Through some stories we may learn a little more about the history of our area.

If you have a story that we may be interested in please
email us with it so we can all enjoy learning a little more about our area.

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Isabel & Phyllis Bryce
allow for Erowal Village
to be established

Maleny is extremely fortunate to have a retirement village such as Erowal which stands on the southern entrance to the township.    Erowal came about through a significant donation of land by the Bryce sisters, Isabell and Phyllis.    The village is built on the site of the Bryce family farm, Erowal.

To allow construction of this development the original family farm house was re-located to another part of the farm off McCarthy’s Road, Maleny where it stands as a historical museum.

Since the turn of the century, the Bryce Homestead has remained a significant piece of Maleny's heritage.    At the new site plans are in hand to recapture the world of Maleny's forefathers through its restoration, the Bryce Homestead is open for others to share in this fascinating history.

(Photo right shows the Bryce Homestead after it had been re-located to the new site in McCarthy's Road.   The house has now been restored and exhibits are being prepared for viewing.)

 
 

Photo left:   Priscilla Cottage as it stands in 2007

Enduring the days of the bullock and wagon, mud tracks, isolation, and hardships, this pioneer cottage is symbolic of a bygone era and lifestyle.

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Charles and Ben Bryce constructed the family cottage from local, pit-sawn white beech between 1900 -1905.    It was situated on land selected by one of Maleny's first settlers,  Isaac Burgess in the late 1800s.     In 1905 the property was taken over by Ben Bryce and his wife, then Priscilla Bridge, who together ran the property and raised their three daughters - Isabella, Phyllis and Margie.

Isabella Bryce (see inset) lived on the family property all of her life and spent her final days in Erowal Village.     Born and married in the original homestead, a sparkle instantly appeared in Isabella's eye as she reminisced about those early days:   "I can remember Nambour Show-time, when Phyllis and I would wake at 2.00am to prepare the horses for the ride.     We wouldn't arrive at the show until after lunch and we'd get back home at about the same time the next day".

In 1982 Isabella and Phyllis Bryce generously donated the 90 acre farm to the Maleny Uniting Church, originally for the establishment of the Bryce Park Retirement Village and later,  Erowal Hostel.     The sister's thoughtfulness reflects through their words alone  "We donated the land because we wanted to help the elderly ..[and].. give the land to the Maleny community"     (Chronicle:June 17, 1982).

(Photo Left:  Isabell Bryce pictured with former Premier of Queensland, Sir Joh Bejelke-Petersen.)

In the early 1990’s the Maleny Historic Preservation and Restoration Society was established to preserve some insight into the way of life of those early settlers of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland area.     Thanks to a team of committed volunteers, this group is successfully preserving this part of our history.    By reconstructing the original pioneer homestead and its history - with everything from the cutlery and linen, to the wood-fire stove and bathtub it is hoped that our children will see how life was lived so long ago.

Life in those “good old days” was not asphysically easy as today, but it was certainly less frantic and socially safer.

Our lifestyle today is built on the physical endurance of our forefathers.     People of Maleny and the surrounding areas have a lot for which to thank our pioneering families.

For anyone interested in assisting with the cottage restoration and preservation of Maleny's history, please contact Harvey (Red) Bryce on 5494 4220.
Colonial and Indian Exhibition, London 1886
Timber-getters moved into the area.    By the early 1870s there was a blacksmith, a number of teamsters and a timber mill.     A settlement was beginning to form.    The first selection of land at the present site of Maleny was made by Isaac Burgess on 13 November 1878.    Slowly the land was cleared and dairy and beef cattle were brought into the area to feed on the rich grasses which were produced by a generous annual rainfall (2056 mm) which soaked the rich red volcanic soils of the range.     No one knows exactly where the town's name came from but it is likely that it is a misspelt version of a tiny Scottish hamlet named Malleny.
 

(Click here to view a photo of Malleny House in Scotland)

A piece of information of interest about Isaac Burgess, one of the founding settlers of Maleny can be found in  "The London News"  dated August 28 1886  and it dealt in considerable detail about the splendors of the Queensland exhibits at the Colonial and Indian Exhibition which was held in South Kensington, Londonin May of that year.   It spoke about Isaac Burgess:-

"Isaac Burgess of Maleny supplied two logs of cedar:  one, 12 feet 10 inches in length by 20 feet 5 inches in girth; the other, 12 feet 7 inches in length, by 18 feet 8 inches in girth.       These logs stood erect, one on either side of the Court.     They attracted a considerable amount of attention from visitors, on account of their great size; they were in a round state, having only the bark off, except that a small part on one face had been dressed or flattened, and polished - to show how, in the hands of the cabinet maker the wood could be worked up for furniture purposes.

Examining these carefully showed that the magnificent trees or tree, from which these logs were cut, had stood until past the prime of life, and had some time since thrown off the bark, a little decay of the alburnum or sap-wood being observable near the base.     Except for this, their top ends and exterior, which was nearly cylindrical, had a healthy appearance, and looked in good condition; hence they would yield a large quantity of serviceable timber for the cabinet maker and manufacturer of fancy articles."

Isaac Burgess was the first settler of both the Mellum Creek (Landsborough) and Maleny areas.   One can only marvel at how these great logs were transported from the mountain slopes to the port of Brisbane, lifted aboard ship, and transported across the ocean to be put on show at the exhibition."

The medal won by Isaac as a result of this exhibition is on show at the Landsborough Historic Museum thanks to his family. The timber was last sighted at a London Museum in the 1930's.

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Like the naked city there are a thousand stories in the
Sunshine Coast Hinterland

Tell us your story.....
just email those bits to  :  thegrapevine@westnet.com.au