Gatton Murders - Gatton History

Gatton Murders

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One of Queensland's earliest rural settlements.
Located 90 km west of Brisbane and 104 m above sea level, Gatton was one of the earliest settlements in Queensland.

The area was explored as early as 1825 when Major Edmund Lockyer (after whom the Lockyer Creek was named) passed through the area. He had been instructed to explore the Brisbane River and, in a small boat, managed to reach the present site of Ipswich, where he found coal, and discovered the Stanley River.

Below is a picture of the main street of Gatton in 1898.Gatton 1899

The area was settled in the 1840s after land around Moreton Bay was opened up to free settlers.

By 13 April 1855 the village of Gatton (it was probably named after Gatton, Roxburghshire, Scotland) was gazetted, and by 1858 it had become a major stopover point (it was a changeover point for the horses on the Royal Mail) on the road from Brisbane to the Darling Downs.

The town was officially surveyed in 1859 and town allotments went on sale in 1860.

By 1875 the railway line from Ipswich had reached the area and the town expanded rapidly as a service centre for the surrounding farms.

This was reported in the then Courier Newspaper dated Saturday 12 February 1876.

The ancient town of Gatton is a bright and lively place at all times and seasons-in fact, never was more so than at the present day, except perhaps in the old ante-railroad period, with its transitory knock-up and knock-down habitations, the remainder of which suggests to the modern observer a young Ninevah or Thebes, the township being the centre of a populous and fertile agricultural district. There was some talk about a deputation to wait on the Hon. Minister for Works to enquire into the feasibility of dredging the Lockyer, so as to make Gatton the head of the navigation, which accomplished, the Government House and public offices would naturally follow, and Gatton be proclaimed tho capital of the colony, it being decidedly more central than Brisbane, and a much better position than Toowoomba, not to mention Limestone.

Most of the farms here are looking their very best just now. The grass everywhere young and green. The corn, wheat, lucence, &c, look well for their growth and the late drought.

The high-level bridge across Blackfellow's Creek, now in course of construction for the convenience of the Tenthill school and Post Office (a happy thought to place the school and Post Office where it is - it will be the "making" of the Sandy Creek farmers, particularly those nearest the bridge) won't be finished for about six weeks yet, owing to the broken weather.

Another high-level bridge is spoken about for Tenthill, thanks to our indefatigable member, who looks sharper after the interest of his constituents than any other member in the House, not excepting the member for the Balonne.

Long may he represent Stanley. It is to cross Sandy Creek, on the road, about fifty chains above Grange Ash Villa. The population in that quarter is increasing rapidly. When finished, it will save much waste of horse and bullock muscle.

The history of the University of Queensland at Gatton dates from 1897, when the Queensland Agricultural College (QAC) opened as a combined agricultural college and experimental farm. This concluded a 20-year debate by farmers and politicians on ways to boost agricultural production in Queensland.

Guests at the opening ceremony and the special luncheon (costing seven shillings and sixpence - about $120 in 1996 currency - per person) would have marvelled to know the College would metamorphose over the years to a high school, U.S. Army field hospital, college of advanced education and finally a Campus of the University of Queensland.