Mistaken identity: towns/places with the same names

In doing research on families and where they lived, it is always possible to go off on the wrong track, as it were.  In my own family, I had two cases of towns/places in Queensland with the same names which caused some initial confusion.

Kalbar is the name of a small town about 70km to the south-west of Brisbane, just off the Cunningham Highway in the Fassifern Valley. However, it is also the name of a locality near South Kolan, about 24km along the Bundaberg-Gin Gin Road. The locality of Kalbar extends along the Burnett River.

Both Kalbar near Bundaberg and Kalbar in the Fassifern Valley were settled in the early 1870s, as farming areas.  However, the latter Kalbar was originally known as Fassifern Scrub and then Engelsburg after the first settler of the town. The name of the town was changed in 1916 because of anti-German sentiment during World War 1.

Kalbar, near South Kolan, was originally a sugar plantation. It had its own sugar mill and employed mainly South Sea Islanders. The Mill was shut down in 1910 and not long after that the property was broken up into smaller farms, with my grandfather, who had been the manager of the Plantation, buying the homestead block.

Kalbar is where my father and his siblings were born and went to school.  Kalbar State School was a one teacher school set high on a ridge to the back of Woodhouselee, my grandparent’s property. Kalbar SS opened in 1896 as a provisional school, became a state school in 1910 and closed about 1962 or 1963.

Kalbar State School is no longer there and the only remnant of the school is the base of a memorial which was erected in memory of four young men who were killed during World War 1. Two of the young men named on the memorial were my father’s brother and his first cousin. This memorial is now at Kolan South State School.

My great-grandparents were married at Donnybrook in 1864 (according to later documents as no marriage record can be found). Now when I first saw this, I assumed that Donnybrook referred to the small town of that name, which is about 60km to the north of Brisbane. As my great-grandparents later lived in Maryborough and then Bundaberg, this all seemed to fit. However, on obtaining other birth documents, Donnybrook was referred to as being in the Maranoa district which is in western Queensland around the town of Roma. So further investigation was required.

After trawling through newspapers on Trove, I found numerous references to a small locality called Donnybrook near Roma.  One such reference was a death notice:

The Darling Downs Gazette and General Advertiser (Toowoomba, QLD), Thursday 1 December 1864, p3
November 2nd, at Donnybrook, Maranoa, of disease of the heart, JOSHUA TATTAN, of the city of Cork, Ireland. Aged 50 years.

In a letter to the editor in The Brisbane Courier (22 January, 1869), the writer refers to Mitchell’s Camp on the Maranoa as being more commonly known as Donnybrook Township.

In the 1860s, Donnybrook had at least two hotels. One was the Garryowen Hotel owned by Patrick Hogan. However, by 1869, according to a correspondent to The Brisbane Courier (23 October 1869), it was in decline. This correspondent reported that two years ago the township had supported a store, blacksmith and two publicans, “but is now entirely in the hands of one, who, without any opposition, keeps the best bush house I know in the colony, and reigns monarch of all he surveys”.

While the township may have lost some prominence, at least one hotel continued to operate for the next 30 years as the Donnybrook Hotel. 

Using Donnybrook in a Google search today brings up numerous references to the small town to the north of Brisbane but almost none to the locality near Roma.  The only reference I could find to the original location was a Donny-brook Road in a real estate advertisement.

If you can provide any additional information on these locations, particularly Donnybrook or Mitchell Camp, please contact me.

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