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The Wangerriburra Clan of the Yugambeh language group occupied this land before the arrival of Europeans. Yarrabilba means 'place of song' in Wangerriburra/Bundjalung language. The area still contains many artefacts and evidence of their occupation.
Original European settlers who took up land within the boundaries of Yarrabilba include Henry and Isaac Seymore, Thomas Plunkett, William Walsh, George Richardson, Alexander Watt, Daniel Kelso, Samuel Kelso, Andrew Watt and William Steele.
Steele's Road led to the property on bank of the river owned by William Steele, which he took up around 1862 and named Albert Park. He built a house on the Albert River and is considered to be the first European settler in the area. The falls on the river here were known as Steele's Falls. The creek and the road were also named after him. It is thought that he grew cotton and later sugar and owned a mill. Albert Park later become home to the Waldron Family and then to Alf Henderson, eldest son of James Henderson of Tabragalba.
Two Seymour families arrived from Northern Ireland on the Roddell Bay in July 1877. They included Isaac Senior (61), Isaac Junior (21), Henry Senior (60), Henry Junior (15), Fanny (23), Henrietta (20), Catherine (18), Charlotte (17) and Charles (10). The electoral rolls of 1879 indicate that Henry lived at Quinzeh Flat, and Isaac Junior and Senior lived at Parish of Moffatt and Logan Village respectively (which may be the same place). Henry Senior died in November 1879 and, by 1884, his son had moved to Veresdale. Henry Senior was the first burial in the Logan Village Cemetery and land was formally subdivided from the Seymore property for this purpose in 1885. Land for the cemetery had apparently been promised back in the mid-1870s and William Drynan wrote to Peter McLean the local Member of the Legislative Assembly, reminding him of this in 1877.
Thomas Plunkett arrived in Queensland aboard the Fiery Star in 1863, along with Michael Yore, with whom he had a long friendship. Both initially went to the Gympie gold fields, where they met William Walsh. Yore and Plunkett then selected land together on the south bank of the Logan River, near the current intersection of Deer Lane and Waterford–Tamborine Road. The original property was known as Argyle according to the electoral rolls of the late 1860s. In 1872, Yore sold his share to Plunkett and took up land on the banks of the Albert River near Tamborine Village, where he established a dairy. In the 1880s, his property was known as Villa Marie (presumably named in honour of his wife Maria Ryan).
Plunkett nominated as a candidate for parliament in 1888 and represented the electorate for eight years before being defeated by local rival R M Collins. He was re-elected in 1902, 1904 and 1907. Plunkett was instrumental in the construction of the railway from Logan Village to Canungra. Due to ill health, he was unable to attend the initial sod-turning ceremony in 1913, and died shortly after. His son Thomas Flood Plunkett took over running another family property near Kerry. He was a member of the Beaudesert Divisional Board, a JP, founder of the local Farmer's Union, Director and Chairman of the Logan and Albert Co-operative Dairy, trustee of the Logan and Albert Pastoral Society, and treasurer of the Beaudesert Railway League. His brothers Christopher and Walter managed Villa Marie estate.
William Walsh arrived in Queensland aboard the Prince Consort in 1862. He initially settled on the Logan River at Chambers Flat in the mid-1860s. He married Catherine Ryan in 1868 and they had three children. In 1869, he took up 100 acres near the Albert River at Tamborine and continued to add to that landholding. He eventually owned 2,000 acres, which he used for grazing, dairying and cultivation. He was the first in the district to use a plough. Walsh’s property was known as Munster Vale. Catherine died in 1876, and Walsh apparently went gold seeking on the Palmer River for a short while. He returned to the Logan district and married Margaret Yore, daughter of John Yore. John's brother Michael Yore was an early landholder on Tamborine Mountain, where William Walsh also selected land in 1875. William and Margaret had eight children. He was a member on the Tabragalba Divisional Board (part of which later became the Beaudesert Divisional Board), the first Chairman of the Tamborine Divisional Board in 1890, and was prominent in the Shire Council from 1903. His sons Edward and Ernie remained in the district.
