Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Mount Coot-tha Lookout

Brisbane is a hilly city, and the highest hill is Mount Coot-tha, formerly known as One Tree Hill. It probably is a hill rather than a mountain - hardly an Everest, Mount Coot-tha has been measured at 287 metres. In some places a mountain is not a mountain if it is less than 300 metres in height, but mostly local custom determines the status of a hill or mountain. Mount Coot-tha is part of the Taylor Range which runs along the western edge of Brisbane.

Mount Coot-tha is only about 6 km from the CBD, and is a favoured spot for sightseers to look over the city. Here is a recent daytime photograph taken from the top, looking east towards Moreton Bay and North Stradbroke Island.
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(Photo: © 2013 the foto fanatic)

Apparently the first recorded European ascent of Mount Coot-tha was in 1828, and the energetic climber was none other than the commandant of the penal settlement Captain Patrick Logan. The Turrbal people had obviously climbed the hill prior to this time though - it was one of the best spots for gathering honey, known to them as ku-ta. In a far-sighted move the area was declared a public recreation reserve in 1880, and the former One Tree Hill was officially called Mount Coot-tha, a nod to the indigenous inhabitants of the area.

Since then the place has become the de-facto tourist hot-spot and buses arrive every day to give visitors a look over Brisbane. Brisbane people are also drawn to the kiosk and restaurant that adjoin the lookout. Here are the Duke and Duchess of York near the lookout during their visit to Brisbane in 1927. 
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(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #62463)

Here is a 1966 colour photograph of the lookout and the kiosk.
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(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #204785

And here is the kiosk today.
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(Photo: © 2013 the foto fanatic)

Although I had a subtle dig at Coot-tha being called a mountain, there are advantages in being taller than the surroundings, even if only slightly. When someone wished to buy One Tree Hill in 1865 the request was knocked back because it was needed as a trigonometrical point for surveying purposes. When television started in Brisbane in 1959 the broadcasters selected Mount Coot-tha as the obvious place to erect the transmission towers which are still based there today. Here is a 1966 photograph of the Channel 7 studio and tower. 
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(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #204790)

Mount Coot-tha today is not only the kiosk and the lookout. There are walking tracks from adjoining suburbs such as The Gap and Chapel Hills. Barbecue and picnic areas dot the entire summit, and there is a botanical gardens and a planetarium too.
Click here for a Google Map.

tff 

2 comments:

  1. When I was a uni student in the 1966-9 era, I visited Brisbane each year on youth movement business. None of the local boys could afford his own car, but one lad borrowed his dad's and showed me Brisbane from Mt Coot-tha's favourite parking spot. I rememer it very fondly :)

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