Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Redcliffe Jetty

It's easy to forget how important sea travel was in the early days of white settlement. With no roads, explorers used boats to navigate their way to different spots on the coastlines. When settlements sprang up, they needed to provide port facilities to enable food supplies and other necessities to reach them.

Queensland's first settlement was in Moreton Bay at Red Cliff Point in 1824, although it only lasted for about a year before being moved up the river to Brisbane. The area became known as Redcliffe, and was pastoral land for decades after that. In the 1880s, the cool breezes and refreshing water of Moreton Bay encouraged holiday makers and day-trippers from Brisbane who could journey there by coach - a four hour trip. A sea journey from the Brisbane port took just over half that time, and a jetty was built at Redcliffe in 1885 to provide landing facilities for the travellers. In 1889 the jetty was extended to 700 feet. Here are a couple of photographs of the jetty from 1906 - firstly an image taken from the esplanade looking over the jetty, and below that is a picture taken from the jetty looking back at the Redcliffe shore.
 (Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #TR1867-0001-0005)
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #TR1867-0001-0009)

By 1911 the SS Koopa was making regular trips to Bribie Island via Redcliffe, and here she is departing Brisbane for such a journey. That's the dome of the Customs House in the background.
 (Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #142772)

In 1922 a new jetty was built to replace the deteriorating original, and they stood side-by-side for a time until the older one was demolished. In 1930 electric lights were switched on at the jetty, and in 1937 a new brick pavilion was built.

This jetty lasted until, having also deteriorated by its exposure to the elements including Cyclone David, it was replaced with the third iteration in 1999. It has heritage lighting and seating and a stylised railway track to mimic the tracks on the old jetties that enabled carts to transport goods to and from the ships. Here is a recent photograph of the entrance to the jetty, and below that, the jetty itself.

(Photos: © 2012 the foto fanatic)

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