In the mid-1800s, two men selected all the land west of Blunder Road that was to become Durack: the border between the two properties is now Glenala Rd.
In 1877, George Freeman selected the northern Portion 358 of 202 acres (Freeman, Blunder, Glenala Roads, Rosemary Street). Freeman Road was named for him. William Orr selected the southern Portion (357) of 244 acres.There is no evidence that he lived here, and other Orr properties in the region suggest that he may have been a speculator.
On the eastern side of Blunder Road, the selections ran from the ridge down to Blunder Creek. Land with water frontages was preferred, and these properties were smaller (often 20-50 acres) and selected much earlier.
Among the first settlers here were Thomas King and his sons-in-law, Job Allen and Henry Weeks. Thomas’s story (below) tells us of an early Durack pioneer.
Thomas, now 41, and Ann 43, were among the first to emigrate. They brought Elizabeth (17) with them, but older daughter Mary Ann and Henry Weeks decided to stay in Devon. The square-rigged migrant ship “Jessie Munn” brought them into Moreton Bay on 28 January 1862. Just two weeks later, Thomas had used his Land Orders to purchase 32 acres on the Ipswich Road along Oxley Creek. The Kings were now landowners!
Over the following sixteen years, Thomas King purchased several tracts of virgin land in the Blunder and Oxley area. He improved them all – and in 1879 he could borrow £50 against his property. In 1886, he sub-divided his first homestead, and sold the three lots for quite a profit.
In July 1864, daughter Elizabeth married Job Allen, son of a neighbouring selector who had arrived in the Blunder in 1856. Nine years later, on 15 November 1873, Mary Ann and Henry Weeks arrived in Brisbane on the “Gauntlet” as Free Settlers. They brought four children, having buried baby Susanna at sea on 18 September. They took up residence on Thomas’s second selection at The Blunder.
In 1881, Thomas King transferred his third land purchase of 58 acres at The Blunder to his younger daughter’s husband. In 1889, Thomas signed the 50 acres of his second selection over to his elder daughter. The poor agricultural labourer from Devon had done well for his children!
Cemetery records indicate that both Ann and Thomas King are buried in “God’s Acre” – a little pioneer graveyard set up on the Grenier farm in 1859, and standing now on the edge of Archerfield Aerodrome. Their graves are not marked. Having no sons, they are the only Kings there, though both daughters lie nearby.
“King Avenue” runs beside their old property off Blunder Road, Durack – all that remains to remind us of Thomas King, the man who helped pioneer The Blunder area.