Thursday, January 20, 2011

Kangaroo Point Cliffs

I have previously described Brisbane as a young city, having been first inhabited by Europeans as a convict settlement in 1825 after the abandonment of the original settlement at Redcliffe that had commenced a year earlier. But that's only our history - it is of course part of an ancient continent whose indigenous inhabitants had thousands of years of history before John Oxley came here to survey the place. It is certain that the local aborigines, the Turrbal people, were well aware of the cliffs, as they fished all along the river. Oxley sailed up the Brisbane River about as far as where Goodna is now, and he noted the "high, rocky bank" of Kangaroo Point on the way. Going back, way back - to the development of the mountains in Eastern Australia - the Kangaroo Point cliffs were formed some 220+ million years ago, producing the porphyry or Brisbane Tuff stone that was quarried by the new settlers for roads and buildings. Pictured below around 1886 are the cliffs, with Naval Stores at the bottom and the Anglican Church of St Mary at the top.
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #166641)

A reader of this blog, Cam Dunning, asked to see pictures or paintings of the cliffs prior to quarrying, but that's somewhat difficult because quarrying started in 1826 at the instigation of Captain Patrick Logan when he arrived to take charge of the settlement. The initial quarry sites were quite small; one directly underneath St Mary's and the other below where the TAFE once stood. The photo above shows the bank still covered by vegetation except for an area of exposed rock below the church. The photograph below was taken in 1913, and the quarry was more extensive by then. By the time quarrying finished, there was some 800 metres of the cliff that had been worked.
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #94520)

The cliffs are now an iconic part of the city. Their ochre colour that changes with the light is visible down various corridors in the CBD. The next image was taken in 1969, looking down Edward St from Turbot St, and the cliffs can be seen in the background.
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #lbp00105)

The cliffs have been integrated with the leisure aspects of Brisbane. Reader Cam climbs the cliffs, and people doing just that can be seen in my image below.
(Photo: © 2007 the foto fanatic)

Other facilities such as walking and bicycle paths, kayak hire, together with barbecue areas and coffee shops attract tourists and locals in large numbers. They are even lit at night to make them accessible 24/7.

Click here for a Google Map.


1 comment:

  1. The cafe is an excellent addition I say. I had heard they were able to get their liquor licence despite fears that people, intoxicated folks that is, might fall either off the cliffs or down those narrow and very steep steps. I really like the pic from 1969,can you still see the cliffs from there? Will have to take note next time I drive that way. cheers Katherine


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