In 1875 Brisbane seed and produce merchant Robert Bulcock purchased approximately 112 hectares and built a house he called ‘The Homestead’. It was on a knoll, facing what became known as Bulcock Beach. This was Robert Bulcock's retreat from Brisbane and this land included the area which is now Caloundra Township.
In 1893, during one of his visits to the ‘Homestead’ at Caloundra, Robert Bulcock witnessed the beaching of the S.S. Dicky. As it was in an isolated area he invited Captain Beattie to be his guest while the Captain supervised the stripping of the vessel ‘Dicky’. In appreciation of the hospitality extended to him, Captain Beattie presented Robert Bulcock with a telescope.
Bulcock represented Enoggera in the Legislative Assembly from 1885-1888 and died on May 10, 1900 from peritonitis.
In 1916, some years after the death of his father, Robert Bulcock Jnr built his home in Queen Street, on the corner of Maltman Street near where the Queen Street water reservoir is situated. This area was closed off to others until the first subdivision along the waterfront of Dingle Avenue in August 1917.
The second subdivision known as Caloundra Beach Estates was in 1925 and it took in Arthur Street and behind Canberra Terrace towards Bingera Terrace. This included all the land from Caloundra Primary School, down to Pumicestone Passage and to the Golden Beach turnoff. The wildflower covered wallum country was burnt, cleared and developed at that time. Robert Bulcock Jnr again organised this Caloundra development. In December 1928 the developers of Robert Bulcock's land, advertised 207 seaside allotments for sale at Caloundra Beach Estate.
Robert Bulcock Jnr was a councillor for Landborough Shire Council. He represented Division 3 for the areas Caloundra, Mooloolah and parts of Landsborough district from 1917-1919. Some of the original street names in Caloundra such as Dingle, Gay, Bryce and others were named after early Landsborough Shire Councillors. ‘The Homestead’ owned by Bulcock’s father was situated on what is now Latona Avenue. Bulcock Street, the main street in Caloundra, is named after Robert Bulcock.
Bulcock Jnr’s subdivisions signalled the beginning of housing development and business growth in the seaside town of Caloundra. He had hoped to see a tramway come to Caloundra and actually advertised his allotments advising that the tramway would terminate at Hibiscus Park now Hibiscus Caravan Park. He was also instrumental in getting the first life saving patrol established at Kings Beach, Caloundra. It was the importance of beach safety for holiday makers and those visiting the seaside that motivated Bulcock Jnr to contact the secretary of the Royal Life Saving Society, Frank Venning, who was known as the father of life saving in Queensland. This resulted in a patrol being established between Christmas and New Year 1918 by Royal Life Savers. Robert Bulcock Jnr died in 1924.
Some stories don’t change much. In the early days people gathered for friendship and a cup of tea or spent their morning shopping in Bulcock Street, much as they do today. The joy of children swimming and diving at Bulcock Beach continues. Today Ithaca’s Royal Life Savers keep a watchful eye patrolling Bulcock Beach and Happy Valley. The diving boards at Bulcock Beach have gone, so has the Amusu Theatre and Comino’s, but these memories all play a part in who we are today and what makes the Sunshine Coast such a great place to live and visit.
Thanks for Sunshine Coast Council’s Heritage Library Officers and Picture Sunshine Coast for the images.
Hotel Caloundra in Bulcock Street, Caloundra, 1962.
Comino's Drapery, 26 Bulcock Street, Caloundra, ca 2000.
Bulcock Street, Caloundra, August 1987.
Children and adults lined up to use one of the two diving boards which were at Bulcock Beach, Caloundra.