Some of the story of Margaret Anderson

On the health centre in Kalbar there is a memorial plaque for Margaret Anderson.

She was nee McDonald, married Alexander Balbi whose grave/headstone is at Fassifern Reserve near Kalbar. They had a hotel on the main road until Alexander’s death.  (He was originally from Malta.) There is a bush cemetery on the site of their hotel half way up Spicer’s Peak Road.
After Balbi’s death she married Anderson, hence the name at her death. She had no children but her brother George McDonald lived in the area and he married and had a few children.
She left all her estate (practically nothing, a Biblical “widow’s mite”) to build a health facility in Kalbar because she had seen so many women and children die due to lack of health care.  It was nowhere near enough of course but it was not lost and decades later it was put towards the health centre on which the plaque is pictured.

She is covered in detail in the book JCH Gill “Spicer’s Peak Road: a new way to the Downs” published 1981 by State Library.

The JCH Gill book reference is the correct book.  It is a good book but no chapters or any other divisions – just one long text from start to end.  He has lots of good info in there if you can only find it.  p. 58 he says Margaret married JJ Anderson at Ipswich on 20 April 1875. 

Gill  p. 32  - J Bartley met Jubb at McDonald’s hotel in Ipswich in “Opals and Agates” p. 118-119

George McDonald (son of James McDonald and Margaret McBain) married Alice Phelan (dau of William Phelan and Maria Quinlan) on 9 Oct 1866 at St Stephens in Brisbane.  It is presumed he was brother of Margaret as he was with them in the 1860’s and took over their inn after Balbi’s death.

Balbi Inn – Qld Times 21 July 1864 – ad for Balbi’s inn.  The Bush Inn was at Fassifern.  Then Balbi later built his new hotel The Halfway House at Clumber at the foot of the range – see Gill’s book.

Another interesting book for that area (Kalbar) is Herb Krause’s books “Out of the Brigalows” and the school history book.  You’ll see Krause names in your cemeteries.  According to Herb Krause’s own stories, Herb was a polio victim as a child and his father was the local saddler.  He used to carry young Herb into the shop and sit him up in a heavy horse collar to support him and the old men would come in to yarn with his father.  And he knew Margaret Balbi and heard her stories too of the Spicer’s Gap road and the early pubs.  He wrote that Margaret sailed from Scotland with two brothers in 1852.

Herb wrote a couple of stories in the “Fassifern Guardian”.  Angela Collyer photocopied about 100 stories mainly by another local Boonah historian named TW Hardcastle and put them into a home-bound book and named it “Centenary Stories” because they were published at the time of Qld’s centenary.  Angela Collyer put a copy of this “book” in the Uni of Qld library – since they had allowed me to use their microfilm to copy the stories.

Another local (Harrisville) historian named Harry Pugsley also wrote a story about Balbi in the Sunday Mail Colour magazine in the 1960’s – short and general.

The Balbi funeral notice was in QT on 20/4/1867 “Balbi, Alexander on 19 April at his residence “The Halfway Home Hotel,” Clumber age 44.

Funeral Friends of the late Alexander Balbi are informed that his funeral will move from his residence at Clumber, Sunday morning next.”

“Balbi Monument” story in “Fassifern Guardian” on 27 Oct 1965

Moreton Bay Courier 18 Oct 1861 “Mr Balbi of the Bush Inn, Fassifern succeeded on Oct 18th in capturing the blackfellow George  who had violently assaulted Mrs Ryan near Ipswich.  A reward of £25 had been offered by the govt for George’s apprehension.”

More info in MBC 22 Oct 1861 and 23 oct 1861  This mentions George McDonald as being with Balbi then.

Death Cert - Margaret Anderson died 15 April 1916 at Kalbar.  Parents James McDonald and Christina McBain.  Married alexander Balbi in Ipswich and JJ anderson at Ipswich.

Another good book is “Fassifern Stories” which the Shire Council put out for the Bicentennary in 1988.  Lots of nice photos.

Her brother was George McDonald (though his mother’s Christian name is slightly different – Margaret) and he was a publican in early Ipswich and then took over the Balbi’s old inn at Fassifern and then had the Peak Mountain (Peak Crossing) hotel in the 1870’s and then had a hotel at Boonah in the 1880’s.