Richard Sumner, President of the Queensland Rugby League, 1912 Source: SLQ 2 135615

Richard Sumner, President of the Queensland Rugby League, 1912
Source: SLQ 2 135615

Sumners Road and surrounds was associated with Darra (and Wacol) for decades – and in 2015, “Darra-Sumner” remains a census statistical area. The Centenary Suburbs development named the “Sumner” suburb in 1969 after the long established Sumners Road  (see CSHS website for post-1969 Sumner).

Richard Sumner in our area:

Sumners Road – and Sumner – are named after Richard Sumner (1859-1927). Richard never lived in our region, but there is evidence that he was associated with the district just after World War I. In 1917 he was in the area inspecting land for the Soldier Settlement Scheme with H L Jones (of Goodna). The government then sub-divided 100 acres in Wolston/ Wacol for 12 small poultry farms for returned soldiers. About the same time Sumner bought land at the river end of what is now Sumners Road for his soldier son George (who enlisted in 1917, age 21, RTA 11/1919, discharged 2/1920).

Sumners Road

Roads were often named for the landholders at either end of the road.  Tess Maurer, daughter of early Sumner Road residents, remembered in 2009:

“The Sumners owned land here for a long time, but I don’t remember them living there. By the time I knew him (son George), he was a solicitor in town I think, and he came out at weekends. I was told that Jim Low and German Pete had worked for Mr Richard Sumner, but Dad sometimes picked him up from Darra station….

I seem to remember about 1934 hearing discussions about naming the road from Darra station out to the river. Apparently “Maurer’s Road” had been suggested, but Dad (Edward Maurer) went to the Council and pointed out that as Sumner’s land was at the end of the road – and he was an MP and had recently died (in 1927) – it should be Sumner’s Road.  And it is.”

Richard Sumner, the man

“Dick” Sumner was canning pineapple in Brisbane in the 1880s. In the Exhibition of 1893, his “fruit preserved in syrup” was highly recommended – and in 2001, he was remembered in the News Weekly, July 28:
“The pineapple industry has a long, proud history in Queensland, indeed the pineapple itself is one unofficial emblem of the Sunshine State. This is in no small part due to the fact that over a century ago in the colony of Queensland Richard Sumner, a Brisbane farmer, built a pineapple cannery at Northgate and a manufacturing industry was born….   (2015)

In 1888, Sumner was secretary of the East Moreton Farmers’ Association. He stood for parliament in Nundah in 1899, was elected member for Nundah 1907-09 – and was appointed to the Upper House in 1917 (until 1922 when it was abolished).  He was a director of the Labor newspaper, the ‘Daily Standard’ from 1912. In that year he was also the President of the Queensland Rugby League.

Sumner’s obituary says he “was always a sturdy and earnest democrat, and deeply interested in politics and social work.”  He was also involved in business and community – and well regarded in the community that remembered him in Sumners Road.

For more information:

Darra by Decade

150 Years – Richlands, Inala and Neighbouring Suburbs in Brisbane’s South West