King Island Wellington Point

At low tide you can walk across the sand to King Island

King Island was named by surveyor Robert Dixon who also named Wellington Point. It was declared a Reserve in 1887. It is managed by a volunteer group and Redlands City Council and is protected under the Nature Conservation Act 1992. It is part of the Moreton Bay Marine Park.

A family even lived on the island from December 1904 to April 1906. The Phillips family had seven children. One of their daughters, Josephine had polio and a doctor advised the family to bathe her in salt water every day. They moved to the island with a maid and lived in a large marquee with a wooden floor. The dining room and kitchen were under a large cotton tree. Some of the children slept in a tent. Mr Phillips rowed a dinghy across to the mainland every day to go to work. Currently the island is a protected area and there are no buildings there. You can walk to the island at low tide, and walk around the island.

King Island 1890-1900 State Library of Queensland

The Island is smaller than it used to be because the mangroves have been destroyed. Mangroves protect the land, and also create a base for sea life such as crabs, and shells that live around the roots of the mangroves. Here the island ecology has been damaged.

Damaged mangroves on King Island


Quandamooka People have lived on and around this area for tens of thousands of years.
Geological evidence dates occupation at a minimum of 21,000 years. Local people identify the Noonucal, Gorenpul and Nughi as the traditional owners of what is now known as Redlands Coast and its adjoining areas. When the European settlers arrived in the 1820s, the Aboriginal people in the area we now call Redland City numbered more than 5,000. The new arrivals caused huge change to Quandamooka lifestyles and to the environment. Wellington Point’s Aboriginal name was Cullen Cullen, King Island’s Aboriginal name was Yerubin or Erobin.

This same area of land in Raby Bay, now the Redland Bay Council Offices, had been a great Aboriginal meeting place for countless years, with the earliest European settlers reporting large gatherings of up to 500 people who camped there, coming together from the islands and inland greater Brisbane and Ipswich areas, to exchange fish and shellfish for things like Bunya nuts and other food that was not in abundance locally, as well as items that they had made. In 1969 Redland Shire Council built a new red brick building on the same site. The Shire office was sent to Victoria Point and the Shire Hall to Wellington Point, to be re purposed as Girl Guides Association halls

One of the first settlers in the area was Gilbert Burnett. He arrived in Australia from England with his family in 1866 and after spending some time at the Gympie Goldfields, married Martha Dawson in 1869. Her father John ran a sugar mill at Manly in the vicinity of the old Edgell Factory. John Dawson became ill and Burnett then managed his mill. When he died the property was sold and Burnett went to work at Richard
Newton’s sugar mill at Redland Bay.

In 1875 Burnett took out a seven year lease on all of Hope’s land on the western side of Hilliards Creek. He established his first home on the current site of Whepstead. The estate was known as Trafalgar Vale. Burnett carried on in the sugar industry with the assistance of Kanaka (South Seaislander) labourers. South Sea Island labourers, or Kanakas, were widely used in the sugar industry.

Cleveland Point was an established watering hole for residents of Brisbane and surrounds by 1885, having 3 hotels; the Brighton (Grand View), the Cleveland (Cassim’s) and the Pier (site of Lighthouse restaurant) and Wellington Point soon followed with the Wellington Point Hotel and store which was opened by John C Wilson c1888 in anticipation of the railway arriving in 1889. Most public meetings at that time were held in the hotel which also dates from about 1888. Other community activities included the Wellington Point Athletics Club, which asked for the road in front of the hotel to be cleared as a running track in June 1890.

Woman and child on King Island 1890.. State Library of Queensland

Of the three Point reserves (Cleveland, Wellington and Victoria) Wellington Point’s is the only one that has had almost no other function since then except as a recreational area (other than during WWII).
Redlands Coast was widely known as Sleepy Hollow for 100 years. In 1961 the population was only 9,000 with many residents being farmers. Then in 1968 Leslie Harrison dam opened and provided a reticulated water supply, followed in 1976 by installation of a sewerage system, fixing many drainage problems and allowing for development. The Commonwealth Games in 1982 and Expo ’88 both attracted visitors to the area, then the return of the trains in the late 1980’s as well as a new 4 lane road (built to Chandler Sports Complex for the Commonwealth Games) made the daily commute to Brisbane from Redlands a more attractive prospect

By 1897 the council had purchased land at the end of the point to be included in the area for public recreation. It was a popular picnic and camping spot with tourists and the boating fraternity. Interestingly, a newspaper report of the day indicated that King Island could be accessed via the spit at any stage of the tide except half an hour before and after high tide.

In later years it was reported that many poultry farmers were taking sand from the beach and King Island to provide shell grit. This may partially explain the depletion of the island and the sand spit, although erosion was also a problem. In 1917 the Manly Sailing Club agreed to clear the island of prickly pear, lantana, and ‘all useless timber and undergrowth’ in order to build two toilets on the island.

The King Island and Wellington Point reserves were already popular picnic and camping spots with tourists and the boating fraternity, and demands from these groups no doubt led to the Cleveland Divisional Board taking control. Slowly, more recreational facilities were added to the Point, but in keeping with the times, most were basic. In 1911 trees were planted and a well was dug to supply campers with water. More ambitious proposals, such as the Railway Department’s 1913 plan to run a tramway to the Point due to popular demand by residents, came to nothing.
As with the other Points, practically all the facilities at Wellington Point were built as a
result of public demand. This usually took the form of lobbying the local authority.
A bathing enclosure was built on the western side of Wellington Point in about 1890 and other facilities, such as water closets (toilets) and men’s and women’s Wellington Point Reserve, 1926. New facilities. BCC bathing sheds, soon followed.
It is not known exactly where the well was. However this 1960’s photo shows a water tank that was erected for campers just left of the kiosk, and it was next to a
bore which supplemented it.

Businessman Alexander James Lamont began subdivision of his property at the end of Wellington Point in 1911 which included Marshall and Champion Lanes. Marshall was one of the first purchasers of the land. He was a Shire Councillor and licensee of the Wellington Point Hotel.

Published by Ladymaggic

Artist, Traveller, Researcher and Writer, currently living in Australia where I photograph and share experiences and events as I travel. Travel photos and videos about many places in Australia​ and the world

2 thoughts on “King Island Wellington Point

  1. Your Blogs are excellent. The pictures are stunning. A lot of the places you write about I have been there and after reading your Posts, I feel I should go again. 👏👍


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