Captain Cook sailed past the Noosa North Shore, remaining too far offshore to appreciate its rainbow hued sand cliffs. Cook (as well as Matthew Flinders in 1802) failed to detect the mouth of the Noosa River. However he noted that Noosa Heads and Laguna Bay were “a low bluff point, which was the Southern point of an open Sandy bay.
Ticket-of-leave men John Finnegan, Richard Parsons and Thomas Pamphlett were shipwrecked on Moreton Island. Although treated kindly by the aborigines, Finnigan and Parsons trekked north thinking to reach Sydney. When they arrived at Noosa River they encountered indigenous people, who were crossing the waterway in canoes, but refused to let them traverse. The three men were rescued by John Oxley, Surveyor General, who was in the area searching for a suitable site for a new settlement for incorrigible convicts. He chose Moreton Bay (now Brisbane) which became a convict settlement in 1824.
Convicts were known to have escaped from the penal settlement at Brisbane, to have drifted up north and ultimately been absorbed into life with the aboriginal people, until such time as they were captured or voluntarily returned themselves to the penal settlement. Three of these convicts were John Graham, aka Moilow, David Bracewell, aka Wandi (a great talker), and James Davis, aka Durrumboi (kangaroo rat), as they were known by their native friends.
After three seamen from the wrecked Stirling Castle were found on Bribie Island, a rescue party was sent further north in whale boats to search for more survivors. The rescue party was led by Lt. Charles Otter and guided by convict John Graham. Graham had previously spent six years with the natives and knew the area well. On the western shore of Lake Cooroibah Sailors Robert Dayman and Robert Carey were found (to commemorate the event a plaque was erected in the area in 1988). Mrs Eliza Fraser, wife of the Stirling Castle’s master Captain James Fraser, was discovered in an aboriginal camp near Tin Can Bay. Graham contacted David Bracewell, an escaped convict who was then living with the aborigines, and arranged for him to secretly take Mrs Eliza Fraser from the aboriginal camp and guide her south to Lake Cootharaba. From there John Graham escorted her to Teewah Beach where Lt. Charles Otter’s rescue party were waiting with their boats. Bracewell, afraid of punishment when he saw the soldiers, ran back to his native friends. A memorial cairn to Mrs Fraser now stands beside Lake Cootharaba at Boreen Point.
An exploration party sent by Governor Gipps arrived by open boat at Noosa Beach. The party consisted of Andrew Petrie, Jollife, H. S. Russell, W. Wrottesley and aboriginal guides. Russell, who had lost his hat on the journey, was suffering from sunstroke. He was carried to shore by friendly natives who had come to meet the party. They tucked him into the warm sand under the supervision of an old man who covered Russel’s head with large leaves of a water plant, thus creating a steam bath. The treatment worked, for after a long sleep he awoke well, only thirsty.
Petrie was told that David Bracewell, a fugitive convict adopted by the warrior Eumundi (and involved in the homecoming of Mrs Eliza Fraser after being shipwrecked in 1836), was nearby. Bracewell arrived at Noosa beach in response to a note sent by Petrie (to commemorate this visit to Noosa a plaque was set in place in the Noosa Heads Lions Park in 1988). Bracewell guided the group on their exploration trip up the Mary River, and was able to help convince James Davis, another absconder, to also return to Brisbane with the exploration party.
The Assistant Surveyor of New South Wales James Charles Burnett first noted the mouth of the Noosa River and used it as an anchorage. He described it as a “small inlet backed by a lagoon” and named it Laguna Bay.
The brig Kirkdale shipwrecked on a sand beach near Noosa Heads. She caught fire and burned down to the water level. No lives were lost. The Mate, Mr Green, and four crew took their only long-boat to Brisbane to find help. In the meantime, the Captain E. Williams and the six remaining seamen followed the beach southwards to make way overland towards Brisbane. At the Maroochy River they encountered Richard Jones, a timber dealer, who lent them a boat and a guide to sail to Brisbane.
The local area was originally opened up by timber-getters who began logging there around this time. Brisbane saw-miller William Pettigrew navigated the Noosa River as far as Lake Cootharaba in search for stands of mill-able timber. He stated that the only places suitable for timber-getting were on the north side of King King (Kin Kin) Creek entering the northern extremity of the Lake. Pettigrew noticed good patches of pastureland, but he judged them too limited for grazing a large herd. He reported swans, ducks, geese, pelicans and other waterfowl to be abundant on the lakes (he had caught two black swans). On the foreshore of Noosa Beach he discovered pine trees.
The schooner Warren Goddard was to deliver sawmill machinery and plant from Brisbane to Laguna Bay for a Mr Blakesley. On arrival, Mr Blakesley could not be found. Weather conditions eventually forced the schooner to turn back with its freight still aboard. The schooner grounded in Moreton Bay on her return trip and the sawmill machinery was covered with water. Both ship and cargo were insured.
The captain of the Mariposa abandoned intentions to collect timber at Laguna Bay, deeming it too risky.
The schooner Independence, 42 tons, departed from Brisbane for Laguna Bay under Captain J. Robertson on 1st March with four passengers (Mr and Mrs Blakesley, Miss, and Master Blakesley). On its return voyage the Independence transported 20,000 feet log cedar.
In October that year, the Gneering transported 30,000 feet cedar and a passenger from Noosa River to Brisbane.
