Who first slept in this house? Loma Linda, Northgate

Loma Linda, Love Street, Northgate. Image by SLQ staff.

Loma Linda, Love Street, Northgate. Image by SLQ staff.

Who was the original owner of Loma Linda, a large, distinctive house on a ridge in Northgate, originally occupying acres? We were told there was a link to Bundaberg sawmills, where timber was especially milled and used in the house's particular wooden features, and the family had been resident there for at least 40 years since 1914.

A search of the 1914 Queensland directory did not show the streets of Northgate. Heads-of-households’ names were simply listed for this “outer suburb”. A solution was found in a CD-ROM of the 1922 electoral roll, as it is possible to search this by street name. It showed 11 family names in Love Street, Northgate and provided the electoral division and subdivision. There were no house numbers, but in some cases, preceding the street name, were a few house names or names of owners with whom the voter was resident. This 1922 list enabled a quick search of the alphabetical list of names on the 1914 roll on fiche in the division of Lilley, subdivision of Nundah. Only one enrolled family, resident in 1922, was present on the 1914 list – Skyring.

The Skyring link to Bundaberg

H A Skyring and Sons Sawmill, Bundaberg, 1905. State Library of Queensland.

The link to the timber mills of Bundaberg was established with a search of the free Trove historical newspapers. An advanced search with the words "Skyring" and "Northgate" provided the connection. The obituary of Mrs Emily Skyring of Northgate in the Maryborough Chronicle of 3 July 1926 outlined her background as an early immigrant. She and her husband opened the sawmills on the Burnett River, Bundaberg in 1884.

The house name

The Brisbane Courier, 5 August 1914.

The social notices of the day - “at homes” and holiday sojourns at the seaside in Trove - referred to the Skyrings’ Northgate house name as Rosecleer (bright rose). The household consisted of Emily Skyring, her eldest daughter, Sarah Ellen, and other daughters, Lily Rose, Rose May and Violet Emily at various times. Later electoral rolls show the house name had changed to Rosellen, combining elements of the names of Emily’s daughters usually in residence. There was no reference to this house name variant in Trove newspapers, which usually extend only to 1954. Other references in the newspaper showed the breakup of the estate and changes over time as family members died.

The Brisbane Courier, 1 October 1927.

The Brisbane Courier, 1 October 1927.

In 1953, a notice of transmission of real estate by death tracked the Skyring daughters’ ownership of the property following the death of Rose May, giving the real property description.

The Worker, 23 March 1953.

The Worker, 23 March 1953.

In 1959, Sarah Ellen and Lily Rose died, but the home had become a boarding house, as happened with many older larger homes.

State Library of Queensland’s newspaper clipping files under Brisbane- residences-L provide an article from the Courier Mail of 31 May 1981, confirming that Loma Linda (beautiful hill) was the name current at that time, and explaining that only two families had owned the place. The timber, specially selected for the original owners, was sent by train to Nundah then by dray to Love Street.

The Skyring family

Shipping, birth, death and marriage records, newspaper items and biographical files showed that in 1833 Daniel Skyring arrived in Sydney on the Esther with his wife and three children. By 1844 he was in Brisbane with his expanding family, and was among the first people to purchase land in Moreton Bay, which was newly opened to free settlement. Henry Albert, the second of his children to be born in Moreton Bay, had successful timber mills in Bundaberg, among his other business interests. In 1866, Henry married Emily Jones, who had arrived in Moreton Bay as a three year old on the Parsee in 1853. She bought the Northgate land and built the house after she was widowed.

The house in Love Street, variously known as Rosecleer, Rosellen and Loma Linda, is an interesting link to the Skyrings’ timber interests in Bundaberg and to two early pioneer families. At a time when Brisbane is changing dramatically, it is intriguing to note such connections still exist as special tangible links to the past. The increasing availability of resources allows us to explore these house histories.

To find out more about house history resources, view the webcasts of our recent House Histories presentation at /audio-video/webcasts

Stephanie Ryan, Senior Librarian

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In 1924 a Queensland architectural magazine described this house as “probably the most imposing home in the district”. The name of the house is reflected in the garden. “The grounds which surround it reach from one street right through to the other, and are laid out in a magnificent rose garden”.

I'm currently researching the name of the Road we now live on. Wawoon Road of Bundaberg. Being such an unusual name has always intrigued me. After finding the Steamer 'Wawoon' was owned by Skyring & Sons, I then found that Henry (HS) Skyring retired to his graving property 'Wawoon'. I'm still on the hunt - but it's possible that we now live in his house. Ours is the first in the street, the oldest house in our small road, a Queenslander of the same era/style as the one built for Rose Skyring. Our land was divided away from the surrounding farm land in 1995.

Thanks for the comment Jody. it would be worthwhile contacting the local studies librarian at Bundaberg Library as well as your local history society to find out more. We do have information on the Skyrings and possibly 'Wawoon'. Contact us again with a photo of the house if you still have further questions.Incidentally the house was built for Emily Skyring nee Jones, wife of Henry Albert Skyring. Skyrings were among the first to purchase land in Moreton Bay and Henry Albert was among the early Moreton Bay births.Lovely to hear from you!Stephanie Ryan