Get To Know The Lahey Family Who Built A Successful Sawmill In Corinda

Lahey family
The Lahey family (Photo credit: Brisbane John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland)

The Lahey family is among the early settlers in Queensland. They are best known for establishing successful farming and sawmilling businesses across the South East Queensland region, including a sawmill in Corinda. Find out more about the Lahey family legacy here.

Read: Corinda Heritage House Up for Extension

David Lahey

Lahey family
David Lahey (Photo credit: Brisbane John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland)

The Laheys are originally from Ireland who moved to Australia. David, the head of the family, established the sawmill in 1910 at 25 Lahey Close, Sherwood.

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David Lahey was born in 1858 in County Westmeath, Ireland to Francis and Alicia Lahey. He and his parents, along with 10 siblings, arrived in Australia in 1862. They first settled in Salisbury before relocating to Pimpama, where they owned an arrowroot plantation.

He married Jane Jemima, who was from Maldon in Victoria. They had 12 children, but one of the children died shortly after birth.

Vida and Romeo Lahey

Lahey family
Romeo Lahey (left) with writer Arthur Groom, c 1938 (Photo credit: State Library of Queensland)

Among David’s children, Vida and Romeo were those who became prominent in their respective fields. Vida was a well-known artist and teacher whilst Romeo was a national parks advocate who founded the National Parks Association of Queensland.

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Vida’s work was first exhibited at the Queensland Art Society, Brisbane in 1912, launching her career as an artist.

Lahey family
Vida Lahey, ca. 1924 (Photo credit: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland.

Vida owned a heritage-listed home called Vida and Jayne’s Lahey’s House. It was designed by Romeo Lahey and built from 1920 to 1946. It is also known as Wonga Wallen.

Vida and Jayne Lahey’s House at St Lucia (Photo credit: CC0/ Shiftchange/Wikimedia Commons)

David and Jane once lived at the heritage-listed house before Vida moved it to its present block in Sir Fred Schonell Drive, St Lucia.

Lahey’s Corinda Sawmill

Lahey’s Corinda Sawmill is a heritage-listed former sawmill at 25 Lahey Close, Sherwood.

It was located between the railway line and Oxley Creek. Members of the Lahey family helped clear out the land where the sawmill was built. Its location was said to be ideal because its proximity to the water makes it easy to receive and dispatch timber.

It operated as Brisbane Timbers Ltd. Projects and provided Brisbane with high quality timber. The family-owned business was also involved in the construction of many of the city’s trams.

Lahey’s Corinda Sawmill (Photo credit:

The mill flourished for many years, until the 1920s when its prosperity slowly came to an end. The sawmill operated until the 1950s, when it was sold to Carricks.

Carricks managed to operate the mill, but only for a short period of time. They also expanded the business by making furniture. However, the furniture factory was damaged by floods in 1974. In the 1980s, it resumed as Elite Furniture. 

Read: Cliveden Avenue Reserve, A ‘Secret Forest’ In Corinda

In 2007, a warehouse on the 7.9 hectare site was gutted by fire. It was acquired by Brisbane City Council in 2009. The site, where the mill once stood, is now the location of the new Sherwood Bus Depot.

Published 13-January-2023