|“Each stands in gloomy isolation, silent and alone. One mighty mass of rock stands facing the railway line, cliff fronted, savage, defiant, towering majestically into the clear blue sky, the wild rough stone face all scarred and caverned by the rains and tempests of ten thousand years.”
– Archibald Meston, Queensland Railway And Tourists Guide, 1895.
The Glass House Mountains are 65-75 km north of Brisbane. They are the weathered cores of ancient volcanoes formed around 26 million years ago.
Queensland State Archives, Digital Image ID 5105
They are located on the traditional lands of the Jinibara and Kabi Kabi people. According to Jinibara custom, Mount Beerwah is the ancestral mother and Mount Tibrogargan is the father. Around them are their children.
The name Glass House Mountains was coined by James Cook who sighted them on 17 May 1770, writing in his journal “they are very remarkable on account of their singular form of elevation which very much resembles glass houses which occasioned me giving them that name”.
James Cook, Journal of H.M.S. Endeavour, 1768-1771 (National Library of Australia)
They were explored by Matthew Flinders in 1799. He managed to climb Mount Beerburrum but was unsuccessful in climbing Tibrogargan. They were also explored John Oxley in 1823, Alan Cunningham in 1829, Andrew Petrie in 1839-42 and Ludwig Leichhardt in 1843.
The area was originally known simply as Glass Mountains and was officially renamed Glass House Mountains in 1935.
From the 1860s the area north of Caboolture was opened up to pastoral occupation and timber harvesting. The area around the mountains became an important area for timber and farming, particularly dairy, tobacco and pineapples.
Queensland State Archives, Digital Image ID 2138
Early transport was difficult with the first road through the area opening in 1839, to the west of the mountains. The opening of Gympie Road made the journey somewhat easier and coach traffic increased from 1867 with the discovery of gold at Gympie. Bankfoot House, on the outskirts of the Glass House Mountains township, became a coach stop on the Cobb & Co route between Brisbane and Gympie. Transport was aided by the opening of the railway from Caboolture to Landsborough in 1890, extending through to Gympie in 1891.
The mountains began to feature in tourist brochures from the 1890s when day tripping from Brisbane started to become popular. The township grew and the Glass Mountains Provisional School opened in 1906, becoming Glass Mountains State School in 1910 and Glasshouse Mountains State School in 1935.
Queensland State Archives Item ID107674, Correspondence
The Glass House Mountains National Park, which includes Mount Tibrogargan, Mount Beerwah, Mount Ngungun, Mount Coonowrin, Mount Elimbah, Mount Miketeebumulgrai and Mount Coochin, was established in 1994. Beerburrum Forest Reserve includes Mount Beerburrum, Mount Tibberoowuccum, Mount Tunbubudla and Wild Horse Mountain. All were added to the Queensland Heritage Register in 2007.
Cover image – Queensland State Archives, Digital Image ID 357
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