Wellington Point Settlement to 2000
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The timeline to 1950 was compiled by Redland Shire Council’s Local Historian from primary and secondary sources. The post-1950 section was compiled mainly from local newspapers unless otherwise indicated.
Government surveyor Robert Dixon began surveying Stradbroke and Moreton Islands. He and Surveyor Warner also surveyed the coast from Brisbane River to Innes (Coochiemudlo) Island.
The first land sales at Wellington Point took place. The land sold was on the Point and back to Birkdale Road. Many buyers were Brisbane business people.
One of the big purchasers was Thomas Lodge Murray Prior. Another purchaser of Wellington Point land was Captain Louis Hope, who built Ormiston House and established a major sugar plantation and milling operation in Ormiston.
Gilbert Burnett leased much of Captain Louis Hope’s Ormiston/Wellington Point sugar plantation lands when Hope returned to England. Burnett, who was a driving force in the development of the Wellington Point area, set up a sugar mill, bone mill and saw mill on the Wellington Point side of Hilliards Creek over the next few years.
Gilbert Burnett bought the land he had been leasing from Captain Louis Hope.
The original Wellington Point Hotel was built about this time.
By 1883 Gilbert Burnett had phased out his sugar operations and devoted his time and effort to his sawmill near Fernbourne Rd.
The first Methodist services were held in Wellington Point in the home of John Woodgate. The Wellington Point Methodist Church was officially opened on Easter Sunday 1888. It was destroyed by lightning and fire in November 1920 and a new building erected overlooking the railway station.
The area from Tingalpa Creek, Capalaba, to Eprapah Creek, Victoria Point, and north of Boundary Rd, came under the control of the new Cleveland Divisional Board. Previously it had been administered by the Tingalpa Divisional Board. The first meetings were held at Gilbert Burnett’s Trafalgar Vale in Wellington Point.
Some of the first major subdivisions occurred in Wellington Point when local driving force Gilbert Burnett turned his attention to land development and subdivided the sugar-growing lands he had bought from Louis Hope. Most lots in this early subdivision were 16 perches. Burnett promoted the promised Brisbane-Cleveland railway line as an incentive to buyers.
Concern that native trees on King Island were being 'wantonly destroyed' led to the island being proclaimed a Reserve. Its control was vested in the Brisbane Sailing Club.
Gilbert Burnett formed the Wellington Point Land Company Ltd and subdivided more of his Wellington Point holdings, especially around the railway station. Edith, Alice and Matilda Streets were named after three of Burnett’s daughters.
The Wellington Point State School opened.
Wellington Point’s first hotel was up and running. A Methodist Church was established next to the hotel about the same time. Most public meetings at that time were held in the hotel.
The railway line to Cleveland opened on 1 November. Trains travelled to Woolloongabba. The railway line led to the development of urban areas along its length as it became possible for commuters to live some distance from Brisbane. The railway line also meant the district’s farmers were more easily able to transport their produce to the Brisbane markets. Other users included day trippers and others visiting the area for its fresh sea air.
The house now known as Whepstead Manor was built. It was one of several houses built by local driving force Gilbert Burnett. The house was built by local builder Patrick Horisk. It was originally named Fernbourne and was renamed Whepstead some time later.
The Wellington Point and Cleveland Agricultural Horticultural and Industrial Association was formed in November. After its first agricultural show 'Cleveland' was dropped from the name due to the lack of interest shown by Cleveland residents.
Local businessman Gilbert Burnett went into liquidation and sold many assets including his house Fernbourne, later known as Whepstead. Burnett managed to retain enough assets to build another of the district’s notable houses, also called Fernbourne. This house also still stands.
The population of the Wellington Point district was 260. It included farmers, vignerons, gardeners, carriers, builders and contractors, fruit growers, fisherman, nurserymen, storekeepers, butcher, engine drivers, station master, boarding house keeper, teacher, saw mill proprietor, constable, hotel keeper, blacksmith and gentlemen. There was also a Wesleyan Church, an athletic club, a progress association, a blacksmith's shop, a butcher and two stores.
The Wellington Point reserve was a popular recreational area and had a designated bathing area and dressing sheds by this stage.
The Wellington Point Progress Association was formed to agitate for an improved train service to the area. Residents felt that the poor service, especially compared with the service to Wynnum and Manly, was preventing the district from achieving the prosperity it deserved.
