the shadows flee away. Inserted by his loving wife, son and daughter. The Reverend Pollock’s ministry frequently brought him to God’s Acre. Details about his life may be read in an appendix.

George’s widow Annie continued to manage the farm for some years after his death. She married Henry (Harry) Tuckett), the son of James and Mary Ann (née Draper) Tuckett, on 25 April 1912. After Margaret Boyland’s death in 1911, the couple moved to Thomas and Margaret’s home, which they renamed ‘Fenwyke’, on the corner of Boundary and Beenleigh Roads at Cooper’s Plains. They continued to commute between the two properties until their land at Boyland was auctioned in four portions. Their son George Thomas Bryans Boyland purchased portion 2, comprising 607 acres, at £5 15s per acre.

Annie died in the Sherwood Private Hospital, Sherwood, on 5 July 1945 and was buried two days later in the Cooper's Plains Cemetery. The Reverend William Christian Kleindienst of the Methodist Church conducted the service in the presence of EE Abell (undertaker from Cannon and Cripps), and J McGuinness and J Kirby (witnesses). Annie’s daughter, Mrs Daisy Ferguson, was the only surviving child of her first marriage. A comprehensive account of her Bryans family background may be found in the Tuckett entry in these pages.

Sylvia Boyland, the daughter of George Thomas and Ann (née Bryans) Boyland, was born on 18 June 1893 and died at Ipswich Road Junction on 14 March 1895. The Reverend John Stewart Pollock presided at her burial in the Cooper's Plains Cemetery on the following day. The undertaker was Alfred Cannon of Cannon and Cripps and the witnesses were C Devinger (or Levinger?) and her uncle Albert James Boyland.

Agnes Boyland

Agnes McFadyen
, the daughter of Alexander and Christina (née Brown) McFadyen, was born on 25 July 1872. Her parents emigrated to Australia on the 949-ton Utopia (Captain George Stewart) which left Plymouth on 23 July 1862 and anchored in Keppel Bay on 6 November 1862, having made the first direct voyage from England to that port. From there the 324 immigrants were taken to Rockhampton on the steamer Boomerang five days later. Travelling with Alexander (25, a farm labourer from Ayrshire) and Christina (25) were their children James (3) and Anthony (1). In addition to Agnes, who was born at Nankin Creek near Rockhampton in Central Queensland, the following family members were born in Australia: Alexander Jr (b. 24 May 1864), Christina (b. 14 December 1867), Elizabeth (b. 17 September 1870), Rebecca (b. 16 March 1876), Robert Delzell [sic] (b. 13 March 1878) and Margaret (b. 8 June 1880).

Agnes married Ernest Wylie Boyland, the son of Thomas and Margaret (née Orr) Boyland, on 26 December 1901. Their children were: Noel Wylie (b. 24 March 1903), Roy Clifford (b. 13 June 1908), Ernest Courtney (b. 26 December 1910 on his parents’ ninth wedding anniversary), and Leonard Richard (b. 10 August 1914; d. 17 February 1947).

At the time of her death on 21 May 1937 Agnes was living in Raymont Road, Alderley. When she was laid to rest in the Cooper’s Plains Cemetery on the following afternoon, the following people were present in an official capacity: HW McDowell (undertaker from Cannon & Cripps), the Reverend W Hunter Howartson (Presbyterian minister), J Dibble and J Dunstan (witnesses) .

Ernest Wylie Boyland Sr died unexpectedly on 7 January 1943 while on a visit to Cairns for medical attention. He was buried in the cemetery there.