1889: Sadly, William Bowman, manager of Mt Brisbane, was fatally injured working young horses in 1889. Life was harsh.
1893: When the Bigge brothers returned to England in 1891, Eric McConnel and his wife Susan were employed as managers of Mt Brisbane, which by this time had grown to 254 square kilometres. You can only imagine how vast this amount of land seemed coming from England. Eric was the youngest son of David & Mary McConnel who settled Cressbrook.
The McConnel family can trace its history in the area back to 1841, when David Cannon McConnel took up Cressbrook Station (outside the radius) at present-day Toogoolawah.
In the same year (1893) Philip M. Bigge, nephew of the original owners, arrived from England. He came out to the property and he and Eric formed a partnership.
1895: Eric and Philip secured a 14-year lease on 14,164ha (35,000 acres) with the option of purchase.
When this expired the men purchased 10,117ha (25,000 acres) with the remainder subdivided for soldier settlements. They went on to subdivide and sell some of the land.
1914: After the death of Philip Bigge in 1914, Eric bought the Mt Brisbane homestead and 4000ha (10,000 acres) of the land around the homestead.
The property has remained in the family’s ownership ever since and the family still live there today.
Eric & his wife Susie had five children – Erica (Trier), Keith, Nigel, Colin, who died at 21, and Malcolm who died as an infant.
Mt Brisbane was divided with Keith remaining on Mt Brisbane and Nigel taking on Inverstanley. At this time, Mt Brisbane was around 5,000 acres.
Keith married Barbara Hart and had two children Eleanor (McNab) and Eric (John).
1972: John married Carolyn (Carli) Murray from Ilfracombe in 1972. They have 6 children – Andrew (deceased), Robert, Susan (Sullivan), Donald, Ian, and Bruce.
Early 1980’s: John & Carli were able to expand the property in the early 1980’s with the purchase of ‘Mt Byron’ from Ken & Helen Piper. ‘Mt Byron’ had originally been a part of Mt Brisbane but been taken up by the Bowman family (managers of Mt Brisbane) in the early 1900’s and sold on to the Piper family.
Late 1980’s: ‘Top Right’ and ‘Webbs’ was purchased in the late 1980’s and so Mt. Brisbane expanded again.