Following the discovery of gold at Gympie by James Nash, the construction of a road from Gympie to Caboolture was conceived in order to establish a dray overland connection between the new goldfields and Brisbane. The road was ready for traffic in 1868 and became locally known as the Brisbane Road. From 1868 Cobb and Co. offered a twice weekly coach service between Gympie and Brisbane over this road with an overnight stay at Cobb’s Camp (now Woombye). Further waypoints on this passage were Tuchkoi and the crossing of the Maroochy River (Yandina) on the upper half as well as the crossing of the Maloolah River, the Mellum Creek (today Landsborough) and Caboolture on the lower half. The journey was 117 ½ miles long and cost £3.10s. An alternate itinerary between Gympie and Brisbane was to travel north overland to Maryborough and then by sea to Brisbane. Both ways were time consuming and difficult.
William Pettigrew took on a five year lease of a two acre wharf site on the Noosa River at Tewantin for £2 ($4) a year. Other early wharf site lessees were: Walter Hay, B. Finney, R.A. Richardson, A.R. Pillow, Dath Henderson & Co., John Staley, John Madden, Albert Wilkin, Alfred Hort as well as McGhie, Luya & Co. Lieut. Bedwell, commander of H.M. surveying schooner Pearl, discovered that the existing chart of the area made by Matthew Flinders in 1802 was very inaccurate in the vicinity of Laguna Bay.
Port Master of Queensland George Heath surveyed the estuary (Nusa Harbour) in the Tug Brisbane. He recorded a depth of approx. 7 feet over the bar at high tide and 9 to 12 feet of water in the lower river. On his chart he marked a series of shifting sand banks and several wooded islands in the vicinity of Hay’s Inlet. He also noted the mouth of Weba (Weyba) Creek and reported that the Noosa River was a better outlet for timber than the Mary River and the Maroochy River.
The Cootharaba Sawmill originated. A.F. Luya & Co purchased Portion 1, Parish of Noosa at Elanda Point on the shore of Lake Cootharaba. C.S. Russell, a partner in the firm, prepared the infrastructure for a sawmill on this property while part of the land was turned into cattle grazing ground. When Russell left the partnership in 1871, the firm became McGhie, Luya & Co. Under this trade name the sawmill commenced business in October 1871. Three tug boats were built to tow pontoons loaded with timber to Colloy wharf (opposite Gympie Terrace). The steamer Culgoa was purchased to convey the sawn timber to the company’s wharf at South Brisbane. On its return trips to Noosa the Culgoa brought passengers as well as mail and goods for the locals. In 1873 the sawmill’s boiler exploded killing five workmen. This prompted an inquiry which resulted in a new law to have boilers regularly inspected. By 1874 the Cootharaba Sawmill boasted a small self-contained township with a store, a blacksmith as well as butcher’s and carpenter’s shops, a school, homes for 60 families and a huge saw-mill with access to 3 miles of rail for the transportation of logs. For some years there was also a hotel. Imports of cheap timber, an economic depression in 1890, combined with the pine being depleted caused the Cootharaba Sawmill to close in 1891. Mr Luya then tried to subdivide the land and to let the plots to framers with an option for purchase. However, the land was unsuitable for farming and the scheme floundered with the hungry families moving away. In 1892 Portion 1, Parish of Noosa, was advertised for sale as “Cootharaba Estate”.
Walter Hay was paid to cut a direct track from Gympie to Noosa which became known as the Noosa Road. The opening of this road prompted a furore: The town of Gympie was in favour as they anticipated a faster and more convenient way to Brisbane through a port at Noosa for goods and mail as opposed to the tortuous Brisbane Road or the north passage via the port of Maryborough. The towns of Maryborough and Maroochy were against as they disliked being bypassed. Despite letters to newspapers denigrating a port on Noosa River this port was increasingly used for the trade between Gympie and Brisbane. The sea passage was combined with overland transport by cart and bullock wagon on the Noosa Road through Cooran.
The Noosa Road also became an emergency alternative for overland journeys from Gympie to Brisbane when the Brisbane Road was flooded by the Mary River. The itinerary through Noosa (134 miles) and along the coast was only 16 ½ miles longer than via the Brisbane Road alone (117 ½ miles).
The town of Tewantin began taking shape. The Government had surveyed Tewantin on a high peninsula between the Noosa River and Lake Doonella. The site was encircled with mangroves, swamps and rainforest. Governor Blackall had proclaimed 640 acres as the Town of Tewantin already in 1870, but it was not until September 1871 that allotments were advertised for sale. The first house in Tewantin belonged to Grainger Ward who had acquired it before these developments. It was located at the site of today’s Tewantin central business district on a huge property known as Ward’s Estate. Grainger Ward was induced to give up the acreage to make way to town planning and in 1875 he advertised his 99 acres, house and garden for sale. Tewantin became a port on Noosa River and took on shipping timber and supplies for local settlers and residents as well as for the Gympie goldfields. Wharves and stores were constructed on the riverfront. However, the completion of the North Coast Railway in 1891 in the hinterland and the decrease of the timber supply reduced drastically the demand for Tewantin’s port and by 1897 its wharves and warehouses were falling into decay.