The Ryan family have links to three families in this region through marriage. James Ryan and family came to Queensland on the Erin-go-Brah in 1862. His daughter Catherine married William Walsh, his daughter Ann married Michael Yore, and his daughter Mary married Thomas Plunkett.
The Kelso family of brothers Daniel (28) and Samuel (29), their mother Jane (50), their sister Margaret Pollock (30) and her daughter Mary (8) arrived aboard the Maryborough in May 1866 from Glasgow. Also on board were Caleb (36) and Edmund F Curtis (11). The remainder of the Curtis family came to Queensland aboard the Royal Dane in April 1867 – mother Mary, and children Helena, Sydney, Edgar, Clifford and baby Ann. The family initially settled at Eight Mile Plains. Four more children were born in Queensland. Caleb and Mary selected land on the Albert River, immediately south of Kelso's land. They named the property Leigh Farm. Caleb Curtis died in 1908 and is buried on the property, along with wife Mary, who died in 1912. Other family members are also buried here, including Ethel Lillian, and Esther Sarah (daughter of Charlotte Kingston and Henry Curtis).
Edmund Curtis and his brother Sidney first walked to Mount Tamborine when they were very young men and resolved to live there one day. In 1877, both brothers selected land there. Mary Jane Pollock married Edmund Ford Curtis in 1878 and they had 11 children. It is likely that Margaret lived with her daughter on the mountain, as the titles searches indicate Tamborine Mountain as her place of residence. The Curtis brothers erected the waterwheel on Cedar Creek in 1888. Daniel Kelso also selected land on Mount Tamborine. Daniel died in 1886, Samuel died in 1907 and Margaret in 1895. Their property was transferred to William Gordon Curtis, the eldest son of Edmund and Mary Jane Curtis (nee Pollock).
Residents of the Tamborine Village region began lobbying the government for a rail connection in 1886, shortly after the Beenleigh line was completed. George Phillips surveyed a nine-mile route to Tamborine Village township, but the main expense of the project was a bridge over the Albert River. J W Lahey continued the lobbying in 1888, because he wanted to open up timber reserves in the Canungra area. In 1901, construction began for a private rail line from Canungra to the upper Coomera, via a tunnel under the Darlington Range.
In May 1910, the proposed railway route was inspected by the Premier, Honourable W Kidston, and cabinet ministers. They made a non-stop trip to Logan Village, had a quick lunch at the hotel, then travelled by horse and buggy trip Canungra, with the trip organised by the Tamborine Shire Council. An improvised bridge allowed for them to cross the Albert River. They reached Canungra by nightfall and were accommodated in tents. The Tamborine Shire Council representative William Walsh and J W Lahey argued that the rail line was important for both the timber and dairying industries.
Construction approval was given in 1911. The line was completed to Bromfleet in March 1915 and to Canungra by 2 July. It was a freight line, with passenger trains operating only occasional Sunday 'excursions' to Canungra for up to 400 people. The Plunkett station was located on the north bank of the Albert River, within the current suburb of Yarrabilba. When the Commonwealth War Service Homes Department bought the Canungra mill from Laheys in 1920, the line closed. Although the Standply Timber Company later took over, the line only operated spasmodically. Its use was limited by the quality of the track between Logan Village and Canungra and the strength of the bridge over the Albert River. By 1939, the service was reduced to two trains per week and many of the sidings were removed. The railway was closed in 1955.
The busiest traffic on the line was to and from the American Army Camp from 1942. The camp was named in honour of Sergeant Gerald O'Cable, of the 32nd Infantry Division (or Red Arrow Brigade), who was killed during transport along the southern Australian coast when torpedoed by a Japanese submarine. The Australians had camps at Maclean, Jimboomba, Tamborine and Canungra. The Americans had camps at Jimboomba, Tamborine and Beaudesert. The Americans built Camp Cable Road to link with Jimboomba, and the road between Tamborine and Logan Village was sealed. All culverts and bridges in the area were upgraded.
