Backward Glance - Early Businesses on the Sunshine Coast - Part I
  • Wednesday 27 June 2018

As the Sunshine Coast’s business community reaches the end of the financial year and looks forward to the next, we take a look back at some of the businesses that serviced our early communities. 

When gold was discovered in Gympie in 1867, Cobb and Co. were the first company to run a coach business from Brisbane to Gympie, starting in 1868.

The trip took two days to complete and was about 180km. It cost 3 pounds 10 shillings, approximately $7, which was a lot of money at the time.

This was an alternative to taking the journey from Brisbane via sea, as rail was not available until the 1890s.

The first train arrived in February 1890 and as a result of the North Coast Railway, the Landsborough business township and others close to Gympie Road changed significantly.

To attract more trade to the Mellum Club Hotel, owned by Landsborough storekeeper Henry Dyer, a change of site was needed.

It was moved intact on skids over a two-week period from Gympie Road to Cribb Street, Landsborough in 1915.

Many shops and other services in Landsborough gradually moved east towards the new railway line and away from Gympie Road, the first road between Brisbane and Gympie.

The police inspector asked for the town name to be changed from Mellum Creek to Landsborough after the noted explorer William Landsborough.

Cribb Street was named after J. G. Cribb who sub-divided and sold land for housing east of the Landsborough railway line.

When a capsized small cargo vessel “Reliance” sank off Moffat Heads, throwing three men into the water, Henry Dyer at the Mellum Club Hotel helped them make their way to Landsborough.

Mr Wilson, at Tooway Lake, saw the bedraggled men clad only in trousers and singlets. He thought they were escaped convicts so he refused to assist them.

They walked to Landsborough through the bush. Henry Dyer gave them food, their train fares to Brisbane and cash for a horse cab to their homes.

The isolated area of Tooway Lake had the first established guest house, “Sea Glint”, run by the Wilsons. 

Over the years “Sea Glint” welcomed the Governor, Lord Lamington McIlwraith who spent his summer holidays there and had a telephone line established at the property.

In 1912, Maleny’s Andrew McLean was employed as a draper by John Tytherleigh at his Maleny store.

Mr McLean rode on horseback with pack saddle horses to the region’s farms, taking sizes and orders to cater for the district’s clothing needs.

In 1914, he married Frances Wiley and they built their home, “Fassifern”, in Cedar Street, Maleny.

Andrew continued working for Tytherleighs but branched out into his own business in 1916.

He and wife Frances bought Vetter’s Maleny bakery in 1916 and added a top storey which became their home above the business.

When the local farmers visited town there was nowhere for them to have a cup of tea so Frances McLean established McLeans Café and Bakery. It became a successful business catering for the community and visitors.

An efficient new refrigeration system was installed which enabled the café to offer chilled foods, including ice-creams, soft drinks, milkshakes, small goods, fruit and vegetables.

The bakery offered a wide variety of baked goods as well as wedding and birthday cakes.

By the Maroochydore waterfront, Wallace Morrish constructed new premises at the corner of Beach Parade and Alexandra Parade in 1930 after his original café, built during 1922, was destroyed by fire on April 8, 1929.

The business traded as the Ocean Beach Cafe and subsequently operated as Chuck Wagon takeaway, advertising fish 'n' chips, burgers and refreshments.

Ocean View Flats were available for rent on the top floor, but the café building was demolished in 1994 to make way for apartments.

Businesses were established to cater for tourists planning holidays to the Near North Coast.

Posters advertising travel and scenery promoted the “must visit” holiday destinations.

The Montville-Maleny region was branded as the Blue Mountains of Queensland.

Brochures promoted guest houses and accommodation available for the early tourism market, including the hinterland and beach areas. 

William Henry Rosser built the Mapleton Hotel facing Obi Obi Road in 1909 and it officially opened on January 5, 1910 with Arthur Johnson as the first licensee.

Rosser had selected land in the Mapleton area in 1895 and diversified his activities. 

In 1900, he took over the mail receiving office and built several shops, he also opened a new sawmill in 1909.

The Ocean View Hotel became a popular tourist destination until the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Over the years, the hotel has had numerous owners and licensees, and has undergone various renovations.

It was renamed the Mapleton Hotel Motel in 1979 and more recently it has been known as the Mapleton Tavern.

The tavern is a popular place to enjoy a meal and take in the beautiful view over the Sunshine Coast.

By the Coolum waterfront, Somers store was located on the site of Coolum's earliest store, the Maroochy Co-op.

The Co-op opened in December 1922, the store was originally a single storey building and over the years it had many different owners.

Lloyd and Maud Somers took over the store in 1962 when it was a cafe and news agency.

The Somers store sold groceries and fruit with friendly old fashioned service.

As the demand grew, they expanded the business to include vegetables, drapery, gifts, sports and beach gear departments and on August 12, 1974 they officially opened a six unit shopping complex next to their corner store.

During the 1930s, L J Ward's Bakery was located at 28 Cribb Street in Landsborough.

“L J Ward Baker” was painted on the side of the delivery cart, which was pulled by the baker’s horse, providing fresh bread and cakes to local households.

Bakers at the premises over the years included Albert Miers and Dick Orrell during the 1920s, L J Ward during the 1930s and W Hunt in 1940.

The bakery originally had an ant bed lined oven, which was later lined with fire bricks.

In 1991, the bakery building housed a firm of solicitors.

Look out for Part II of our story of early Sunshine Coast businesses next week.

Thanks to Sunshine Coast Council’s Heritage Library Officers for the words and Picture Sunshine Coast for the images.

Image Captions 

Hero: Ward's bread delivery cart outside the bakery in Cribb Street, Landsborough, ca 1930

Image 1: Cribb Street, Landsborough, ca 1916

Image 2: Mellum Club Hotel, Cribb Street, Landsborough, 1917

Image 3: Mellum Club Hotel on Old Gympie Road, Landsborough, ca 1910

Image 4: Holiday makers make their way up a sandy path after enjoying swimming and fishing at Tooway Lake, ca 1947 

Image 5: Mapleton Town Band playing in front of the Ocean View Hotel, Mapleton, 1910

Image 6: Gympie train at Landsborough Railway Station, 1908. The first train arrived at Mellum Creek on the 1st February 1890 when of railway line from Caboolture was officially opened. In 1891 Mellum Creek town changed its name to Landsborough in honour of the well-known explorer, William Landsborough.

Image 7: Group of Maleny residents gathered at the counter of John Tytherleigh's store, Maple Street, Maleny, 1938. The Maleny Universal Providers store was Mr Tytherleigh’s third store; he had previously started a business in Landsborough in 1893, opened a branch store in Woombye in 1899 and later establish a store in Caloundra.

Image 8: Ocean Beach Cafe, Maroochydore, 1924. The two storey building was constructed for Wallace Alexander Morrish between late 1922 and 1923. It was destroyed by fire on 8 April 1929 and in 1930 Wallace built a new cafe, facing Beach Parade, immediately behind the site of the original building.

Image 9:  McLean's Cafe and Bakery, Maleny, ca 1925. Pictured in front of store
(l to r): A.M. McLean and Ted Hankinson. Dodge car owned by F. Dunlop in foreground, Maleny School of Arts on left.