Explorers often passed through or near Rochedale during the era of convict settlement from 1824. After free settlement was allowed in 1842, Upper My Gravatt and Beenleigh began to be settled and places like Slacks Creek, Pimpama, Loganlea and Loganholme existed, , but Rochedale was still just a part of the area known as Eight Mile Plains. By the mid 1850's, a road was carved out of the scrub to Beenleigh through Logan Reserve and then to the Nerang River or mountains in the west, where timber was available. In 1867, there was a Post Office at Eight Mile Plains and Mr J. Baker was the post master. This Post Office was located somewhere opposite the present day site of the Glen Hotel near where Priestdale Road used to meet the main road. The Brisbane-Nerang coach stopped at the Post Office once a week on its way to Logan Reserve.
A provisional school was erected at Eight Mile Plains in 1868 and a second in the late 1870's and local resident William Roche was on the Building Committee of this school. This was the first mention of a local resident in the area other than the first Post Master.
The Roche Family - William Roche was born in Limerick, County Munster in Ireland in 1838. He was the son of Thomas Roche and he is believed to have been a potato farmer in Ireland before migrating to Australia around 1861. In 1867, William married Catherine (Kate) McDermott in Brisbane. Kate was born in Wexford, Ireland in 1841, daughter of farmer John McDermott and Anastasia (nee Longhran). Kate was 26 years old and listed as a single, domestic servant when she arrived in Australia on board the "Young Australia" which left London in May 1864 and arrived in Moreton Bay on 9 August, 1864. In 1865, Kate brought her mother Anastasia out to Australia apparently after the death of her husband, John.
William Roche leased 50 acres (around 20 hectares), Portion 335, Parish of Tingalpa, County of Stanley under the Crown Lands Alienation Act of 1868, although the exact date is not known. It is believed to be one of the first in the area because it was Land Selection file No. 14. On 8 April, 1868, he applied for the homestead lease and paid the sum of one pound, seventeen shillings and six pence as the first year's rent and a survey fee of three pounds, eight shillings. On the application, he said that he was married and had nor arrived in the colony within three years of 1 March, 1868 at the public expense. Having fulfilled all the requirements for selection, William applied to purchase the land on 8 October, 1875. He had fenced the property and built a home on it as part of the requirements. Later, he took up three more land selections, numbers 2509, 2792 and 3096 - Portions 370 of 170 acres (69 hectares), 376 of 143 acres(58 hectares) and 334 of 48.3 acres (20 hectares). This land extended from Ford Road in the north, through the present position of Rochedale State School and down to the site of Redeemer Lutheran College. The name of the Roche homestead was "Rochedale".
William and Kate only had one child, Thomas who was born in 1872. William planted grape vines and pineapples which were sold for three shilling a dozen, on the cleared land and a citrus orchard but still had to go shearing for about six months a year. Kate was left alone with the young baby but had her mother Anastasia for company as she lived with them. Anastasia died on 10 November, 1896 shortly after the birth of Thomas. She was buried in the South Brisbane Cemetery where many of the Roche family were later put to rest. William died at home on 21 April, 1902 of "Exhaustion and Cardiac Failure due to Valvular disease of the heart" and he also had Rheumatic Gout. He left the property to Kate but she could not sell it and had to pass it on to Thomas at her death. On his father's death certificate, Thomas gave his address as Eight Mile Plains and on Kate's death certificate in May, 1916, he gave his address as "Rochedale", Eight Mile Plains.
A meeting of residents along Rochedale Road was held after the First World War to discuss the need for a local Post Office. In order to qualify for a Post Office, the area had to have a name. The meeting was held in a shed on the property of Oscar (Anton)* Obrist on the western side of Rochedale Road opposite the Rochedale homestead and, as the homestead was the most prominent in the area, it was decided to nominate "Rochedale" as the name for the district and new Post Office. The Post Office was eventually built around 1918, on the corner of Miles-Platting and Rochedale Roads diagonally opposite the present day Rochedale State School. Arthur Glendall was the first Post master and also established a store at the site.
Thomas Roche grew up on the Rochedale farm and never moved away. He married Mary Bridget Hart in 1895 and they had six children - Kathleen Winifred (b. 15/3/1896), William Francis (b. 1898), Mary, (b.23/11/1899), Thomas Joseph (b. 1903), Eileen (b. 1906) and Philomena Norah (b. 1909). Unfortunately, their mother, Mary died a month after the birth of her last child Philomena Norah, on 13 April, 1909, of puerperal sepsis and septicaemia, a condition which took the lives of many young women in those days. Eileen also died in 1909 when she was three years and four months old, and the children were then looked after by their grandmother Kate. Kathleen, the eldest daughter who was then thirteen years old, had to end her schooling at the Star of the Sea Convent to help look after the younger children. Kate senior lived to be 74 years, dying on 18 March, 1915 at the Mater Misercordiae Private Hospital also of heart problems. As she died without a will, Thomas, her son, was appointed administrator. Her personal estate was 505 pounds, 15 shillings and 7 pence just about all the money she had been left by William when he died. Kate was very Irish to the end and a strict Catholic with the priest traveling to the homestead every three months for services.