At the request of the Queensland Aboriginal Missionary Society, the Department of Lands proclaimed a Temporary Reserve for an Aboriginal Missionary Station. About 10,000 acres (4,000 hectares) in size, it covered amongst others what we know today as Noosa Heads, Noosa National Park, Sunshine Beach and the west shore of Lake Weyba. Rev. and Mrs Fuller had volunteered to run the missionary campaign and thus established their home on the Eastern shore of Lake Weyba by the end of 1872. The first service was held in Mr Ward’s house. Soon the Fullers were confronted with the moral issues of intoxication and of white men living with aboriginal females. The Fullers lasted a little over a year before they sailed north towards Cardwell to settle at Mission Beach. The Aboriginal Reserve in Noosa area was annulled in November 1878. 1,700 acres (378 hectares) of its surface were made available for selection from 15th January 1879 at an upset price of seven shillings and sixpence per acre. 8,250 further acres (1,833 hectares) were to be surveyed for auction. Another 2,366 acres (526 hectares) were designated for a new township at Noosa Heads.
In September 1872 a weekly mail service was established from Gympie to Tewantin.
The first Regatta on Lake Coothabara was held on the Queen’s Birthday (24th May). The firm McGhie, Luya, & Co., owner of the Coothabara sawmill, hosted the event on their premises. Rowing and flat bottom sailing races were held, followed by a dance. The regatta was repeated the year after.
The Gympie to Noosa Coaching Company initiated a transportation service between Gympie and Noosa. The trial trip took 7 hours and five minutes. The long duration of this journey was partly caused by the necessity to lop some branches of trees along the road in order to enable the high coach to pass.
At the end of 1974 William Casey opened the first hotel in what was to become Noosa Shire. It was called the Half-way House and was situated about midway on the Noosa Road near Cooran Mountain and catered to travellers between Noosa and Gympie.
In January R. Richardson opened Tewantin’s first hotel. Furthermore, Tewantin became connected to the world via a telegraph line. By the end of the year Tewantin boasted two hotels, a boarding house, a school, a police station and a telegraph office.
The steamer Culgoa of the Coothabara sawmill owned by McGhie, Luya & Co. regularly frequented Tewantin’s port. For three years she had made innumerable trips by day and night, ferrying timber, cargo and passengers between Tewantin and Brisbane without serious mishaps. However, it eventually did shipwreck on the Noosa River bar in 1891.
Staff Commander E.P. Bedwell surveyed in great detail the Noosa River from the bar at the entrance to the Township of Tewantin. For soundings up to 21 feet he used a marked pole and for soundings in greater depths a lead line. Bedwell reported that bar and sand heads were constantly changing and that the whole estuary was a maze of sand banks.
In January Cobb and Co.’s well established coach service from Gympie to Brisbane was altered. Instead of following the Brisbane Road alone it was diverted via the Noosa Road to Tewantin before continuing via Maroochy, Cobb’s Camp and Landsborough to Brisbane. This enabled passengers to leave the coach at Tewantin and travel overnight to Brisbane on the steamer Culgoa. The coach departures were timed to meet the Culgoa in Tewantin. However this upset the mail schedules. As well as that the road between Tewantin and Maroochy proved to be difficult. Consequently Cobb and Co. adapted their strategy and offered twice a week the old itinerary via the Brisbane Road to suit the mail needs and once a week the new passage via Tewantin to please passengers. A number of other coaches also operated between Tewantin and Gympie.
According to the Divisional Boards Act of 1879 the Noosa area was put under the auspices of the Widgee Divisional Board. It was administered from Gympie until the Noosa Shire was proclaimed in 1910.
Early in 1879 the sand spit fronting Laguna Bay was surveyed to prepare the creation of the village of Noosa. Allotments along Hastings Street were offered for sale in April, but in that year no blocks were sold.
Also, at the north side of the river mouth residential allotments were surveyed and offered for sale. Some of them had been secured by Gympie residents. However, most of the allotments were reclaimed by the sea shortly after as the river mouth shifted.
Additionally, an area on high ground near the Devil’s Kitchen called Alexandra (now within Noosa National Park) was surveyed and sold. No buildings were erected in the area as it was not accessible either by water or road.
The famous aboriginal bushranger Johnny Campbell was captured by other aborigines in Tewantin at Goodchap’s paddock and trussed with Mrs Goodchap’s clothes line.
Dath, Henderson and Company established a sawmill on the northern side of the Noosa River, opposite Tewantin. The Adonis, built and launched in 1883, was put into commission for the transportation of sawn timber, goods and passengers between Noosa and Brisbane. In 1886 the sawmill was closed and its machinery shifted to Brisbane. However, the firm continued logging timber in the Noosa area and transporting the logs to Brisbane.
Seventy nine acres of what is now Noosa Heads were selected by Walter Hay, who was in charge of the buoys and beacons at the entrance of the river bar.
The land adjoining the Noosa Town Reserve was surveyed.
In the process, Mr Warner, the Land Commissioner, serendipitously discovered that timber-getters had illegally cut 78,000 feet of pine and 5,000 feet of beech. He promptly seized the wood and fined the offenders. This was most likely the only time that timber was removed from this area which became part of the Noosa National Park.
The Land Ranger for the Gympie district advised that the area was definitely not suitable for selection and that the scrub was of great attraction to visitors. This is regarded as the genesis of the Noosa National Park. In part thanks to this recommendation the Town Reserve remained undeveloped.
Walter Hay established the first boarding house at Noosa Heads. On his acreage there he had built the ten-roomed residence called Bay View House. Progressively enlarged, reconstructed and renamed Hillcrest Guest House, the building ended up a Federation style bungalow. In the 1950s the Anglican Church purchased it and renamed it Halse Lodge, after Archbishop Halse. In 1988 the building was substantially renovated. Today it is the only guest house in Noosa Heads dating from the turn of the century and one of the few sites in south east Queensland that have been operating continuously as a seaside guest house since the late nineteenth century. It is now listed in the Register of the National Estates.
