Pioneer Jensen had strong ties to land

LOOKING BACK: Alison Rogers has been busy researching her family history.
LOOKING BACK: Alison Rogers has been busy researching her family history. Scottie Simmonds

THE family of an early pioneer of the Bundaberg district is putting together a comprehensive history of his contribution.

Alison Rogers is the granddaughter of Morten Jensen, who was born in 1844 in Denmark.

Mrs Rogers said there were more than 700 descendants of Mr Jensen and his wife Maria.

"A lot of them are still living around this area," she said.

Mrs Rogers said she had faint memories of her grandfather.

She said Mr Jensen decided to move to Australia in 1871 to avoid conscription amid growing tensions between Denmark and Germany.

After a 121-day voyage he disembarked in Maryborough and was promptly put in quarantine for eight weeks.

Although Mr Jensen could not speak English he found work as a piano accordion player at a Maryborough hotel.

After some months he decided to establish himself on the land, and with the help of a Bingera grazier was able to select 44.5ha of land at South Kolan.

"He walked the distance of about 80km to his new home on foot," Mrs Rogers said.

Part of his land had a frontage on the Burnett River, which meant he could build a boat to transport his provisions from Bundaberg.

Within a year of arriving on his land Mr Jensen decided to go to Maryborough to meet some friends who were arriving from overseas.

Because he could not afford the coach fare he decided to walk.

"By mistake he got to Elliott Heads and had to return to Bundaberg," Mrs Rogers said.

"There providing himself with a loaf of bread and a tin of jam he set off again and reached his destination after 36 hours constant walking."

Mr Jensen later took up 242ha at Dalysford for grazing and dairying.

In 1879 he married Maria Christian Thyegesen, the daughter of Danish immigrants who had settled in the Bundaberg area.

Mr Jensen later became a significant landholder in the South Kolan district, but one night in 1892 while riding along a narrow scrub road he collided with a spring cart.

The shaft penetrated his right shin bone and he spent almost two years in hospital, and had to use crutches or a wheelchair for the rest of his life.

After his wife died Mr Jensen lived with his oldest son, Jim, in Jensen St until he died from pneumonia in 1933 aged 88 years and nine months.

Mrs Rogers said one of Mr Jensen's descendants was great-granddaughter Dr Denise Powell, who graduated with First Class Honour in Medicine at the University of Queensland and practises in Bundaberg.

Topics:  history

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