Eleanora Bruce was born at Lambert, Stirling on the 8th of February 1741 to Sir Michael Bruce and Mary Agnew. Michael, Baronet Bruce of Stenhouse, claims a common ancestor with Robert the Bruce, King of Scotland from 1306 to 1329. Mary's father Andrew, Baronet Agnew of Wigtown, was also high-born.THE BRISBANE FAMILY
Eleanora married Thomas Brisbane of Brisbane House, Largs, Scotland in 1771. To quote historian Carol Liston:
'This was probably a love match as Eleanor, described as "a woman of strong temperament with a haughty spirit and temper", received no marriage settlement from her father, though her brothers provided generous support in later years.'
Eleanora Brisbane gave birth to Thomas Brisbane in 1773, a son who would become a well respected man of military service, science and colonial governance.
Eleanora's youngest Michael was born in 1777, following his uncle Michael Bruce to India. He worked in Bombay as a writer for the East India Company and died young in 1802.
Eleanora died on February 28th 1823 while her son Thomas governed New South Wales in Australia. Later that same year John Oxley would discover what is now known as the Brisbane River.
Eleanora is buried with her daughter Mary in St Mary's Churchyard, Bathwick, England. It is likely they lived together upon the death of Eleanora's husband in 1812. From 1819 at least their abode was 6 Sydney Place, Bath. It would appear Miss Mary Brisbane never married.
The abbreviated use of Eleanor can be seen throughout various books and documents when referring to Eleanora. However birth records and the gravestone state Eleanora so that is her proper name.
The family home, Brisbane House, was situated at Brisbane Glen near the township of Largs, Scotland. It was originally built and named Kelsoland Manor in the 14th century until cousins of the Kelso family purchased the estate in 1621. The cousins were named Brisbane.
By 1821 Sir Thomas Brisbane had achieved a distinguished military career and was highly regarded by Wellington. He and Sir Joseph Banks recommended Brisbane to succeed New South Wales Governor Macquarie. It was during his term as the 6th Governor that Brisbane sent John Oxley on a northern coastal expedition in 1823 to find a suitable penal colony site. That is when the Brisbane River was discovered and named so after Sir Thomas Brisbane. Years later the river surrounds would be established as the Brisbane settlement, a name preferable to "Edenglassie" which Chief Justice Francis Forbes had bestowed. Today this settlement is now Brisbane City through which the Brisbane River's beauty meanders majestically.