Day 1: Redcliffe, Queensland
This lovely hand coloured photograph was taken at Woody Point around 60 years before I was born. Woody Point is one of the hamlets on the Redcliffe Peninsula, situated about 30 kilometres north of Brisbane. Redcliffe, in the early days of European settlement, was a place for day trippers and holiday makers, who would spend their time swimming, fishing and picnicking at the seaside, under the shade of huge Moreton Bay Fig trees.
Not much has changed since those days, Redcliffe is still very popular with day trippers, who bring their families , eskys, fold up chairs and food for barbeques.
Redcliffe was my first home. As a child and a teenager, I also spent a lot of time there with my family and my Godparents, who lived there until they passed away. In many ways, Redcliffe had a big influence on my love of the coast and the ocean, which I mention in this post from January 2013, titled SCANZ2013: Crossing borders – identity, culture and place.
The site of Redcliffe has a very interesting history. It was the original site of the colony of Brisbane, which was later disbanded for the current site of the city. Mr Wikipedia says:
Before European settlement, the Redcliffe Peninsula was occupied by the indigenous Ningy Ningy people. The native name is Kau-in-Kau-in, which means Blood-Blood (red-like blood).
Redcliffe holds the distinction of being the first European settlement in Queensland, first visited by Matthew Flinders on 17 July 1799. Explorer John Oxley recommended “Red Cliff Point” – named after the red-coloured cliffs visible from Moreton Bay – to the Governor Thomas Brisbane for the new colony, reporting that ships could land at any tide and easily get close to the shore. The party settled in Redcliffe on 13 September 1824, under the command of Lieutenant Henry Miller with 14 soldiers, some with wives and children, and 29 convicts. However, this settlement was abandoned after one year and the colony was moved south to a site on the Brisbane River at North Quay, 28 km (17 mi) south, that offered a more reliable water supply. For more information on Redcliffe’s history see http://www.redcliffehistoricalsociety.com
Redcliffe became a pastoral district in the 1860s and in the 1880s boomed as a seaside resort town with the paddlesteamer Koopa making regular trips to its jetty from 1911.
This image is of the steamer Boko not the Koopa, but still gives a great idea of what those times would have been like for the tourists visiting the area.
When I go back to South East Queensland to see family and friends, there is usually a trip back to Redcliffe, to walk along the boardwalk, check out the markets or swim in the lagoon. It is a place that brings back many happy memories of all different stages of my life – as a child, a teenager, an adult and as a parent. One of my happiest memories was when I took my son there when he was around five. To see his delight in climbing the old Moreton Bay Figs took me straight back to my childhood and my own enjoyment of climbing these magnificent trees. I remember his face shining with delight when I joined him up in the branches to sit, chat and look out to the bay.