Redcliffe was Queensland’s first settlement in 1824 but after one year in 1825 the penal settlement was relocated to the Brisbane River. Redcliffe was left as an agricultural reserve but in the 1880s was quickly gaining a reputation as a seaside resort, but the only way there was by ferry or a very roundabout way by road through Petrie, which was often impassable after rains.

Hornibrook Highway
Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #74132

The Hornibrook Highway Bridge, constructed 1932-35, was one of the first road toll facilities in Queensland to be authorised by special act of parliament.

Sir Manuel Richard Hornbook’s vision for the bridge resulted in him approaching the State Government in 1931 with a proposal to construct a bridge linking Sandgate area with the southern part of Redcliffe at a cost of £120,000 .

Hornibrook Highway
Art deco illustrated header for prospectus for Hornibrook Highway, published in Brisbane Courier, March 31, 1932

His reasoning being: to create employment in the Great Depression of the 1930s and it also represented an opportunity to end the isolation of the residents of the Redcliffe Peninsula. The proposal was rejected as public spending was not a priority at the time.

Hornibrook had further talks with the Government and because of his persistence; an Act of Parliament was pushed through allowing private enterprise to construct toll facilities on a road construction. The company [Hornibrook Highway Ltd] was formed and during the construction of the bridge from 1932 to 1935 there were about 500 men employed.

Hornibrook Highway
Grandson of MR, Sam Hornibrook, chats with Marle Juster at the anniversary celebration. Marle remembers being at the Opening of the Bridge as a child of about 12 years old. Photo by Jakob Pfaeffli

Financial problems slowed the building but an injection of a £100,000 loan from the AMP Society put the construction back on track and it was officially opened by then Queensland Premier Arthur Edward Moore on 14 October 1935.

 

Hornibrook Highway
Southern portal of the former Hornibrook Highway Bridge. At one point, this was a tollgate for cars crossing the bridge. The portals for the bridge are listed on the Queensland Heritage Register.

 

Article by – Jules Williams

Main Image – History Redcliffe

Hornibrook Highway

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