The Queen’s Birthday holiday was celebrated at the premises of the Cootharaba sawmill where the Cootharaba Athletic Club had arranged two days of athletic and aquatic events, a ball and a supper.
The 61 metre long Alexandra Bridge over Weyba Creek was completed. It had been conceived to provide access to Noosa Village. Thanks to a Government loan of £1,000 to the Widgee Divisional Board the construction had been made possible. The bridge was opened by Miss Ferguson, daughter of Alderman Ferguson, on Easter Friday. The opening ceremony was followed by a banquet and a trip by steamer up the lakes. By 1901 the bridge was declared unsafe and after a bushfire had burnt part of the decking, it was dismantled.
The Tewantin Horse Races were held on 12th July. A 1 ½ mile stretch of Gooloi Street (now Poinciana Avenue) was used as the race-course.
In November the Prince of Wales’ birthday was celebrated at Tewantin with a ten-event regatta including a regatta ball as well as a cricket match. The highlight of the rowing and sailing races held that day was a “duck hunt”. Tommy, an aborigine, played the elusive duck. It took twenty minutes to catch him. The regatta ball was held at the Grand Hotel with supper being served at midnight. The cricket match was played between the teams of Tewantin and Cootharaba. The latter won and was represented by Tom Dodd at the handover of the winner’s cup.
On 10th June a rail line linking Cooran and Gympie was opened extending the existing rail between Maryborough and Gympie. A turn-table had been installed at Cooran to turn the engine around, for the return journey to Gympie. This proved to be a popular mode of transport for Passengers and goods.
Nevertheless the township of Cooran developed only slowly. Pinbarren Village Settlement farms were open for selection near Cooran from Monday, 5th August 1889. These farms were laid out in a circle around a central area designated for house blocks to provide shelter in case of an attack by natives. As the farmers did not feel any danger they built their homes on their own farmland and left the ‘village’ unoccupied.
William Martin owned 80 acres in the town area of Cooran and had the first allotments surveyed in about 1905. On the eastern side of the rail line a second subdivision was advertised for sale by McKay and King Auctioneers on 16th October 1909.
In the meantime, a rail line had been constructed from Brisbane to Yandina. From then on Passengers from Gympie to Brisbane mostly took the train to Cooran, then a coach to Yandina, where they met another train to travel further south.
The railway line between Brisbane and Cairns was completed. In April the railway from Cooran to Cooroy was ready and on 18th July the last missing link, the railway between Cooroy and Yandina, was opened.
The rail travel beat any other way of transport in comfort and speed. It also made the hinterland more accessible. Consequently, the coach and steamer trades were badly affected.
Cooroy became the rail/coach stop for Tewantin. The train journey from Gympie to Cooroy took an hour, and the twelve mile coach journey from Cooroy to Tewantin took an hour and a half.
Tewantin had now a second hotel and two new stores with a coach yard and stables (these stores replaced another hotel and store which had recently burnt down).
The only remaining allotment at the North Shore was occupied by Mr W. Hall’s home. The other allotments there that had been surveyed ten years previously were reclaimed by the sea.
At Noosa Heads Mr Hill’s Grand Hotel had succumbed to a fire. Only Bay View House remained as an accommodation for visitors there.
The land near the bar on the southern head of the Noosa River which was covered by rain forest was designated for public use. It became the Noosa Woods camping and picnic area.
The highest flood ever known hit the area. During nine days of heavy rain in February and March Lake Cootharaba rose by two metres. The remains of the Cootharaba sawmill on its banks were destroyed. Some homes were washed away.
A relief party found knee deep water under Mr Goodchap’s house at Hilton Terrace and also water under the houses in Noosaville. However, these houses were in no immediate danger. At Noosa Heads the relief party found a need for rations, which were later supplied.
Roads were cut and the telegraph line was interrupted. The Royal Mail Hotel took in Mr Goodchap and his family even though it was fully occupied with visitors.
The “Co-operative Land Settlement Act 1893” promoted communal management of farmland. In its wake two groups of unemployed men moved from Brisbane to Noosa area. One was called the “Woolloongabba Exemplars” (59 men) and had the intention to settle at Lake Weyba. The other was called the “Protestant Unity” (35men) and wished to settle near Cooran, at Skyring’s Creek. Both groups were given large areas of land to build their homes on and farm collectively, with proceeds to be shared equally by the group.
All together thirteen communal farming groups were formed in Queensland. However, they all failed and were disbanded.
At Lake Weyba only three members of the Woolloongabba group remained to select land as individuals.
The Protestant Unity left the most members behind, with nineteen families and four single men to select land individually. Their settlement in the vicinity of each other caused a new township to be formed at the closest point on the North Coast Railway. It was called Pomona. In 1895 a railway station was opened there to serve the new settlers.
Laguna House, the soon to be famous boarding house in Hastings Street, was built by J. Bainbridge. From 1900 on it accommodated the Noosa Village Receiving Office. In 1903 Laguna House was rented by (and later sold to) the Donovans. At the beginning Mrs Donovan ran the boarding house alone while her husband continued working at Gympie. When the venture proved to be successful Mr Donovan joined his wife and became the Noosa mailman. In 1926, the Donovans purchased the Royal Mail Hotel in Tewantin. Laguna House was taken over by H.T. Walter, followed by J. Gibney. The building was eventually pulled down in the 1960s to make way for modern construction.
