Despite TLM-P's problems with Bromelton, Helen Gregory found that, during 1852-54, he spent just over £1,364 on land in and around Brisbane. That sum was around $92,619 in 2017 values. 1) Half the land (in terms of value) was bought in 1854. That year TLM-P bought 11 lots of land in Brisbane worth £752.11.6.2) As the next map indicates, by 1887 he owned a considerable part of Kangaroo Point. The last known selection he made was at Toocoohah (Moggill) which became known as Prior's Pocket: it was the area that, Ernest Davies recalled, TLM-P used to fatten cattle. In 1860 he advertised two Mogill farms, 400 and 800 acres respectively, for lease.3)


The context to these purchases is important. As Helen Gregory points out, they were a gamble on the future prosperity of the Brisbane region 'at a stage in its development when the future was by no means assured.'5) It appears that both TLM-P and his first wife Matilda were optimistic about the future of their new country. Rosa Praed claimed that Matilda wrote to her mother-in-law Eliza M-P, that 'Some day this will be a flourishing country; its capabilities are greater than any of us know, and our descendants may be building towns on this wild land which we have reclaimed from the wilderness.'6)
TLM-P's land dealings were extensive and it is near impossible to follow them all. As shown above, he started to buy urban blocks in the 1850s.

In the 1860s, with governments resuming land to break up into smaller farms, landowners such as TLM-P secured their (leased) land by buying it freehold. TLM-P had been 'freeholding [i.e. converting to freehold] parts of his run, including 2560 acres on 16 November 1868 alone. In 1876 he allowed what was left of the leasehold to lapse or revert to the government.' From then on, Maroon comprised entirely of freehold land.7)

The next table is from Angella Collyer who sourced it from the Queensland State Archives. It shows his land dealings in the 1860s.8)

Leases 201-203 16 November 1868 Portions No.1-3 Melcombe parish 2,530 acres
Leases 371,372 2 June 1869 Portions No.5-6 Telemon parish 9,863 acres
Lease 1129 8 September 1870 Portion No.4 Melcombe parish 674 acres
Lease 1506 19 April 1872 Portion No.13 Palenn parish 325 acres
Lease 1522 29 April 1872 Portion No.15 Palenn parish 1,000 acres

A total of 14,392 acres (5,824 hectares).

TLM-P's son Thomas de Montmorenci also made numerous selections, see thomas_de_montmorenci.

Angella Collyer found that in 1867, TLM-P leased Melcombe (it had 60 square miles available for pasture improvement; 16 square miles unavailable, “PP nil') and Heads of Logan (20 square miles available; 16 square miles unavailable; PP nil.) In 1869 he consolidated the two as 'one large property of 100 square miles' then in 1874 he separated them again, calling one property of 54 square miles Melcombe/Maroon and the other Palen. It is unsure, she states, if Palen and Heads of Logan had the same boundaries.9)

TLM-P owned considerable property in Brisbane. To take up his position as Postmaster-General in 1862, TLM-P moved with his family to Brisbane. As Matilda was ill by then, better access to medical and domestic help was probably a welcome relief. Isobel Hannah states that the family first rented number 1 Hodgson's Terrace. When Hannah was writing in 1953, the house was the Kingsley Private Hotel.10)

At some stage, according to a number of sources, the family lived at Shafston11) in the highly desirable downtown Brisbane suburb of Kangaroo Point.12) The heritage listing for the property states it was owned by grazier and sugar-grower Louis Hope from October 1859, and then rented out to Gilbert Eliot, Speaker of the Queensland Parliament, and later Matilda's brother-in-law William Barker of Telemon Station. There is no mention of a period of tenancy by TLM-P.13) Two advertisements for September 1861 suggest that Matilda was staying there with her sister. 'Mrs Barker' advertised for two servants, requesting they apply to her at Shafston, Kangaroo Point. The very next ad was for an experienced nurse, presumably to look after baby Hugh. Applicants were also asked to apply to Shafston, but to Mrs Murray Prior.14) F. Lord in his series on Brisbane's historic houses, notes that in around the early 1900s, Shafston became the property of J McConnell of Cessbrook.15)

