by Jack Lawrie
LESLEY Dow Beames has written and published Braeside from the Beginning, a local history centred on her family's property at Selene near Mulgildie.
Lesley says that writing the Braeside history began as a brief sketch of her forebears who selected the place in 1924, but it became clear there was much more to the story stretching back 170 years.
"My research turned up considerably more material than I had expected to find,” Mrs Beames said.
"As I trawled online databases, libraries and documents, I was able to piece together the stories of the people who owned this land long before we arrived.”
This historical work traces the lives of the people who have owned the land around what is now Braeside ever since Europeans arrived in the 1840s.
The Gooreng Gooreng and Wakka Wakka people were there first but as European occupation took hold, their population dwindled, and survivors were removed to reserves.
The Scottish brothers James, Hugh and Patrick Mackay arrived in 1850 and were the first Europeans to take up the vast Dalgangal run on which Braeside now sits.
The book contains biographical accounts of the Mackays and of the pastoralists that followed, including William Kent and his family.
The pioneering lives of the stockmen and the station managers and their families are also profiled, in particular Thomas Major, Thomas Bailey and Patrick Hughes.
By 1924, farm blocks throughout the Upper Burnett were thrown open for selection and the farm Braeside was created.
There are stories of the selectors and their families in the Parish of Selene who settled along Three Moon Creek, cleared brigalow for cultivation and established their dairy farms.
As the community grew, homes were built, schools began, the township of Mulgildie was established, the railway arrived, and successive generations transformed the landscape around Braeside into a patchwork of cultivation, grazing blocks and roadways.
Descendants of many of these selectors still live in the district.
Paul Francis and Margaret Concannon shared material on the Hughes family of Mulgildie Homestead, and Vashti Grubb who came to the district in 1924 with her selector family, provided reminiscences and guidance.
Lesley is one of five generations of the Dow family from Selene.
She has published four books, including two family histories.
She has donated a copy of the book to the Monto Library. It can also be purchased at the Monto Post Office.