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Colinton War Memorial

  • 650029
  • cnr D'Aguilar Highway and Emu Creek Road, Colinton


State Heritage
Register status
Date entered
15 July 2016
Monuments and Memorials: Memorial/Monument - war
7.6 Maintaining order: Defending the country
Williams, Frank
Construction period
1917, Stone Honour Board War Memorial
Historical period
1914–1919 World War I


cnr D'Aguilar Highway and Emu Creek Road, Colinton
Somerset Regional Council
-26.930357, 152.322971


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Criterion AThe place is important in demonstrating the evolution or pattern of Queensland’s history.

The Colinton War Memorial, unveiled in 1917, is important in demonstrating Queensland's involvement in a major world event. World War I (WWI) memorials are a tribute from a particular community to those who served and those who died. They are an important feature of Queensland's towns and cities and are also important in demonstrating a common pattern of commemoration across Queensland and Australia.

The stone honour board at Colinton is the first WWI memorial monument known to be erected in Queensland.

Criterion DThe place is important in demonstrating the principal characteristics of a particular class of cultural places.

The Colinton War Memorial is a good example of a well-designed and finely crafted WWI memorial. Designed and built by monumental stone masons Frank Williams & Co., its decorative treatments include classical references typical of WWI memorials and symbolising honour (columns), death (urn) and mourning (wreath).

It is a rare and early example of a stone honour board in Queensland and a fine example of the work of the well-regarded Queensland firm of monumental masons, Frank Williams & Co.

Criterion EThe place is important because of its aesthetic significance.

Colinton War Memorial is of aesthetic significance for its high level of workmanship, materials and design.

Standing alone in a rural landscape without evidence of the community that created it, Colinton War Memorial evokes a sense of loss of both the soldiers it commemorates and their township.

Criterion GThe place has a strong or special association with a particular community or cultural group for social, cultural or spiritual reasons.

The Colinton War Memorial, funded by community subscription, has a strong and special association with the people of the upper Brisbane Valley. Commemorations at the Colinton War Memorial reflect the wider reverence felt for war memorials across Australia, as a focus of reflection and tribute.


The Colinton War Memorial (1917), located in road reserve on the southwestern corner of Emu Creek Road and the D’Aguilar Highway at Colinton in the upper Brisbane Valley, is a sandstone and marble memorial to the men of Colinton and district who served during World War I (WWI). This stone memorial board by well-known monumental masons F Williams and Co. is the earliest WWI memorial monument known to be erected in Queensland. It is important in demonstrating Queensland's involvement in a major world event and has a special association with the upper Brisbane Valley community.

The upper Brisbane Valley was settled by squatters in the 1840s and was initially used for depasturing sheep, but later for cattle. Colinton Run, taken up by the Balfour Brothers (John, Charles and Robert) in 1841, included the site of Colinton War Memorial.[1] The original Colinton Station was made up of six leases: Colinton East and West, Mt Stanley East, Mt Stanley West, Diaper and Altyre, comprising covered 336,000 acres (135,974 ha).[2]

Closer settlement in the Brisbane Valley began in the 1870s. Colinton Run was reduced when the resumption of 94,080 acres (38,083 ha) from Colinton East and West took place in 1876.[3] As a result of land clearance by the selectors in the upper Brisbane Valley, a timber industry flourished, with one of the first sawmills being established at Colinton in the 1870s.[4]

Sufficient settlement of the Brisbane Valley had taken place by 1877 for inspection of the land for a rail route from Walloon, via Esk and Nanango, to Gympie. The first section of the Brisbane Valley Branch Line, to Lowood, opened on 16 June 1884 while the second section, to Esk, opened on 9 August 1886; where the terminus remained for 17 years. During the 1880s closer settlement of the Brisbane Valley intensified with more land resumed from pastoral stations and settled.[5] Further reduction of Colinton Station took place in 1904 when the Colinton Estate was sold as 145 farms ranging from 100-3648 acres (40-1476 ha) in size and suitable for dairying and agriculture.[6]

Dairy farming had commenced in the Brisbane Valley in the late 19th century, aided by the advancing Brisbane Valley Branch Rail line, which transported farm produce to dairy factories. The first of these was established at Lowood in 1890.[7]

