Sunday History Photo / Qld

Submitted: Sunday, Oct 12, 2014 at 08:05
ThreadID: 109787 Views:2666 Replies:4 FollowUps:10
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Cunninghams Gap is a pass over the Great Dividing Range between the Darling Downs and the Fassifern Valley in Queensland, Australia. The Gap is the major route over the Scenic Rim. The Cunningham Highway was built to provide road transport between the two regions.
It is situated in Main Range National Park, between the peaks of Mount Cordeaux and Mount Mitchell. On a clear day the pass forms a distinct break in Main Range's profile as seen from Brisbane.
The highway itself is a scenic drive although steep with an 8 degree grade on the descent





In 1827, Allan Cunningham set out from the upper Hunter River, to explore west of the Dividing Range, discovering the Darling Downs; returning in 1828 from Brisbane to discover Cunninghams Gap. He was aware of the economic benefits that a link between the coast and pastoral lands to the west would provide. Cunningham travelled on the right hand side of the Gap whereas the highway today runs on the lefthand side from Aratula.
On the 3 July 1909, Cunninghams Gap was declared a national park. This new park, which originally consisted of 3,100 acres, was located on the western side of the range and included Gap Creek. Walking tracks were constructed in the 1930s and 1950s.




On 11 June 1927, the 100-year anniversary of Allan Cunningham's discovery of the Darling Downs, the new road through Cunningham's Gap was officially opened by the local Member of Parliament, Sir Littleton Groom. Although the road, which was built entirely by volunteers, was officially open, travelling along this new route was inadvisable, especially on the portion west of Aratula. The road was plagued by problems during this early embryonic stage with the Royal Automobile Club of Queensland announcing that the road was closed, less than one month after it was officially opened. The new sealed road through the gap was eventually opened in November 1949.



Cunninghams Gap is part of the Cunningham Highway, a federally funded highway managed by the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads. Between December 2010 and March 2011, the Gap experienced over two metres of rainfall and it sustained an enormous amount of damage. The cost of repairing this seven kilometre stretch of road is projected to be $40 million. Work is being undertaken by the Department of Transport and Main Roads in partnership with engineering firm Coffey


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Reply By: Member - Alan H (QLD) - Sunday, Oct 12, 2014 at 08:29

Sunday, Oct 12, 2014 at 08:29
Thanks Doug

The damage to the range has now been completed.

Parallel to Cunninghams Gap is Spicers Gap which is to the south on the other side of Mt Mitchell. This was the first route through the range. The road is now blocked at Spicers Gap. While no longer a through road it is an excellent side journey from the east as up in the Gap is "Governor's Chair" which is an excellent lookout to the east. There are also some graves and a camping area on the way in.

Alan
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Follow Up By: Life Member-Doug T NSW - Sunday, Oct 12, 2014 at 08:41

Sunday, Oct 12, 2014 at 08:41
Thanks Alan, I travelled the old road in the late 1990's in the Daihatsu Rocky I had at the time, entry was through a gate on the West side on the left heading West just before the Truck parking Bay , Just looking on Google Earth, OK the track I went on was Spicers Gap Rd.



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Follow Up By: Member - Alan H (QLD) - Sunday, Oct 12, 2014 at 08:49

Sunday, Oct 12, 2014 at 08:49
Yes Doug it used to be a regular drive years ago.

The road was closed sometimes due to deterioration mainly on the western side of the gap.(could be very boggy) But in recent years there is a LARGE gate across the road at the gap where there is a parking lot and turn around for Governor's Chair

The gate on the western side is still there and used as access to farms but not a through road.

Alan
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Follow Up By: rumpig - Sunday, Oct 12, 2014 at 09:50

Sunday, Oct 12, 2014 at 09:50
1.6klms of Spicers Gap track was closed to vehicles due to the damage being done to the track that was orignially paved in stone in some sections, it's now being preserved for historical reasons as it "contains rare examples of 19th century road building techniques" (that's what the sign on the gate at govenors Chair lookout says). I walked some of the track earlier this year as you can still walk along that section closed to vehicles, it was a stinking hot day so i turned back about halfway along it.
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Follow Up By: gbc - Tuesday, Oct 14, 2014 at 06:57

Tuesday, Oct 14, 2014 at 06:57
One thing that gets me is when you walk that section the cobbled road is still complete and there's is zero erosion or collapses all these years later. The way they used to dam each gully above the road and control it is evidently a pretty good method of road Making? I used to tear through there when it was a 4wd track, but now it is signed and complete i am thankful they closed it and installed all the signage or I would have never known.
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Reply By: rumpig - Sunday, Oct 12, 2014 at 10:10

Sunday, Oct 12, 2014 at 10:10
Here's a few pics from Spicers Gap and what Alan is talking about above.....