The new Tewantin hotel with 14 bedrooms on two levels was opened on an acre of land close to the river. It was owned by Daniel Martin. For many years thereafter Tewantin had only two hotels: the Tewantin and the Royal Mail. The Royal Mail Hotel, built in 1881, was destroyed by fire in 1939, and was replaced by a brick building in 1941. The Tewantin Hotel burnt down in 1940 and was not replaced.
On 8th June the Lands Department opened 6,000 acres at Kin Kin for selection. The majority of the interested buyers came from the Northern Rivers of New South Wales. They began clearing scrub systematically in order to create grazing land for dairy cattle. Within six weeks 2,000 acres of scrub had been cleared. By August ten bullock teams were busy hauling logs from Kin Kin.
John Slade erected a store at Kin Kin.
Kin Kin experienced a construction boom. The surveyors were working at Sister Tree and Wolvi in order to prepare further selections. The settlers planted Paspalum at the places where they had burnt fallen timber.
H. Nash, the son of James Nash (who had discovered Gympie’s goldfield), was bitten by a snake on his selection. C. Hetherington set up a sawmill at Wahpunga.
The population of Kin Kin had reached about 350, of which 80 were farmers. Ten of the farmers were sending cream by rail to Gympie.Cooroy Estate was made available for selection under the Closer Settlement Act.
The land was sold quickly. The buyers petitioned for mail and rail services. The first building on the estate was a bark humpy on skids. It was used as a camp by James Duke, who later became the first Shire Chairman. Subsequently, the humpy housed the office of the Bank of New South Wales. When the estate became heavily built-up it was simply towed off by bullock to a new site.
The land surrounding Cooroy was originally a timber lease owned by Dath, Henderson & Company Limited. It was purchased by the Government on 29th July, surveyed and made available for buyers.
The Shire of Noosa was created out of an area previously belonging to Widgee (now Cooloola Shire) and a small strip along the northern border of Maroochy (now Sunshine Coast). Noosa’s population at the time was about 2,000.
At the first local government election on 22nd April nine Councillors were elected. James Duke became the first Shire Chairman. The bridge at Gympie Terrace, Noosaville, is named after him, in his memory. The first Shire Clerk was Mr E.A. Edwards who held office until 1946.
The majority of the Council members lived at the southern end of the Shire. Therefore one of first acts of the Council was to establish office at Cooroy. Those who lived in the northern and central part of the Shire though preferred Pomona to be the Shire centre. In an attempt to make the decision irreversible the town of Cooroy immediately began the construction of an office building for the Council. Almost overnight the frame of the building was erected. However, the Home Secretary ordered building to stop pending a referendum on the question. The result was that Pomona became the Shire centre. In 1911 the Council took up its duties in a newly constructed office building there.
In 1910 the Shire boasted about half a mile of gravelled road and only six bridges. The little traffic (mostly bullock teams) simply followed tracks through the scrub. The new Council took out two loans, each of £2,000, to open up roads in the district.
The Council purchased a road grader, drawn by a team of bullocks.
The Council started lobbying its counterparts between Brisbane and Gympie to combine forces for the construction of a “Great Northern Road”. This project eventually resulted in the Bruce Highway.
Former Queensland Treasurer Sir Thomas Hiley once reminisced about transportation in the area during the 20s. At that time he had to travel from Brisbane to Noosa and he found that the journey had changed little since 1891 in mode and duration. The first leg by train to Cooroy alone took Hiley over four hours. It was followed by a bus transfer to Tewantin where he stayed overnight. The next morning he boarded a motorboat (groceries, fruit and vegetables having been loaded first) that took him down the winding river and dispatched him onto a sand bank from where he carried his luggage to Laguna House, his destination. In those days Laguna House offered full board and lodging for £2.15s a week.
Pomona’s Majestic Theatre was constructed. It is still in use and reputed to be the longest continually operating cinema in Australia and the only original fully operational silent movie theatre in the world.
During the Second World War local Army camps practically took over the cinema seven nights a week to entertain troops thus depriving local residents of the amusement.
The original Bruce Highway passed in front of the Majestic Theatre in what is now Factory Street. As no lights were installed inside the cinema the patrons kept the doors open during the shows. This attracted huge crowds trying to watch the movies from the outside which at times completely blocked the highway traffic. One enterprising Kin Kin resident would equip his truck with garden chairs, fill them with paying customers and cart them over the range to the movies.
The construction of the Cooroy-Tewantin Road began.
Charlie Freeman started a banana plantation on Noosa Hill. Despite a long legal battle, this site has been developed.
The Council discussed a proposal to provide the townships of Cooran, Pomona and Cooroy with electricity. However, the offered tariffs were deemed too heavy to proceed. The supply of electricity was finally agreed to in 1939.
The Noosa Heads Surf Club was founded. It began its activities with a tent on the beach only. In 1928 it moved to a wooden clubhouse, nearly 100 metres in front of the present Clubhouse. Twice over the years it had to be moved back to save it from encroaching seas. The original old Clubhouse has been moved and is today home to the Brite Side recycling group’s very popular Tip Shop at the Council’s Eumundi Road Landfill.
Australian Paper Manufacturers were felling native forest to introduce pine plantations.
