Dr Joseph Bancroft’s House at Deception Bay

Bancroft House Deception Bay Heritage

As well as running his medical practice, Dr Joseph Bancroft had a property on Enoggera Crook, which he named Kelvin Grove (after many hours spent In the Botanical Gardens at Kelvin Grove in Glasgow while waiting to depart for Australia).

Joseph Bancroft first purchased 60 hectares of land on Burpengary Creek in 1881 and by 1890 he owned over 1.500 hectares. Bancroft was a member of the Acclimatization Society (a forerunner of the CSIRO) and became an expert in agricultural diseases by conducting many experiments, such as trying to develop rust-resistant strains of wheat by testing more than 100 varieties. Rice was also trialed, being grown in the cleared tea tree swamps behind the current fisheries building. South Sea Islander laborers were employed to drain the swamps.

Bancrofts House Deception Bay

Bancroft also became an expert In livestock diseases, and even experimented in cultivating pearls and oyster culture. Two ponds were cut in the rock for these experiments. Joseph made many significant zoological, botanical and medical discoveries, including that a parasitic worm caused elephantiasis. He was the first in Australia to describe lockjaw (tetanus) and tick paralysis and he hypothesized the germ theory of disease eight years before Louis  Pasteur.

Larval form of the Queensland Scrub Tick discovered December 10th 1897
Larval form of the Queensland Scrub Tick discovered December 10th 1897

He was also interested in the medicinal effects of native plants. He studied the dubosia hipwood tree, from which compounds were extracted that are still used today for anesthetist and travel sickness medication.

Visit the Bancroft Memorial, located at the ocean end of Cliffdale Avenue to find out more about this remarkable man and his family.

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