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Logan Village

Logan Village was a key site in the overall development of the region and the river traffic, which originally serviced it. Its initial role was as head of navigation for the river with a major wharf and a store constructed in 1862 to service Robert Towns' plantation at Townsvale (Veresdale). The store was located in the vicinity of Anzac Avenue, on land owned by John Edwin Campbell. Campbell was Town's superintendent of kanakas. The township was surveyed in July 1865, and the town wharf was upgraded in 1873. William Drynan, a former cedar cutter from the Richmond River district, selected land here in 1862 and ran the Logan Village Hotel from 1864. He took out an annual publican's licence in August 1866, but did not renew it again until March 1871. The Brisbane Courier reported on the anticipation of the Logan Races to be held on New Years Day 1865, between Quinzeh and Ooah Creeks, with refreshments provided by Mr Drynan. In 1867 kangaroo hunts were promoted as an activity organised through Drynan's Hotel.

Early merchants trading from this township included Orr and Honeyman, who were involved in the cotton industry. They owned a number of the boats, which worked the Logan River including the SS Amy, from 1863, and the SS Louisa from 1884. Matthew Orr and James Honeyman owned riverside land in Logan Village between Logan and Wharf Streets. The wharf store was sold to the Hinchcliffe brothers in 1869. They were the agents for merchants J and G Harris and Co.

Earliest references to the region in the 1868 Post Office Directories give the locations of Saw Mills on the Chambers Flat side of the River and Woodlands on the village side. A ferry lease was offered at Logan Village in 1866, but was never taken up because William Drynan ran a private punt there. He took up an official ferry lease in 1868. He operated the first Receiving Office for the mail from January 1870. He was also the agent for merchants Clarke, Hodgson and Co. By 1876 the Queensland Gazetteer noted that the mail was delivered twice a week to Logan Village. Needless to say, timbergetting was an important industry, and it is likely that Drynan was initially involved in this industry also, given his background in cedar cutting and the naming of his property Woodlands. The origins of the first sawmill are unclear with conflicting reports on the ownership. It was either run by Walter Smith or the Olivers and it had a chimney constructed of local freestone, mined near Quinzeh Creek. It apparently burnt down in 1872, (having supplied the timber for the new Logan Primary School at Waterford the previous year) although the chimney stack survived until the 1887 floods.

The school, like others in the region, had a shaky start. It began in 1873 in a structure built of bark, with timber floor and glass windows. It was situated at Stockleigh. Logan Village residents lobbied for a school in the township, which commenced operation in August 1875. A new school was requested in 1882, but not built until 1894. The school became a State School in 1900.

An examination of the professions resident in Logan Village noted in the school register of 1875 indicates that this was an important settlement. Architect Charles Smith lived here having come from the Gympie goldfields, where he designed a number of significant buildings. The most notable in the Logan region was an 'Italianate' style home for Adam Black on the Albert. (Adam Black and Gilbert Muir of the Nooya Plantation in Beenleigh owned significant gold interests in the New Zealand Reef in Gympie. They, along with Smith had previously worked the New Zealand gold fields.) It is possible that Smith designed other buildings in the district, although there is no hard evidence to support this. Other occupations in the township included two blacksmiths, a veterinary surgeon, a wood turner, bricklayer, river men and farmers.

The Logan Village community remained strong and locals held a meeting in Drynan's Hotel in September 1880 to lobby for the opening of a road from Waterford, through Chisholm's (Canterbury College) to the Village. This was eventually built, further opening the land for farming. One of the largest sugar plantations along this proposed road was Hugh Watson's Rosevaille, which was situated along Weaber Road with wharfage in what is now Newstead Park. It was noted that this plantation was the furthest inland, although this did not detract from its initial success. By 1883 the property was offered for sale, and was promoted as rich scrub land having over one mile of river frontage, with between 80 and 100 acres cultivated. The sugar mill was still operational and there were workers cottages as well as the main dwelling, stables and sheds. Despite the new road, river carriage was still utilised and the proposed railway to Logan Village was a strong selling point. There was also a coal seam on the property.

In September 1885, the initial section of the Beaudesert Branch railway opened to Logan Village. The line linked into the Brisbane-Beenleigh line at Bethania Junction, but offered very limited service to Logan Village residents. The Beaudesert extension was completed in May 1888. Again this was a less than ideal service, with the circuitous route taking 3½ hours for the journey from Beaudesert to Brisbane.

The hotel was relocated a number of times over the years. It was originally located in North Street, and was then relocated to the corner of North and Albert Streets. Once the railway was built in 1885 it was moved to a site immediately opposite the railway station in Albert Street.

By 1892, timbergetting was again in full swing in the region, with seven timbergetters working the area. The town was still a vibrant little settlement surrounded by farmlands, supported by the hotel, store, blacksmith, painter, boot maker, two butchers and a saddler. There was a primitive Methodist church, and the Church of England and Catholic clergy visited occasionally.

For many years the residents of Logan Village had been lobbying for a bridge. A ferry had operated from Logan Village to Chambers Flat since at least 1866. Mr E J Stevens opened the long awaited bridge at Logan Village on 6 June 1897. Mr J Stodart member for the district presided at the banquet given in honour of the occasion. Unfortunately the life of the bridge was limited. The decision to build a low-level bridge was not a good one. Although saving construction costs, the bridge acted as a dam in times of heavy rain and flooding, trapping debris, which then had to be removed to keep the river trafficable. Presumably this would have also had a detrimental effect on the structure of the bridge. By September 1898 cobra worm had already attacked the piles and they were subsequently encased in concrete. In March 1900, there was so much debris trapped around the bridge that a steam winch had to be installed to remove the rubbish. Eventually local resident Thomas Kirk was appointed caretaker of the bridge to ensure it remained safe for road traffic and clear for river traffic.

The bridge did not survive the flood of 1 June 1903. It was swept away and remained upturned in a paddock until the council called tenders for its removal and the disposal of the timber. Chardons Bridge on the Upper Albert was also washed away and the Luscombe Bridge was extensively damaged. Waterford Bridge then became the new 'dam' and a huge amount of debris collected there. A ferry was quickly employed at Logan Village, which remained operational for a few years before being discontinued. The cost to farmers crossing with cream was initially problematic until the Queensland Meat Agency Company erected a wire rope, flying fox style, to convey the cream cans across the river in 1905. It is unclear whether the cream was being transported to the Beaudesert Butter factory or simply to the Logan Village Railway Station for transport elsewhere.

The river was home to an unusual visitor in the early 1900s. Following repeated reports of an 'alligator' in the river, one was shot in June 1905. The crocodile was first shot by Charlie Gottch in the river opposite his property which was located between Melliodora Road and the River Glen Village. The injured crocodile travelled upstream to Logan Village to the old ferry landing, where it was dragged from the river and skinned. The skin adorned the Logan Village school walls for many years. The prospect of further crocodiles did not deter the local children from swimming in the river.

In August 1910, William Drynan sold his property (Portions 185-186) to John Storey, who moved to the area from Park Ridge. William Storey was an agent for the Morton Creamery.

Another key industry that has developed in more recent years, is sand mining. It draws on the significant deposits along the riverbank as a result of constant flooding. Waterford Sands Pty Ltd operates in the vicinity of Deer Lane. The sand in this region is covered with 13 metres of overburden, which is sold as topsoil, while the sand is generally used as bedding sand, or mixed with the overburden to produce top dressing for bowling greens and the like.

Despite every effort over the years to build a new bridge a Logan Village, the process took 93 years. A new concrete bridge was opened in August 1996. It was named after the Beaudesert Shire Engineer, Geoff Philp.