George Chester, the ‘Banana Case Baron’

Italian workers carrying bunches of bananas to conveyor on Mr G. Chester’s plantation,Upper Commera 1954. P54487

Upper Coomera is located in the Gold Coast region and was first explored in 1827 by Captain Patrick Logan. It was initial a prominent area for its farming of sugar and maize and timber-getting for red ceder. However, by the 1950’s half of the agriculturalists were dairy farmers and there were also a few banana and fruit farmers[i]. One of these Banana farmers was George Chester, also known as the ‘Banana Case Baron’. He claimed to be the largest single banana producer in the Commonwealth, growing up to 35 tons per week. He also owned a sawmill in Pimpanan, where he would manufacture the banana cases and use the surplus timber to build new homes, largely in the suburb of Mt. Gravatt. He would become the first Brisbane’s sub-divider and home building[ii].Many of his workers were Italian migrants, who lived in rent free homes and arracks that he built for them[iii].


[i]https://www.adfas.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Upper20Coomera.pdf

[ii]http://indigojackson.tripod.com/webonmediacontents/Mr%20Edward%20(%20Ted%20)%20Chester%20of%20Queensland..pdf

 https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/49713306