Ekibin, Before It Became Part Of Tarragindi

T.B. Stephens' fellmongery at Ekibin, ca 1871 (Photo credit: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland)

Did you know that before it became part of Tarragindi, Ekibin was a suburban locality with a rich indigenous history? Here’s a look back at the establishment of this locality, which was home to an aboriginal settlement in the early 19th century. 

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Name Origin

The Queensland Department of Natural Resources and Mines said the name ‘Ekibin’ was a modern name derived from the aboriginal word ‘Yekkabin’ which pertains to aquatic plants with edible roots which grew in the creek.

It’s believed that the aquatic plants being referred to are the Telmatoblechnum indicum or the swamp water fern which is often seen growing on sandy soils in swampy areas.

These edible roots, which are dried, roasted, and pounded, were part of the diet of the Aboriginals in Moreton Bay.

Referring to the good supply of edible roots there, the name ‘Ekibin’ has also been associated with “good eating.”

The name Ekibin has been used for the watercourse with headwaters from Toohey Forest Park, Holland Park West and Greenslopes. The swampy watercourse (formerly called Burnett Swamp) is now one of the tributaries of Norman Creek, alongside Sandy Creek.

Early Settlers

One of the early pioneers and land owners in the Ekibin district was Thomas Blackett Stephens, a wealthy businessman and newspaper proprietor who also served as an alderman and mayor of Brisbane Municipal Council.

Thomas Blacket Stephens (Photo credit: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland)

Stephens established a fellmongery business in 1862 and later on a farming business in the area.

Outside Cumbooqueepa, the former home of Thomas Blackett Stephens (Photo credit: State Library of Queensland)

His home, called Cumbooqueepa, was considered as one of the grandest homes in the South Brisbane area until it was demolished around the 1890s, to make way for the South Coast railway line.

The Baynes family, known for establishing a buthcering business in South Brisbane was also among the early settlers in the area. The location of their business was commonly referred to as Baynes’ Paddock, on the Norman Creek.

Ekibin became part of Tarragindi

A number of unofficial homeless camps were built around Brisbane as a result of the housing shortage during the Great Depression of the 1930s. As with many countries in the world, Australia experienced years of deflation, low profits, poverty, and plunging incomes during that period.

Queensland Housing Commission streetscape in Ekibin, August 1950 (Photo credit: Queensland State Archives, Digital Image ID 1515)

In Ekibin, there were as many as 600 families living at one time. But it eventually decreased to 148 families by 1954, after many of the huts were destroyed and the people relocated into housing commission homes. The camps were bulldozed shortly after some of the remaining residents were relocated.

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Until the early 1970s, Ekibin was identified as a census district that extended from the Boggo Road Gaol to the Tarragindi reservoir.