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Davies Family of Glan-Y-Mor


Davies family from Bulimba set up a Boarding-House on Bribie in 1917.

Robert John Davies, known as RJ, immigrated in the early 1880s from Wales. He married Bridget Scandlan in Brisbane and they set up home and ran a business at Bulimba where they resided for some 27 years. Elizabeth born 1887, Bob 1889, Twins, Lily & Rose in 1891 and Mary-Helen 1894.

RJ’s business was a ‘Cash Store’ located at the Five-Ways at Bulimba. RJ also serviced the area by horse and cart, taking all types of goods to people’s homes in his ‘immaculate’ wagonette. The family later bought a larger property on the corner of Birkalla and Oxford Streets, Bulimba and opened a fruit and grocery store which stayed in the family well into the 1960s.

RJ was also employed by the Harbours and Rivers Department to attend to the navigation beacons down at Colmslie. Every afternoon he would carry his canister of kerosene to fill the lamps on the beacons. He had a small dinghy to service the beacons out in the river.

In 1916 RJ and daughter Elizabeth, who was the Bulimba postmistress, bought two blocks of land at Bongaree from John Scott Johnston, the captain of the SS Koopa, who also lived at Bulimba. There was a house on the block which they let as furnished. By 1917 RJ, Bridget and daughter Rose moved to Bongaree and the house became a boarding-house called Glan-Y-Mor. 

By 1922 Bob (a blacksmith) and Lily joined the family from Bulimba, leaving newly married Elizabeth and Mary-Helen behind. Mary-Helen and her husband, Malcolm McDonald, took over running R.J.’s store.

With additional family now living on Bribie they decided to lease the Tug Company’s Dining Room and Kiosk building, adjacent to the Jetty. RJ looked after the store, Bob and Lily prepared fish and oyster lunches in the Dining Room while Bridget and Rose looked after the Boarding-House guests at the renovated Glan-Y-Mor. Bob, like his father in Bulimba, had a cart which he took around the campers every morning selling milk, eggs, soap etc.

RJ and Bob were keen photographers and sold their photographs as postcards from the Store and entered them into competitions in the Brisbane newspapers. Bob loved the bush and took people on fauna and wild-flower walks around the island. RJ, an enthusiastic gardener trained the Bribie cypress pine at Glan-Y-Mor into various shapes which became a tourist attraction called the “Novelty Gardens” with Bridget and Rose offering morning and afternoon teas within the grounds.

The Davies family were active in their small community involving themselves in fund raising for both the Anglican and Methodist churches, Masonic & Oddfellow Lodges and other community activities.

R.J. died in 1932 and was buried at the Balmoral cemetery where he was joined by Bridget in 1940. Bob and the twins, Rose and Lily, never married and after Bob died in 1951 the twins moved back to Bulimba in 1953 to live with their sister Mary Helen at Bulimba. 

Lily and Rose returned to Bribie in October 1963 as guests of honour at the Bridge opening ceremony. The twins, the last of their line, died within 3 months of each other in early 1970 and are buried at the Balmoral Cemetery near their parents and siblings.

Written by Lynne Hooper from information sourced from the BIHS Database and public domain.

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