Queensland became a separate colony in 1859. Free settlers started to take up land in Caloundra and outlying areas after the 1860 Unoccupied Crown Lands Occupation Act – ignoring the fact that the local indigenous tribes had lived and cared for the land for tens of thousands of years. Very few of the white settlers became permanent until the 1890s.
On 8 November 1875, Robert Bulcock Snr. Bought 277 acres (112 hectares) of land for £70 ($140) in Caloundra. He paid it off at £7/1/6 ($14.15c) a year. In 1885 he settled permanently in Caloundra.
These early settlers had NO services. In 1903, there were 19 voters on the Electoral Roll from seven families. They had to provide nearly everything they needed – dispose of their waste, grow, catch and preserve their own food and provide their own water and lighting. They arrived by either horse-drawn vehicles or boat up Pumicestone Passage.
Electricity did not come to Caloundra until April 1941 during World war II. Residents used ice chests in their homes and holiday campers also used ice. Ice was delivered door-to-door as well. Large locks of ice were sold for 4d (5c) in the 1950’s. During World War II, the Clarke Family Ice Works was used to store food free of charge for the soldiers training in Caloundra and northern end of Bribie Island.
How they earned a living
The very early residents of Caloundra were self-sufficient. As the town grew, fishing became a viable income. All fishing related businesses quickly grew up: – boat hire, fishing tackle, bait, prawning, boat building and fish and chips.
House building and sawmills were followed by stores, fruit and vegetables, butcher, dairy, baker, groceries and deliveries of milk, bread and ice. When holidaymakers arrived in large numbers, garages, taxis, buses, guesthouses, flat sand camping areas appeared.
Many residents even held down two or three different jobs to make ends meet e.g. delivered newspapers, collected and sold shell grit, picked and sold Christmas Bells. Their income raising ideas were creative and diverse.
Fishing Boat Hire
In the 1930s – 1970s there were many Boat Hire Companies because not many families could afford their own car, boat, boat trailer and a garage for them all.
This information is used with permission from John Groves – For full history photos and information visit www.caloundrahistory.com.au or you can purchase his publications from Moffat Beach Post Shop.