When a dour Scottish preacher decided to set up a place of worship for 600 scattered parishioners east of Brisbane town in 1851, little did the Rev Thomas Mowbray realise that he was sowing the seeds of a divinely-defined suburb.
On his death in 1867, the 33.6 hectare tract of land on which the small kirk sat was parceled up into 355 square metre lots and sold off as residential blocks to create the ready-made suburb of East Brisbane.
The preacher’s name lives on in the riverside Mowbray Park and in Mowbray Terrace. Mowbray Park, which hugs the south bank of the Humbug Reach of the Brisbane River, includes playgrounds and picnic facilities.
The open space park with stunning views over the river is studded with old eucalypts from which Aborigines collected native bee honey in the early 19th century when they still gathered regularly in the area to hunt kangaroos and wallabies and to trade fish.