IT'S A GOOD GRAVEL ROAD TO GOVENORS CHAIR ...though closed when it rains

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THE CAIRN AT THE GRAVESITE ON THE WAY TO THE LOOKOUT

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NOTE THE WRITING IS DONE WITH WHAT LOOKS TO ME TO BE NAILS PUSHED INTO THE CONCRETE

Kalbar%20and%20surrounds/tn_IMG_9250_zpsba5e4ac0.jpg.html" href="http://s281.photobucket.com/user/qld-bundy-drinker/media/Kalbar%20and%20surrounds/tn_IMG_9250_zpsba5e4ac0.jpg.html" target="_blank">


Kalbar%20and%20surrounds/tn_IMG_9252_zps5e345f71.jpg.html" href="http://s281.photobucket.com/user/qld-bundy-drinker/media/Kalbar%20and%20surrounds/tn_IMG_9252_zps5e345f71.jpg.html" target="_blank">


THE VIEW AT GOVERNORS CHAIR LOOKOUT

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GATE AT CLOSED SECTION OF SPICERS GAP

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ONE OF THE MANY INFORMATION SIGNS ON THIS TRACK....mentions the 19th century road engineering also like the sign on the gate does

Kalbar%20and%20surrounds/tn_IMG_9291_zpsba94e24d.jpg.html" href="http://s281.photobucket.com/user/qld-bundy-drinker/media/Kalbar%20and%20surrounds/tn_IMG_9291_zpsba94e24d.jpg.html" target="_blank">


If you stop at the top of Cunninghams Gap at the carpark area, you can do a walk to another lookout there also. The cairn in the second picture of the OP is found at the start of this walk. It's a touch hard to get a pic of as land slippage has closed off the area infront of it, but here's a couple of ordinary pics i managed to get on my phone when i was there earlier this year. I didn't do the walk to the lookout as i didn't have time, but will hopefully do it sometime soon, as the views from there are also spectacular going on recent tv footage i've seen of it.

CUNNINGHAMS GAP CAIRN

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Kalbar%20and%20surrounds/tn_IMG_0955_zps9f5e2be1.jpg.html" href="http://s281.photobucket.com/user/qld-bundy-drinker/media/Kalbar%20and%20surrounds/tn_IMG_0955_zps9f5e2be1.jpg.html" target="_blank">
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Follow Up By: rumpig - Sunday, Oct 12, 2014 at 10:13

Sunday, Oct 12, 2014 at 10:13
not sure what's happened there with the extra writing coming up with the posting of those pics, photobucket or this website must be having a hissy fit....lol
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Follow Up By: Life Member-Doug T NSW - Sunday, Oct 12, 2014 at 11:01

Sunday, Oct 12, 2014 at 11:01
rumrig
Thanks for your contribution to this weeks SHP. some very nice and impressive photo's , good one mate...


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Follow Up By: Life Member-Doug T NSW - Sunday, Oct 12, 2014 at 11:06

Sunday, Oct 12, 2014 at 11:06
Sorry mate...typo error or big fingers... RUMPIG... ok that got it.


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Follow Up By: rumpig - Sunday, Oct 12, 2014 at 22:07

Sunday, Oct 12, 2014 at 22:07
No worries Doug.... happy to help out with the pics being i've been there in the last 12 months and just up the road a touch really.
Cheers for the weekly history lessons, it's always a good read.
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Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Sunday, Oct 12, 2014 at 11:30

Sunday, Oct 12, 2014 at 11:30
Thanks Doug. It's a good drive down, or up, through the Gap. Nice spot at the top too, with all the shady spots adjacent to the parking bays.

Bit OT but back in the '70's, my boss at the time(now in a better place?) owned a bit of country to SE of Maryvale, that ran to the top of the range. At the top was a level area with beautiful, deep rich soil, where they used to grow spuds. Spent some time assisting the potato grower(share farmer) harvesting, bagging and loading spuds onto his truck.

Because of the altitude, it was quite cool up there, even in summer and often had misty showers come across the area. No wonder the spuds were good. The boss sold the place later on, and it's now an upmarket tourist venture.......peace and quiet, and only a short helicopter ride from Brisbane.



The potato patch/tourist is in SW corner, not that far from the Gap,

Bob

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Follow Up By: gbc - Tuesday, Oct 14, 2014 at 06:53

Tuesday, Oct 14, 2014 at 06:53
We have camped in the goomburra section of main range np not far from there in the past. I'm with you on the cool bit - the temp difference at night up there is something else. The tourist place you are talking about is peppers resort? Owned and run by scroo turner (flight centre). He certainly didn't muck about putting the place together. Very nice, but I'd still prefer a campfire and doing battle with the rabid possums in the national park.
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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Tuesday, Oct 14, 2014 at 11:00

Tuesday, Oct 14, 2014 at 11:00
Thanks gbc. Read a flowery screed about the resort not long after it was opened, and thought then it could only be on the old potato patch. Good spot for a few bosses to travel out there for the weekend, with their PA's to give them some assistance with the shorthand.

At the southern end of the clearing were 2 mature Red Cedar trees......wonder if they are still there, or perhaps they went into the resort?

"Rabid possums" eh? They'll even eat ice-cream, and your finger if you're not careful. :-)

Bob

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Reply By: Ron N - Sunday, Oct 12, 2014 at 13:00

Sunday, Oct 12, 2014 at 13:00
Thanks for the info, fellas. A tough climb through Cunninghams Gap, haven't been over it for around 20 yrs.
You know all about the steepness of the climb when you're dragging 75 tonnes of excavator over the range on a 100 tonne float.
I wouldn't like to think what it would have been like in the late 1920's and early 1930's, with the old chariots.
2 wheel brakes were still fitted to many 1920's cars - they had a raging argument in that period about the terrible dangers of fitting brakes to front wheels! LOL
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