Photos below - Left, on the verandah of "Rochedale", Kathleen, rear and seated, Thomas Joseph and Mary. Centre - Mary Roche and right - Mary Roche in front of the Roche home.
Thomas senior died on 18 October, 1918 at the early age of 46, of Bright's Disease, a kidney disease. His son, William, had enlisted in the First World War and came home to find his father had died without a will. The distribution of the estate then came under the control of the Public Curator and it is believed that most of the land was sold but son Thomas eventually acquired the homestead block. The money from the sale of the other portions was distributed among the three girls and William who then bought land further down Rochedale Road past Priestdale Road but before Underwood Road.
After World War 1, the land was no longer used for vineyards but for small crops - Thomas grew pineapples and tomatoes and William, peas and beans. Underground bores were used for irrigation and the produce taken to the Roma Street markets in an old T-model Ford. Tom eventually began grazing dairy cattle on his land and started the area's first milk run delivering milk to the whole Rochedale area, and eventually extending along the Highway in to Holland Park, coming back along Broadwater Road, then by Grieve Road to Rochedale. The cows would often be agisted out as far as Mt Gravatt-Capalaba Road. Milking began at 2.00am and the milk run at 5.00am. In the 1920's land was sold for around two pounds an acre. Chokos were grown in the area and so many were grown the area was known as the "Home of the Choko".
Thomas joined the army in World War 11 but was too old at forty to be posted overseas. After his discharge, he sold the Rochedale property and bought 2000 acres at Harrami, north of Monto so he could work with cattle on a bigger property. He built up a Hereford beef stud there and married Hannah Bennett around 1930. Tom died there in 1971 and Hannah lived on until her death at 83 in 1987. They had only one child Patricia who died when she was 5 years old of Fibrocystic Disease of the pancreas. Tom left his farm to Mary's sons. Kate and Nora Roche ran a casket shop in George Street for many years and Mary ran a delicatessen on Ipswich Road. Mary married John McGuckin and had two sons, Des and John, who both live in Brisbane.
The Obrist Family - Emile Snr settled in Rochedale in May, 1910, the year of Haley's Comet. There appear to be several Obrist family members resident in the area over the years. He had a 19 square house built in 1919 for the sum of 884 pounds and it took 5 weeks to build.
The first radio in the district was demonstrated in the home of Emile Snr during 1925 and was bought by him. He also had the first motor truck and all petrol came from Mt Gravatt in 4 gallon tins. Bert Fischer had the first motor vehicle, bought in 1914 - a T-model Ford. There was a horse drawn bus from Broadwater Road - Logan Road to Stones Corner, where there was a tram terminus and it went once daily.
At the meeting of residents after the First World War, held in the shed of Anton (Oscar)* Obrist, to try to gain a Post Office for the area, the Roche family were not present and names that were bandied about were "Fischerdale", after the Fischer family, "Grievedale", after the Grieves and "Rochedale" which was favoured by the Obrists and Knust families. Rochedale was selected.
In 1912, a bore was divined on Emile Snr's land by Mr Packer and put down using crude hand equipment. Mr Jack Obrist put down the first engine driven plant while Emile drilled his with an 8 inch post hole digger. The land was cleared using jacks, explosives and winches. Pineapples, paw-paw and various vegetables like cucumber, chokos and tomatoes were grown. A good worker was paid 5 to 6 shillings a day but received no holidays or sick pay.
Most of the homes in the area were built by the Lorisch family, well known builders and carpenters in Beenleigh from the 1870's, who went on to own the funeral home at Beenleigh. One of the Obrist family's homes name was "Karlula". At dances held throughout the area, Mr Fischer played the cornet and Mr Obrist the squeeze box. A party line (telephone) was eventually introduced to the area and was viewed suspiciously at first but soon became helpful to all those who needed to use it.
Other Prominent Families - The Gardiner family held a considerable portion of the district around the turn of the century and sold 640 acres to Mr Otto Fischer. When the Roche and Fischer estates were cut up, they were originally sold for around 10 to 20 shillings an acre, and some of the original families like the Vanstones still live in the area today.
Other local characters were - Mick Sarrow who was a champion broad axeman and lived opposite the Presbyterian Church, Bill Keller who was the blacksmith and lived just up from the cross roads, the Hughes family who lived on the corner of Padstowe and Miles Platting Roads. One local resident made the news - Mr W Halcroft, owner of the recently erected Commercial Hotel (now the Glen) shot himself in 1881.
