The following story tells about the development of Lowood as retold in the Scrub Scribbler.
Major Edmund Lockyer and his party were the first Europeans to navigate the upper reaches of the Brisbane River.
From September 10 to October 6, 1825, 14 men in two row boats explored the Brisbane River as far as its source, over 200 km from the penal settlement at Brisbane.
On September 17 dead trees lying across the river forced the crews to pull the boats overland in the region where Lowood later developed – becoming the first Europeans to visit and explore this district.
Near Lowood they discovered a significant Brisbane River tributary, later named Lockyer Creek.
They encountered friendly Aborigines during their history-making explorations.
When the embargo on settlement within 50 miles of Brisbane was lifted in 1842, European settlers began arriving in the region to take up government leases.
By 1848 some18 large ‘runs’ had been established by the Brisbane Valley’s first pastoralists, among them ‘Fernie Lawn’, ‘Wivenhoe’ and ‘Tarampa’, whose boundaries covered the area where later settlements would become Lowood, Vernor, Fernvale and several others.
Between 1868 and 1880 most of the then scrub was being cleared for the settlers to start farming.
Along with settlers from Britain, many immigrants from Prussia and Germany settled in the region and introduced their culture, farming techniques and language to this district.
In these early days the most common spoken language wasn’t English but German. When Lowood became the first terminus of the Brisbane Valley Branch Line in 1884, the area consisted of many scattered farms, smaller selections, Hancock’s sawmill and only three public buildings – Bethel Lutheran Church and Cairnhill Provisional School (1881).
Cairnhill Provisional School was opened in 1881 and it soon became too small so a new school was opened in 1889 under the head teacher Henry Lawson with 47 pupils on the present-day site.
In 1895 the school committee requested a building as a play-shed.
This building is still standing today. In 1897 the population of the town was 250 with an addition 350 living in a radius of two miles from the post office, with 108 pupils at the school.
The Bethel Lutheran Church the first public building in the district used the district name of Tarampa up until the 1890s.
The early Lutheran Pastors serviced the whole district, Lutheran or not.
The Beacon Light Hotel was built on the site of the old Police station, corner of Main and Prospect Streets.
It was built by Michael Feldhahn in 1882 and Michael Goos was the licensee.
Rail authorities referred to the location as ‘19 Miles’, its distance from Ipswich, before officially naming the new terminus Lowood.
Railway records give its meaning as “Descriptive of locality”, referring to the low brigalow scrub.
Timber getting and small crop farming became important local industries.
A thriving township developed around the railway precinct as shops, hotels and businesses were established and more homes were built.
Lowood became the market distribution centre for surrounding communities.
Soon tonnes of local produce were being dispatched daily by train to Ipswich, Brisbane and Sydney.
The district was remarkably productive: sheep, pigs, poultry and beef cattle were raised.
In 1889, a dairy factory was established in Lowood and that was the first dairy factory in Queensland.
Harry Kitzelmann was the town’s first undertaker. – THE SCRUB SCIBBLER