1850-1899 on the Sunshine Coast

Moreton Central Sugar Mill under construction, Nambour, 1896 | Picture Sunshine Coast


Skyring brothers were granted pastoral leases in the Yandina area.


Richard Jones was the first European to explore Buderim, seeking suitable timber for sawmill at Moreton Bay.


New Colony of Queensland created.


The Unoccupied Crown Lands Occupation Act, 1860, was one of the first acts passed by the Queensland Parliament. It repealed Gipps's 1842 bunya proclamation, and it provided for squatters' and timber-getters' licences, so paving the way for Andrew Petrie's son Tom to carry out the first intensive exploration of part of the Lower Maroochy with a view to exploiting its timber resources.


Thomas Martin Tripcony and his wife Catherine select their land, Cowie Bank on the mainland side of the Passage, between Glass Mountain Creek and Hussey Creek. Thomas Tripcony was involved in the plentiful oyster trade of Moreton Bay.


Edmund Lander selected land on the 21 March after searching for Red Cedar. Travelling by boat up the Mooloolah River, he found the land and called it Mooloolah Plains.


Lander sold his land to John Westaway on 2 April, as Lander was more interested in timber than cattle. Westaway’s two sons, William and Richard decided to settle on their fathers unoccupied run, Meridan Plains. The Westaways were the first Europeans to live near Caloundra, about 10 kilometres inland, near the Caloundra Bruce Highway turnoff. The Westaway family still live and farm on the property today, though the selection is greatly reduced.


Caloundra becomes more widely known when on 6 April, thirteen men were marooned at Moffat Beach, after having been separated from their ship, the Queen of the Colonies. The castaways were returning from burying a Mrs Barnsfield, on Moreton Island, who had died at sea when they separated from the ship. The main party were rescued at Moffat Beach on 19 April and three others who had split from the party were found in a poor state on 22 April. The husband of the deceased woman was taken by sharks, when the men attempted to relaunch their gig and it overturned. These were the first known, though involuntary white residents of Caloundra. As a result of the tragic experiences of The Queen of the Colonies, Caloundra and its beautiful beaches and rocky headlands became a focal point in the Brisbane press at that time


Durundur settler Alexander Archer rowed from Brisbane up the Passage and back. He returned to Brisbane recounting descriptive stories of the beauty of the area. Archer wrote, ‘This place is called Calowndra. It would make a capital sea bathing place, as there are beautiful sites for houses and there is good garden soil, but it is too far from Brisbane to be much frequented for such purposes for many years to come.’

Low and Grigor set up a timber depot near the mouth of the Mooloolah River and opened the first store in the Maroochy District.


Sugar was first grown in the area by William Clark at Bli Bli.


Botanist William Stephen employed by the Queensland Government to collect botanical species is murdered behind the site now known as the Rustic Cabin near the corner of Steve Irwin Way and the Bruce Highway, Glenview. The perpetrator was an Aboriginal man known as Captain Piper. When Piper was brought to trial thirteen years later he was acquitted due to lack of evidence.


Gold is found at Gympie on 22 October. Near the coast there was no road to Gympie, apart from the occasional bush track made by the Aboriginals or timber getters. A rough track through Durundur Station, near present day Conondale was the only northern road. As soon as it became news men started to hump their swags north to these goldfields. The area north was a wild untamed country and diggers had trouble crossing the Pine, Caboolture and Mooloolah Rivers.


Gympie Road is under construction to assist cartage of stores to the goldfields and the use of working bullocks to get the goods to the miners. The government passes the Crown Alienation Act of1868, which opens up closer settlement between Gympie and Brisbane.

Cobb and Co coaches establish a regular service on the Brisbane – Gympie run which takes two full days travelling time. Cobb and Co Staging Post is set up at Glass House Mountains Bankfoot House owned by William and Mary Grigor.


Samuel Burgess erects a Temperance Hotel on Gympie Road, Mount Mellum or Landsborough as it is now called. A group of Quakers move to Charles Ballinger’s land holding near current day Little Mountain and start to grow and crush cane in a mill which they constructed, near the Mooloolah River. The mill was known as Friends Farm and was later abandoned due to flooding. Charles Ballinger was the first land owner proper in Caloundra, but as he never lived on the land and did not fulfil the selection conditions, the land was conveyed back to the Crown.

On 23 August 1871, Yandina (oldest surveyed township in Maroochy Shire) surveyed by Charles Warner (Government Surveyor). Known as Maroochie for many years, the name Yandina was taken from a nearby cattle run and was not generally accepted until the railway line was built. The area was originally known as Native Dog Flat.


Jane Dunlop and her family select land on the Blackall Range at Bald Knob on behalf of William Pettigrew. Robert Bulcock is issued a new deed for 277 acres of land in the Caloundra district previously owned by Charles Ballinger. Bulcock at the time State Member for Enoggera purchases the Caloundra land on 8 November.


John Simpson selects his property Bunya Aris, in the Peachester district, or Peach Trees as it was then known.


On 13 November, Isaac H. Burgess selects 790 acres on the Blackall Range near present day Maleny. Robert Bulcock builds a house overlooking the beach which now bears his name and calls it ‘The Homestead.’ The area was then known as Deep Water Point. Bulcock’s home is used by him as a retreat from the political world.


Joseph McCarthy selects land on the Blackall Range on 14 March.

Thomas Tripcony commissioned the first survey and beaconing of Pumicestone Passage by the crew of the Shadow in September of that year.