Wellington Point’s agricultural hall was opened during the Wellington Point Agricultural Horticultural and Industrial Show. The AH & I Association had land adjacent to the school and the hall was transported to this site from Coorparoo. It was used for local shows and community activities for many years. It survived until the early 1970s when it fell into disrepair and was demolished to make way for the pre-school, which began operating in 1975. The land at the tip of Wellington Point had been set aside for public recreation.
King Island became the home of the Phillips family from December 1904 until April 1906. One of the children in the family suffered from polio and medical advice of the day recommended salt water bathing and sea air. King Island was the ideal place. Mr Phillips continued to commute to his bank job in the city.
In 1906 special fruit excursion trains to Wellington Point, Ormiston and Cleveland were run on Saturday afternoons during the strawberry season and tourists were encouraged to visit the fruit gardens and vineyards. Cheap excursions of one sort or another continued to draw crowds to the district throughout the early decades of the century.
Retirees and commuters began to move into the Wellington Point area during this time, as more land was subdivided into housing lots. However, farming remained the main occupation.
The Railway Department introduced rail motors or McKeen cars on the line between Manly and Cleveland, considerably improving the service.
Redland Bay’s St George’s Church of England was moved to Station St, Wellington Point, and renamed St James’. The first service was held on 9 August.
The Railways Department proposed running a tramway from the Wellington Point station to the tip of the Point and back again to service the growing numbers of tourists to the area.
The Cleveland Shire Council resolved to form a Patriotic Fund and Red Cross Fund in the district, and to request the Cleveland and Wellington Point AH & I Societies to make their halls available.
A bathing enclosure was erected on the western side of Wellington Point by the Wellington Point school committee to enable the children to learn to swim. A swimming carnival was held in conjunction with the opening of the enclosure in November that year.
Many trees were planted in the district as part of the Brisbane centenary celebrations. Plantings included banyan figs at Wellington Point.
The first kiosk was established on Wellington Point. It was initially a simple rotunda.
Six large leafed Moreton Bay figs were planted in the ring at Wellington Point in June 1927.
A prospectus was issued for shares in Wellington Point Oil Wells Ltd, which planned to drill for oil on a line from Thorneside to Birkdale, and through to Ormiston. Many residents bought shares in the venture. Drilling began in 1931 and continued for the next few years. Although it never became commercially viable, the venture brought workers and money to the area.
Electricity came to the district. The northern parts were wired up first.
Relief workers constructed log retaining walls at the Wellington Point reserve. The relief workers also built retaining walls on the western side along the beach.
One of Cleveland’s two private hospitals, Bayview, moved to Whepstead Manor in Wellington Point. The hospital continued operating there as Bayview until about 1965, when it was converted into a nursing home.
The Wellington Point jetty was completed.
More than £8,000 was made available for work to be carried out by relief workers in the district during 1937-1938. This included work on steps at the end of Douro Road, Wellington Point.
By 1938, Wellington Point was well established as a camping and leisure venue. It was necessary to mark out allotments for Easter campers; there were penny-in-the-slot machines; the Queensland Ambulance Brigade operated from an old railway carriage on the site during holiday seasons; and the Telegraph newspaper held their sand gardens competitions there.
A wooden slide was completed on the Wellington Point reserve in March 1941. It was a popular addition to the beach through to the 1960s.
A gunnery school for the US Navy was set up on the tip of Wellington Point and operated until 1944. Locals were not allowed on the site and could only access the kiosk and the jetty. The Americans held regular shooting practice, including attempts at ‘bombing’ King Island. A series of gun pits were built along the north east shoreline. A plane towing a silk drogue target would fly over. The target was dropped into the sea when the shooting finished and the local women would row out to fetch the silk targets. (Many Wellington Point homes boasted new silk bedspreads at that time.) In June 1944, US Navy fenced off the reserve on the eastern side although access to the jetty was still available. The American camp was a large one comprising about 1500 men.
By the end of 1944 the pressures of war were easing. Slit trenches in the district were filled in and blacking out removed. Trenches provided at the various parish halls in the district as air raid shelters had become breeding grounds for mosquitoes and committees of management notified they would be filled in and that blacking out of their halls could be removed. Particulars of a government funded subsidy scheme to assist with carrying out post-war work were forwarded to the two Shire Councils.