An army hospital was built on the south side of the river. A theatre was also built there, which was where both General MacArthur and Eleanor Roosevelt addressed the troops. Camp Cable was a major camp, accommodating men who were heading to the Pacific war. At one time, 35,000 soldiers were stationed there. A railway siding was constructed at Logan Village and large igloos were constructed to house and handle the stores for the troops. The Logan Village hall was commandeered to serve as a post office and administrative centre. After the war, the Logan Village community constructed a small monument to the soldiers, built of rocks found on the site.
The soldiers first arrived in Brisbane on 2 July 1942. The Red Arrow Brigade served in New Guinea and Luzon, and took the surrender from the Japanese in Luzon (The Philippines) on 2 September 1945.
Camp Cable had a major impact on the local area and provided business opportunities to many Queensland companies. Contracts were let to provide 122 latrines, 92 mess kitchens, 96 bath houses, 156 tank stands and 24 storage sheds, plus the four-ward hospital and five infirmaries. Water was pumped from the Albert River and stored in tanks to provide 12,000 gallons (54,600 litres) per hour. During water-tank construction, tradesmen who failed to clean up caused the death of a valuable heifer which accidentally ate scrap metal, and the owner, Stimpson, wanted his property cleaned up and re-fenced plus compensation for the loss of the cow.
Following the war in 1947, a significant amount of the estate was purchased by James Fairlie Brett. Brett had significant interests in sawmills throughout south east Queensland. From 1933, his company began to manufacture plywood. In 1942, he established a business in New Guinea and expanded his interests to include wool, gold, oil and cement companies. He never married and, when he died in 1966, his estate valued at $1,578. The amount of timber getting undertaken by Brett at Yarrabliba is unknown, but presumably he would have used native timbers from the property for his enterprises.
Hancock Brothers began purchasing land in the area from 1965. Hancock Brothers had been established by Josias Henry Hancock Senior at South Brisbane in 1898. Josias Henry Junior, known as Harry, joined the family business as soon as he left school, and became the chairman of the board. The company was then known as Hancock and Gore. Harry’s business interests were similar to those of James Brett. He established a plywood mill in 1930–31 and became one of Australia's largest plywood producers. He also had interests in New Guinea, but was betrayed by a confidence trickster in 1944 and his firm suffered the indignity of a Royal Commission. He died the following year, leaving four sons and a wife.
Hancock Brothers established a nursery to raise seedlings and began planting Pinus Elliotti (slash pine) in 1966. John Hancock supervised the activities and employed seven men on the site. His brother Viv is credited with encouraging a sustainable approach to forestry. Timber from this plantation supplied the company's plywood mill at Ipswich. Plantings in 1966 covered 16 hectares, with 93 hectares added in 1967 and 139 hectares added the following year. Until 1977, between 150 and 200 hectares were planted each year, when the area was considered to be fully stocked. Logging in 1980 produced 18,000 cubic metres of timber. In October 2001, a large forest fire destroyed about 283 hectares. Viv Hancock died in 1989 and is buried at the Logan Village Cemetery. The old Hancock mill burnt down in April 2008.
One of the most controversial outcomes from World War II activities on the site was the discovery of unexploded ordinances (UXOs). In September 1981, the Logan and Albert Times reported on three mortar bombs found in the area. In 1984, a resident on a new estate in the Logan Village area found an old grenade, which was detonated by Army ammunition technicians. Further articles on UXOs were published in the Gold Coast Bulletin in 1984.
In November 1991, Hancock Brothers called a public meeting at the Logan Village State School to discuss a proposed rural residential development for the former Camp Cable site. A development application was before the Beaudesert Shire Council at that time. The Logan Village Progress Association lodged an objection because of the lack of services to the proposed 2,000 blocks of land. By 1993, the Beaudesert Shire Council gave conditional approval to the staged development, but concern over the UXOs led the Beaudesert Shire Council to list affected properties on the contaminated land register. Local residents continued to lobby for the Federal Government to sweep the area and remove any UXOs. Residents held a rally and street march in Brisbane in November 1995. Current advice from the Environment Protection Agency is that there is minimal risk of contamination on the site from UXOs.