As a result of closer settlement, the township of Colinton formed as a service town for its surrounding agricultural community. In the Queensland Post Office Directory of 1900, three people were listed as residents of Colinton.[8] In 1907 Colinton Provisional School opened nearby in Emu Creek Road, and T H Moore of nearby Colinton Station helped establish the Standard Dairy Company Limited condensery, when he presented the company with its factory site at Colinton.[9]

The Standard Dairy Company became a well-known condensed milk producer in Queensland early in the 20th century and played an important role in the settlement and progress of the Colinton district. It had opened a condensed milk factory at Wyreema on the Darling Downs before 1906.[10] Its second factory opened at Colinton on 15 February 1908, located on the north bank of Emu Creek beside the main road between Kilcoy and Blackbutt.[11] The company stated that ‘thousands of pounds have been invested in the building and plant [and the condensery was] one of the most complete, largest, and fully equipped in the Commonwealth… capable of treating 10,000 gallons of milk per day’.[12] The condensed milk factory made ‘Prairie’ milk from the district’s dairy produce.[13] From December 1909, nearby Nurinda railway station loaded goods to and from the factory.[14]

At the outbreak of WWI, Colinton was a growing township. In that year, 27 people were listed there for postal purposes, of which 22 were dairy farmers. The 1911 census for Colinton district had recorded a population of 213. The Standard Dairy Co. Ltd’s condensery in the township received the produce of about 44 dairy farmers and provided employment at the factory for at least 40 locals. Photographic evidence of Colinton from 1914 and 1915 shows: about a dozen houses; two stores; and a School of Arts (1911-12), which was located north of Emu Creek, opposite the condensery.[15]

Given its population of a little over 200, Colinton’s enlistment response was substantial. By January 1917, 44 Colinton men had successfully enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force (AIF).[16]

The plan to establish Colinton War Memorial to recognise their war service was initiated in May 1916. “[A] meeting was held to decide in what way to best place on record the excellent response the district has made to the call of the Empire, there having been 46 [sic] good men accepted for service from Colinton and the surrounding district. It has been practically decided to erect a marble slab, bearing the names of those who have volunteered”.[17] In August 1916 Joseph H Frisby, secretary of the Colinton Honour Board Committee, was granted permission by the Esk Shire Council to erect an honour board at the Colinton School of Arts, which was the social hub of the town and district, where meetings, dances, balls, and send-offs and memorials for soldiers were held.[18]

On 18 January 1917, the Colinton Honour Board [Colinton War Memorial] was unveiled by the local member of parliament, H P Somerset, MLA. The stone honour board was located directly in front of the Colinton School of Arts, facing north.[19]

Colinton War Memorial is the earliest WWI memorial of the monument type known to have been erected in Queensland.[20] At the time of its unveiling, the memorial was ‘believed to be the first of its kind in the State’. The stone honour board was described as follows: ‘[t]he base, pillars and crown are of sandstone, the centre being of white marble, on which are inscribed the names of the volunteers.’[21] ‘It is between 10 and 11 feet in height [3-3.3 m], the slab in the centre being marble, and the rest sandstone. The cost was subscribed by the residents of Colinton (Queensland).’[22]

No state government other than Victoria’s made direct grants for local WWI memorials except for the building of halls, hospitals and schools which were eligible for public money whether or not they were memorials.[23] Fund-raising for local war memorials was thus a voluntary community effort, as was the case at Colinton.

The decision about whose names should appear on a war memorial varied across Australia. While some only listed the dead, many also listed those who returned from service. War memorial committees were also lobbied to consider including people who missed military service for various reasons.[24] In Colinton’s case, the memorial was created to honour all the men of their community who volunteered to serve, and they were affectionately called ‘Our Boys’ on the memorial.

WWI memorials took a variety of forms in Australia, including honour boards (from 1915), stone monuments (including obelisks, soldier statues, arches, crosses, columns, urns, or slabs – such as the one at Colinton), tree-lined memorial avenues, memorial parks, and utilitarian structures such as gates, halls and clocks. In Queensland the soldier statue was the most popular choice of monument, while the obelisk predominated in southern states.[25] Australia's first permanent WWI memorial to honour the men from a particular community was unveiled at Balmain, NSW on 23 April 1916.[26]

