Backward Glance: Early transportation in Maleny/Glass House area
  • Wednesday 20 May 2015
Bullock team negotiating Dunlop's Pinch on the Maleny-Landsborough Road at Bald Knob, ca 1908

Early transport to the Sunshine Coast from Brisbane was by boat, horse or Cobb & Co Coach. In 1868, Bankfoot House was built by the Grigor family to be the lunch stop for Cobb & Co Coaches travelling between Brisbane and Gympie. Later, McCallum’s Coaches provided passenger and mail services through the area. The coach service ceased in 1891 when the newly opened rail service took over the mail contract, but Bankfoot continued to accommodate independent travellers.

The first major industry of the area was timber and bullocks did most of the heavy draught work until the late 1800s. The development of the agricultural industry after the gold rushes also required a ready supply of draught horses to provide faster load movements and the Australian draught horse was noted for its strength and good temperament.

During the 1900’s a large quantity of felled timber was hauled from the Blackall Range by horses and bullock teams negotiating the sharp ridges and long steep climbs on the site of the Maleny-Landsborough Road. Isambert and Sons had a working timber mill in the Landsborough district from 1934 to 1949.

When cars made their way into the area, roads were very basic and river crossings were just that – ‘creek crossings’ – with travellers driving through the river at a shallow and accessible spot. When the rivers and creeks were in flood, travel was severely curtailed. Cars were often bogged and needed to be pulled out by horses or trucks.

The first grader owned by the Landsborough Shire Council was purchased in 1935 and William (Bill) Isaac Burgess of Glass House Mountains was the first grader driver. The grader was delivered to Caloundra by barge after being towed through the Pumicestone Passage and unloaded at Andrew Tripcony’s wharf at Black Flat, Caloundra.

The railway line from Brisbane to Landsborough was completed in February 1890. The railway provided the most reliable means of reaching the North Coast, as it was known in those times, and took over delivery of the mail and other produce for the areas around the sparsely populated townships between Caloundra and rural Maleny.

On February 1, 1890 the first train arrived at Mellum Creek (Landsborough) from Caboolture when 19.68 miles of railway line was officially opened. This remained the terminus of the railway line northward from Brisbane for nearly a year. The station at Glass House Mountains was known as Coonowrin Station until 1894, when it was renamed Glass Mountains Station. The railway station retained this name until 1914 when it was again re-named Glass House Mountains. The Mellum Creek township changed its name to Landsborough in 1891, to honour explorer, William Landsborough. The first electric train service to Landsborough from Brisbane started in 1988.

Learn more about the Coast’s unique history by reading our Backward Glance series. There’s a new story every Wednesday.