The History of Bumstead House

The History of Bumstead House

The Bumstead family were among the earliest residents to establish themselves in the Park Ridge area. At almost 100 years old, Bumstead House at 57 Bumstead Road is one of the oldest remaining houses in Crestmead.

Chris Bumstead, 60, spoke with Park Ridge News about his family’s history as prominent early figures in Park Ridge and the surrounding suburbs.

Chris’s grandparents, George and Dorothy, moved to Australia from England with their parents when they were children. George Edward Bumstead arrived in 1903 at the age of three, and Dorothy Letisha Hurst arrived in 1906 also aged three. Dorothy’s parents settled in Park Ridge, and George’s parents settled in Brisbane.

In the early 1930’s, Mr and Mrs George and Dorothy Bumstead moved into a house on the corner of Bumstead Road and Chambers Flat road. Their property sat close to the to the RAAF A-12 airstrip which was developed during World War II in 1942.

Park Ridge Airstrip Original 2

Their home was destroyed by a freak tornado in 1935. The tin structure that was originally designed to be the barn became their house, which they relocated to the top of the hill.

Between 1935 and 1960, Dorothy and George relocated two cottages and placed them at the front of the tin house to accommodate their growing family.

A second house was brought to the property in 1968; a three-bedroom single-story Queenslander home originally built between 1920-1930. 

George used to buy and demolish houses to sell for firewood. In 1968 he purchased the Queenslander from Cleveland Street in Stones Corner and planned to demolish it, but Dorothy liked it too much to destroy it.

“He bought it out as a new house for my grandmother,” Chris said.

“It had no electricity and no water; they didn’t get electricity until 1971.”

They relocated the house to their property on Bumstead Road east of the original tin house. The Queenslander was elevated on piers due to the unstable soil.

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Beehives on the Bumstead property

The house originally had a wood stove, and they had to install tanks for water. Aside from the verandahs and cladding added later, the house remains original inside.

“The original weatherboards are underneath, so it could be taken back to what it originally was,” Chris said.

George did everything he could to make money to support Dorothy and their 11 children. In addition to selling firewood, he grew and trimmed trees on his property to make telephone poles. On the property they kept dairy cows, pigs, and chickens, and they sold eggs to the American army camp at Camp Cable Road during WWII. They also grew pumpkins and potatoes.

Chris said it used to be a quiet area and the land was mostly scrub.

“Originally, Bumstead Road was the track up to the house,” he said.

“There was nothing really in between the house and Chambers Flat Road.”

The dirt track went no further than Schmidt’s Creek in Bumstead Park, until George extended it by building a rickety timber bridge some time after 1935.

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Portrait of Dorothy and George Bumstead

George and Dorothy’s closest major shopping centre was at Stones Corner in Brisbane until Kingston and Park Ridge developments began. Many of Chris’s uncles worked at the Kingston Butter Factory. His aunt and uncle owned a block of land near the Kingston railway overpass.

The Bumstead property in Crestmead was subdivided by George and Dorothy between 1965-1967.

The three hilltop blocks were owned by the Bumstead family. Around 1967, Chris’s uncle Peter purchased the original property and tin house off George and Dorothy, and his uncle George bought the next block up. His father Tom purchased a seven-acre block across the road in the early 1960s.

Peter sold his block in the late 1980s, and the original tin Bumstead house was demolished around 2000 by the new land owners.

“When they sold it off, they said ‘we’re going to protect Bumstead house,’ but they let it be pulled down,” he said. 

The second Bumstead House remains on the property. Tom, now 83, bought the Queenslander home out of his father’s estate in the early 1990s and moved back into the home. Chris lived at the second Bumstead House between 1995 and 2008.

Some of the streets in Crestmead were named after the Bumstead family, including James Street after Chris’s great grandfather, Rachel Street after his aunty, and Hurst Street after Dorothy’s family. 

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