Open season was declared on koalas and consequently most of them were slaughtered. However, some sources claim that the koala population had already been decimated between 1918 and 1920 by the so-called Spanish Flu, which had killed more than 40 million people in Europe and England as well as many aboriginals. Nevertheless, the koalas also had friends. In the 1930s, young members of the Monks family used to feed the local koalas milk out of saucers at their dairy in the Weyba area. In the 1960s a new koala population was introduced to Noosa at the instigation of conservationist Dr Arthur Harrold A.M. and local conveyancer Max Walker. As a result of their lobbying, the State Government’s Department of Agriculture and Stock built special carrying cases and brought six koalas from Caboolture and one joey to Noosa which Dr Harrold and Mr Walker released into Noosa National Park.
The Noosa Council succeeded in selling a big estate to developer T.M. Burke & Co. The reports differ in the details as to the size of the estate (447 or 700 acres) and the price per acre (£28 or £43). However they agree that the total selling price amounted to £12,500. All but five per cent of the acquired sum was to be spent immediately for the construction of pile bridges over Lake Doonella and Weyba Creek and of the road from Tewantin to the estate. The estate was subsequently called “Noosa Beach” and is now known as the area between Peregian and Sunshine Beach.
The new “humpback” bridges over Lake Doonella and Weyba Creek were completed. T.M. Burke also upgraded and metalled the road between Tewantin and their new estate. In return, the Noosa Council sold them another 470 acres of land at Coolum Beach (now Sunshine Beach).
By the 1930s J.H. (Harry) Johns owned a shop on the dunes in Hastings Street, opposite Laguna House. Soon he added a kerbside petrol pump to his business and later a café. His residence next door became the non-official post office in the beginning of 1935, exchanging mail daily between Tewantin and Noosa. A telephone office was justified in 1937, the sale of postal notes approved in 1938 and in 1948 money orders were added to the dealings as well as the sale of wireless licences.
Harry Johns’ brother Cyril also opened a shop in Hastings Street in the 1930s a few of allotments along from his brother. This shop became known as the Noosa Store. A small narrow post office was later built next door, the two becoming the post office store until in 1969 the post office agency moved to the Noosa-Tewantin Road, below Halse Lodge. It may have changed physically over the years, but the Noosa Store still continues in business on the same site.
The Boreen Point Estate was up for sale at the beginning of the year. The lots sold slowly because of the effects of the depression. The estate had originally been selected by Mr Goodchap, a partner in McGhie, Luya And Co., for residential use and occupied by ‘dummy’ resident, Mr Breen. In 1908 Mr Herb Page purchased the bulk of the estate and began transforming it into a commercial holiday destination with a boarding house.
The first section of the Bruce Highway opened in December. It connected Brisbane and Landsborough. The name of the highway does not refer to Prime Minister Stanley Bruce but to the Hon. H.A. Bruce, Queensland Minister for Public Works who had strongly supported the project.
Pig and Sheep Islands were declared wildlife sanctuaries in response to public demand to protect the prolific birdlife there.
The first co-ordinated rail/motor service between Cooroy and Tewantin/Noosa Heads was arranged by Lionel Donovan.
The area of Noosa Woods was included into the jurisdiction of the Noosa Council.
The Noosa area was used as an Artillery Range, leaving for future residents explosive mementos known as UXO (unexploded ordnance).
The supply of electricity to all areas between Brisbane and Gympie was agreed to and introduced over the ensuing decades. The scheme was completed in 1965 with Cootharaba being the last town connected.
An aerodrome with three all-weather runways was constructed by Council workmen on the Noosa North Shore. The project had first been proposed in 1937 and had been subject to extensive consultation with the Commonwealth Government. However, the only licence granted in 1949 was for light aircraft.
The Department of Defence hired J.H. Johns’ cottage near Noosa Woods in November 1942.
In 1943 the Royal Australian Artillery, 3 Australian Division HQ, set up a recreation centre for its soldiers on the beach side of Hastings Street on a property housing several flats. Owner of the property was Pansy McKane, a widowed nurse.
Noosa boasted the first tennis court in Queensland with electric light after Ben Thatcher had installed lighting around the tennis court at Laguna House.
Sand mining threatened Noosa Main Beach. Australasian Oil Explorations Limited had obtained a permit to mine a 30 acre (12 hectare) area of the south beach of Laguna Bay at Noosa Heads. The permit did not include mining of a sandbar at the river mouth. A few years later Noosaville’s Massoud brothers applied for a ten-year lease to mine an area of 1,320 by 55 yards (1207 x 50 metres). This area encompassed almost the whole of Noosa’s main surfing beach. Persistent and public lobbying from local associations as well as a petition from residents thwarted the grant of the lease.
Land reclamation along the Noosa Inlet started. The Noosa Shire Council had obtained permission from the Land Administration Board to reclaim part of the tidal inlet of the Noosa River at the corner of Hastings Street and Tewantin Road. By the middle of the 1970s all land owners along the inlet side of Hastings Street had followed suit.
In the aftermath of a severe cyclone that hit the area a group of Hastings Street foreshore property owners built the first protective wall on Noosa Beach. It was not only conceived to prevent erosion and but also to hinder sea water from washing into their gardens.
T.M. Burke Pty Ltd leased 530 acres of Crown Land in exchange for £135,000 and a promise to execute further road works.
Hastings Street was surveyed and sealed.
Pomona railway porter Bruce Samuels climbed and descended Mt Cooroora running to settle a pub bet. It took him 40 minutes, a feat now annually commemorated in the highly successful King of the Mountain festival.
In May Hastings Street received its first banking agency; an offshoot to the Tewantin Branch of the Bank of New South Wales.
