A Visitor's Guide
For countless generations before the coming of the Europeans, the Redcliffe Peninsula was the home of a clan of aborigines called the ‘Ningy Ningy’. Their territory included the entire Peninsula and stretched around Deception Bay to Toorbul Point.
The first English explorer to set foot on the Peninsula was Lt. Matthew Flinders, who landed nearWoody Point and Clontarf Point on 17th July 1799 while exploring Moreton Bay. He bestowed the name of Red Cliff Point on the Peninsula.
In September 1823, three ship-wrecked timber-getters by the name of Pamphlett, Finnegan and Parsons landed near Clontarf Point from aboriginal canoes and were befriended by the ‘Ningy Ningy’.
On 5th December 1823 John Oxley spent an afternoon exploring on the Peninsula after returning from his exploration of the Brisbane River. He found some waterholes, believed to be in Humpybong Creek.
On 14th September 1824 the brig ‘Amity’ brought a party of officials, soldiers, their wives and children, and 29 convicts. They landed on the beach near the mouth of Humpybong Creek to form a convict settlement.
The settlement progressed with temporary huts being initially built for the group. They later constructed a store, prisoners barracks, a kitchen, a weir, well, whipping post, gaol, guard room, brick kiln, a soldiers barracks and commandants house. The stores and main landing place were located where the Redcliffe Jetty now juts out into Moreton Bay.
Gardens were dug and vegetables planted; however the settlement only existed on the Peninsula for eight months due to aboriginal attacks, mosquitoes and a lack of safe anchorage facilities. In May 1825 the settlement was moved to the banks of the Brisbane River, which offered greater protection and calmer anchorage for shipping.
A few buildings were left standing at Redcliffe and it is claimed that the local aborigines, with a nice sense of irony, called the derelict remains ‘oompie bong’ meaning ‘dead house’. The name stuck and the Redcliffe Peninsula was later called Humpybong.
Farming began in the 1860s and urbanisation commenced about 1880.
Redcliffe remained an isolated retreat until 1935 when one of the engineering marvels of Queensland, the Hornibrook Highway, was built. This stretches 2.74 km across the mouth of the Pine River and Hay’s Inlet and is the longest road bridge in Australia.
It linked Redcliffe to Brisbane and particularly after World War ll, was instrumental in the rapid growth of the Redcliffe area. Today Redcliffe is one of the popular outer city beachside retreats for Brisbaneresidents. It is pleasant and a thriving centre which officially became a city in 1959.