Moray Fields was once home to a rum distillery! Oh and Merry Christmas!
December 20, 2016
It’s Chriiiiiiiiiistmaaaaas!!! And, if you can spare five minutes from hanging up your stocking on the wall, I’ll tell you the story of when Moray Fields was home to a rum distillery.
In a previous Blog we introduced George Raff, original owner of the “Moray Fields” site which is now home to North Harbour. Mr Raff was an important person of note in the 1860s European settlement of the Brisbane area (he even served in the first Queensland Parliament) and his Moray Fields estate began life as a cotton plantation before it was converted into a sugar plantation. The sugar plantation was a one stop shop and grew, milled and distilled everything on site, even building their own mill to process cane cut from the plantation’s fields. In 1867 the Moray Fields Mill was described as being:
…situated 200 yards from the river, and close to a large reservoir…a large imposing structure, 120 feet square, 20 feet to the eaves, with a pyramidal roof rather steep, and surmounted on the top with a large and spacious piazza from which a commanding view of the whole plantation is easily obtained. The distillery is on one side of the building…A railway loads into the mill, to bring cane from the field or take…out of the mill. A branch line also leads to the wharf upon the banks of the river.
(‘Mr. Raffs’, 1867, The Queenslander 28 September, p. 10)
The Mill was a substantial undertaking. Tonnes of sugar was crushed and processed for shipping and the remainder was used in the onsite distillery. As well as sugar, rum and molasses were also produced at Morayfields. George Raff and his son invested in the latest Shears patented copper equipment for this part of the operation.
The Chief Inspector of Distilleries noted in 1872 that the Morayfields distillery was one of only two in constant operation south of Maryborough. In that 12-month period, 18,644 proof gallons of rum were produced at Morayfields (Brisbane Courier, 1872, Parliamentary Paper. Inspector of Distilleries’ Report, 2 July, p.3). Enough to keep many families in rum for Christmas and New Year celebrations!
Unfortunately, the plantation didn’t last that long and following the closure of the plantation, in 1891 mill equipment was placed up for sale and removal. The fate of the machinery is unknown, though a small boiler, possibly one used in the mill or distillery, survives on-site today.
So, when you’re enjoying a rum and coke this season – raise a glass to George Raff – founder of Moray Fields. If you’re keen to learn more about the heritage of our Moray Fields district visit our dedicated interactive heritage site, http://morayfield.org/. The site contains historical information including images, stories and accounts from local oral historians.
Back to the 21st Century and I’d like to introduce our final Display Village builder profile for 2016, Metricon Homes. Metricon has a proud 40 year history of creating innovative, world class homes in Australia and the team is committed to designing homes which offer sophisticated features, open plan spaces and the ultimate in indoor/outdoor living for the Australian family. With Metricon you can truly love where you live. Metricon has four designs available to view at the Display Village North Harbour, The Fortitude 32, The Phoenix 38, The Vantage 45 and The Chelsea 33. To find out more about Metricon at North Harbour click here.
Before I finish off, a reminder that the North Harbour Sales Office will be closed for Christmas from 5pm Wednesday December 21st to 10am, Tuesday January 3rd.
This Blog will return on January 8th 2017 with some tips and tricks for keeping those New Year Resolutions. Please also make a note to “save the date” for Saturday January 14th – we’ll be giving out free ice-cream in the Display Village from 10am-3pm. Next year will be packed with special events so keep an eye on our facebook page.
We wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and look forward to seeing you in 2017!
North Harbour Sales Office & Display Village (with 35 show homes) will be open seven days a week, 10am-5pm (excluding public holidays) from January 3rd, 2017. For more information regarding available Home and Land packages for sale at North Harbour or to make an appointment to see the beautiful Metricon Display Homes call Aidan on 5433 1111, email firstname.lastname@example.org.