Sign marks Porter heritage

By Sonia Isaacs

MALENY community advocates have succeeded to have signage recognising Thomas Porter Creek installed nearly a decade after the initial application.

Located on the Maleny Community Precinct, the previously unnamed creek was officially recognised in 2014, but remained without signage until earlier this year, when the efforts of local community historians prompted Sunshine Coast Council to rectify the oversight.

Thomas Porter Creek runs almost entirely on the former 160-acre dairy farm, ‘Wongabel’ which was owned by the Porter Family from 1916 until 2006 when it was sold to Caloundra City Council.

Today, much of that land makes up a large portion of the Maleny Community Precinct, popular with locals and visitors alike for its wetlands, walking trails, golf course and heritage venues.

Thomas’s grandson Stephen still lives on a small portion of the original dairy site which has seen four generations live on the property, and said he was very happy when he discovered by chance earlier this year that the signage had finally been installed.

“I’d heard a whisper that the sign had been put up by Council, so I went for a walk and checked it out. I felt very happy to see it up as it had certainly been a long time coming!” Mr Porter laughed.

The application to name the creek had been originally supported by The Friends of Pattemore House and the Maleny Historical Society back in 2013.

Gail Denver, President of The Friends of Pattemore House said naming this previously unnamed creek was a wonderful way to acknowledge Thomas Porter who was heavily involved in the districts’ development, cement his place in Maleny’s local history and was a way to record his role in the changed community use of his former property today. She said it seemed the actual signage installation had fallen through the cracks over a number of years which prompted members of the historical society to approach Council to rectify the situation.

“Realising that both state and local government signage departments seemed to move at glacial pace, we approached local Councillor, Winston Johnston for help to actually get the sign put in place,” Ms Denver said. 

Councillor Johnston said he thought it was great that older families who had contributed to local history were able to be recognised in this way. He said that the creek was basically a tributary that ran through the dairy property and while many people may walk past it and not be aware that it formed part of a creek, it was a nice way to recognise the district’s early families involved in the dairy industry, who also played an important role in local community life.

The legacy of a Maleny farmer

THOMAS Porter was born in Milton, NSW on July 7, 1874 and died in Maleny on April 14, 1946.

He married Esther Higgins in 1895 and they had 11 children together.

Thomas was the third born of 13 children of John and Mary Porter of Milton.

He arrived in Maleny in 1913 with his family and younger brother Charles who he had formed a partnership with.

Together they leased, then purchased, many farms in the Maleny region.

Thomas Porter served his apprenticeship as a printer at Milton before taking up farming and then moving to Maleny.

In his younger days he was a prominent figure in sports and athletics and was a first-class sprinter, a middle distant runner, and played football for his district.

He was a Director of the Maleny Dairy Co-operative, President of the Maleny School Committee and Treasurer of the parents and citizens Association.

“Wongabel” is the name of the property where Thomas Porter Creek is situated and was Thomas’ home farm.