In October the Noosa Six Mile Dam (later renamed Lake Macdonald) near Cooroy was officially opened. It provides reticulated water to the towns of Noosa Shire.
The sewerage network started operating in Noosa Heads.
A rock wall was erected on Noosa Main Beach.
The construction of new concrete bridges over Lake Doonella and Weyba Creek began.
Efforts were made to stabilise the sandy slope of Noosa Hill.
Members of the Planned Progress group, led by Mrs Marjorie Harrold, battled at court to enjoin high-rise construction in Hastings Street.
The State Government development lease for the area now known as Noosa Sound commenced on 1st January. It had been initiated by Cr. Edgar Bennett who mooted already in 1946 the canal development of Hay’s and other islands in the Noosa Estuary. Engineering plans for the first 134 lots were ready in July 1972. Dredging started a month after that. Next a concrete retaining wall was constructed around the island followed by a bridge to the Spit near Hastings Street. The development was officially opened in December 1973. In 1974 the bridge across Weyba Creek to Munna Point was built.
In its Town Plan the Noosa Sire Council decreed high-rise development in Hastings Street to be inappropriate. In doing so the Council reversed a previous decision which had been challenged by the public.
Public protest also thwarted Sandmining in the area between Sunshine Beach and Peregian Beach.
153 hectares of non-waterfront land with a natural drainage outlet to the Noosa River at Hilton Terrace was sold for residential development.
In October approval in principle was given to the canal development known today as Noosa Waters. The approval was finally gazetted in 1989.
The newly extended Noosa Spit was declared open in December. In the frame of this development the river mouth had been shifted from its original position at the end of Noosa Woods several hundred metres to the west. The objective of this enterprise was to protect the area from cyclone damage. The works were financed jointly by the Noosa Council, the State Government and the developer of Noosa Sound.
On 1st December the Noosa Shire Council moved into new premises at Pelican Street, Tewantin, which used to be a boarding house known as Riverview/Elanda House/San Elanda. The former Chamber building at Pomona became in 1985 the headquarters of the Cooroora Historical Society, Inc. and houses today the Noosa Shire Museum.
The First Noosa Triathlon was staged at Noosa Heads.
Noosa’s first Strategic Plan was gazetted. This Plan was instrumental in blocking the moves of the Leisuremark development group to build a mega resort on Noosa’s North Shore.
The Noosa Council gazetted a Shire-wide ban on buildings in excess of four storeys.
The Botanic Gardens at Cooroy were officially opened after three years of work by local volunteers to transform a former unofficial rubbish dump beside Lake Macdonald.
The State Government agreed to Council’s plan to transform the camping and caravan park at Noosa Woods as well as the balance of Noosa Spit into a public recreational precinct. The camping and caravan park was closed down. Greening Noosa volunteer teams as well as members of the public joined in a massive and highly successful planting effort. Today the area is once again covered by rain forest encompassing picnic areas.
Urban wheelie bin refuse collection services were introduced.
The Historic Cooroy Butter Factory building was purchased by the Noosa Council for community use.
Park Road at Noosa Heads collapsed during massive February downpours. It had to be closed to vehicular traffic for the necessary repairs.
The Council opened its Child Care Centre in Moorindil Street, Tewantin, as well as its nine-hectare community complex at Wallace Park, Noosaville. This complex now comprises the Library, the Noosa Leisure Centre, the Respite Centre, the Wallace House arts and crafts centre, the Noosa Parks Association Environment Centre, a specially landscaped aboriginal heritage area, Tewantin-Noosa Meals on Wheels, the Noosa Bridge Club and an Endeavour Foundation training centre.
Recycling bins were added to the urban wheelie bin refuse collection service.
The Cooroy Butter Factory was refurbished for use as a community arts centre.
A timber footbridge mini-replica of the Old Weyba Bridge over Weyba Creek was opened to serve cyclists, pedestrians and anglers.
The Council’s Development Control Plan was gazetted. It was conceived to protect the environmentally sensitive high dune area of the Marcus Shores from development by the T.M. Burke group. The area has since been added to the National Park.
The Council purchased a 3.3 hectare site in Grant Street, Noosa Junction for $3.375 million in order to set up parking and community facilities. On part of the site in 2005 the construction of a Youth & Community Centre began.
The Noosa District Community Radio Association, Inc. commenced broadcasting.
Water meters were introduced. The objective was to control the consumption of town water by charging money for it.
The Police beat shopfront building opened on the corner of Noosa Drive and Hastings Street.
The Coastal Sewage Collection and Treatment Plant was commissioned. The $52 million project was undertaken by Australian Water Services on a 25-year design, build and operate concession and completed ahead of schedule.
The Noosa Council gazetted a Strategic Plan to guide development over the next seven to ten years. According to this plan a resident population upper limit of 56,600 (more recently revised to 61,100) was envisaged.
The eroded foreshores of Noosa Spit were replenished by dredging sand from the Noosa Inlet. The operation was interrupted by the occurrence of Cyclone Yali.
Premier Peter Beattie opened the $3.6 million Noosa Aquatic Centre at Girraween Court, Sunshine Beach.
A new Hospital opened at Noosaville.
Garden sprinkling restrictions were lifted as a consequence of the introduction of water meters in 1996 and subsequent assessments of consumption patterns.
