About the Area

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Caloundra History

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.


Moffat Beach

Moffat Beach is a coastal suburb of Caloundra, two km north-east of Caloundra’s city centre. It was named after James Moffat who purchased all the land between Moffat Head and the golf course, northwards from William Street to Cooroora Street in Dicky Beach, in 1882.

Back then, the beach, however was open to adverse weather, and Kings Beach attracted more holiday-makers and development. During World War II Moffat Beach had gun emplacements and barbed-wire defences.

Moffat Beach’s most prominent landmark is its headland. There is also a low impact unique Industrial Park next to the golf course just a few blocks from the beach.

Dicky Beach

Dicky Beach is a coastal suburb 2.5 km north of Caloundra’s town centre. It was named after the SS Dicky grounded near the beach in 1893 to avoid damage from the local headlands during a severe storm.

The SS Dicky was a coastal trader vessel that operated in and around Australia from at least 1887 until its loss in 1893.

It has been a fixture there since 1893, but decades of storms, cyclones and pounding waves have seen the wreck reduced from its once mighty iron frame down to the ribs of the hull and keel.

Dicky Beach was separated from Caloundra by the Tooway Creek until a bridge was built in 1937. During World War II Dicky Beach was occupied by barbed wire defences and army camps, but in 1947 Henzells resumed subdivision sales. In about 1950 the North Caloundra Surf Life-Saving Club was formed, taking over the patrol of Dicky Beach from the Metropolitan SLSC which had looked after Dicky and Kings Beaches since the 1920s.

The Sunshine Coast Regional Council decided to create an interpretive heritage display for the remains of the SS Dicky shipwreck in 2014, and planned to remove most of it for preservation.

Shelly Beach

Shelly Beach was the site of Caloundra’s first hotel (1885) at the corner of Alfred Street and Victoria Terrace, at the south end of the beach. However, the position turned out to be some distance from Caloundra’s town centre which faced the protected Kings Beach. During World War II Shelly Beach was off-limits with barbed-wire defences.

Shelly Beach has a corner shopping area and the Adelphi Hotel in Albert Street, and wide foreshore reserves with a walking trail.