Uncover the History of Slab Hut Farm in Enoggera Reservoir

Enoggera Reservoir is home to a number of heritage-listed sites including its namesake, the Enogggera Dam and Slab Hut Farm.

Slab Hut Farm at Mt Nebo is historically significant for its association with the early opening of Mt Nebo to timber-getters and gold miners. The farm also played a vital role in the development of the area as a farming district in the late 19th century.

History of the Slab Hut Farm

Enoggera Reservoir from The Summit, Mount Coot-tha, Brisbane. Photo credit: Queensland State Archives, Digital Image ID 48/Wikimedia Commons

Although the structures in the farm date from the 1890s, the site has already been occupied since the 1870s.

George Powers Remfry, an English immigrant, selected 80 acres of Farmland at Mt Nebo in 1873. The land he acquired was Portion 844, Parish of Enoggera.

In 1875 Remfry also selected neighbouring Portion 863, which comprised 61.5 acres. Because of this, the land he owned totalled to 140 acres, mostly uncleared. He started building structures and clearing lands for cultivation in 1877.

Unfortunately, his property was declared insolvent in 1880 and Portion 844 was forfeited. However, he retained Portion 863 until 1890.

The McAfees

Slab Hut Farm (1991). Photo credit: Heritage Branch staff

Thomas McAfee of Samford leased Portion 844 from the mid-1890s and purchased Portion 863 in 1897.

The McAfees are the ones responsible for developing both portions as a dairy farm. It was also during their occupancy that the present buildings were constructed. The structures were erected by owner labour with the use of local hardwood and stone.

Supposedly, McAfee built the three-roomed slab house which served as the family’s first home in the 1890s.

The family built a second house which still functions as the main residence in 1910.

McAfee’s widow purchased Portion 844 in 1931. The McAfees maintained the property as a dairy farm until 1959.

McAfees lookout, Mt Nebo Road, Enoggera Reservoir. Photo credit: Google Street View

Running their farm for nearly six decades, the McAfees was a prominent family in the Mt Nebo community. In fact, the community named the lookout just opposite the present entrance to Slab Hut Farm after the family.

Slab Hut Farm’s Significance

Only a few comparable slab structures remain in the Brisbane area. Apart from the Slab Hut Farm, another popular slab house remaining on its original site was at Magnolia Farm at Sunnybank. Sadly, the house was destroyed by fire early in 1999.

Slab Hut Farm is a rare Brisbane survivor of the pioneer era. Moreover, the integrity and intactness of the remaining structures on site makes it even rarer as it provides a unique evidence of the workings of a late 19th century Queensland dairy farm.

The Slab Hut Farm was added to the  Queensland Heritage Register on 21 October 1992.