In 1906 the Springbrook Plateau
was available under land ballot for selection for the purpose of farming.
Parcels of land were selected under a freehold tenure requiring five years personal
residence by the selector and certain improvements within a specified time. The blocks
were graded first and second class , according to fertility and location with a charge of
£2 per acre for first class and £1 per acre for second class blocks, and the
awesome task of clearing the land was taken up by farmers mainly from the Northern Rivers
district of NSW .
In 1906 an access road was still under construction. It was hand built, using pick
and shovel, by the prisoners of Boggo Road Jail under the supervision of the Labour
In most cases dwellings constructed by the early settlers consisted of slab huts,
split or pit-sawn from timber on the properties ,with stringybark roofing.
Provisions had to be bought at Nerang and transported by horse-drawn transport to
the junction of Pine Creek Road and the Numinbah Valley Road. From there it all had to be
carried on their backs , giving an insight to the reason of the naming of the last steep
pinch of the road known as "Heartbreak Corner".
Springbrook , known as "Land of the Tall Timber" by timber-getters , was
originally called Springwood but the mail kept being sent to a place of the same name in
the Blue Mountains in New South Wales, so selectors changed the name to Springbrook in
|So dense were
the forest areas that references have been made to the rate of clearing done with axe
& cross-cut saw that took about a year to clear & grass enough country to feed one
In hindsight the average farm portion allocated to each
ballot winner was too small to sustain an economic farming return
resulting in the decimation of most of the forested areas.
today's generation who generally support replanting trees in lieu
of clearing , one must realize that the condition of the land
ballot system in the early years encouraged clearing to promote
farming and it was the only way then that families could exist .
This Marara tree dwarfs the early settlers who used axe and
cross-cut saws to clear the land for farming.
The property of John Gillespie
(standing on the springboard top LHS)
where this rainforest giant was felled is now the location of the Springbrook
|On 26 April
1911 the first school in Springbrook opened with a class of 15. The first headmistress was
Miss Elizabeth McMahon.
year old tallowood tree was felled next to the school as it was considered a danger. The
remains are known today as "the Big Stump".
In 1914 the
track to Mudgeeraba was upgraded but it still had 27 creek crossings.
Cooperatives of farmers transported cream down to Mudgeeraba twice a
week in Queensland buckboards pulled by two to four horses.This
journey of 24 kilometres took five to six hours.
During the 1920s Springbrook became a popular tourist destination,
able to be reached by train via the railway station at Mudgeeraba,
buckboard and cream truck from Brisbane.
The original post office and mail service was run for many years
by the Hardy family.
The post office service in the early years was worth about £2 per
year and the weekly mail service about 5 shillings per week.
The post office was later
located to what is now lot 17 Springbrook Road, on the western side
opposite the walking track to Ee-jung road . This accounts for the old
'mileage' signs to Springbrook being confusing in recent times as it
was from post office to post office that the distances were measured.
For many years the "Welcome to Springbrook" sign preceded
the "Springbrook 10 kilometres" sign on the Wunburra Ridge.
The house from which the post office operated caught fire and burnt to
the ground in the 1950's.
Rudders Canyon Guest House which offered dormitory
accommodation became the post office 1922 with Clem Gillespie using
the guest house as the Post Office and telephone exchange. At
this time the mail service had increased to three days per week for
the reward of 19 shillings per trip to Mudgeeraba and back which took
all day to complete.
The Mudgeeraba Railway Station played an
important part in the success of the dairy industry at Springbrook, making it possible to
transport products further and more efficiently. By 1929, 1200 milking cows were producing
1000 to 1200 gallons of cream each week.
A cream truck became a transport service for visitors to
Springbrook and continued up to the 1940s .
In the late 1960's the government of the day closed the rail line down
and sold off portions of the land.
The success of the new rail line today established at tremendous cost is
a testament to the incredible lack of foresight of that previous
Springbrook around the 1930's was almost devoid of trees. Most of the forest areas
on the plateau visible today are actually regrowth since the decline of the dairy industry
after the second world war.
Con Kurz started the first busline in 1945 and his descendants operate the
Springbrook Busline today.
By the 1940s there were 7 guesthouses, 3 cafes and 4 self-contained units.
The decline of the dairy industry after the
second world war progressed to a point in the late 1950's where farmers were permitted to
subdivide parcels of land (average size 32 perches or 809 sq.m.) off the perimeters of
their holdings to sell in order to survive. in the 1960's 10 acre subdivision was
permitted and a new era of "hobby farmers" emerged adding diversity to
agriculture by planting orchards & fruit vines . Plant nurseries specializing in
floraculture were established in the 1980's. Some of these ventures continue today .
Of the two villages established on the
plateau , Purlingbrook progressed more quickly than did Springbrook due to the more
tolerable climate on the lower elevation of the plateau and it's proximity to Purlingbrook
Falls (328 feet) , the second highest free-falling waterfall in Queensland which is still
a big drawcard for tourists .It is not widely known that Purlingbrook village resulted
originally from a golf course and hotel subdivision . The hotel was proposed to be built
on the eastern side of Springbrook Road on the clifftop on Portion 114 near the corner of
Lyrebird Ridge Road. The proposed golf course ran from the hotel site and included the
Purlingbrook village. Neither the hotel nor the golf course were ever built.
Springbrook National Park, covering 2954ha
comprises reserves on and around Springbrook Plateau, Mt Cougal to the east and Natural
Bridge, Numinbah Valley, to the west. The national park preserves rainforest and eucalypt
forest in the cliff-lined headwaters of the creeks flowing to the Gold Coast.
Springbrook Plateau is a remnant of the northern side of a once huge volcano that was
centered on Mt Warning. The last eruption occurred more than 22 million years ago. The
southern cliffs of Springbrook and Lamington continue in a great circle into New South
Wales marking the rim of that ancient volcanic crater.
23 million years ago there were large volcanic eruptions over South East Queensland which
formed mountains of basalt and rhyolite. One volcano was centred over Tweed Valley and it erupted
mobile basalt flows, the highest point of which was Mount Warning in northern New South
Wales. 10 million years ago the volcano started to die and erosion began to carve the
landscape, resulting in the landscape that we see today. Springbrook
basically resulted from the weathering of the eastern side of this
ancient volcano , evidence of this are the basalt capped rhyolite cliffs that
surround the area that have been exposed by erosion over time.