17 January, 2022
100 Years At Echo-Dell
New Year’s Day 2022 saw family and friends gather at “Echo-Dell” on Saal Road, Saddletop to celebrate 100 years of ownership by the Hoey family.
Originally part of Headington Hill Station, the 333 acre parcel of land was purchased by Robert “Bob” Hoey in 1922 from its previous owner, Robert Curtis, for £6 per acre through agents Donovan & Son of Allora. He viewed the property on 1 January 1922 and soon after secured ownership with a £100 deposit. The sale was finalised in May of that year.
Bob, an immigrant from Northern Ireland had been living and working in the area since 1910, spending a little time away working in the canefields of North Queensland. He married local girl Ethel Telford, and they, with their first 2 children moved into “Echo-Dell”. They went on to have 7 more children, most of whom married and lived relatively locally from Allora to Ascot Factory. The oldest, Jean travelled a bit more than most having married a teacher, but eventually settled in Toowoomba.
Starting out in farming can be a difficult venture to undertake and Bob and his family were always grateful of the help and support of neighbours, the Newports, at “Bundah” the adjoining farm. Jack Newport and family had been there 3 years prior to Hoeys taking up “Echo-Dell”. The association has been a long one continuing through the generations with Logan acknowledging the friendship and support he got from Norm and Jean Newport. Newports and Hoeys continue to be neighbours with Colin and Linda now living next door.
Bob and Ethel retired from the farm in 1960 and moved to Drayton Street, Allora where they lived out the rest of their lives. From 1960 “Echo-Dell” has been owned and run by Logan, the youngest of the family. He married Jan Neale of Allora and they raised 3 children on the farm. Logan and Jan still live at “Echo-Dell”. Youngest son Stuart continues to work the farm, a sign that it will continue under Hoey ownership for some more years yet.
2022 sees 100 years of same family ownership and the 1st January saw friends, neighbours and family, 10 of whom represented the 5th generation of Bob and Ethel’s union, gather to celebrate the occasion. A celebratory cake was cut by Ivy (Hoey) Burge and Logan, the two youngest and remaining children of Bob and Ethel. A painting of the “Echo-Dell” house in former days by Di (Hoey) Mears, a granddaughter, was presented by her and a beautiful bunch of flowers was sent from Tracy Breckon of the Canadian branch of the Hoey family. Trevor Collard of Pilton added to the day’s entertainment providing rides in his T Model Ford, a car similar to the first car on “Echo-Dell”.
The much-anticipated walk up Saddle Top appeared as if it might be a casualty of the weather, but as the rain cleared and the sun came out, a small intrepid group braved the damp and the long grass and made it to the marker at the top of the mountain.
The Hoey family would like to thank everyone for coming and making it a very enjoyable and memorable day.
(Contributed by Robyn Draper, daughter of Logan & Jan Hoey)