A former farmhouse was converted into a small hospital/sanatorium called Loma Linda. It was equipped with ‘hydrotherapy and electrical apparatus for giving tonic and invigorating treatments with particular attention given to diets.’ In 2000, the hospital became the Wellington Park Nursing Home.
95 pupils were enrolled at the Wellington Pt State School.
The Royal Theatre at Wellington Point was opened by Federal member The Honourable Joshua Francis, Minister for the Army.
The Birkdale Wellington Point Progress Association was formed.
Hughe Lissamore of Wellington Point set up a chemist, doctors’ surgery, butcher, garage and fish shop.
In September State Cabinet discussed closing the railway between Lota and Cleveland due to lack of patronage. A public meeting was held in protest. Some people favoured the idea because it was believed it would allow the buses to flourish. The rail service closed in November 1960. The closure met with mixed reactions, with the Birkdale/Wellington Point Progress Association describing it as 'one of the greatest blows to progress this district has suffered.'
Discussions were held regarding the possibility of a harbour being built at Wellington Point. The Chamber of Commerce also raised the issue of an industrial area at Wellington Point.
The new Council administration building was officially opened by Qld Premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen. The old Shire Hall in Cleveland found two new homes: one wing became the Victoria Point Guide and Brownie Hut and was officially opened on 28 June, and another wing went to the Wellington Point Girl Guides and was officially opened in October.
In September the water was turned on for households in Wellington Point.
The Shire’s first restaurant/art gallery opened in a house on the corner of Edith St and Main Rd, Wellington Point, by John and Gloria Belitz.
Wellington Point Meals on Wheels opened in November at the Bay View convalescent home, now known as Whepstead.
Wellington Point was popular with the racing/horse fraternity because they could swim their horses there. However, problems between swimmers and horses led to banning of horses between 8am and 5pm.
Koro’s hardware shop in Wellington Point burnt down in June.
The Big Y food market opened opposite the Wellington Point Hotel on 2 July.
The Wellington Point Hall stopped operating as a picture theatre.
The 90-year-old Wellington Point hotel was bulldozed and replaced with a $350,000 hotel-motel complex.
The Bay View convalescent hospital in Wellington Point closed. The hospital operated in Whepstead.
Considerable time was spent in a debate about whether or not Wellington Point should become part of the port of Brisbane. It ended when the State Government selected Fisherman Islands as the site of the $90 million development.
The Wellington Point Kiosk was demolished to make way for a new building.
The Shire’s first Citizen and Young Citizen of the Year awards were held. One of the winners was Grace Beare of Wellington Point for her work as matron of the Bayview Convalescent Home (now Whepstead) and setting up the Shire’s Meals on Wheels organisations.
In July the former goods shed at the Wellington Pt railway station was moved to Robert St for use by the Wellington Pt Scouts.
The Redland Cricketers Club in Wellington Pt was completed in May.
The electrification of the railway line to Thorneside was officially opened on 15 October 1983.
The Wellington Point Uniting Church built in 1923 on Main Rd was demolished to make way for a brick church. The old church had been gutted by fire the previous year. The new Wellington Point Trinity Uniting Church was officially opened in April 1985.
Council announced plans to connect areas west of Main Rd, Wellington Point, to the sewerage system.
The sewering of Wellington Point completed this year meant 80 per cent of the Shire was sewered.
On 26 July 1986 the Thorneside-Wellington Point rail link was opened. Tickets to Central cost $1.80 and a weekly ticket cost $12.
On 24 October, the last stage of the rail link – from Wellington Point to Cleveland – was opened.
Wellington Point State School turned 100.
A 90-bed convention centre was proposed for vacant land next to Whepstead in Wellington Point.
Wellington Point State High School and Redlands College opened their doors.
Plans to have an area between Wellington Point and Ormiston proclaimed the Geoff Skinner Reserve met with opposition from some residents keen to see the area used for a canal development.
The Wellington Point Caravan Park off the Birkdale-Wellington Point road was sold to Glenkoo Holdings for a proposed canal estate.
Redland Shire Council gave in principle agreement to a major 140 lot Birkdale/Wellington Pt subdivision featuring a large lake as its centrepiece. The development is on the site of the former caravan park. The site had been proposed for a canal development previously.