To the aborigines Balmoral was part of the area they called ‘Tugulawa’, which meant ‘heart’- probably a reference to the heart shaped piece of land which constitutes Bulimba and Balmoral. Aborigines camped at the end of Apollo Road.
Mrs. Daniels recalled a large Aboriginal camp in the area now known as Hawthorne Park (History of the Bulimba Electorate 1959, p17).
Ollie Crouch, the son of George Crouch, who had settled in Bulimba in 1865, remembers: ‘there used to be a camp down Brisbane Street. One-eyed Jacky was the Chieftain’ (Turner-Jones, 1990, p.11). Corroborees were held at the site of Cairncross graving dock in Morningside.
Balmoral is Gaelic for ‘beautiful residence’ or ‘majestic castle’ and is the name of one of the Queen’s castles in Scotland. It has been said that it was John Watson, whose career varied from builder to State Member, who gave the area the name Balmoral, after the town of his birth in Scotland.
In 1888 the Bulimba Divisional Board was broken down into several bodies and the Balmoral Divisional Board was created. The first chairman of the area was Councilor Edward Griffith. In 1901 the Local Authorities Act changed this to the Balmoral Shire. Balmoral remained as the name of the shire, but not a suburb, until 1927, when trams came to Bulimba. An unknown official objected to the fact that trams going in both directions along Queen Street should both display the destination ‘Bulimba’ (although one was really going to the Bulimba Ferry), and the destination name was changed to Balmoral. In the 1920s there were proposals to amalgamate the areas of Bulimba, Balmoral and Morningside, under the name Balmoral, but nothing came of it.
The pioneers came to Balmoral for farming. Small crops, cotton and bananas were grown, and later sugar was cultivated. Until the construction of the bridge over Norman Creek in 1856, the only way to get to Balmoral was by ferry across the river, or by travelling from Kangaroo Point to Stone’s Corner where it was possible to cross Norman Creek, and then to go along Bennetts Road to the cemetery and out to Balmoral. This trip could take a whole day and this isolation slowed development in the area.