History of Bellevue Homestead
The earliest sections of Bellevue homestead date from the 1870s. Initially Bellevue was part of the Wivenhoe run, taken up by Ferriter and Uhr in the early 1840s, then transferred to the Norths of Fairney Lawn in 1858. Soon after acquiring Wivenhoe, William North Snr established a 2,000 hectare section as Bellevue Station, on which he ran sheep. In 1869 the Wivenhoe run was resumed and thrown open to selection, and those portions containing the Bellevue lands and buildings were retained by the Norths under pre-emptive selection rights.
None of the 1860s buildings has survived, with the older parts of the present homestead most likely constructed after the North family transferred the Bellevue leasehold to Campbell and Hay in 1872. In the 1870s sheep gave way to cattle. The leasehold was converted to freehold in 1879, and in 1884 was acquired by James Taylor, MLC, whose son, George Condamine Taylor, and his family, occupied the homestead. During the Taylors' occupancy a flood in the Brisbane River in 1893 destroyed the adobe walls of the timber-framed house, which was re-clad with mill-sawn timber. George Taylor died in 1899, but his widow, Edith Maud, remained at Bellevue and in 1901 married pastoralist Charles Lumley Hill, MLA.
In 1903-04 the Lumley Hills extended the homestead, adding a new dining room, guest suite, and servants quarters. Earlier sections of the house were renovated also. In the early decades of the twentieth century, Bellevue was the social centre of the district. At its peak, c.1910, the station comprised over 14,000 acres, with a Hereford stud of national renown. The property remained in the Taylor family until the early 1950s. In 1975 Bellevue was resumed by the Coordinator General, as part of the Wivenhoe Dam project. In the same year the homestead and associated buildings were acquired by the National Trust of Queensland, and between 1975 and 1980 were removed to nearby Coominya township, established in 1905 on part of the Bellevue selection. The Trust restored the complex to its 1904-1910 appearance.
(Queensland Heritage Register). See also Wikipedia
The name Coominya means a view of water, and is a corruption of the Yugarabul Aboriginal name Kung-i-nya from Kung meaning water, and nya meaning to see. The name of the railway station, town and post office was adopted from some spot in the neighbourhood from which some lagoons could be seen. It is thought that these lagoons, which have since been drained, lay to the south-east in the direction of the district of Clarendon. Coominya, situated midway between the towns of Esk and Lowood and quickly accessible from the Brisbane Valley Highway, has developed a reputation for its turn-of-the-century buildings, including the famous Bellevue Homestead beautifully restored by the National Trust of Queensland. The homestead is open to the public at various times, and its owners would be pleased to help you on telephone (07) 5426 4209. The town includes the historic Bellevue hotel, Blue Teapot café, preserved railway station, post office, fire station, and the delightful Catholic and Presbyterian churches. Edith Maud Park picnic facilities, opposite the railway station, is named after Mrs Lumley Hill and is jointly operated by Bellevue Homestead and the Esk Shire Council. The Lowood-Esk section of the Brisbane Valley Branch Railway (35 kilometres) was opened on August 9, 1886, and a railway station named Bellevue was opened on this section the same day.
This station mainly served Bellevue homestead which was some eight kilometres away to the north-east (the entrance gates to the Bellevue property were opposite the railway station). A Bellevue Station receiving office opened at the homestead in 1889, and a Bellevue Railway Station receiving office opened at the railway station in 1890. In August, 1905 Mr Charles Lumley Hill, owner of Bellevue, asked that the name of the railway station be changed to Coominya because of confusion with his property. The post office and railway station names were changed to Coominya in October, 1905
(Esk Shire Council)
The Brisbane Valley
The major holdings in the Brisbane Valley were selected in 1841 and 1842: Cressbrook (240 sq ml), Colinton (336,000ac), Durundur (200 sq ml), Mount Brisbane and Mount Esk (45,900 ac), Fairney Lawn, Eskdale (18,840 ac), Buaraba (32,000 ac), Cooyar (71,660 ac), Emu Creek (32,000 ac), Kilcoy (35,000 ac), Wivenhoe (60 sq ml), Taromeo (64,000 ac), Crows Nest (500 ac), Mount Stanley (94 sq ml), Tarampa (39,000 ac)
The squatters who took up these leases were mostly wealthy and often aristocratic families from England (eg. the Archers, the McConnells, the Balfours, the Biggs, the Borthwicks, the Norths, the Taylors and the Lumley Hills). In the 1840s 50s and 60s there were influxes of German migrants escaping from their homelands and the government resumed and subdivided half of the pastoral properties into smaller lots which were sold for more intensive agricultural production.
The Brisbane Valley has always been a productive area (sheep and wool, cattle and beef, dairy cattle and milk products, pigs, cotton, sugar cane, lucerne, orchard crops, grapes, root crops, fresh vegetables and timber). The need to get produce to the Brisbane markets prompted the development of roads and the railway from Ipswich to Yarraman.
In addition to Bellevue Homestead and other heritage buildings, remnants from the early stock routes, mail and coach runs, railways, timber tracks, and vineyards can be found using the Brisbane Valley Heritage Trails website. The railway line, which passes the entrance of Bellevue Homestead, is being redeveloped for walking, cycling, and riding by the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail project. The 'Coominya section' of the rail trail was opened on 15 November 2008.
(based on information from R.S.Kerr (1988) Confidence and Tradition. A History of the Esk Shire)