Backward Glance: Happy Summer Holidays

Summer holidays are a time for relaxation and fun with loved ones.

Over the years, families and friends have taken photographs or film to remember the special times when the extended family gathered during the festive season, whether at home or on holiday.

Today, many people take digital images, often on their smart phones, and share their holiday experiences with friends almost immediately, including via social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.

These images capture happy holiday experiences to look back on in years to come.

Many years ago, the traveling photographer captured glimpses of the Near North Coast, recording the changing times for us to appreciate today.

We can see what it was like then, when visitors arrived by early steam train and were collected and driven to the guesthouses.

Some locals loaded up their horse and cart and took their dairy cow along to the campsite to ensure a ready supply of milk while they were at the beach.

Before refrigeration was readily available, fresh was best.

Others brought poultry with them for fresh eggs and meat when they camped in tents near waterways or close to beaches a long way from their homes.

Those were the days when families and friends enjoyed singalongs, fishing and swimming when they had a few days off from their hard-working schedule in the Near North Coast district.

There were not many shops to purchase provisions so most holidaymakers had to be self-sufficient during their time away from home.

Times have changed and these days many visitors travel by fast jet aircraft arriving at the Sunshine Coast Airport for that special holiday.

In 2018, Sunshine Coast Airport was identified as Australia’s fastest growing airport with a 7.2% increase in passenger movements, including domestic and international travellers.

Aviation has come a long way in this region from those early days when WW1 fighter ace pilot Captain Jack Treacey was the first person to land an aeroplane named Queen of Sheba in 1922 at the Brisbane Airport.

After returning from WW1 he purchased Bert Hinkler’s Avro.

This experienced pilot was one of the first to land an aircraft in many of the Sunshine Coast towns, including Nambour, Maroochydore and Caloundra, generally landing on sports grounds or in paddocks.

The locals and early holidaymakers paid to have a thrilling joy flight in a little aircraft – if they could afford it.

Such was the wonderment, people travelled miles just to see those early aeroplanes visiting the region.

Excitement was high in Maleny when in December 1930, the first aeroplane landed at Maleny, in a paddock which is now the site of Maleny High School.

Local business people in Maleny produced a booklet in 1930 promoting the scenic and health virtues of a holiday in the area. This was a forerunner to tourist bureau advertising.

As time progressed, many early tourists discovered the beauty of the region.

The secret was out and guest houses became very popular, catering for large numbers of tourists and holidaymakers in the hinterland with its picturesque scenery or at the beach where the waves rolled in.

One of the first guest houses was Sea Glint which opened in 1888, overlooking Moffat Beach.

Watercraft transported visitors from Brisbane via Pumicestone Passage then along rough bush tracks by horse and cart to their destination.

This was the best way to reach this isolated guest house.

In 1907, there were less that 50 motorcars registered in Queensland.

The roads were boggy and rough.

The North Coast Railway opened in the 1890s and offered a faster and more reliable form of transport to the region.

Buses and holiday transport cars waited at the main railway stations such as Landsborough, Palmwoods and Nambour to pick up the passengers and transport them to their accommodation.

Maroochydore’s first hotel was the Club Hotel, opening for business and accommodation in November 1911, close to the seaside.

The Maroochy River was every angler’s popular rendezvous where fish were plentiful, with more than enough to share with fellow campers.

The camping ground and reserve at Cotton Tree, together with a small kiosk, also had a merry-go-round ready for the holiday season in 1914.

As it is today, Cotton Tree was a popular choice of camping venue.

During the earliest camping times it was a sea of canvas, as everyone camped in tents.

The history of that region goes back to 1888, when the Salvation Army commenced annual camps at Cotton Tree.

These were good times, with happy experiences and games for all, including the children, as they enjoyed the outdoors at this favourite seaside venue.

Boats arrived and departed near Cotton Tree with the river launches, Favourite and Vera, bringing many to the Maroochydore region.

Happy holidaymakers on their way to Cotton Tree often travelled to Nambour Railway station on the main rail line, then by cane tram to the Maroochy River bank.

From there the launches picked them up and took them to Cotton Tree to enjoy some carefree time at the seaside before the return journey home again.

In 1913, in the Caloundra region, Andrew Tripcony started a boat service from Caloundra with the SS Koopa, which moored at Bribie Island.

Tripcony’s transport travelled via the shallow safe waters of Pumicestone Passage.

SS Koopa was a popular vessel which transferred many travellers to and from Brisbane steaming through the water ways of Moreton Bay.

We’ll have more on summer holidays from the past next week.

Thanks to Sunshine Coast Council’s Heritage Library Officers for the words and Picture Sunshine Coast for the images.

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