The Council purchased the 500 environmentally prized hectares on the Noosa North Shore for $3 million. The previous owner, Leisuremark, had insisted to built there 3,400 units, a jet airport, a bridge to Noosa Heads, a golf course and a lake system. The acquisition of the land by the Council followed 10 years of legal battle over these development schemes.
The Regional Skate Park adjacent to the Noosa Aquatic Centre at Girraween was officially opened.
The Shire water treatment plant at Lake Macdonald was upgraded and augmented.
The Council relocated its Noosaville Works Depot further up Eumundi Road to the former Energex depot on 31st July.
Badly eroded sections of Noosa’s Main Beach were restored using sand dredged from the river mouth.
A free Holiday Bus service over the Christmas/New Year holiday period was introduced in order to reduce traffic congestion.
The Wallace House reopened after restoration. The historic landmark had suffered substantial fire damage in 1999.
The Council launched its new Cabomba harvester to combat aquatic weed infestation which had occurred in its Lake Macdonald water storage area.
The historic Parkyn’s Hut opened as the Tewantin Heritage and Tourist Information Centre. It is located adjacent to the Royal Mail Hotel.
The first stage of the Eenie Creek arterial road was completed (Eumundi Road to Reef Street).
The development company Ariadne withdrew from plans to develop the 51 hectare Shire Business Centre, at Eenie Creek, Noosaville. Brisbane firm W.A. Stockwell Pty Ltd took on the project.
The upgrade of the Noosaville Foreshore commenced. The cost of the award-winning project amounted to $2.2 million.
On the recommendation of the community-based Tourism Collaborative Board, the Council introduced a rate-based tourism levy. As well as that the Council established the Tourism Community Sector Board, the Arts & Heritage Board, the Economic Board, the Environmental Board and the Social Board to help guide strategic and long term planning.
The staged development of the Noosa Trail Network in the Kin Kin, Cooran and Lake Macdonald areas commenced.
The decommissioned Boral lower mill site at Cooroy was handed over to the Council for community purposes such as fine furniture design.
The staged construction of 250 new car parking spaces in Noosa Junction commenced. For this purpose Cooyar Street was realigned towards the National Park. The project was completed in 2003.
As a consequence of long months of drought, water restrictions were introduced as a short-term measure.
To counteract erosion on Noosa’s Main Beach the Council opted for a scheme to recycle sand from the western end of the Main Beach (on the ocean side of the river mouth groyne) to the Park Road end of Main Beach conveying it via a pipeline which is mostly concealed. The alternative option in consideration had been to construct an artificial reef. After years of research this option had been discarded. Trials with a submerged sand pump commenced in December. In January the results were considered successful and the test run was extended to July 2006 while plans were developed for a permanent installation.
W.A. Stockwell Pty Ltd was issued with a development permit to construct the proposed Shire Business Centre (SBC) at Eenie Creek Road, Noosaville, which today is named Noosa Civic. The permit was based on the condition that the centre would not open until the end of January 2006. This condition was aimed at coordinating the opening of the centre with the scheduled completion of the new arterial road Walter Hay Drive (Emu Mountain Road to Eenie Creek Road). This road building was publicly financed. As provided in the Shire’s agreement the State Government was to meet interest charges from July 2006 on construction cost and in due course to fully fund the project.
The northern section of the Walter Hay Drive was completed.
In response to resident demand, the State Government transferred the South Peregian Beach area from Maroochy into Noosa Shire at the March elections.
The sewerage scheme of the Shire’s coastal section was completed. The multi-million dollar project had been executed according to a five-year programme.
Stage two of the construction of Eenie Creek Road (Reef Street to Langura Street) began. This stage included a 515 metre bridge across Weyba Creek.
A petition against the Government’s intention to amalgamate the Shires of Noosa, Maroochy and Caloundra attracted 18,747 signatures (most of them in just one day at Federal election booths) and was presented to State Parliament.
The Shire’s Living Smart Building Awards (aka the Glossies) were launched. They are intended to raise awareness amongst designers, builders and owners about environmentally friendly construction and use of buildings.
The smelly algae Hincksia sordida infested Noosa’s Main Beach for much longer than usual, creating a nuisance from October until the end of the year. It is non-toxic and occurs naturally with the prevailing north wind.
Healthy Waterways were commissioned to undertake an urgent study to determine the origin and behaviour of the algal blooms, to determine whether or not accumulations can be managed and alleviated on a local or regional scale. Expressions of interest were sought for mitigation measures such as an off-shore diversion net, a drag net and an algae collection and removal system.
The Noosa River Plan was endorsed by State Cabinet after a decision making process which took years. The initiatives in the Plan are intended to contribute to our A rated waterway in a sustainable way. They are to be implemented in stages.
As part of the SHINE (Safe Homes in Noosa Everyday) project, the Christian Outreach Church, Zonta, community and Council joined forces to build three dwelling units to provide temporary shelter for victims of domestic violence. The construction was accomplished over three weekends.
The construction of the southern section of the Walter Hay Drive began.
The Noosa Community Environment Trust was launched in order to encourage benefactors to make tax-free donations towards local environmental projects or to contribute property holdings to the Shire’s environmental land bank.
The Noosa Shire ceased to exist as it was merged with Maroochy Shire and the City of Caloundra to form the Sunshine Coast Regional Shire.
In March, residents of the former Noosa Shire went to the polls to vote on a referendum whether or not Noosa should de-amalgamate from the Sunshine Coast. 82.6% of voters were in favour of de-amalgamation.
On 1st January, Noosa Shire was officially re-established as an independent local government area.