An early history of Logan

We acknowledge and accept that Logan has a vast and rich Indigenous and cultural history. This enhances our commitment to reconciliation. It gives us a deeper understanding of our past.

The Aboriginal people from the Yagara and Yugambeh language groups originally inhabited Logan. They were self sufficient and harmonious people with a strong connection to their land. They experienced a life rich in traditional customs.

The Aboriginal people’s first contact with Europeans happened in 1826. This is when Captain Patrick Logan explored the river. He described the river as running through the finest tract of land he had seen. He named it the Darling, in honour of the Governor. The Governor returned the compliment by renaming the river the Logan, to recognise Logan's enthusiasm and efficiency.

Penal settlement

When the penal settlement based in Brisbane closed in 1841, squatters took up the land. Cedar getters extracted the best of the timber along the Logan and other rivers in the region. The first leases of land in the Logan area were issued from 1849.

Immigration was encouraged following the separation of Queensland from New South Wales in 1859. The declaration of the Logan and Eight Mile Plains Agricultural Reserves in 1862 led to extensive settlement of the area. Irish, Scottish and English settlers came first, followed by German immigrants.

Logan goes commercial

Cotton was the first commercial crop grown in the region. The cotton mills of England were unable to access American cotton due to the Civil War, so they looked to Australia for a reliable cotton supply.

‘Kanaka’ or South Pacific Islander labour was introduced to work the cotton industry. The South Pacific Islanders also worked in the sugar industry.

Sugar became the staple industry between 1866 and 1874. Many sugar mills were built along the river. The first sugar mill was Fryar and Strachan's at Loganholme, built in July 1869.

In 1887, floods destroyed the Logan River sugar farmers’ crops and covered them with silt. Many sugar farmers stopped production and only a few mills remained open. Some sugar mills were later turned into sawmills.

Dairying, the way to the future

In the late 1880s, the drop in sugar prices led the Queensland Government to promote dairying as the way to the future.

Travelling dairies toured the state, showing the process of separating cream. Following a visit to Beenleigh in March 1889, local farmers started commercial dairying. Small cream depots were established throughout the district.

By 1906, a meeting of farmers from the Logan Farming and Industrial Association decided to establish a co-operative butter factory for the Logan and Albert region. Shareholders in the venture came from as far away as Springbrook.

The Southern Queensland Co-operative Dairy Company butter factory in Kingston opened on 13 May 1907. By the end of the financial year in July, it had already produced seven tons of butter, mostly for export.

The Kingston Butter Factory was essential to the economic growth of the area. Later it supported a nearby piggery, which used the surplus buttermilk. Dairying was the key industry in the Logan area through the first half of the 20th century.

Small crop farming continued on productive soils. A poultry industry followed in the areas with poorer soils, particularly after World War II.

Urban development in Logan

The post-war need for housing generated a lot of development in the region. Urban development boomed in Rochedale South and Springwood from the late 1960s.

Brisbane City introduced a new town plan in 1965. This plan required town water, sewerage and kerb and channelling in all new subdivisions.

Developers began to buy land in the northern parts of Albert and Beaudesert Shires where regulations were more relaxed and land prices were lower. Young families bought a lot of the land in these new developments.

In 1969, the Queensland Housing Commission developed large areas of land for public housing in Kingston and Woodridge.

Freeway links Brisbane to Springwood, then the Gold Coast

The planned South-East Freeway encouraged the Albert Shire area to grow.

The freeway would provide easy access between Brisbane and Springwood and eventually to the Gold Coast.

Initial plans forecast the freeway to Springwood to be finished by 1970. However, it was not completed until 1985.

The new residents in the Albert Shire felt isolated from their local government and lobbied for better local representation.

Logan is declared a city

The Department of Local Government started the Logan Shire in 1978. The new Logan Shire included the northern suburbs of both Albert and Beaudesert Shires.

At the time, there were about 69,000 people living to the north of the Logan River.

On 31 May 1978, Local Government Minister Russ Hinze introduced the Local Government Change of Boundaries Bill to create the new Logan Shire. This was officially approved on 8 June 1978. Elections were held with the general local government election in March 1979.

The council took over financial responsibility for the new shire from the 1 July 1979.

On 1 January 1981, Logan was declared a city. Our administration building in Wembley Road was opened in February 1981. Extensions to the building were completed in 1984 and 1993.

Reminders of early settlers still remain in the modern city

Logan is now a bustling modern city looking to the future. However, there are still many reminders of the past.

Indigenous culture and knowledge is an integral part to Logan’s history and modern identity.

There are many places across Logan City that hold significant meaning to traditional custodians of Logan, on such site is Eagleby Wetlands Reserve. There are scarred trees and an abundance of native wildlife found at the wetlands.

Other significant sites include the many historic cemeteries are located in Logan – in Kingston, Carbrook, Waterford West, Logan Reserve and Slacks Creek.

The oldest remaining buildings in Logan include the slab hut in the grounds of Mayes Cottage and the Kruger house at Carbrook.

The Logan River was an important resource for the Traditional Owners of the area, allowing them access to food and plants. The River was then used as transport route in the early settlement days. The historical remnants of activity and structures along the river have been washed away in past floods.

Some accessible sites of cultural significance in Logan are:

  • Eagleby Wetlands Reserve
  • Scrubby Creek
  • Yugambeh Museum
  • Mayes Cottage
  • the old Carbrook School
  • St Marks Church at Slacks Creek
  • the Kingston Butter Factory.