HISTORY OF THE GLASSHOUSE MOUNTAINS



There are three histories of the Glasshouse Mountains, which when woven together produce the awe-inspiring feeling that equates the scenery of these magnificent mountains.  The histories are the geologic history (millions of years), aboriginal history (dreamtime) (thousands of years), and the European history (hundreds of years).

Geology

Australia is a remnant part of one of the oldest continents of Earth, Pangaea, which included what is now India, Antarctica, South America and Africa.  With the break-up of Pangaea, Australia headed in a northerly direction and is still moving north today.  About 65 million years ago, Australia started moving over a hot spot, with vulcanism forming in North Queensland.  25 - 20 million years ago, Australia had moved sufficiently enough north for the south-east Queensland/ north-east New South Wales area to have vulcanism.  This produced the Glasshouse Mountains, the Tweed Shield volcano, Main Range part of the Great Dividing Range and the Focal Peak volcano near Mount Barney.

This hot spot is currently between Victoria and Tasmania under Bass Strait.

Erosion since the vulcanism ceased in the Glasshouse Mountains, produced the Glasshouse Mountains sitting on a low plain with the origial land surface forming the background to the north, south and west of these mountains.


Aboriginal History

The traditional land owners of this area is the Gubbi Gubbi tribe, which had land from the north of the Brisbane River to the Mary River.  The Glasshouse Mountains had significant meaning to these people who believed that the spirits of the dead resided on the mountains and to climb them was taboo. 

Legend of the Glasshouse Mountains

It seems that Tibrogargan, the father, and Beerwah, the mother, had many children - Coonowrin (the eldest), Beerburrum, the Tunbubudla twins,
Coochin, Ngungun, Tibberoowuccum, Miketeebumulgrai and Elimbah.  According to the story there was also Round who was fat and small, and Wild Horse who was always straying away to paddle in the sea.

One day, when Tibrogargan was gazing out to sea he noticed a great rising of the water. Hurrying off to gather his younger children in order to flee
to the safety of the mountains to the westward, he called out to Coonowrin to help his mother, who by the way, was again with child. Looking back to
see how Coonowrin was assisting Beerwah, Tibrorgargan was greatly angered to see him running off alone. He pursued Coonowrin and, raising his club,
struck the latter such a mighty blow that it dislocated Coonowrin's neck, and he has never been able to straighten it since.

When the floods had subsided and the family had returned to the plains, the other children teased Coonowrin about his crooked neck. Feeling ashamed,
Coonowrin went to Tibrogargan and asked for forgiveness, but filled with shame at his son's cowardice, Tibrogargan could do nothing but weep copious
tears, which, trickling along the ground, formed a stream which flowed into the sea.

Then Coonowrin went to his brothers and sisters, but they also wept at the shame of their brother's cowardice. The lamentations of Coonowrin's parents
and his brothers and sisters at his disgrace explain the presence today of the numerous small streams of the area.

Tibrogargan then called Coonowrin, asking him why he had deserted Beerwah; at which Coonowrin replied that as Beerwah was the biggest of them all she
should be able to take care of herself. He did not know that Beerwah was again pregnant, which was the reason for her great size. Then Tibrogargan
turned his back on Coonowrin and vowed that he would never look at him again.

Even today, Tibrogargan gazes far out to sea and never looks around at Coonowrin, who hangs his head and cries, his tears running off to the sea.
His mother Beerwah, is still heavy with child as it takes a long, long time to give birth to a mountain.

All through the area can be found evidence of aboriginal culture.  Some ridgetops in the area produce axe and spear heads; there are midden heaps along the Moreton Bay coast; and axe grinding grooves, the best example of which is those in the creek bed near the Rocky Creek Scout Camp at Landsborough.  The D'Aguilar Highway follows, for the most part, the route taken by the people to travel to the Bunya Mountains for the gatherings held every three years.

European History

In 1770, Captain Cook, on the Endeavour, sailed up the east coast of Australia on an expedition to confirm the existence of the "Great South Land".  While on this travel, and at the same time as he discovered and named Moreton Bay he noticed in the distance a group of mountain peaks.  These peaks resembled the shapes of the glasshouses in his native Yorkshire, and so he named them the Glasshouse Mountains.

In 1797 as part of his expedition to explore as much of Australia as possible, Matthew Flinders arrived at Bribie Island.  From there he sailed up the Pumicestone River (as it was then) and into Glass Mountain Creek bfore landing and setting off on foot with an aim to climb Mount Tibrogargan.  Having arrived near the base on July 26, 1797 and setting up camp, he discovered just how steep the mountain was to climb and opted for an easier climb of Mount Beerburrum.  The site of this camp is near where Matthew Flinders Park is now situated on the Glasshouse Mountains Road.



Glasshouse Mountains National Park

Much of the current Glasshouse Mountains National Park has been protected under prior legislation since 1954, but was dedicated under the Nature Conservation Act 1992 in 1994, and covers an area of 883 hectares.  Further addition to this protected area is currently being processed as part of the South East Queensland Forest Agreement. 

The Glasshouse Mountains are a group of 13 volcanic plugs in the Sunshine Coast hinterland. They are the remnants of tertiary volcanic intrusions which solidified below the surface and have been exposed by subsequent erosion of the overlying material. These dome-shaped hills and sharp conical mountains are of striking appearance, rising abruptly above the surrounding flat coastal plain. The Glasshouse Mountains National Park consists of seven discrete areas, containing eight of the peaks.  The National Park protects 'islands' of natural habitat for flora and fauna in a surrounding landscape largely modified for pine plantations and agriculture. The park contains five endemic vascular plant species and significant populations of several other species of limited distribution.

Aboriginal association with the area is reflected in the names of many of the peaks and associated stories. Several shell middens and other cultural sites occur within the park. The mountains were recorded by Captain James Cook as he sailed up the coast in 1770. He referred to their resemblance to 'Glass Houses', although his precise meaning is unclear.  The peaks of the Glasshouse Mountains are a popular recreational venue for bushwalkers, rock-climbers and sightseers.


Further information:


Information about the Glasshouse Mountains

Geology of the Glasshouse Mountains

Maps of surrounds of Glasshouse Mountains and Walking tracks of the Glasshouse Mountains


© 2005 Gavin Dale, Glasshouse Bushwalkers Club Inc.
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