RIVER CROSSING: An early photograph of Bundaberg.
Photo courtesy Picture Bundaberg
RIVER CROSSING: An early photograph of Bundaberg. Photo courtesy Picture Bundaberg

Three men who had enormous influence on North Bundy

THREE men had enormous influence over development in North Bundaberg in the 1870s that was to have very long-lasting effects.

Local historian Merv Hopton said the three men were John Whitehead Steuart, or Stewart as it was spelt on some of the documents, Thomas Watson and Isaac Moore.

Mr Steuart and Mr Watson held land under a sugar coffee scheme, and Mr Moore was the holder of Tantitha until his leases expired.

"All three men created their own subdivisions along the north bank of the Burnett River," Mr Hopton said.

"Unfortunately, they carved up the known flood plain on the north side for residential and industrial purposes and was the start of the problems we have today."

Mr Hopton said they chose these areas because life was tied to the river.

"You could have been a mariner, a timber worker, a foundry worker, a farm labourer, a fisherman and later a railway worker at the north Bundaberg station," he said.

"People needed to be within a walking distance of what they had to do for a living.

"There were no cars as we have today, the horse and cart was not practical."

Mr Hopton said there had been an attempt to develop "New Bundaberg" in late 1882.

A report says "land was subdivided in 1882, streets named, and blocks offered at auction.

But apparently the proposed uprooting of Bundaberg was not popular and there were few bidders."

Mr Hopton said he remembered his uncle saying his father had rowed from Bundaberg to this area and pointed out to him this area when he was a youngster.

"He said there was only one house back then," he said.

"The purpose to relocate was to do with port facilities.

"This never happened until 1958."

Mr Hopton said there may have been a plan to place people on safer ground.

"Today it would be way too small and we have seen the problems of people building in the lower areas," he said

. Today we would have concerns over tidal surges."

Mr Hopton said 11 Station Street was bought in July 1940 by his grandparents, Herbert and Agnes Hopton (formerly Dittmann) and was sold in October 1969.

He said the house had seen many a flood in its time.

The 1942 flood rose to the floor boards, but did not enter the house.

"From this, we can now see that we have inherited the problems of subdividing land that was known to be flood prone," he said.

"Steuart, Watson and Moore would have seen floods in their earlier times and the damage they caused."



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