The Colinton War Memorial was designed and executed by Frank Williams, of F Williams and Co. monumental stone masons, of East & Limestone Streets, Ipswich. Frank Williams was a well-known and respected monumental mason whose firm operated from 1901 until 1945.[27] The firm was noted for ecclesastical marble work and supplied memorials throughout Queensland. It was responsible for about 15 war memorials in southeast Queensland and was also commissioned to create 179 headstones for the graves of WWI soldiers and sailors throughout Queensland.[28] Frank Williams’ reputation as a monumental mason was such that well-known sculptor Daphne Mayo learnt the art of carving from him in 1919, prior to travelling to London on Queensland’s first traveling art scholarship.[29]

Like all Australian communities, Colinton was affected by the impact of WWI. Of the 330,770 Australians who embarked for overseas service in WWI, 58,961 died and 170,909 were wounded, went missing or became prisoners of war. This meant that around 69% of embarked personnel became casualties - or 21% of eligible Australian males.[30] To date, no previous or subsequent war has had such an impact on Australia in terms of loss of life; almost every community in every Australian state lost young people. Even before the end of hostilities, memorials were being erected by Australian communities to honour local people who had served and/or died. These memorials were a spontaneous and highly visible means of honouring those who served and expressing national grief; substitute graves for the Australians whose bodies lay in battlefield cemeteries in Europe and the Middle East.

The Colinton War Memorial lists 43 men who enlisted from the district, although 44 had enlisted.[31] Of these, only 13 returned to Colinton or its adjacent districts at the end of WWI and in 1922 only five of these were still working in the district.[32]

Following WWI, enormous change occurred at Colinton. The Standard Dairy Company Limited announced in December 1919 that its Colinton condensery would be moved to Nerang.[33] However, in August 1920 it was reported as still operating at Colinton.[34] The move was completed by June the following year, when Nestle and Anglo-Swiss Condensed Milk Co. (Australia) Ltd was formed to acquire the Australasian business of Nestle and Anglo-Swiss Condensed Milk Company, as well as Bacchus Marsh Concentrated Milk Co. Pty Ltd, the Standard Dairy Co. Ltd (with factories at Wyreema, Wellcamp and Nerang) and Australian Milk Products Ltd.[35] The Nestle Company condensery at Toogoolawah took over the Colinton factory’s milk supply.[36]

The closing down of the Colinton condensery impacted upon the township.[37] In 1919-20 there were 37 residents listed for Colinton in the Queensland Post Office Directory.[38] Despite the continuation of dairying as an important industry in the Brisbane Valley, the 1933 census showed a decline in the Colinton district’s population to 181.[39]

The decline of dairy farming dates from the 1950s as factories closed and dairymen turned to cattle production.[40] After World War II dairy production in Queensland followed the national shift from cream, butter and cheese production to the supply of pasteurized bulk milk, made possible by improvements to rural roads and in road transportation.[41] Stricter regulations for the running of dairies, lower prices, the loss of the British market, and foreign imports also took their toll. Many farmers either switched to bulk milk production or left the dairy industry altogether.

By the 1950s there were only a few homes and businesses left at Colinton.[42] This decline was no doubt exacerbated by the re-alignment of the Brisbane Valley Highway (now D’Aguilar Highway) in the late 1950s further to the south of that part of the township lying southeast of Emu Creek.[43] By 1971 there were no houses left in the township, although a general store operated beside the re-aligned highway.[44]

Following the 1974 flood – which did not affect the Colinton War Memorial, but did result in upgrading of the adjacent highway – the Esk Shire Council relocated the war memorial from its site near Emu Creek to its current position in the road reserve at the corner of Emu Creek Road and the D’Aguilar Highway.[45]

Today the locality of Colinton has a service station on the southern side of the highway and the Colinton Memorial Park, where the Colinton War Memorial stands. The Colinton area and the neighbouring town of Moore have a combined population of about 315. Colinton War Memorial, although lacking a surrounding township, is the focus of occasional community commemorations and is recognised and visited by passing motorists travelling the adjacent D’Aguilar Highway. It has been the subject of artistic rendition by well-known photographer, Richard Stringer and artist, Lyn Felman.


The Colinton War Memorial is located within Colinton Memorial Park, a triangular shaped 0.3ha (approx.) area on the corner of D’Aguilar Highway (to the northeast) and Emu Creek Road (to the northwest), at Colinton, in the upper Brisbane Valley. The open park setting contains grassed areas and shade trees of various species, and is bounded to the south by paddocks. Set back from the intersection, the memorial is orientated east-west and faces north.