By 1864, TLM-P had commissioned prominent architect James Cowlishaw to draw up plans for a new villa residence at Breakfast Creek, Brisbane. He changed his mind as the house was never built, perhaps because he bought Maroon that year instead. Plans for the home are at the Oxley Library, Brisbane.16)

By August 1867, the family had moved to Montpelier on corner of Main and Ferry Street, Kangaroo Point.17). It was more convenient as it was closer to the ferry; as there was no bridge at the time, TLM-P used the ferry to get to work in Brisbane. The family lived there when parliament was sitting;18) at Maroon at other times. 19)

An undated photo of Montpelier.20)

By then he had Maroon as well. This was an essential part of the gentry ideal - a house in town and a country estate. Montpelier was demolished in 1938. The next photo is of Montpelier's parlour c. 1875, lavishly furnished in the mid-Victorian style (which assumed housemaids to do the constant dusting of so many objects): 21)

TLM-P died on New Year's Eve in 1892 at Whytecliffe(note that later sources spell it Whitecliffe), his home in Albion, a suburb of Brisbane. It is uncertain if it was rented or owned: his will stipulated that his wife chad the right to remain there if she wished. It was built c.1875 and is now a retirement village on Sandgate Road.22)
Whytecliffe in 1930, from QJO.23)

Helen Gregory, 'Squatters, selectors and - dare I say it - speculators', Journal of the Royal Historical Society of Queensland, XI:4, 1983, p.81.
New South Wales Government Gazette, 4 August 1854, p.1679. In 2017 values, that is roughly $59,000, Thom Blake currency conversion.
The Moreton Bay Courier, 8 December 1860, p.3.
Helen Gregory, 'Squatters, selectors and - dare I say it - speculators', Journal of the Royal Historical Society of Queensland, XI:4, 1983, p.85.
Patricia Clarke, 'The Murray-Priors at Bromelton 1844-1853' in Patricia Savage (compiled), They came to Bromelton: a brief outline of the life and times of the early pioneers who came to Bromleton - from the pages of history, personal diaries, old letters and family recollections, Patricia Savage, 2004, pp.19-20.
Angella Collyer, Rathdowney: federation history of an Australian rural border community Rathdowney, Qld.: Rathdowney Area Development and Historical Association, 2001 p.17.
Angella Collyer, Rathdowney: federation history of an Australian rural border community Rathdowney, Qld.: Rathdowney Area Development and Historical Association, 2001 p.128.
Angella Collyer, Rathdowney: federation history of an Australian rural border community Rathdowney, Qld.: Rathdowney Area Development and Historical Association, 2001.
Isobel Hannah, 'The Royal Descent of the First Postmaster-General of Queensland', Queensland Geographical Journal, vol. LV, 1953-54, p.13.
e.g. Kerry Heckenberg,'A taste for art in colonial Queensland: The Queensland Art Gallery Foundational Bequest of Thomas Lodge Murray-Prior', Queensland Review, 25:1, June 2018, pp.119-136 states it was on in George Street
For photos of Shafston, see The Queenslander, 25 September 1930, p.41.
The Courier, 11 September 1861, p.3.
The Queenslander, 25 September 1930, p.7, the same family that Thomas de M M-P's daughter Phyllis M-P married into, and the property where she lived.
Box 15376 O/S. They were donated by E.S. M-P
The Brisbane Courier, 8 August 1867, p.1 Matilda advertised for a house and parlour maid for Maroon
Patricia Clarke, Rosa! Rosa! p.23.
for a view of Montpelier in 1930, see The Queenslander 18 September 1930, p.41.
Photo provenance Tom A. & M. Therese M-P. For more photos of Montpelier, see The Queenslander, 18 September 1930, p.41.
Photo: JOQ
Whytecliffe House brochure, courtesy T.A. & M.T. M-P. Note that Highlands, the home of the Lightollers (Thomas B. M-P's parents-in-law), also became part of the retirement village, pers. comm. M.T. M-P.
For more photos of Whytecliffe in 1930, see The Queenslander 11 September 1930, p.41.
  • brisbane_properties_and_other_land_dealings.txt
  • Last modified: 2021/03/18 15:00
  • by judith