Birkdale and Thorneside Overview

April 22, 2014
David Thomas

Tingalpa Creek runs along one border of Birkdale and Moreton Bay along another. Tingalpa Creek was well known to Aboriginal people for thousands of years. There is much debate about the meaning of the name Tingalpa and it may never be resolved. According to one survey map from 1841, it was originally called “Tingulpa”, believed to be a derivative of an Aboriginal term for a fat kangaroo.  Another map  from 1855 names  the creek “Tangulba”, leading some to believe that it derives from the Tangul plant, which was used by  Aboriginal people to stupefy fish before they caught them. Mooroondu is thought to have come from a Jandai word meaning nose or blunt and sloping downwards.
When was it named Birkdale?
The area was named Birkdale, most likely in the early 1880s, by William Thorne, a Brisbane businessman who began buying land on Mooroondu Point from 1880. He built Mooroondu House and named the area Birkdale after his birthplace in Devonshire.
At the time, Birkdale also included what is now Thorneside. Thorne lived at Mooroondu House and became active in local politics. Thorne sold his land about 1913-1915. He died in 1915, and in 1917 part of this land was named after him – Thorneside.
What happened once the settlers arrived?
The first settlers arrived in the area in the 1850s. Most were farmers who wanted to set up their own farms. Others were timber-getters who came to cut down some of the many huge trees in the area, while others set up timber mills.
In the mid-1880s, a railway line was built from Brisbane to Cleveland. It passed through Birkdale, and this meant the area became more popular. People moved to Birkdale and commuted to work in Brisbane. Other people built holiday houses, or weekenders, in Birkdale.
However, like most of the Redlands, most people living in Birkdale were farmers. They kept animals such as cattle and poultry, and grew fruit and vegetables. As the years went by they built schools, shops, churches and other facilities to make life easier.
Before the Birkdale school was established in 1916, Birkdale children walked or caught the train or rail motor to the Wellington Point school. The Birkdale school was originally in a marquee (a big tent) while the parents raised the money to build a proper building. The building was finished in September 1917.
Although people worked hard on their farms, they also liked to relax and socialise. Functions and events were held at the Birkdale school as it was the only place with rooms suitable for these events. In the early 1920s, the Birkdale School of Arts hall was built and it became the main venue for community functions.
Church was very popular, but again churchgoers had to travel to Wellington Point or Capalaba. The School of Arts hall was used by some churches until a Methodist Church was built in 1923 on the corner of Napier St and Birkdale Rd. In 1933, the Church of England church was built.
In 1968, the Leslie Harrison Dam was built in Capalaba and since then Birkdale’s farms have slowly been replaced by houses. 
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Source :- Redland City Council
Posted in: Local community

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