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Mowbraytown History

Thomas Mowbray was born to Matthew Mowbray, an Ironmonger and his wife Jane (nee Miller) in 1812, at Hamilton, Lanarksire, Scotland.

He entered the University of Glasgow in 1829 and graduated with an M.A. in 1834.  He became the assistant to Rev. Dr. Keith in Hamilton and later ordained as minister of the Quoad Saera Church at Blackridge.

He married Williamina Anderson at West Colinton (Edinburgh, Scotland) on 17th August, 1841.

They had nine children.

Elizabeth Grahame    b. 4th August 1842. Melbourne

Jane Miller.                b. 6th May 1844. Campbellfield

Margaret Caroline.      b. 18th May 1846. Sydney

Thomas.                    b. 19th July 1848. Moreton Bay

Matthew William.        b. 12th October 1850. Kangaroo Point, Brisbane

Ada.                          b. 4th April 1853. Riversdale, Brisbane

John.                         b. 26th Sept 1855. Riversdale, Brisbane

James Anderson.        b. 29th Nov 1857. Riversdale, Brisbane

Mabel.                       b. 24th March 1860. Riversdale, Brisbane

For the sake of his health, they emigrated to Australia arriving in 1842.  For three years,Thomas  Mowbray was minister at Campbellfield in the Port Phillip district of the colony of NSW, but due to his ill health moved further north to Sydney.  During the next two and a half years his health deteriorated further and in 1847 they moved north again to Moreton Bay.

From the time of his arrival in Moreton Bay he was active in establishing a Protestant church.  Differences in doctrine lead to separate churches and he then worked on several committees to establish a Presbyterian Church.  These early churches were based on the northern side of the Brisbane River.  Services on the southern side were taken by a minister who was rowed across the river.

Thomas Mowbray purchased land on the southern side of the Brisbane River, opposite New Farm.  He built a stone house called Riversdale (c.1850) and conducted a school there. This area is still named Mowbray Park. With a growing congregation on the south side of the river, he saw the need for a church with its own minister and began to work towards achieving this.

Because of his involvement he is referred to by many historians as the Father of Presbyterianism in Queensland.

He died on the 24th December, 1867 at the age of 55.

The district name of Mowbraytown originated in 1884 when Williamina Mowbray the wife of the late Rev Thomas Mowbray sold the land between Lytton Rd and Mowbray Terrace to Josiah Young who subdivided this area into 336 residential allotments . This area then became known as the Mowbraytown Estate. Mowbray Park retained its name on the riverside of Lytton Rd.

His wife Wiliamina later donated land in Mowbray Terrace for the building of the Mowbraytown Church and Hall. His children were active members of it’s congregation in it’s early years.  

The area known as East Brisbane originally came about in the late 1800's when a "workers settlement" grew at the end of Kangaroo Point on the eastern edge of South Brisbane. During this time Brisbane Town was expanding and a number of satellite districts were being developed. Along with other pioneering districts the area known as Mowbraytown was ultimately absorbed into the comprehensive name of East Brisbane.