historical photos

Courtesy Sunshine Coast Daily 30 Years 31st July 2010, Nambour

1973 Aerial photo courtesy QImagery

In the Wake of the Raftsmen

A Survey of Early Settlement in the Maroochy District up to the Passing of Macalister's Act (1868)


by E. G. HEAP, B.A.

(Abridged from the manuscript in the Oxley Memorial Library)

The majority of the earliest settlers of the Maroochy District are to be found in the ranks of these timber men.^*

In September 1865, Pettigrew, accompanied by James Low, went for a three-day ride, exploring the Nambour area. He was met by a timber-man named Richard Jones, who was foreman of two teams which were drawing cedar to Petrie's Creek. Jones must have already spent at least some months in the area, for he was very familiar with the country for miles around. Pettigrew wrote :^^

The country is all very densely timbered. The tops of the ridges only are grassy and some not even that. The low ridges near watercourses are covered with oak, box, turpentine, blackbutt, &c. The scrubs on creeks contain cedar (if not cut) flooded gum, toolun, and bunya . . . The place called Nambour to N.W. Petrie's Creek is good pasture, but cattle do not thrive on it, being driven about of blackfellows too much at the bunya season. This is the great bunya country. It extends about 10 miles further south and goes north to about Pinbarren. Agricultural land I saw little unless for fruit trees, being too steep for the plough. I believe that the lower part of Petrie's Creek is suitable. Buderim is certainly the best land hereabout. Still where such immense timber grows ought to grow food for man if it was drained. In the densely-timbered parts ferns or bracken are plentiful and prevent grass growing. I am not sure if this sort of country is not covered during floods. Rather an important question to people intending cultivating sugar.

Lander's seventh tender, which was received by the Crown Lands Office in May, 1861, was for a run called Mooloolah Back Plains ... one can see that Mooloolah Back Plains included the land north and south of Nambour from the South Maroochy to the Mooloolah (i.e. the heart of the bunya country).