Other names of early residents are remembered in roads around Rochedale like that of Robert Grieves and F. Underwood. Other well known family's names are - Francis, Haack, Hardy, Knust, Kuhler, Lenneberg, Moodie, Pillinger, Heinemann, Gommill, Stewart, Broad, Hall, Zimerlie, Cummins, Davis, Harris, Stern, Maiden, Smith, Mitchell, and Wiles. (Sorry if I missed anyone.)
Here's an interesting link to a 1930 Estate Map for Fruit and Poultry Farmlets in Rochedale, published by Suburb Maps. Some of these are probably still in existence today unless sold for housing as many seem to be.
Robert Grieve and W. Robinson owned much of the land that today is known as the suburb of Springwood.
William Underwood was the local publican and post master. He owned a 640 acre property situated along along Rochedale Road between Underwood Road and Springwood Road which was mainly scrub with a few brumbies but did have a spring running through the middle of it, which later gave it the name "Springwood". This area gave the name to the adjoining suburb of Springwood in later years, but is today the area known as the suburb of Rochedale South. During the late 1890's, his sons William Junior and Walter were horse dealers in Eight Mile Plains while another son, Arthur was a blacksmith and storekeeper at Mt Gravatt. Walter Underwood lived on the corner of Logan and Underwood Roads at Eight Mile Plains until the 1930's and was involved in farming and timber getting.
Colonel Harold (Sam) Langford - Harold Redfers (Sam) Langford was born in Sydney on 18 May, 1895. His parents, Henry Claude Langford and Elsie had come to Australia on the sailing ship "Ben Cruachan" about 1880. Henry Langofrd became an engineer with the Sydney Water Board and he tried to enlist in World War 1 but at forty was considered too old.
During the first World War, Harold enlisted in the the 1st Australian Light Horse regiment, serving in the Middle East and was wounded at Gallipoli. He was offered a commission in the British Army while in England recovering from his wound and served as a Lieutenant from 1916 in the Royal Field Artillery in France. He was eventually made a Major with the British Air Staff , served under Sir Winston Churchill and was awarded the Military Cross.
Harold remained in the British Army until 1925 and in 1926, he and his Irish wife, Margaret Elizabeth McBride (Betty) returned to Sydney. There they organised the export of canned and dried fruit from the Yanco Irrigation area but in 1930, the Depression and the fact that Britain was no longer importing Australian dried and canned fruit, put an end to that venture. In 1931, Harold, Betty and their 2 children, Terry (4) and Pamela (2) moved to Queensland and bought 640 acres of bushland from William Underwood. At that time the acreage was known as the "Wire Paddock" as it was the only fenced block in the area. This area bordered Underwood, Rochedale, Springwood and Parfrey Roads and was called "Springwood" because of its spring which provided good water there.
In 1935, another daughter, Joan was born on the property. Timber was cut from the property and sold for house stumps and to use in furnaces. Moulding loam was also sold and some of this was used to make moulds for the Storey Bridge. There was a gravel pit on the property near Underwood Road halfway between Rochedale and Parfrey Roads and the Langfords gave gravel to the shires around them for the roads which were very poor. The Main Roads Department later took over the gravel pit and used the gravel for the Pacific Highway.
When World War II broke out Colonel Langford again enlisted as Lieutenant Colonel and was in charge of the "Barefoot Brigade", a force of Torres Strait Islanders. He studied methods of using landing craft to put troops on beaches and raised the 1st Australian and 2nd Australian Beach Landing Groups. He was awarded an OBE for his services to Australia.
After the war, Langford returned to "Springwood" but increasing rates soon forced him to subdivide the block into 60 acre and 40 acre blocks. He kept a 20 acre block along what is now Sunningdale Avenue where he lived and grew pineapples until 1958 when he sold up and moved away from the area. Harold died in December, 1965, three days after his wife Betty died. He is well remembered because of his involvement in the local community, being active in the Local Citizens Committee which tried to get the Brisbane City Council and Tingalpa Shire Council to do some work in the area. .
In the mid 1970's, the name" Langford" was suggested as a new name for Rochedale South but was rejected. It was raised again in the 1990's when the Brisbane Landfill was being built in Gardiner Road but was rejected once again.
Harold's daughter Pamela married Bill Roche, the last member of the Roche family still living in the Rochedale area at the time. They moved to North Carolina, USA, in 1988 but still owned land at Rochedale which had been owned by Bill's mother Mrs Gertrude Roche. At 84 and still driving a car, having just had her driver's licence renewed for another year, Mrs Roche was tragically killed in a car accident near the Glen Hotel some years before. Harold's son Terry Langford lives at Ashgrove and owns a news agency. Pictures below show Henry Langford on the left and Colonel Harold (Sam) Langford in uniform, on the right.
..* I found 2 references that gave the name as both Oscar and Anton so am not sure which is correct.
Photos from "Logan.. The Man, The River and the City" by Joan Starr. All copyright is acknowledged.