Albion’s Warrego Sawmill Cunnamulla What a Story.
in May 2018 I had the pleasure of taking decedents of the Albion family on an Out The Back Australia Cunnamulla Town and Industry Tour so became inspired to write this blog and share a little of the history I know along with some images. Alexander Albion was a building contractor for some years around the Drayton/Jondaryan district, and eventually the family moved to Cunnamulla. John was then about seventeen.
There Alexander Albion continued as a builder and one of his efforts was to build a wooden hospital in Cunnamulla which was the first hospital which was names South Warrego hospital. That building was located out in what was called bluebush.
The first matron was Mrs Whitacre and following is her picture.
Part of the original hospital building was relocated into Cunnamulla when the second hospital was built. Part of the first hospital became a home eventually belonging to Doug and Gwen Locke and today is the home of Arnold & Barb Simpson. Read More
Cunnamulla Beer Brewer, Burton’s Brewery Part of Australia’s History of Beer, Rum and Whisky in (QLD)
The history of beer in Australia dates back to the early days of British colonisation when Sir Captain Cook brought beer with him on his voyage to Australia. With the first fleet landing in the 18th century, the alcohol industry in Australia begun to expand with the first pub opening up in 1796 in Parramatta, the Mason Arms. John Boston became Australia’s first official brewer after creating a beer from Indian corn.
Beer didn’t make its way up to Queensland until a little later in the 19th century when larger was first brewed at the Castlemaine and Quinlan breweries.
Although larger is common in the modern world, early beers were top-fermented and quick-maturing ales. Lager was not brewed in Australia until 1885 and then brewed in Queensland in 1889. These beers were also brewed missing hops due to the fact no one had successfully refined hops. James Squire become the first in 1804.
The Castlemaine brewery has a long and rich history in Australia. Situated in Brisbane Queensland, it has produced Australia’s most popular beer, XXXX. The brewery begun in 1878, however really came in to its own after recruiting a master brewer from Germany. Alhois William Leitner used his expertise to solve the cloudy beer problem, keeping beer fresher for longer. The recipe is still used today for XXXX Bitter.
The X’s in XXXX represent the quality of beer, back in the day beers were given an X rating. The breweries first brew was given a XXX rating, however in 1924 the recipe was perfected gaining the fourth X. That same year Mr Fourex was introduced to the world quickly becoming one of Queensland’s most recognised symbols. XXXX also kept the troops hydrated throughout the first and second world war after being distributed around the world. XXXX was often called barbed wire by diggers.
Over time breweries have come and gone throughout Queensland’s vast landscape like Cunnamulla Beer Brewer Burton’s that existed in Cunnamulla in 1885. A local historian confirmed despite strong demand the locally brewed Cunnamulla beer was not successful due to the bore water.
Burtons Brewery was situated on the banks of the Warrego River on the current Cunnamulla State School Site. All these years on, broken bottles with the breweries logo on it are still being dug up around the site.
Queensland Brewery also referred to as Bulimba Beer supplied wooden kegs to Club Hotel Cunnamulla in the late 1800’s. It was another major brewery that opened prior to 1883 changing hands and locations from Teneriffe to Fortiutude Valley. Carlton United Breweries took over the brewery in 1961 and in 1993 the brewery was relocated to Yatla.
In 1940 a somewhat un recorded and forgotten beer riot took place on Brisbane’s Queen street. The riots took over the streets for six hours after the Government decided to enforce strict liquor regulations. They imposed closing venues at 8:00pm and no trading on Sundays, forcing civilians to take matters into their own hands.
Despite beers popularity, rum quickly became the beverage of choice among settlers and convicts as mentioned in the following convict song.
Cut yer name across me backbone
Stretch me skin across yer drum
Iron me up on Pinchgut Island
From now to Kingdom Come.
I’ll eat yer Norfolk Dumpling
Like a juicy Spanish plum,
Even dance the Newgate Hornpipe
If ye’ll only gimme Rum
Rum experienced rapid growth in the late 18th century and became extremely popular in the 19th eventually becoming a semi official currency of the time. Drunkenness became a huge issue during this time period with even kids often being seen stumbling the streets.
