Chermside has been very fortunate in that many of its citizens and settlers have been caring and considerate people. One of the earliest to settle here was John Patterson and his family.
Edgar Huxtable surveyed the Chermside/Aspley area in 1864 and the first land sales were held within two years. John Patterson bought several lots of land between Gympie and Webster Roads, in addition to land near the present site of Woolworths. He was living in the Downfall Creek district by 1875 when this address first appeared on the electoral roll. Thomas Hamilton later described the land at this time as "wild bush with good timber" so John would have been very busy clearing land and later described himself as a wood getter.
By the time John and his wife Janet arrived at Downfall Creek they already had three children - William George born 2 October 1870, Maria Jane born 17 January 1872 and Margaret Gray born 18 November 1873. Four more daughters were born at Downfall Creek - Alice on 4 March 1876, Minnie Agnes on 3 November 1878 (her twin sister died) and Susan Emily on 30 March 1882.
The family stayed at Downfall Creek until 1884 and John took a keen interest in local activities. There was no school in the area so he started a night school in the house which was also used for Sunday church services. Children would have attended classes after finishing their daily farm work. With his friend, Andrew Hamilton, he was instrumental in the establishment of the Methodist Church in the area. Two of his daughters, Margaret and Alice, attended Downfall Creek Sabbath School in 1880 along with children of other early settlers. Some of their classmates were Louisa and George Conradi, Lucy and Joseph Webster, G.Herman, Henry Wallen and John Barker.
Margaret and Alice also went to the nearest school which at that time, was at Zillman Waterholes.
In 1884, the family left Downfall Creek and soon after, moved to Sandgate where John's occupation was listed as van proprietor.
John died, aged 58, at Sandgate on 20 February 1890 and the next day was buried in the Bald Hills Cemetery. His wife, Janet, had died twelve days previously, so it was a sad and difficult time for the family.
We all are the beneficiaries of pioneers like John Patterson who believed in the potential of this district. As the population has grown, more schools have been built, amenities have increased beyond his wildest imagination and the little congregation that he served has long since outgrown his original building. His confidence in settling so far from Brisbane has been justified.