The History of Cresley (February 2010)
( Originally part of Jimbour and Wyobie)

"Cresley" is situated 13 kilometres from Jandowae and 34 kilometres along the Dalby-Jandowae road. The European history began in 1840 as sheep graziers seeking new pastures moved northwards to the Darling Downs. The first graziers came as squatters, who were led by the Leslie brothers. Henry Dennis, one of the squatters, was acting on behalf of Richard Scougall, a wealthy grazier from the Liverpool Plains in NSW. Dennis secured for Scougall, a 300,000 acres run in 1840. The name of the property was and still is `Jimbour'. By 1842 a flock of 11,000 sheep and a herd of 800 mixed cattle were established. In 1844, the lease for Jimbour was sold to Thomas Bell for the sum of £3200 as Scougall was in financial difficulties.

Jimbour was a huge run when first taken up. It extended from the Bunya mountains on the east to the Condamine River on the south west and from about where Jandowae now stands in the north to near where Dalby stands on the south. The woolshed was near the Condamine river about 2 miles from Macalister. There was a big lagoon behind it and the sheep were washed there before being shorn.

Each flock had to be counted regularly so the shepherds had to account for every sheep. For many years the place was unfenced and was operated under a system whereby two or three shepherds lived in a hut with the next similar hut about 4 miles away, and these men shepherded the flock of sheep under their charge. Being in twos or threes made them safer from the blacks. Known outstations were at Macalister, Broadmead, Cooranga and Malakoff and other places whose identity has been lost.

Cooranga outstation was located on part of present day `Cresley'. In 1842 Jimbour lost 79,000 of its 300,000 acres to create two small pastoral leases, Cumkillenbar and Cooranga. Cooranga's first lessee was the Sydney merchant Thomas Sutcliffe Mort, who sent his head clerk, Ewan Cameron, to stock and manage the property. Mort was a Mercantile Colossus of Sydney, a pioneer in developing the commercial infrastructure for wool, livestock and pastoral property auctions. In 1848 Cooranga consisted of 96,000 acres. Cooranga Station later reverted to Bell & Sons of Jimbour. Wyobie was purchased outright by James Tyson in 1877 when part of the Jimbour run was resumed for closer settlement. It was 48,710 acres and was managed by a Tyson nephew and used for the production of wool and fat lambs. The Bell family lost their fortune in the early 1880's. Joshua Thomas Bell was appointed Minister for Lands 1903 and 1907. He devised a well defined plan for the settlement of unoccupied lands in the Dalby district by designing a network of railway lines between 1908-1914 to Bell, Tara and Jandowae. In 1906, the Closer Settlement Act was passed and the government offered £2-2 shillings per acre which was refused. Finally 121,061 acres at £3-10 shillings per acre was accepted by the mortgagees of the Bell estate. 5839 acres land was retained adjacent to the homestead.

Much of the country reverted to wool production around the turn of the century and this coincided with the larger holdings being broken up.

The Ritter family purchased the present day Cresley and Deloraine area about 1907 and it would have been about this time that the Cresley woolshed and shearer's quarters would have been built. In the early years of grain growing the shearer's quarters were used to house the additional workers for the harvest.

In 1908, 153 blocks were opened up on the plain but by 1928 most cultivation had reverted to grassland. The land proved too dear for successful settlement and successful farming could not be carried out.

In the early thirties, wool faced a decline in prices and farming practices came back in favour. Mr. Ritter advertised for a share farmer and he chose Douglas Gall from Felton as the successful applicant in 1935. The story goes that he was selected because of his neat hand writing.

Douglas Gall purchased "Cresley" from Mrs Annie Ritter in 1944 for a price of £4,600 on the condition that Mrs Ritter could remain in the main house as long as she desired.

Douglas married Moya Gallen from Gunnedah in 1940 and they made their home at Cresley. Ian was born in 1947. In 1953, they were able to move into the main home.

Ian married Heather Payne in 1970 and they reared 7 children on the family farm. Today "Cresley" is run as a mixed farm with grain growing and cattle grazing. Ian is assisted by his sons Jonathan and Michael.

Jonathan married Lisa Meredith in 1998 and they have 2 children, Maggie and William. In the early fifties, box country was purchased from the Doxey family who had been dairy farmers.

In 1964, when Ian left school, 640 acres of the former "Cooranga" property was purchased from the Gilkinson family.

In 1996, an adjacent 1150 acres of creek and farming country was purchased by Jonathan. "Coorain" is the name of this property which was selected by J.T. Courtney in the early 1900's. The former Wyobie homestead was moved to this block after Jonathan married but sadly it was burnt down in October 2004. A new homestead has been built in its place.

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