In 1808 the Rum Rebellion became the only ever successful armed take over of Government in Australian history.
Its cause is widely misunderstood, however it is common belief that the autocratic William Bligh was removed as he threatened the massive profits that were being made from trading spirits. This perception suggest it was no more then an argument between unsavoury parties. The Rum Rebellion had a much deeper story and was basically a build up of a long running battle for power and a fight over the future of the colony.
In modern Queensland, rum still remains highly popular with Bundaberg Rum now sweeping the world. Beenleigh Rum is the states oldest rum, however Bundaberg is by far the most iconic and successful. The Bundaberg Rum distillery began in 1888 because local sugar mills didn’t know what to do with the waste molasses after the sugar was extracted. Men that worked in these mills noticed the potential profits and held a meeting at The Royal Hotel on 1 August 1885 to discuss.
Soon after, Bundaberg produced its first rum in 1889 and continued operation until 1907, when it ceased operation for seven years. The distillery has had its fair share of set backs with two fires in 1936 and 1939, in which rum spilt in to the near by Burnett River. With clever advertising campaigns, Bundaberg Rum has become an international beverage, winning awards on the global stage for its Master Distillers Collective Rum. Bundaberg Rum has become another Queensland icon, however Whisky falls short of that status.
Queensland isn’t big on Whisky with only one distillery.
The Castel Glen distillery is Queensland’s only whisky manufacturer and produces a number of 100% natural Whisky beverages.
For other great stories on Cunnamulla History;
A poem written in memory of Bub Emery!
A mailman has a thankless job,
No truer words were spoken yet
A million things to memorise
And God help if you forget.
Along the corrugated roads
In summer heat or winter cold
Through mud, mirage, or bulldust deep,
You watch the endless miles unfold.
The man we knew who drove the mail
With many a high and heavy load,
Earned love, respect and gratitude,
Along the Moombidary Road.
So many extra favours done
Without a thought of recompense
“Of course it’s not a trouble mate
What! Me? take payment have some sense.”
“You want to pay me for the ride?
Now, look here, don’t let’s argue mate!
Enjoy your company.
Besides you opened every flaming gate!”
His cheerfulness and kindly deeds,
Are held within our memory
And sadly missed by all of us,
Is our good mate “Bub” Emery.
(These inadequate but sincere lines require no signature. They are meant to express the thoughts of many people who knew and respected the late Mr. Emery. and especially those people along his mail run, who have reason to be grateful for his kindness and cheery good – will.)
For other great stories on Cunnamulla History;
As bike riders from the Cooper Creek to Cunnamulla Bike ride 2018 post a photo of them in the Noccundra Hotel it reminded me of a little more history and thought I would share from a good old mate of my Grandmothers, my mothers and mine who is no longer with us.
Joyce Margaret Cowie (nee Crouch) was born on December 19, 1912 in Thargomindah with the help of a midwife and was one of ten children of William and Lena Crouch. Her brother, Barney and sister, Kelly (who married a Teelow) were born in the hotel in Eulo that William & Lena Crouch owned at the time, before buying the Noccundra Hotel.
When the family moved to Noccundra Molly was born in the Noccundra Hotel, then Bill, Harry, Alf, Mavis and Ned were all born at Noccundra in the cottage near the hotel. Read More
Cooper Creek to Cunnamulla Bike Ride 2018 Connecting 158 Years of History
On Thursday 9th August 1906 two young men named Liddle & Beckett arrived in Cunnamulla as part of their attempt to cycle round the world and all because they loved adventure. 24 year old Liddle was from the Orkney Islands Scotland and 19 year old Beckett from England.
They duo relied mostly on the generosity of people to feed and accommodate them as they travelled. It is no surprise they were met in Cunnamulla with open arms by Mr. E Tindsall of Tattersall’s Hotel who provided their board and lodging during their stay. From Cunnamulla they journeyed via Charleville Blackall, Barcauldine, Longreach, Hughenden, and Cooktown, and then proceeded down the coast to Sydney, where they took a boat for New Zealand, and subsequently Tasmania, then returning to Sydney, Melbourne, Ballarat, Adelaide, and Fremantle.