Tarragindi Tasserone: The Man Behind The Suburb’s Name

Did you know that Tarragindi was named after a person? Who is he and why was the suburb named after him? Here are the answers to those questions, plus a short look-back on Tarragindi’s life.

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The area was once called Sandy Creeks, taken after a creek that has its source in Toohey Forest to the south and flows through the major part of the suburb.

Samuel Grimes, who was believed to be the founding father of the area, built a house there and called it ‘Tarragindi,’ from the name of Tarragindi Tassarone, who helped clear timber from his property.

According to the Queensland’s Department of Natural Resources and Mines, Grimes seemingly asked Tarragindi what they should call the property and he suggested calling it Tarragindi, which means ‘camp on the hill.’

Samuel was one of the children of William and Mary Grimes who emigrated to Brisbane from Ashby-de-la-Zouch in Leicestershire, England in 1849.

Samuel Grimes and family (Photo credit: State Library of Queensland)

The Grimes were among the emigrants selected by John Dunmore Lang to colonise the recently-opened Moreton Bay settlement and sailed on the Chasely, one of Lang’s chartered ships.

The family became one of the most prominent political families in Tarragindi and were central figures in the history of South Brisbane.

Tarragindi Tassarone, on the other hand, was originally from the Loyalty Islands but he was kidnapped from there in the late 19th century, escaped from his plantation, and was taken in by Alfred Foote who found him sitting on the roadside. He worked for the Foote family in Ipswich and later became their much-loved member.

Tarragindi, also known as Tarra to his loved ones, never fully commanded the English language, but he made himself understood by expressing himself through quaint sayings and ‘peculiar gestures.’

Tarragindi (in the back row, third from the end) with the Foote family (Photo credit: State Library of Queensland)

For a time, Tassarone would help clear lands and one of his previous employers was Grimes, who was building his house in the area in the 1890s.

Tarra was said to be impressed that the Grimes family named their homestead after him. The news soon spread and some locals would call the property, Tarragindi Hill. 

Tarra’s headstone in the Ipswich cemetery  (Photo credit: State Library of Queensland)

Tarra lived with the Foote family until he passed away at the age of 63. He died on 13 January 1913 at the Ipswich Hospital after months of trying to recover from a severe injury. He was buried at the Ipswich cemetery with a headstone that reads ‘In Memory of Tarra.’

The entire area was officially called Tarragindi in 1931, almost two decades after Tarra’s passing.