The area known as the Redlands, is situated along 50 kilometers of Moreton Bay coastline, midway between Brisbane and the Gold Coast, and is 28 kilometers southeast of Brisbane. This land is predominately a coastal plain crossed by rivers and slow moving creeks. Accompanying the mainland, are a group of Moreton Bay islands, including North Stradbroke, Coochiemudlo, Russell, Macleay, Lamb, and Karragarra islands.
The coast region of Southeast Queensland was home to a large Aboriginal population before the arrival of the Europeans. Fishing provided an important supply of food and also features prominently in the region’s Aboriginal culture. Dugong and various types of shellfish were plentiful. The Aboriginal people living in the area belong to the Kabi, Wakki, Nunukal, Nugi and Gurenpul tribes.
Captain Cook named Point Lookout on the northeastern tip of North Stradbroke Island in 1770. Matthew Flinders, on board the Norfolk in 1799, passed Point Lookout and spent several days exploring the Bay. English naval captain J.H Rous named Stradbroke Island and Dunwich after his father, the First Earl of Stradbroke, Viscount Dunwich. Later the channel was named in his honour – Rous Channel.
Free settlement was permitted by 1839 following the closure of the Moreton Bay Penal Colony. Three years later, local land was available for sale to settlers and plans were drawn up for a township at Cleveland Point. This site had been especially chosen for maritime purposes such as shipping. However, Governor George Gipps, while travelling north from Sydney to visit these new settlements, is said to have arrived at Cleveland by boat only to find that the tide was out. After having had to wade through mud to reach shore he was so irate that he refused to consider Cleveland as a contender for the capital, or even the major port.
The locals often had to contend with shipwrecks. In 1847 more than 40 people died when the paddleboat Sovereign was shipwrecked and local aborigines saved many passengers from the sinking vessel. Shipwrecks continued to be problematic. Today, the area and surrounding islands draws tourists to remaining shipwrecks. Cleveland was proclaimed a township in 1850. Then, Cleveland Point was known as Emu Point.
In the early 1840s, the first jetty was built at Cleveland Point, coinciding with boat building as an industry. A wool store and a customs house were built next to the jetty, and a sawmill soon began business.
In 1853 Captain Louis Hope arrived at Ormiston. He commenced building his magnificent home in 1862, sparing no expense in the building. This still stands today, as the historical Ormiston House. Captain Hope also built St. Andrews Anglican Church, still in existence, for family and household worship.
In 1863, he planted 20 acres of sugar cane and erected a mill at Ormiston to crush the cane. He was also credited with employing some of the first labourers of Pacific Island and Hawaiian origin, paying them £6 a year in addition to their keep. The labourers were called to and from the fields with farm bells and there is one on display in the Redlands Museum today.
After the demise of the cotton industry, sugar became the state's primary agricultural product. Sugar cane was extensively grown at Mt Cotton by the German population who settled there.
Interestingly, families, such as Holzapfel, Benfer, Heinemann and Von Senden, insisted that all the St. Paul's Lutheran baptismal records and minutes be recorded in German until the 1920s.
In 1864, the paddle steamer Walrus was built at Cleveland and operated around the coastal settlements of Moreton Bay. By then, the population of the Cleveland area was 145 -75 males and 70 females.
The first lighthouse, a wooden structure, was erected in 1866. It was built to replace the original navigation light, which was simply a kerosene light on a wooden pole. The first keeper was Jim Troy.
In recent history, the area was referred to as the ‘Salad Bowl of Queensland’ and once produced 80 per cent of the vegetables on sale at the Brisbane markets.
The entire area was originally known as the Cleveland district, but with the establishment of the Cleveland township, it became known as the Redlands.
The area was one of the smallest shires in Queensland, but is now referred to as a city by local council standards. The Redland City Council is based in Cleveland.
Redlands is also the most densely populated and fastest growing. In the 1970s its population more than doubled to 33 000 and in 2004 was approximately 128 000, with an anticipated rise of 1.6 per cent every year.
This information is derived from written historical accounts. We at Redlands Realty consider it to the best of our knowledge.