Backward Glance: Golden Beach once known as Loch Lamerough

Today we discover the long and interesting early history of Golden Beach at Caloundra.

Backward Glance: Golden Beach once known as Loch Lamerough

Today we discover the long and interesting early history of Golden Beach at Caloundra.

In the early days when flora and fauna were at their best, the region must have been a place of exceptional beauty.

It has always been a drawcard for many to enjoy the shallow waterways and spacious parks that line areas of the foreshore.

Many migratory birds can be seen on the sand flats at low tide.

The northern end of Bribie Island is adjacent to the Golden Beach precinct and protects the calm swimming waters, making the beach area a lovely place to walk on the level walkways and picnic under the trees.

People learn to windsurf close by and some enjoy fishing further down, away from the swimmers.

During the summer season, lifeguards watch over those swimming in the flagged areas.

The region once sheltered a surprising variety of native trees and wildflowers, particularly the golden wattles from which the name Golden Beach came about.

In 1881, on the northern bank of Bells Creek where it meets the waters of Pumicestone Passage, mariner Samuel Leach selected Portion 26, establishing a holding of about 16 hectares.

Leach was a fisherman who also worked as a raftsman for the Campbellville timber mill situated near the junction of Coochin and Mellum Creek which flows into the Passage.

Campbellville’s primary purpose was to transport goods and timber to and from Brisbane from the rafting grounds.

Samuel Leach was the second European resident in Caloundra, selecting land at the southern extreme of Caloundra township at that time.

This area is now known as Diamond Head, Golden Beach.

Leach Park is named after the old pioneer mariner Samuel Leach.

He needed to work hard to provide for a large family as he had nine children and his wife Victoria to support.

Tragedy struck when Victoria died in 1888 and Leach himself was killed in 1892 when a cart he was driving overturned after striking a tree root not far from Beachmere.

Leach’s neighbour to the north was the famous Australian explorer William Landsborough who took up 960 hectares on what is now present day Golden Beach.

William Landsborough called his property Loch Lamerough after his native home in Scotland.

Landsborough had earlier crossed from the Gulf of Carpentaria to Melbourne in 1861 in search of the missing explorers Burke and Wills.

He was not really recognised regarding his tremendous feats until 1882.

It was then that the Queensland Government offered Landsborough a grant of around $4000 for his services.

Landsborough used the money to purchase the property fronting Pumicestone Passage, the area we now know as Golden Beach.

Landsborough died aged 62 in 1886 at his beloved Loch Lamerough and was buried beside the Passage in the place he loved.

William Landsborough had enjoyed living beside the waterways where he could see the movements on the Passage and perhaps the masts of the tall ships as they sailed along the shipping channel out to sea.

As he lay on his death bed he asked another early pioneer, John Maltman, to lift him up so he could have one last look at the ocean and the Glass House Mountains.

As Bribie Island is very low, with a maximum elevation of nine metres, shipping is quite visible from the Passage in places.

A stone cairn marks the spot at Golden Beach where Landsborough was buried.

It is near what is now a shopping centre and a modernised sign is in place today.

His remains were later interred at Toowong Cemetery on a prominent hill with other notable persons buried close by.

The main street of Golden Beach bears his name.

Later, Loch Lamerough was returned to the Queensland Government as the family could not afford to pay the rates of about $75 per year on the large property.

The town of Landsborough, once known as Mellum Creek, was named after this explorer whose expeditions included first crossing Australia from north to south, as well as sourcing the Gregory and Herbert River regions.

When the railway opened to Mellum Creek and the first steam train arrived on February 1, 1890, the new station was named Landsborough in his honour.

It was soon after that the township adopted the name.

There is a rich history in the area of Golden Beach, where lime burners burnt the oyster shells, fish and oysters were in abundance and many industries operated.

In 1898, Charles Godwin built a fish cannery on the bayside of Toorbul Point.

Later the Godwin cannery was moved further up the Passage to the northern end of Bribie Island in about 1901.

Godwin Beach in Moreton region is named after this family.

Pumicestone Passage must have been such an interesting place to watch the comings and goings of the early mariners moving cargo and visitors by narrow draught vessels to the wharves of Black Flat, near Golden Beach, and then returning to Brisbane with more cargo and passengers. From the late 1800s until the transportation needs of the region improved over time due to rail and road construction, the Passage was a very important transport corridor.

The brothers Tripcony and later people like the Moloney brothers ran cargo boats down over “The Skids” which was the known shallow area of the Passage opposite Coochin Creek continuing past Donnybrook and Toorbul leading in to the Moreton Bay.

Tom Moloney and his brothers carried everything from passengers, store bought goods for Tripconys store and later other shops and on the return journey, shell grit and other goods, including passengers for the trip back to Brisbane.

When the tide was right, the shallow vessels could carry a load of about 50 tons.

A major event of 1928 was the first subdivision of Golden Beach.

This subdivision was from North to Gregory streets and most allotments were 24 perches. Sales were slow and the first house was not built until nearly 10 years later.

Many of the early transportation boats of the Passage were in operation until the late 1930s when World War II started.

A lot of the larger vessels were seconded by the military for the war effort, including some of the local surf lifesaving boats.

In 1935, Farlow and Henzell Real Estate was established with Roy Henzell senior and partner Bill Farlow.

They operated out of downtown Caloundra, then a sleepy little place with a small population.

Roy Henzell loved to fish and when business was slow he could be found fishing down on the Passage on one of the wharves where the early transport boats had anchored.

From those beginnings, Roy Henzell senior became an accountant which started his career and business, known as Henzells Real Estate, which is still in operation today.

He had served in World War I in France and possibly wanted a quiet lifestyle after experiencing the atrocities of war.

The Henzells bought out Bill Farlow in 1941 and the name of the business was changed to Henzells Agency at this time.

This is just the start of the history of Golden Beach. Make sure you read next week’s edition for part two of this popular area.

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

In 2017, we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Naming of the Sunshine Coast. For more information on this milestone anniversary visit

Image captions Hero image: Fishermen cleaning their catch on the foreshore of Golden Beach, Caloundra, 1950. Stanley Bell, the then owner of Wakefield Flats and his boat 'Glady B' (foreground). Ford's Golden Beach Post Office Store on the Esplanade (background).

Carousel images:

Image 1: Landsborough Shire Councillor William S. Burgess with family members at Military Jetty, Golden Beach, ca 1940.

Image 2: Powell family members and friend with boats at Military Jetty, Golden Beach, Caloundra, 1956.

Image 3: Army supply boat and truck, Pumicestone Passage, Christmas 1940.