Austinville

They constructed a school which opened on 23 June 1934 and approximately 50 small homes beside the gravel track into Austinville Valley.

Arrival of banana settlers at the Mudgeeraba Railway Station circa 1920s Photographer unknown

Arrival of banana settlers at the Mudgeeraba Railway Station, circa 1920s. Photographer unknown

In the 1930s, following the worst years of the Great Depression, there were a number of schemes to relieve unemployment, particularly for those without work who lived in Brisbane.

Austinville was established by the Queensland Government in 1934 in an effort to resettle unemployed people on the land. It was named after the Under Secretary for the Department of Labour and Industry, Mr W.H. Austin, who was responsible for a number of Banana Settlement schemes in Queensland. Mr Austin died after a sudden illness on 27 May 1934 and the announcement of the name for the new settlement was made the following week.

Over 300 applicants for the scheme had been received and in June 1933, forty men left Brisbane to create access roads and clear and subdivide land into blocks for growing bananas, tobacco and cotton.

Track into Austinville circa 1930s Photographer unknown

Track leading into Austinville, circa 1930s. Photographer unknown

Working four days a week, the men constructed a school which opened on 23 June 1934 and approximately 50 small homes beside the gravel track into Austinville Valley. Behind the homes, along the valley floor, flowed Mudgeeraba Creek. The western side of the settlement was bordered by the Nimmel Range, an extremely rugged terrain, thick with heavy timber and vine scrub. By October 1934 approximately 200 acres of land was dedicated to growing bananas.

The families received a weekly ration allowance from the government, but the settlement which had a population of about 200 was short lived. By 1939, after the worst effects of the Depression were past, most of the families had left Austinville.

In later years, little remained of the original settlement and the few avocado and remaining dairy farms operating in the valley became dwarfed by the surrounding State Forest.

Further reading and sources of information

  1. MR. W. H AUSTIN. (1934, May 28). Warwick Daily News, p. 6. Retrieved June 17, 2015, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article177506206
  2. AUSTINVILLE. (1934, June 2). Queensland Times (Ipswich), p. 8. Retrieved June 17, 2015, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article116022894
  3. “MUST NOT FAIL.” Land Settlement. (1933, June 20). The Brisbane Courier, p. 12. Retrieved June 17, 2015, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article22187405
  4. AUSTINVILLE SCHOOL. (1934, October 19). South Coast Bulletin, p. 7. Retrieved June 17, 2015, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article133768444