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 Bureau.
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 1907.
|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 horse .|
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.
To today’s generation who generally support replanting trees in leiu 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 .
|On 26 April 1911 the first school in Springbrook opened with a class of 15. The first headmistress was Miss Elizabeth McMahon.|
A 1000 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 by the Hardy family not long after the beginning of settlement.
Rudders Canyon Guest House offered dormitory accommodation and later became the Post Office and telephone exchange.
In 1922 these services were taken over by the Rudder family and the post office was located on 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. The post office service was worth about £2 per year and the weekly mail service about 5 shillings per week.
The old post office no longer remains as in the 1950’s it caught fire and burnt to the ground.
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 .
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 lavas. 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 resulted from the upheaval of the ocean floor , evidence of this are the basalt capped soft rock cliffs that surround the area that have been exposed by erosion over time.