James Campbell and Sons build a sawmill at Coochin Creek, approximately 6.4 kilometres upstream from Pumicestone Passage. This place was called Campbellville, and supported a school, store and a cemetery. Campbellville’s primary purpose was to transport goods and timber to and from Brisbane from the rafting grounds at the junction of Mellum and Coochin Creeks which was located close by.


Thomas John Ballinger son of Charles selects land south of Lake Currimundi. Thomas builds a slab hut by the beach and was the first European resident in Caloundra. His land known as Ballinger’s Hill is now known as Battery Hill. Bulcock also builds an observation tower on his land due to the Russian scare. This land was located on the highest point in Caloundra next to the site of the present day light house in Canberra Terrace. The second resident in Caloundra was Samuel Leach, who owned land at the junction of Pumicetone Passage and Bell’s Creek, the southern extreme of Caloundra. Leach Park is named after him.

William Landsborough the explorer took up land in the area now known as Golden Beach and called his property Loch Lamerough. Mellum Creek changed its name to Landsborough to honour the well known explorer.


Ballinger’s Hill is fortified during the Russian Scare and named Battery Hill by officials unaware of the previous naming.

James C Moffat acquires the deed to 20 acres on Portion 13 on 18 August.


First public land sales in Caloundra take place on 9 April. Some of the purchasers at that sale were Edmund Lander, James Campbell, G. Campbell, John D. Campbell, A. McCallum, Captain J. Swain, Robert Cribb and others. Very few of these blocks were built on by these original owners. James C. Moffat, a chemist from Brisbane established a cottage on the headland which now bears his name – Moffat Headland.


Maria Landsborough second wife of William Landsborough plants fig trees by the Passage, one still surviving to this day.


Nathaniel Alder’s house in Shelly Beach is transformed into Caloundra’s first hotel.


William Landsborough dies at Loch Lamerough and is buried beside the Passage. A stone cairn marks the spot at Golden Beach near the shopping centre. His body was later interred at Toowong Cemetery. Licence for the Hotel Caloundra is issued on 28 January. The hotel was still open in the 1890’s but was not a success due to distance. I. J. Burgess, it is recorded that in 1886 he shipped a red cedar log to the Colonial and Indian Exhibition held in England. This log, halved and polished, is now housed in the London Museum.


Maleny town reserve proclaimed on 3 March. Caloundra’s first guesthouse Sea Glint opened on a ridge overlooking present day Moffat Beach. During this time Sir Thomas McIllwraith Premier of Queensland was a regular visitor to Sea Glint on the shore of Tooway Lake or Wilson’s Lake as it was then known. He was so charmed with the place he had a telephone line connected from Caboolture to the guesthouse so he could keep in touch with his colleagues.


The 19.68 mile (approximately 32 kilometres) railway line from Caboolture to Mellum Creek (Landsborough) was officially opened on 1 February. Access to the blossoming North Coast towns became far easier and was an important milestone in the development of the area. T. Lahey commenced milling timber on the site of the present day Maleny’s IGA Store.

5 July - Maroochy Divisional Board was constituted, formed from the northern section of the Caboolture Divisional Board and the southern section of Widgee Divisional Board, with an area of 488 square miles and its headquarters at Nambour.

13 September - First election of Councillors - 3 for 3 Divisions.

4 October - First meeting of Maroochy Divisional Board.

First Church built in Nambour - St Joseph’s Catholic Church - on its present site in Currie Street. Original replaced in 1926 and again in 1951.


Brisbane-Gympie rail connection was completed.


Meteorologist, Inigo Jones of Crohamhurst near Peachester recorded Australia’s highest rainfall within a 24 hour period, resulting in the flood. The Great Flood of 1893 caused much hardship and chaos in Brisbane town and the surrounding areas. The cyclone that brought the rain caused considerable flooding as run off met king tides. On 4 February, the S. S. Dicky was caught in the blinding weather in the tail of the cyclone and blown onto the beach by the stern between present day Tooway and Currimundi Creeks. Captain James Beattie stayed on board, while his crew sough shelter at Wilson’s Guesthouse, Sea Glint.


First Maroochy Shire chambers located Blackall Terrace (subsequently) moved to Station Square and in 1978 to Bury Street.


On 12 March construction starts on Caloundra Lighthouse. The lighthouse completed in August of that year was built on land donated by Robert Bulcock. North West Shipping Channel a stable, safe and easy deep water channel is lit with three lights placed on the shore and three gas buoys moored to mark the extremes of the Spitfire, Western and Yule Banks. Two of the shore lights were leading lights on towers on Bribie Island, and the other was the newly built Caloundra Lighthouse used to direct vessels approaching the shipping channel leading into Moreton Bay. Governor of Queensland Lord Lamington visited the small settlement of Caloundra for a fishing trip. After enduring a three hour journey by horse and cart over boggy roads he stayed at Sea Glint. At that time there were only seven dwellings in the Caloundra area.


Moreton Central Sugar Mill was completed at Nambour and commenced operation in 1897.

The North West Shipping Channel near Caloundra is declared the safest entrance into Moreton bay and, indeed the only entrance to be used in bad weather or by deep draught ships. Postal receiving office was opened, in a room in the lighthouse keeper’s residence next to the Caloundra Lighthouse.


Second lighthouse constructed of a pre fabricated corrugated iron kit which had come from England.


William Simpson Junior purchases Lahey’s mill and moves the mill plant to Peach Trees (Peachester) Margaret Wilson proprietor of Sea Glint drowns in Tooway Lake and the guesthouse Sea Glint is closed.