The First Settlers of Baroon Pocket

The history of settlement in Montville lists the Weitemeyers as being the first official residents in 1887.  But in fact, one family, with descendants still here, settled in Baroon Pocket some time before that. Before the big frog pond down there in Baroon Pocket  (the Baroon Dam was constructed in 1989) was the winding Obi Obi Creek with its long pools and rocky outcrops.  The Lavericks came in from the Maleny side in 1886, and I shall let the words of their granddaughter Mrs Madge Glover tell their story.

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 “Robert Laverick left his butchering business in Durham in England, with his wife Ruth née Stolbert and son James, and sailed on the ship “Ruttle Bay”, arriving in Brisbane on 4th August 1875.   Brisbane in those days was in a very primitive state; stumps, stones and waterholes in what are now the main streets.  They made their home at Brookfield where Robert took up his butchering trade, and also started a Brickyard.  While living here their daughter ‘Lilly’ was born.  After ten years Robert selected a block of land in ‘Baroon Pocket’ in the Maleny district.  They journeyed from Brisbane to Maroochydore by ship, and from there to Maleny by bullock wagon.  In the year 1886, they moved onto their selection and formed their homestead there in dense scrub with no others settlers near.  Robert and James sought work, while Ruth and Lilly remained on the selection.

Visits by aboriginals were frequent but no molestation ever took place.  They came to beg for food etc; they were always friendly and always moved on. Whilst Ruth was living in Baroon Pocket, for one period of two years she never saw another white woman.  When the family first settled, Robert blazed a track up the mountain to what is now Mill Hill Road, and then across the top of the mountains; this was before there was any settlement in Montville.  Robert worked as a butcher at Woombye, then known as Cobb’s Camp, coming home as often as possible, and bringing food packed on his horse, which he led whilst he walked all the way from Woombye to Baroon Pocket.  When Lilly grew older she used to ride her pony through the dense scrub up the mountain and then down to Palmwoods to buy food from Remington’s store.  Whilst still living in Baroon Pocket, Ruth and Lilly attended the ceremony of the laying of the foundation of the Montville State School building (Razorback Provisional School).  Also during this time, James and his friend Gus Dalton, also from Baroon Pocket, left their homes and travelled west through the dense scrub until they reached the Darling Downs, where they stayed for many years.

The Laverick family left Baroon Pocket after twelve lonely years and made their home on land they had bought in Montville in 1898 (just on the northern side of what is now the Mayfield Centre).  Robert died in 1912, but Ruth lived until 1944, when she passed away at the great age of 102 years.

James Henry (Jim) Ruddy, eldest son of James and Mary Ruddy, was born in South Brisbane and received his education there.  He was only 4 years old when his mother died.  After his father’s death when he was 17 years old, he left Brisbane in 1896-97 and came to Montville, where he took employment with the late Mr Fred Smith to gain knowledge of farming.  After working for some time for the Smith brothers, he selected land in Baroon Pocket and built a home there.

In 1905 Jim Ruddy married Lilly Laverick.  They were married in the Montville Hall by the Rev. Shenton, as there were no churches in Montville at that time. This happy wedding is described in many tales of the Hall.  Jim and Lilly Ruddy lived for a short time on the Baroon Pocket property, then Jim Ruddy acquired a property from Dr Youngman on the Western Road (then known as the Back Road) near Gaden Road, which he worked for a number of years, first growing strawberries and then citrus and pineapples, subsequently selling half of this property to Mr J.C.Unwin and the other half to Mr A.E.Brown.  Removing then to the eastern end of the district, Jim Ruddy (with his wife and young daughter Ruth Madeleine “Madge”) established a very fine orchard property out near Mill Hill.  This property he sold to Mr E.E. (Artie) Glover about 1939.  Jim and Lilly Ruddy then purchased a property from Mr J.Thomas on the corner of Mill Hill Road and the Front Road, and built a home in which to live quietly.  This property in fact was that first Montville selection of the Weitemeyers.  A mango tree, which still stands near the house, was planted by Mr Thorvald Weitemeyer, and is thought to mark the grave of Mrs Jane Weitemeyer.

Jim Ruddy was one of the first people to own a car, as early as 1918, and he was ever ready to help others in need of transport, in illness or in trouble.  His generosity helped many people to get a start, and during the depression years Jim and Lilly provided employment and a home for numerous people, a fact they did not make known.  Jim took an active part in the movement to establish a ‘Sports Ground’ for the district, and was one of the guarantors to the Bank for the project.  He was a Trustee until his death.  He was Trustee of other organisations; also a keen bowler, and visited the green regularly until illness intervened.  Jim Ruddy passed away on 3rd June 1944, aged 63 years.  Lilly Ruddy’s mother Ruth Laverick, who lived there also, died in August 1944, just two months after Jim.  However Lilly lived on in the house until her death on 30th March 1961.”

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E.E. (Artie) Glover, youngest son of George and Anne Glover, was born in Brisbane, lived most of his early life in Yandina, and came to Montville in 1933.  He worked for a time for Mr Cliff Dart to learn fruit growing and farm management, then purchased the Mill Hill farm from the Ruddys in 1939.  In 1942 Artie married Madge Ruddy, and they made their home on the property where Madge had grown up.

A few years after Jim Ruddy’s death, Artie and Madge moved into Lilly Ruddy’s home so they could care for her.  They continued to live there after Lilly’s death in 1961, but still maintained their own property further along Mill Hill Road.  They had two sons, Peter and Terry, and there were four grandchildren, at the time of these recollections in 1984.

Artie played cricket in his earlier life, and excelled at bowls.  He gave much of himself to all in the community until his death in 1999.

Their grandson Michael and his family watched over Madge and the family farms. Even though she was not able to get out and about as in past years, Madge maintained her blithe spirit and intense interest in the district they loved so much, until her death in August 2006, aged 91.  Currently, seven generations of the Laverick-Ruddy-Glover families have now lived in Montville, spanning 130 years.   (Gillie Warren, updated by Cate Patterson)