The memorial stands approximately three metres high and comprises a white marble panel framed by a carved sandstone base, columns and aedicule.

The moulded, stepped base is ‘I’-shaped in plan and has bevelled corners. The square columns are stop-chamfered and flank the marble panel, which is visible from two sides. The front of the panel reads “COLINTON HONOUR ROLL” and lists the names of 43 men from the district who served in WWI, in two columns (25 on the left and 18 on the right) roughly in the order they enlisted.

The decorative aedicule has a moulded cornice and is mirrored on the north and south faces. It comprises an arched pediment with the inscription “OUR BOYS” above a laurel wreath set within the tympanum, and a gabled ridge, which is capped with an edge roll and terminates with tracery infills above the columns. The aedicule is topped with an urn that has bevelled corners.

The modern concrete slab, flagpole, metal posts and chains surrounding the memorial are not of heritage significance.


[1] QHR602636 Harlin Rail Bridge; Ruth Kerr, Confidence and Tradition: A History of the Esk Shire, Council of the Shire of Esk, Esk, 1988, p. 5.
[2] Brisbane Valley Heritage Trails: Moore,, accessed 4 May 2016.
[3] ‘Queensland Parliament’, The Darling Downs Gazette and General Advertiser, 21 Oct 1876, p. 4.
[4] QHR602636 Harlin Rail Bridge.
[5] QHR602636 Harlin Rail Bridge.
[6] ‘The Colinton Estate’, The Queenslander, 27 Feb 1904, p. 25.
[7] ‘The Colinton Estate’, The Queenslander, 27 Feb 1904, p. 25’ QHR 60263 Harlin Rail Bridge; QHR602701 Linville War Memorial.
[8] Queensland Post Office Directory, (QPOD) 1900, country directory.
[9] M J Fox, History of Queensland: its people and industries: an historical and commercial review, descriptive and biographical facts, figures and illustrations : a epitome of progress, Vol. 1, States Publishing Company, Brisbane, 1919, p. 341; ‘Opening and closing dates of Queensland schools’,, accessed 27 Apr 16; The provisional school became a state school in 1909. See: E DeLacy, The Colinton Boys, Boolarong Press, 2015, p. 12.
[10] Darling Downs Gazette, 10 Mar 1906, p. 1.
[11] ‘New Factory Opened at Colinton’, The Queenslander, 22 Feb 1908, p. 40.
[12] ‘New Factory Opened at Colinton’, The Queenslander, 22 Feb 1908, p. 40.
[13] ‘Through the Stanley District’, Queensland Times, 21 May 1915, p. 3; Esk Divisional Board and Shire Council Minutes (ESKM), 18 Jul 1907, p. 2 cited by Ruth S Kerr, Confidence and Tradition: A History of the Esk Shire, Council of the Shire of Esk, Esk, 1988, p. 77; ‘New Factory Opened at Colinton’, The Queenslander, 22 Feb 1908, p. 40.; ‘Prairie Milk’, The Queenslander, 21 Aug 1909, p. 47; ‘Manufactures Week’, The Brisbane Courier, 26 May 1914, p. 5.
[14] Kerr, Confidence and Tradition, p. 108.
[15] Census figures prepared by the Office of Economic & Statistical Research, Queensland Treasury (Q150 Release) cited by DeLacy, The Colinton Boys, p. 7; QPOD 1914-15, country directory; ‘Contents’, The Week, 28 Aug 1914, p. 20; ‘Mrs Stapleton’s cash store in Colinton’, 1914, SLQ Image 166507; ‘View of Colinton, 1915’, JOL, Image 27023-0001-0001; ‘Staff at Colinton Condensery, 1918’, Esk & District Co-operative Society archive; ‘Our Harlin Letter’, Queensland Times, 25 Apr 1911, p. 8; DeLacy, The Colinton Boys, p. 111 puts the number of employees at the Standard Dairy Company Colinton factory at 55 men, boys and girls in 1911 and the factory receiving milk from 53 farms within a 10 miles radius.
[16] DeLacy, The Colinton Boys, p. 5.
[17] Queensland Times, 24 May 1916, p. 3 cited by DeLacy, The Colinton Boys, p. 13.
[18] ‘Esk Honour Board’, The Brisbane Courier, 30 Aug 1916, p. 9; DeLacy, The Colinton Boys, p. 8; Queensland Times, 22 Aug 1916, p. 3.
