Next time you have a Sunday afternoon to spare, why not take a stroll (or drive if you don’t have the energy) along historic Cleveland Point. What better place to start than to visit Queensland’s oldest Banyan Tree. (Pity about the rubbish bins just behind it).
It stands right beside Queensland’s oldest licensed pub that is still operating, The Grand View Hotel.
Grand View Hotel
Francis Bigge was the principal advocate for the establishment of Cleveland as the port for Moreton Bay in the 1840s and 1850s In 1849 he built a large brick hotel. Standing empty for some years, it was known as “Bigge’s Folly”, but today this building (with an additional storey and ‘renovated’) is now the heritage-listed Grand View Hotel. (a)
Right next to the Grand View Hotel is the now restored Johnny Cassim’s Hotel. In its heyday, it stood alone, but is now ‘landlocked’ by private dwellings.
John Cassim was the first publican the district. He conducted the Grand View for Francis Bigge prior to building Cassim’s Hotel about 1860. The hotel was converted into flats after a tree was hurled on to the building during a severe storm in 1929. The former hotel is now heritage listed and has been renovated. (c).
Norfolk Island Pines
The Norfolk Island pine trees at 127 Shore Street North, Cleveland, were planted most likely in the early 1860s by Brisbane Valley squatter Francis Edward Bigge, an enthusiastic promoter of Cleveland as a rival to Brisbane as the state capital.. Francis Bigge occupied the land on which the Norfolk Island Pine trees stand, sometime between 1859 and 1863, if not earlier. (a)
Moreton Bay Figs
Queensland’s Trade Commissioner, William Finucane was a multi linguist, an artist, sculptor, journalist, and musician. (Today he would be known as a polymath). He brought many exotic trees to Cleveland including its beautiful Moreton Bay Fig Trees. Incidentally, the olive groves at St Helena were planted and cultivated under his directions. The main road from Capalaba to Cleveland also commemorates him. (b) (c)
In 1852 Francis Bigge commissioned John Petrie to erect a store at Cleveland, and by March 1853 exports were expected to commence next boiling season. In 1853 Bigge built accommodation for his employees – the building at the corner of Paxton and Shore Streets later used as a courthouse and now a restaurant (the heritage-listed Old Cleveland Court House). (a)
Casuarinas on Mason’s Beach
The charming little Casuarina lined beach to the right of the road just near the Point itself is the result of the labours of local resident, John Mason, who still lives opposite. John built the groins there, too, the idea being to build up the sand opposite his house and thus stop high tides coming over the road. It didn’t work, but the beautiful little beach still remains. Incidentally it was John who planted the Casuarinas there from seeds brought from Raby Bay.
And finally we arrive at the lighthouse, perhaps Cleveland’s most historic icon. This lighthouse was built in 1864 and originally stood at the very tip of the Point, before being relocated to its present position in the SW corner of the reserve. (d)
After all that history, why not call into the Lighthouse Restaurant for some fish and chips, or on the way home, for a beer at the Grand View Hotel? You deserve it!