History of the Petrie Electorate







Mr HOWARTH (Petrie) (10:25): I want people to consider how well they know their local area. How does its past play a role in the present and hint at the future? I know the electorate of Petrie very well, having grown up within its borders and having spent every available minute out and about, knocking around, as a kid. It is something that I still try to do today—get out and about. From Aspley, Carseldine and Bridgeman Downs in the south to Deception Bay and Burpengary East in the north, out to the Redcliffe peninsula in the east, including Griffin, Mango Hill and North Lakes, it is certainly a great electorate, and I know it well, but still the odd refresher course never goes astray.

So, when I stopped in at the Redcliffe Museum a couple of weekends ago with my three sons, I wondered why I do not do so more often. It was a great trip down memory lane and a reminder of the characters and events that have shaped the community. The traditional lands of the Ningy Ningy, Redcliffe was the site of the first European settlement. On 14 September 1824, the Amity arrived with officials, soldiers and their families and 29 convicts, and they formed a convict settlement near the mouth of Humpybong Creek. This settlement was relocated to Brisbane a year later, and the peninsula plodded long, largely as a result of its reputation as a seaside holiday destination. It was pretty isolated, with Hays Inlet separating it from Brisbane.

But in 1935 the longest bridge in Australia was built, connecting the peninsula with Redcliffe courtesy of the work of 500 men and 2½ million superfeet of timber. The Hornibrook Highway Bridge spanned 2.74 kilometres and provided an important link. It was Queensland’s first toll bridge. According to Terry White, a former state member for Redcliffe and well-known chemist, it was quite the revenue raiser. He says that by the time the toll came off in 1975, three years after I was born, someone calculated that the toll money raised for the bridge had paid for the bridge a number of times over. Nevertheless, the bridge transformed the area and offered an easy commute to Brisbane—except, of course, when there were king tides, when cars would be sprayed with sea spray. I remember well travelling it as a kid. It was a catalyst for population growth and increased visitors in the area.

The bridge has since been duplicated twice with the Houghton Highway and the Ted Smout Memorial Bridge, but the Hornibrook bridge has now been demolished except for its north and south portals, which on Australia Day still fly the Australian flag. These now serve as great-looking jetties and are well used by locals.

The history of the Hornibrook Highway Bridge is a good example of the way infrastructure transforms communities. It boosted jobs and injected life into the local community. When I visited the Redcliffe Museum, I realised that, despite the fast pace of change, some things never do change. (Time expired)