[19] Photograph, unveiling the Colinton monument, 1917 provided by the applicant; 1917 photograph of the Colinton War Memorial and School of Arts, provided by the applicant.
[20] Timber Honour Boards pre-date WWI memorial monuments. Two other war memorial monuments were recorded in The Queenslander in December 1917 as being unveiled that year: at East Brisbane, for which fund-raising was underway in May 1916; and at Toogoolawah, which was unveiled on 31 March 1917. See: ‘East Brisbane Carnival. Soldiers’ Memorial Fund’, The Brisbane Courier, 28 May 1917, p. 8; ‘Toogoolawah Soldiers’ Memorial, I, 31 Mar 1917, p. 9.
[21] ‘Esk Notes Unveiling of Colinton Honour Board’, Queensland Times, 25 Jan 1917, p. 6.
[22] Sydney Mail, 7 Feb 1917, p. 2.
[23] KS, Inglis, Sacred Places: War memorials in the Australian landscape. Miegunyah Press, Victoria, 1998, p. 134.
[24] see Inglis, Sacred Places: War memorials in the Australian landscape, pp.182-185 for discussion on naming decisions for war memorials.
[25] Inglis, Sacred Places: War memorials in the Australian landscape, p.161.
[26] Inglis, Sacred Places: War memorials in the Australian landscape, pp. 108-9.
[27] Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald and General Advertiser, 2 Mar 1901, p. 1; application, p. 6.
[28] Colinton, Toogoolawah, One Mile, West Ipswich & Western Suburbs, Ipswich (1917); Mount Alford (1918), Booval & Bundamba (1919), Boonah, Maroon and Oxley (1920), Esk and Toombul Shire, Nundah 91921), The Weeping Mother Memorial, Gatton (c1922), Warwick (1923-4), Ipswich Cemetery Cenotaph (1932); The Queenslander, 24 May 1924, p. 30 cited by the nominator.
[29] McKay and Allom, Lest We Forget: A Study of War Memorials, prepared for the RSL, Brisbane, 1985, p. 41.
[30] Casualties include those who died, were wounded, went missing or were captured. Casualty figures vary somewhat, depending on the source. If the numbers of those who suffered from sickness are included in casualty figures, the casualty rate rises to 96% of embarkations. Embarkation figure is from: Inglis, Sacred Places, p. 92. Figures for total eligible males, and died, wounded, missing, POW or sick are from <>, accessed 5 Aug 2013, cited by QHR602828 Woody Point Memorial Hall.
[31] Two brothers with the same initial were recorded as one entry. See: DeLacy, The Colinton Boys, p. 5.
[32] DeLacy, The Colinton Boys, p. 108.
[33] ‘Dairying matters’, Brisbane Courier, 24 Dec 1919, p. 9.
[34] ‘Standard Dairy Coy. Ltd’, The Queenslander, 7 Aug 1920, p. 34.
[35] ‘Investments’, The Central Queensland Herald, 2 Jan 1936, p. 47.
[36] ‘Dairying matters’, Brisbane Courier, 24 Dec 1919, p. 9; Kerr, Confidence and Tradition, p. 77.
[37] Kerr, Confidence and Tradition, p. 77.
[38] QPOD 1919-20, country directory.
[39] Census figures prepared by the Office of Economic & Statistical Research, Queensland Treasury (Q150 Release) cited by DeLacy, The Colinton Boys, p. 7.
[40] Kerr, Confidence and Tradition, pp. 80-1.
[41] Robert Longhurst, (comp. & ed.), Taming a Plateau: a history of the Beechmont district, Beechmont Centenary Association, Beechmont, Qld, 1992:152-3.
[42] DNRM, QAP163-122, aerial 1951.
[43] DNRM, QAP163-122, aerial, 1951; DNRM, 1957 survey plan CSH1398; DNRM, QAP1179-17, aerial 1961.
[44] DNRM, QAP2115-392, aerial 1971; DNRM, QAP3234-9620, aerial 1976; ‘Colinton General Store, Oct 1983, photographer Gary Rickard, image 1668m, Bonzle, <>, accessed May 2016.
[45] Elizabeth DeLacy, Pers. Comm., 12 May 2016.

Image gallery


Location of Colinton War Memorial within Queensland
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
Last updated
20 January 2016
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