The Bryan family memories of Binna Burra

Written by Binna Burra

March 17, 2022

Two early shareholders in Queensland Holiday Resorts (Binna Burra Lodge) Source:

Holidaying at “Binna Burra” – 1946
By Bob Bryan AM [1]

At the end of the War, my father WH Bryan MC was second in charge to Professor HC Richards in the Geology Department at the University of Queensland; and both were keen Field Naturalists as well as leading educators of young geologists.  So, it was no surprise that both became close friends with Arthur Groom who was running “Binna Burra” at the time; and even less of a surprise that my father organised a week’s holiday at Binna Burra for the first post-War holiday for the Bryans.

The party consisted of my Mum Myee, my Pop Wal, my teenage sister Margaret and the sub-teen author of this note, Bob.  My two older brothers Bill and Harrison had flown the coop after their stints in the Air Force and Army respectively.

And we were heading towards Binna Burra via Canungra in our grand old Humber Snipe; sadly, not what it had been, having spent the previous five years up on blocks as part of my father’s campaign to save on petrol. 

When put to the test we realised that the Humber had an engine overheating problem, that saw us stuck on one of the steep hills, heading towards Beechmont.  But Pop and I came up with a short-term fix with me leaning over the mudguard and feeding petrol into the carburettor; Pop’s contribution was to get up the hill as fast as possible!  And of course, for a twelve-year-old, what better way to start a holiday!

In those days vehicular access to Binna Burra stopped at “The Dump” where the car was parked for the duration of the holiday.  

We then transferred our luggage into a basket that was attached to a flying fox; and after an exchange of signals, the luggage was hauled up to the Resort per favour of a lovely old Clydesdale called Trump.  Trump’s job was to wind up the cable onto a wheel; if Trump flagged in his circular journey; it never showed.  For the four of us, it was Shanks’s Pony the half mile or so to the Resort.

The centre of activities at Binna Burra was the big Reception area, and the feature after-hours sport was table tennis – at which Arthur Groom excelled.  The Bryans had played at bit at home, and we reckoned that our and Margaret was pretty good.  The feature match one night was Arthur Groom using a frying pan instead of a table tennis paddle, beating a very frustrated sister of mine!

And I remember going on one long walk with Pop and Arthur Groom heading towards O’Reilly’s.  The men insisted on an early start, and I can recall listening to the breakfast gong reverberating across the valley.

The only other thing that I remember is that on departure, Margaret and I elected to get back to “The Dump” by scrambling down the super steep slope underneath the flying fox, our parents walked along the regular path that eventually was widened to a one lane road of sorts.  And I can report that the Humber behaved itself going home – down hill most of the way.

Sadly, I am the only Bryan of the group still standing, but we all came away from that break the better for it; but as I recall my sister was never too keen on the story of being beaten at ping pong by an opponent playing with a frying pan!

A little additional history
Steve Noakes 2022

Source: Stubbs, Brett and Specht, Raymond (2005) Lamington National Park and Binna Burra Mountain Lodge, Queensland: Partners in conserving rainforest. In book: A Forest Conscienceness (pp.707-716) Publisher: Millpress, Rotterdam. Editors: M. Calver, H. Bigler-Cole, G. Bolton, J. Dargavel, A. Gaynor, P. Horwitz, J. Mills, G. Wardell-Johnson. [2].

In early 1930, environmental pioneers Romeo Lahey (President) and Arthur Groom (Secretary) met at a small gathering at Barker’s Bookstore in Brisbane convened to discuss forming an organisation to do more for the conservation of Queensland’s natural areas. Subsequently, nearly one hundred people turned up at the Lord Mayor of Brisbane’s Reception Room at City Hall on 15 April 1930 when Lahey and Groom were part of the leadership group that founded the new National Parks Association of Queensland Inc.

Three years later, in 1933, Lahey and Groom led the formation of Binna Burra Lodge (the original company being called Queensland Holiday Resorts) with many of the first customers in the decade to follow coming from field visits by members of the NPAQ and the University of Queensland.

The April 1930 meeting to consider the formation of NPAQ was chaired by Henry C. Richards (1884-1947), Foundation Professor of Geology, University of Queensland and UQ Deputy Chancellor (1944-46) – also a friend and supporter of Romeo Lahey in the 1930’s commencement of Binna Burra. 

Among their distinguished colleagues were the then Queensland Governor Sir John Goodwin as Patron, Archbishop James Duhig (the Archbishop of Brisbane for 48 years from 1917 until his death in 1965); Professor E. J. Goddard (a remarkable scientist with the Goddard Biological Sciences building fronting the Great Court of the University of Queensland named after him); George H. Barker (started Barker’s Book Store with his father 1907 and active leadership roles with the Royal Australasian Ornithologists’ Union, Australian Booksellers’ Association, Queensland Naturalists’ Club and the Royal Australasian Ornithologists’ Union ); Government botanist Cyril White; the Conservator of Forests Dr E.O. (Ted) Marks (who for many years also served on the Board of Binna Burra Lodge); Queensland Museum Director Dr Hebert Longman; W.H. Bryan MC – the first student to be awarded by UQ a Doctor of Science degree he served as President of the Royal Society of Queensland and as the second Professor of the UQ Department of Geology (1948); and UQ botanist Dr. Desmond Herbert who served terms as president of the Queensland Naturalist’s Club, the Royal Society of Queensland, the Horticultural Society of Queensland, the Orchid Society of Queensland and the QLD branch of the Australian Institute of Agricultural Science.

Dr Robert (Bob) Bryan

Photo credit: The Courier Mail

As part of the ongoing business recovery process after the devastating September 2019 bushfires in 2021/2022 the Board of Binna Burra Lodge decided to expand the remaining room capacity with a new concept – Tiny Wild Houses (TWH).

To help fund the TWH, from 01 April 2022, Bob Bryan was one of the very supporting shareholders who extended a loan of $100,000 @ 6 percent interest to be repaid over six years.

Binna Burra remains sincerely appreciative of Bob’s generosity and all the other shareholders who were able to assist with similar loans.

Links – about Walter Bryan and his son, Bob.


Bob Bryan AM, a geologist who worked extensively in outback Queensland and Western Australia early in his career, has had a long term involvement in the property and mine development in Australia and South East Asia. In 1983 Bob founded Pan Australian Mining Ltd and, as Managing Director, oversaw the development of a major gold mine at Mr Leyshon, near Charters Towers. He was also Chairman of Highlands Pacific, a mineral explorer in Papua New Guinea. However his biggest success was a co-founder and Managing Director of Queensland Gas Company in 2000, which was sold to the BG group eight years later for $5.6 billion.
Sources: and Bob Bryan.


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