If you’ve ever driven down the Mount Lindesay Highway west service road, you might have noticed a small grove of mango trees located across from the water tower south of Park Ridge State High School.
The trees, estimated to be over 120 years old, were once a part of a larger mango grove at the Cordingley Estate.
In 1895, a man named Joseph Cordingley purchased block 24V in Park Ridge. According to Howells (2006), before coming to Park Ridge Joseph previously worked as a farrier making horseshoes in Bradford, England. Joseph and his wife Ann moved to Brisbane on the 28th November 1882 with their four-year old son, John William, and their one-year-old son Frank. They had three more children between 1884 and 1889 named George, Fanny and Robert (Howells, 2006).
Joseph worked in Rocklea as a blacksmith before starting his own blacksmith business in 1895, the same year in which he purchased the Cordingley Estate. A one-acre section of the estate was subdivided in 1907 to become the site of the first church in Park Ridge. His son John Cordingley became the Kingston store keeper, blacksmith, and postman for Park Ridge, Logan Reserve, Chambers Flat, and Browns Plains (Howells, 2006) (Jackson, 2021).
Joseph Cordingley died on the 4th November 1921 at the age of 64. His wife Ann died in 1941. The highway overpass beside the Park Ridge Town Centre was named “Cordingley Bridge” to honour the work the family did in the community.
In the late 1930’s the Cordingley Estate was purchased by Alf and Jess McTaggart. A few local residents who still live in Park Ridge recall years of their youth spent amongst the mango trees with the McTaggart children; John, Shirley and Jeff. 78-year-old Barry Nason has lived in Park Ridge all his life. When he was a child, the mango trees were just as big as they are now.
“I used to play with their youngest son, Jeff McTaggart, and we spent lots of time as teenagers swinging around in the mango trees,” he said.
Mr Nason said the trees produced 4 mango varieties; a classic Dutch Shoe Mango, a Strawberry Mango, a Turpentine Mango, and a fourth variety he couldn’t recall.
“The grove that exists now, which consists of about 20 trees, is nowhere near the size it used to be,” he said.
“It was much bigger then … the main grove, which is still there now, is about half the size of what it was.”
About 40 trees once existed where the remaining grove remains. A larger grove of 60 trees ran along the front of the property where the Mount Lindsey Service Road lies today. Most of the trees were removed to develop the highway, and the McTaggart’s Queenslander home was also knocked down in the resumption.
Former Park Ridge resident Dawn Barrie, who was also friends with the McTaggart children, said the grove was a popular hangout spot during her youth.
“In those days, there were only 25 kids in the district,” she said.
“We all climbed every mango tree there was.”
Recently the site had been used for hooning and dumping rubbish. Since 2020, Park Ridge Bushcare Connect members have been working with the council to beautify the grounds, making it a usable place for people to enjoy amongst the wallabies. In October 2020, the first ever wedding was held at the mango grove.
Mr Nason said in his lifetime he hoped to see the 30-acre site turned into a parkland for the Logan West community to enjoy.