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).
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
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
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.
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.
of the Glasshouse
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.