Boondooma Homestead from the Southeast

News of the day

Toowoomba Chronicle and Queensland Advertiser, Wednesday 2 December 1868, page 3

The Bushrangers at Boondooma (from the Barnett Argus, November 21)

In our last we stated that the two ruffians who had stolen the horses from the Wetheron Station had been tracked as far as Boondooma, where it appears they were in the act of sticking up Mr Delger’s public house, the “Old House at Home”, when constable John Kelly routed them, firing at one and frightening the other.  We have received the following correct particulars:-

Kelly, after parting with McGinlay, struck out for Dykehead, Toondoon, and Cooranga (SPELLING?); on this latter station he came upon the tracks of two horses, and followed the tracks on to Boondooma head station, where he arrived about sundown.  Hearing nothing of the scoundrels there, Kelly went down to the public houses mentioned  : it was then about eight in the evening. He could get no information there – no “likely-looking” characters had been there – and there were no strangers in the house.  In about half an hour after two men walked into the bar, each having a double-barrelled gun and a revolver. Kelly at this time was in a room off the bar, the door of which was closed.  Hearing some altercation in the bar, Kelly opened the door, having his revolver ready.The first man he saw he a double-barrelled gun pointed at the public, who was standing behind the bar ; the other man was in the act of binding the said publican’s hands behind his book.  The moment the ruffian who had the gun pointed saw Kelly, he uncovered the public and levelled the gunat him ; Kelly then fired, knocking the gun clear out of the fellow’s hands to one side of the bar, and the ruffian himself to the other. Kelly instantly fired again at the other wretch as he was bolting through the bar door, but as the bullet was found in a slab close to where the thief had passed, at the door, it is feared that he was not struck with it - more's the pity. In the meantime the first man got on his feet, left his gun, and went outside. Kelly feels confident that this fellow has got a bullet in him. Kelly picked up the gun and followed them outside, but the night being pitch dark, he could not get a sight of them. During all this time there was great confusion in the house – the women screeching, and the publican praying to be relieved from his bondage. In the morning Kelly ascertained the vagabonds had taken three fresh horses from the station and left those they were riding behind which he believed are Messrs. Moreton’s.

These thieves must have had their horses convenient when they attempted to stick up the house, as every place was searched for him, but they were nowhere to be found.

Kelly has tracked the desperadoes on as far as Mondure, where we hear they penetrated a ? (scrub?)

One of these fellows, we understand, came down the Dalby line a few weeks ago in company with the mailman, making anxious enquiries about the different lines of road all the way down – taking, no doubt, what these flash gentlemen term, “the lay of the country.”


Since the above was written, Kelly has returned to town, but, we regret to say, without the robbers. He has, however, brought the gun mentioned above with him as a momento.


Boondooma Homestead is located on the Mundubbera-Durong Road in Boondooma. The Boondooma Run was originally taken up in 1846 by the Lawson brothers and Robert Alexander, and the Homestead site today includes a number of historic buildings, including a stone building and timber house erected in the 1850s, and several timber outbuildings.

Russell first came to Queensland in 1840 to stay with cousins on the Darling Downs, and in the subsequent year established Eton Vale on the Downs in partnership with his brother, Sydenham. In conjunction with others Russell made exploratory expeditions to the Wide Bay area and in 1842 he was the first European to pass through what was later to become Boondooma whilst exploring the area west of Tiaro with William H Orton and an Aborigine named Jemmy. In the following year, he took up Burrandowan run on the Borne River as a sheep station and other squatters soon followed his example in establishing themselves in the area. Two of these were brothers Alexander Robertson Lawson and Robert Lawson, who set up Boondooma Station as a sheep run in 1846 along with Robert Alexander. Temporary huts and sheds were erected on the site and by 1851 Boondooma comprised the runs of Boondooma, Jua, Waringa and Waagineraganya, while Piar, Dangarabungy and Weir Weir were subsequently acquired. The Boondooma lease was applied for on 31 October 1851 by the Lawson brothers and Alexander, and approved the following year. In 1863 the lease remained in the Lawson family but was transferred to Alexander Robertson Lawson solely. Four years later, in 1867, Boondooma lease was transferred to William Oswald Gilchrist and John Young, before being transferred to Gilchrist solely in 1872 and then held jointly by Gilchrist and John Brown Watt in 1888. It seems unlikely that Gilchrist, Young or Watt resided at the property and it continued to be managed by the Lawsons until 1870 when they were succeeded by George Munro.

Courtesy of the Queensland Heritage Register


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