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"Humpybong: Where it is, and What it is Like" - in 1881

Updated: Jan 4, 2023

The Brisbane Courier Wednesday 9th March 1881 - Page 5 :

"Humpybong: Where it is, and What it is Like" "TO THE EDITOR OF THE BRISBANE COURIER."

"Sir, several letters have appeared recently in your journal concerning Humpybong, all giving more or less vivid and correct descriptions of this really very beautiful watering place. Nevertheless they have, one and all, failed in pointing out its exact locality, and I have several times been asked lately, "But where is Humybong? How do you get to it ? At this moment, when the landowners there are being greatly exercised in their minds as to the proper point at which the proposed jetty is to to erected, as well as several large sales of land, both public and private are advertised to take place, it may possibly be both of interest and advantage to the public to have a brief description of the situation of the place and the route to be followed to reach it. Humpybong is situated on the shores of Moreton Bay, the southern extremity, Woody Point, being immediately opposite Sandgate, the northern, Reef Point, opposite the North Passage. Between these the points lies a range of some eight miles of the smoothest golden sand, broken at intervals by lines of oyster rocks, which jut far into the sea, and which at low water forms a natural jetty, on which those of strong soles, if not of strong minds, can amuse themselves while the tide is coming in by imagining themselves on one of a series of little desert islands, devouring the succulent bivalves meanwhile as fast as they can knock them off the rocks.

The ownership of this beautiful range of coast has, till within the last few years, been in the hands of three or four individuals, Dr. Hobbs owning the most northern point, once round which you enter Deception Bay, which is as different from, or as inferior to, Humpybong as water is to wine. The swarms of mosquitoes, the faint odours that assail one, telling very plainly of the swamp that lies behind. Adjoining Dr. Hobb's land is the Scarborough estate, about which a year ago there were great things predicted This is a fine portion of the beach, and the hotel, which has as yet been an unprofitable speculation to the owners, will no doubt ultimately prove the success it was expected.

Next we come to the portion that belonged to the Rev. T. Jones, a continuation of the fine sandy beach at Scarborough, with little difference except that the cliffs here are beginning to attain the height which culminates at Redcliffe Point, the property of the Rev. J. Sutton. Between the properties of the two reverend gentlemen is the Government township and water reserves—a fine creek of fresh water, which lies it the back of the Redcliffe estate, here discharging itself into the sea. Redcliffe Point is Humpybong proper, and is the spot from which the whole district gained its peculiar name , for it was here that, fifty six years age, the first penal settlement was made, and here, on the determination of the Government to remove the township to the banks of the Brisbane, the house or houses of which it consisted were allowed to go to ruin, or, in the language of the original proprietors of the soil "the humpies were allowed to go 'bong.' Many interesting remains of the first settlement of Queensland are still to be seen there, bricks in plenty on the old brick field, and the remains of the old fencing made on the old style, namely, bringing the rail to a point which was inserted in the round hole made in the post to fit it. Redcliffe Point is the boldest and highest cliff along the shore, sharp, jagged and of a deep red colour; the waves dash against it at high tide, and every succeeding year some new disintegration acknowledges the mighty powers of the great waters. The sands immediately south of Redcliffe Point are the firmest and most expansive of the whole range-, so firm and hard that a horse's hoofs scarcely leave an impression. Here someday we may find the Rotten Row of the new world—a prospect distant as yet, it must be owned, but still not so remote as the period at which the inevitable New Zealander shall muse over the ruins of London Bridge. By Redcliffe Point is the deepest water along this portion of the coast, offering great facilities for the construction of a jetty.

After the Redcliffe estate comes St. Leonard's and Woody Point, which latter faces Sandgate, the rocks forming the latter being remarkably picturesque; the fishing is excellent here, al- though the same may be said of the whole portion of the coast. The sands are a little too freely studded with pieces of rock to make bathing quite an unalloyed enjoyment, though of course there are many places where the agreeable pastime can be indulged in with impunity; indeed, for fishing, bathing, and boating, Humpybong can hold its own against all competitors. After turning Woody Point we enter Bramble Bay, where, as its companion bay at the northern end, all the invigorating sea breeze is lost, and we enter into a new atmosphere; in fact, the change that strikes one in the course of a few yards is almost magical. So much for the kind of guide-book description of that portion of the Moreton Bay coast called Humpybong. Now for the route. Leaving Brisbane by the Bowen Bridge-road, which leads up past the hospital, through Lutwyche, and on to the Gympie-road, along which run the telegraph wires. Following these we cross the bridges over the South Pine, the Four-mile Creek, and the North Pine River, up a sharp hill immediately in front, and then goodbye to the friendly wires. Here, where two roads meet, we take the one to the right, and from this point we shall find numerous handbills pointing the roads to the several estates, to each of which there is a clear and good road. It is an excellent road the whole way from Brisbane, and after crossing the North Pine it is perfectly level, The drive can easily be accomplished in four hours, at the end of which, when the beautiful panorama of sea and shore bursts on one's sight, one feels richly repaid for the fatigue of the drive, if fatigue it be. Trusting to your kindness to insert this guide to a place which ought to be better known than it is. I am yours &c. A LOVER OF HUMPYBONG. (Although not the owner of an acre or an allotment)"

Redcliffe Agricultural Reserve 1861:

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