Verrierdale, a rural suburb at the northern end of the Sunshine Coast, is celebrating community history with a “Back to Verrierdale Day” on Saturday 1 October 2016.
The Gubbi Gubbi people were the original inhabitants of this district, where heavy forests grew. Timber felling was a major industry after European settlement, with cleared land being opened up for farming in the early 20th century. Verrierdale was originally part of Eumundi, but by 1916 there were sufficient settlers for the district to have its own identity, and it was named in honour of David George Verrier, a selector who had settled there some 10 years prior. The population grew steadily, and in August 1916 the Verrierdale State School was opened.
Who was David Verrier?
David George Verrier was born in England in 1851. Aged 19, he migrated to Queensland on board the Indus, which arrived in Moreton Bay in 1871. His sister, Cecelia, migrated in 1872 on the Polmaise. Coincidentally, another passenger on this ship was Caroline Weaver who married David Verrier in 1873. The married couple lived in Brisbane and had three children – Joseph George in 1876, John in 1877 and Annie Weaver in 1880.
After David Verrier’s father died in 1878 in England, David’s brother Joseph and their mother Sarah migrated aboard the Arthurstone, arriving in 1879. The following years held sad times for the Verrier family, with baby Annie dying in 1882, just before her second birthday, Joseph dying in 1884 and Sarah in 1885. All are buried at Toowong Cemetery.
Early electoral rolls show David Verrier’s humble origins as a labourer in 1903, but by 1908 he was a selector in Doonan – Verrierdale was yet to be named after him. David and his wife, Caroline, were only in the district for a few years when Caroline died in 1913. She is buried in Eumundi Cemetery.
David Verrier’s involvement in his community and his compassion was shown when he made a donation of land to the War Council in 1915, for the settling of soldiers returning from World War One. (Source: Brisbane Courier, Saturday 30 October 1915, page 16).
Hessie Lindsell included David Verrier in her book Eumundi families : a collection of names illustrating the life and times of Eumundi during the past 100 years. She states that he gave three acres (1.2 hectares) of land for tennis courts and a hall, and in 1959 the hall was finally opened. The school and tennis courts, and later the hall, were the centre of this district. Verrierdale has not had a post office or even a local shop.
Residents of Verrierdale formed a united community and held fundraisers to improve the school grounds. Verrierdale also fielded a cricket team and a tennis team, both of which played in the local competitions.
Hessie Lindsell goes on to say that David Verrier “was of good character, tall in stature, liked by children” and newspaper articles about school events support this. She also says that he “became ill and left the district, but we do not know any more about him.”
Queensland Births, Deaths and Marriages indexes show that he died on 2 July 1932, when he was aged 81. A Government Notice of Transmission by Death, published in the Nambour Chronicle and North Coast Advertiser on Friday 13 April 1934, stated that David Verrier was late of Goodna, and his land holding was in the Parish of Maroochy. Queensland State Archives records show an Intestacy File for him, so he died without making a will. Cemetery records don’t show where David Verrier’s final resting place is. He is not with his wife, Caroline, in Eumundi; nor with his daughter, mother and brother in Toowong; nor with his son and daughter-in-law in South Brisbane. Did he perhaps die in the Goodna Mental Hospital? We’ll have to wait until those records are publicly available in years to come to find out.
Verrierdale Hall finally opened in April 1959, and once again the community came together to celebrate the opening and to organise community activities. The month after the hall opened, a fundraising dance was held with music supplied by the Rhythm Band from Gympie – the first of many dances, which are still held in the hall.
Verrierdale State School is just a memory now, as it closed in 1963, but Verrierdale Hall is still very much alive, and “Back to Verrierdale” is taking place there on Saturday 1 October 2016.
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