Bulimba is one of Brisbane's oldest suburbs, just under ten kilometres downstream from the CBD. The name Bulimba is an aboriginal word meaning "place of the magpie lark (peewee)". Initially it was a farming area, and the earliest white inhabitants were David McConnel and his wife Mary. In 1849-50 Andrew Petrie built a sandstone house there for them, and it remains Brisbane's oldest stone house. They were able to move in to part of the house at the end of 1849, and the rest was constructed while they were resident at the property. The sketch of the house (below), then called Toogoolawah, was made around the year 1851, and the photograph below that is undated.
(Photos: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #135747 & 199636)
The McConnels established a combination grain farm and cattle-fattening business at Bulimba, and by 1852 they were using the name Bulimba House for their property which had grown considerably, employing up to 100 men. Unfortunately Mrs McConnel became ill, and the property was sold in 1853 in order for the family to return to England. The buyer, Donald Coutts, subsequently subdivided the large holding into residential blocks, enabling housing to be constructed in the area. Bulimba House still stands between Coutts St and Kenbury St in Bulimba, but there is no view of the house from the street on the Coutts St side, and a tennis court and large wire fence on the Kenbury St side of the property have made photography difficult. Here it is, nonetheless - this is actually the rear of the house.
(Photo: © 2010 the foto fanatic)
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