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by Malcolm Qualtrough April 2009

See also the article on William's Family

See also the article on George Herdsfield

Reccommended reading is the 'HERDSFIELD EXCERPT' which contains the whole court case - from 'Viking, Villians and Vagabonds' by Eric Leslie Hansen, the excerpt is free and available for download at:

William and Elizabeth Qualtrough and their family lived and worked on Stanley Street for most of their adult lives.

William marriedElizabeth Matilda Wadein North Brisbane on 12 April 1851 when he was 27 years old. By 1853 William had begun what was to become a passion is seems - that of acquiring land, a real capitalist he was!!

William died "on the 31st August 1870, at his residence, Stanley Street, South Brisbane….. aged 46 years" He left his wife as a trustee of his estate.

Elizabeth's sister, Emma Rosetta WADE had married Georg Heirdsfield and lived in Brisabane with her six children. In 1886 George apparently owned land near the corner of Wickham and Brunswick Streets. He applied to have the land registered in the name of his brother-in-law William Qualtrough.

George, and Emma lived and raised their family lived on the land rent-free in a brick cottage. George told his children that the land belonged to him, and apparently kept the title in a tin box.

George Heirdsfield died at Dunwich in 1890. He was said to have had a drinking problem on and off. Dunwich Benevolent Asylum was established on the 13 May 1865 when inmates were first transferred to the Dunwich Quarantine Station from the Benevolent Ward attached to the Brisbane Hospital. The function of Dunwich Benevolent Asylum as defined by the Benevolent Asylum Wards Act of 1861 was to provide for poor people who because of age, accident, infirmity or otherwise were unable to care for themselves.

When George and Emma Heirdsfield had died, their daughter Lizzie continued to live in the house rent free, until Elizabeth bought her a property at Simon Street. After Emma's death, Lizzie's sister Lucy gave the tin box to her brother George (Junior).

It was claimed that (Mrs) Elizabeth Qualtrough, who had been made a trustee of William Qualtrough's estate now tried to get the box back from young George Heirdafield. She told him that she wanted to sell the property and divide the money between him and his five brothers and sisters.

It was claimed that Elizabeth finally got the deeds off George for 400 pounds and sold the property for 2200 pounds; promising the other children 350 pounds each. Young George died one month after his father.

Mrs Qualtrough now told Lucy that she had bought her sister Lizzie the house in Simon Street, off Leichardt St. She also offered to buy Lucy property at Lutwyche. Lucy and her husband William James Hendle (a butcher) subsequently agreed under protest to take this property, but the deeds were never handed over. A balance of 25 pound owing off the 350 pounds promised was eventually given to her as rent for the property.

Lucy then discovered that the land was owned by W H Qualtrough, Elizabeth's son Walter. Walter had now been appointed as a trustee of Wiliam's estate by Elizabeth.

Lucy, her brother William J Heirdsfield and her husband William James Hendle appeared in the Queensland Supreme Court in June 1899 as plaintiffs against Walter H Qualtrough , a plumber, and Elizabeth Matilda Qualtrough. They claimed that there was a 'trust' owing to them from the estate of William Qualtrough.

Lucy told the court that the reason that Mrs Qualtrough would not give them the title to the property at Lutwyche was that her father was drinking and probably would have lost it. The property was worth 2200 pound. William Qualtrough, before his death, stated that he believed he had done the right thing in providing for the children; and preventing George Heirdsfield (senior) from getting any off it.

George went in and out of Dunwich before his death, donations towards his upkeep were provided solely by his sons George (junior), and W J Heirdafield, a miner.

Mrs Qualtrough appeared as a witness and was able to prove that George (senior) had sold William Qualtrough the titles to the land. This enabled George to pay off his debts and money he owed to William.

The supreme court ruled against the plaintiffs, saying there was no trust proven; however they did rule in favour of Lucy that the house at Lutwyche was hers and she was entitled to the deeds of title.

The plaintiffs appealed the decision, but this was dismissed.


The Brisbane Courier - June, July and September 1899 - National Library of Australia

Trial Transcript - 20 June 1899

Trial Transcript - 21 June 1899

Trial Transcript - 22 June 1899

Trial Transcript - 23 June 1899

Trial Transcript - 29 June 1899

Trial Transcript - 18 July 1899

Trial Transcript - 06 Sept 1899

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