It was nearly 60 years after the first people began visitin and settling along Gympie Terrace that it was connected to Tewantin (and the rest of the Shire and country) via a useable road, with the construction of a bridge over the mouth of Lake Doonella. This construction changed the history of Noosaville, and the entire Noosa Shire.

Beautiful Shot From He

The Doonella Bridge and Tewantin from Hilton Esplanade, 1930s

The first bridge in the area was the Alexandra Bridge (named after the Princess of Wales). This 61-metre wooden structure was constructed over Weyba Creek in 1885-86 at great expense. It was built to provide access to the village at Noosa Heads that had recently begun with Walter Hay’s boarding house, Bay View House. The building of the bridge was only possible due to a colonial Government loan of £1,000 (about $800,000 today). But by 1901 it had been condemned as unsafe, then further damaged by bushfires and dismantled.

Alex Bridge 2

The Alexandra Bridge, 1900

Alex Bridge 1a

The Alexandra Bridge, circa 1900

In 1926 a public meeting proposed building a bridge over Lake Doonella. Its estimated cost was £5000 (about $1,500,000 today). Over the following years the Council decided to build a bridge over Weyba Creek also. They negotiated with T.M. Burke & Co. to fund the construction by selling the company several hundred acres at what is now Sunshine Beach (then confusingly called ‘Coolum Beach’) for £12,500 (around $3,500,000 today). The company would then receive the majority of this money back by building the pile bridges. The surface of Gympie Terrace was gravelled in anticipation of the traffic.

Bridge Opening Tewantin

Motorists waiting in Tewantin to cross the new bridge at the official opening, 19th October 1929

Doonella Bridge Opening

Motorists crossing the new bridge towards Gympie Terrace at the official opening, 19th October 1929

The bridges over Lake Doonella and Weyba Creek were officially opened on 19th October 1929 by the Home Secretary, J.C. Peterson, connecting Tewantin, Noosaville and Noosa Heads by road for the first time. It is reported that some 700 cars were in attendance, waiting to cross, and that 4000 people gathered at Noosa Heads beach later that day. A 12 year-old, Laurie Lennox, rode the first horse over Doonella Bridge as part of the opening, recalling in later years that he was scolded by his father for cantering instead of walking. Lionel Donovan, of Laguna House at Noosa Heads, claimed to have driven the first car across by sneaking under the chain prior to the official opening.

Doonella Colour 1

The Doonella Bridge looking towards Tewantin, circa 1930

Doonella Colour 2

The Doonella Bridge looking towards Noosaville, circa 1930

The opening of the bridges brought more residents and visitors to Gympie Terrace as well as a lot of traffic passing through. It also brought motor vehicle accidents, though most of these were minor. However, the increased traffic impacted the surface of Gympie Terrace straight away. The Gympie Terrace Improvement Society reported the terrible state of the road as early as May 1930 and continued to remind the Council until it was addressed.

People On Doonella Bridge

Upon the Doonella Bridge, circa 1930

In 1950, the Tewantin-Noosa Progress Association requested Council look into the matter of providing a pedestrian bridge across Lake Doonella as the increased motor traffic on the existing bridge was a menace to those on foot, especially during holidays.

Old Weyba Bridge C1940

The original Old Weyba Bridge, circa 1940

In 1969, construction began of concrete bridges over both Lake Doonella and Weyba Creek to replace the wooden ones opened forty years earlier. The popularity of the old Weyba Bridge, however, saw it remain in place as a pedestrian bridge.

New And Old Weyba Bridge 72

The old Weyba Bridge and earthworks for the new one, 1972

Two more bridges were was added in 1972 connecting the island development named Noosa Sound to Munna Point and Noosa Heads.

As part of the Noosa Waters development that began in 1991, two bridges were constructed over the canal: the James Duke Bridge, named after Noosa Shire Council’s first Chairman; and the William Gibson Bridge on Gibson Road, named after the Gibson family patriarch

Jd Bridge

James Duke Bridge on Gympie Terrace, 2019

The old Weyba Bridge, retained for recreational fishing and pedestrian traffic, partially collapsed in November 1991 due to vermin infestation. It was dismantled by early 1993. A group called ‘Friends of the Old Weyba Bridge’ formed to raise funds and a replica was constructed in 1995. It is still used appreciatively today.

Another bridge was constructed over Weyba Creek in 2005-06 as part of the extension of Eenie Creek Road and is named Monks Bridge after the family that first resided in this area.