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On 7 June 1871, Alfred Hughes bought a 48 acre allotment from Maria Kessels1. He continued to buy the adjoining lots until he owned about 150 acres2. This property gave Alfred Hughes space to breed, spell and train his horses that were used in his livery stables in Brisbane. His property also had a plentiful supply of freshwater. He established his Mt Gravatt property as a halfway station between his city stables and an 886 acre property that he owned on the Logan River at Jimboomba. Hughes gained government contracts to supply horses for overseas military purposes. He also bred racehorses for export to India.

Alfred Hughes and his wife, Deborah, lived in a single storey detached cottage in Charlotte Street3 next door to their Livery and Bait stables. They had eight children: Richard Alfred, Frederick, Mary Ann, Deborah (died aged 4 years), Annie (died as a baby), Clifford Emanuel, Ellen and Adelaide4.

In 1887 the Hughes family came to live permanently at their Mt Gravatt property in the original cottage on the site. A new homestead, ‘Cabramatta’5 was built on the property and the foreman’s cottage was already on the property. ‘Cabramatta’ had a detached kitchen and scattered around the property in the area that is now Cremin Street were stables, a buggy shed, a harness room and a feed shed.

Alfred Hughes travelled into the city daily to work. He took his children with him so that his sons were able to attend the Normal School, corner of Edward and Adelaide Streets, and his daughters could attend St Stephens Convent School, in Elizabeth Street.

After Alfred Hughes sold his city livery business in 1889 he worked for the next few years from his Mt Gravatt property. His wife, Deborah died in 1891. An acquaintance of many years, Margaret Hartley and Alfred Hughes married in 1892. They had a son, Peter. From 1892 to 1896, Alfred Hughes returned to live in Brisbane and work at his livery stables in Adelaide Street.

After Alfred Hughes died on 22 April 1903 ‘Cabramatta’ was left to Clifford Emanuel Hughes. Alfred’s second wife, Margaret, and son, Frederick Hughes, were living at ‘Cabramatta’ at this time. Clifford Hughes joined the Australian Army and sailed to England in World War I. There he met Florence Kate Care and they married on 9 July 1919 and later that year they sailed back to Australia. After returning to Mt Gravatt, Clifford and Florence lived in the foreman’s cottage where they raised their three sons: Albert (Alby), George and Lionel. Clifford Hughes, aged 51 years, died in August 1935. Then the ‘Cabramatta’ property was sold to John Leopold McIntyre.

Leo McIntyre laid out the golf course on his land which was officially opened by the then Brisbane Lord Mayor Alderman A.J (Alf) Jones, on 3 April 1937. The original homestead was used as a clubhouse and the homestead, ‘Cabramatta’, was sold and converted into four flats. In 2000, ‘Cabramatta’ was relocated in two sections to Kalbar where it was restored.
The land along Kessels Road from Mains Road down to Mimosa Creek was used during World War II as a military base where vehicles were stored and repaired. After the Pacific Golf Course was re-established along Pine Mountain Road, the original golf course land was surveyed and developed for residential use. In what is locally known as the Strathairlie Square development many of the streets are named after well-known cricket players, tennis players and golfers.

Beryl Roberts
12 June 2015


1 Portion 271, corner of what is now found bordered by Mains and Kessels Roads.
2 Portion 287, 16 acres 2 roods, and Portion 286, 27 acres 2 roods, previously owned by J.
Reedman; Portion 285, 30 acres 2 roods, previously owned by E.G. Grose; and Portion 272
73 acres, previously owned by W.G. Billington.
3 This cottage was demolished in August 1983 to establish the Festival carpark.
4 Adelaide Hughes, the youngest child was born at ‘Cabramatta’ on 13 July 1888.
5 Alfred’s father Richard Hughes had lived in Cabramatta, NSW.