Dolan’s of Tallebudgera

The Dolan family has been associated with Tallebudgera since 1869. As one of the pioneering families of the area, it is fair to say that we are very proud of our own unique history and connection, with this rich, diverse and beautiful district. Whilst most family members live outside of Tallebudgera today, we certainly acknowledge the area as ‘home’ and as part of our ‘make-up’ of who we are.

Nestled inland today behind Palm Beach and Elanora on the Gold Coast, Tallebudgera in its early history (late 1800’s), was a major stopping point for travellers and the famous Cobb & Co Coach on route from Brisbane to Murwillumbah. With two hotels (‘Tallebudgera Hotel’ and ‘Rose & Crown’), Post Office, General Store, Blacksmiths Shop, Hall, Butcher, Churches (Catholic & Presbyterian), Police Station and School operating (not necessarily all open at the same time), Tallebudgera was a thriving small community made up of predominantly Irish Catholic& Protestant citizens. The surrounding land was notable for its timber and richness for grazing cattle.

One aspect of Tallebudgera’s history, we as a family can claim as being significant, was that the first application for land (formally known as Dungogie Station), was sort by William Dolan in 1869. It was his cousin James Dolan (my Great Grandfather) who arrived shortly after, that the rest of this story diverts and generates greater substance for our family today.

James Dolan was born in Glebe, Kings County (now County Offaly), Ireland in 1851, the son of John & Mary Dolan who were farmers. He was about 15 years old when he came to Australia in 1866 to join his cousin William at Gerringong, in the Illawarra district. Shortly after William moved north by boat, James and his brother Kyran followed to Tallebudgera.

James Dolan married Annie Dixon and lived in the home called ‘Belmont’ from 1871 (see picture in ‘Photos’ link). It was here where James and Annie raised six children; Mary, John, Kyran, Edward, Tom & Francis. The youngest child Francis (my Grandfather), was born in 1901 and lived there literally, for the duration of his life.

Francis (Frank) Dolan married Margaret Wright (1925) and together had five children; Jean, Kevin, Vince, Peter & Gerard. Tragically, Margaret died soon after the birth of Gerard in 1934. This of course, brought together all relatives in this time of sadness, and in turn, they gave or offered significant help to Frank’s situation.

Five years later, Frank married Annie Ellen Nolan (Margaret’s cousin) in 1938 who was from Warwick. Together they expanded the family with four more children; Patrick, Maree, Terence & Carmel. With nine children now in an extended family, several things were obvious, their love, faith in God and support for each other through these difficult times, allowed for a unique and special family unit to bond tightly together.

With six boys, Frank continued to work the Belmont farm with little income. At one stage, he and his brother Edward opened a butcher shop to service the Tallebudgera & Currumbin Valley communities. Certain things always remained constant with Frank, his family on Belmont, sending the kids to Tallebudgera State School or providing opportunities for them and attending mass every Sunday. Frank Dolan died in 1965.

The family farm (Belmont) was run by two of the brothers, Pat and Terence, for several years after their father’s death. Older brother Pat, eventually moved to 53 acres (Ashgrove) in the heart of Tallebudgera (present day Tallebudgera Golf Course), and Terence continued dairying until selling in 1975. Frank’s wife Annie moved to Miami, before eventually moving to Stephens Street, Burleigh Heads, where she later died (1985).

Pat Dolan (my father) continued farming in Tallebudgera and married Lynne Smith (1969) from Sydney. Together they adopted Shaun & Jane. Pat tried various farming techniques such as poultry, fresian stud breeding and calf raring. He was a well known local who saw many changes in the district. Today, the ‘Man on the Bike’ (Penny Farthing) shops (opposite the school) is seen as a landmark. Pat actually moved the original bike to its present location many years ago (1973) for Bob Rogers family (Sydney Radio Announcer), which became a landmark for the then ‘Market Place’.

Pat sold the last Dolan farm in Tallebudgera in 1988, to the Coplick family (now Tallebudgera Golf Course). Pat & Lynne never left Tallebudgera, however, he did purchase a dairy farm at Beaudesert in 1989 (travelled daily) and was worked until bad drought & the deregulation of the milk industry began in the early 1990’s. Pat died in 2000 and Lynne just recently in 2004. Both were active members of the Tallebudgera community.

Today, my sister Jane & I still live in Tallebudgera and we both have young families. I married Julie Cronk (1995) from Tweed Heads, and we have three children; Laura, Chloe & Matthew. Jane married Guillaume Greffe (1999) from Brisbane and also have three children; Isabelle, Cheyenne & Pierce.

Our two families are extremely proud of the Dolan family history in Tallebudgera. I hope this information can be seen as helpful for our wide spread relatives, interested locals and history buffs for future reference.

(Please e-mail me if specific information needs to be corrected)

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