Horses played an important role in the early days of the Sunshine Coast area as a means of transport and to make it possible to move produce and work the land. Early settlers used horses harnessed to coaches, wagons, sulkies and carts to travel, work and socialise.
Working horses pulled ploughs on farming land, carted water, carried provisions and delivered the mail.
Before cars took to the road some felt a need for speed in town areas and it was thought that they were endangering the lives of others.
The Towns Police Act dealt with this unsociable behaviour termed ‘Furious Riding’. The Caloundra Lighthouse keeper’s daughter, then aged about 15, was charged with ‘Furious Riding’ in the early 1900s.
An overland coach route from Brisbane to the Gympie goldfields started in 1868 and carried passengers, goods and mail until December, 1879.
Most of the route they used is now known as Old Gympie Road. Much of the early track was on reasonably high ground where it avoided most areas of flooding and boggy ground which caused major problems for early transportation.
Cobb’s Camp, now known as Woombye, was an overnight stopping place for Cobb and Co coaches.
Nambour was on the main coach route north. After leaving Cobb’s Camp going towards Yandina the track passed along the Nambour Connection Road, Lamington Terrace, Currie Street and then into Coronation Avenue where the coaches passed over Petrie Creek via a bridge.
Pack horses were used by early Landsborough shopkeeper John Tytherleigh to gain access to the Blackall Range where he sold goods to timber getters and early settlers. He camped out for days as he visited the timber camps and settlers homes.
From the outset of settlement, owners of working horses relied on them in the demanding undeveloped countryside such as the Blackall Range.
Nambour’s James Higginson, who was a baker, pastry cook and confectioner, began his business delivering his goods by horse and cart within a 10 kilometre radius of Nambour.
By 1903, he advertised “hot tea, coffee and cocoa always ready” at his shop, the Nambour Refreshment Rooms. Cakes were his speciality. He also catered for picnic parties.
Some lucky children had ponies to ride to school but many had to walk the many miles along lonely bush tracks to gain an education.
Pony paddocks were provided at most schools to allow the ponies to graze nearby during school hours.
Travelling horse shows, such as Lance Skuthorpe’s, were instrumental in the formation of the modern day rodeo in Australia.
Peter Stanley was a famed Indigenous horseman and buck jump rider who toured extensively with Lance Skulthorpe’s horse show.
He was regarded as Australia’s best horseman during the late 1920s and later worked for Harold Grigor, of Conondale, after he had retired from competing on the buck jumping circuit.