Spitfires over Lawnton

Spitfires over Lawnton

A1 Airstrip - LawntonA1 Airstrip - LawntonA1 Airstrip - LawntonA1 Airstrip - Lawnton

There were three airfields in the Pine Rivers area during World War 2.

Most people are aware of the “Spitfire Avenue” Airstrip, also known as the A2 Strip in Strathpine. It was paved, and used heavily.

But not many people are aware of the A1 grass Strip which was built in the vicinity of Lawnton Pocket and Bells Pocket Roads.

It wasn’t paved, and was built as an emergency strip at an angle of about 60 degrees to the A2 strip. When planes were unable to land on the A2 strip due to wind, they could use the A1 strip.

Nothing much of it remains today. You can’t see any sign of it, except for the memorial erected by the council in 1995.

But the land is pretty flat!

There’s also a third strip south of here in Brendale. The A3 strip. One of these days I’ll ride down there and photograph it too!

In the meantime, I won’t have to try too hard to imagine the drone of Spitfires flying over my house.

UPDATE: I’ve just discovered Peter Dunn’s excellent Australia @ War site. He records that in 1942 2nd Lieutenant Maxwell J Jones (0429769) was tragically killed when his P-400 aicraft struck a tree while landing at the A1 airfield. Peter writes that the airfield was dangerous due to the fact that it was surrounded by large trees, and pilots often had to fly in an “S” shaped path on approach to the airfield in order to keep it in view – something that was very dangerous at low speed and low altitude.

Nuts about History

Nuts about History

Historical NutsHistorical NutsHistorical Nuts

After a tip-off from our local historian, Leith Barter, I found these Pecan Nut trees growiung in Stephen Lawn park, Lawnton.

They were part of a grove planted by “The Acclimatisation Society” in the 1930’s – an organisation created to investigate how best to use the land in this area.

They’re almost 80 years old, and I was curious about them because we live not far from here, on land that was also part of the Acclimatisation Society, and we have a Pecan Nut tree too. But ours is nowhere near as well grown as these majestic specimens.

So the best that I can hope for is that our Pecan is the “son” of a historical nut tree!

Who knows? Maybe it sprouted from a nut dropped by one of the originals.

Thanks, Leith, for patiently answering so many of my questions about our local history!

The Bike Monster is gonna get you

The Bike Monster is gonna get you

At the half way point on our 62km cycle around Lake Samsonvale I got an SMS from the kids asking how I was going, so I sent them this pic to let them know I was still alive.

In hindsight, this pic doesn’t say “I’m alive”. More like “I’m the bike monster and I’m going to eat you”. Sorry kids 🙂

Thanks for taking the photo, Steve.

That shirt is a bit bright, isn’t it? And I really need to cut those cable ties off the helmet! The magpies have gone for another year.

The ride itself was hard work. We rode from Petrie, north west to Dayboro, south through Samsonvale to Mount Samson and Yugar, then North East through Draper and Warner home.

The total climb was about 740m or 2,500 feet. That’s the most I’ve ever done in one ride.

I really enjoyed it, but was pretty tired afterwards.

The map below gives you an idea of the route. If you’re interested, here’s a link to Steve’s record of the route which has a nifty little animation that shows you us moving around the map.

Round-About on a Bora-Ring

Round-About on a Bora-Ring


Nineteenth century aboriginal elder Dalaipi lived in what is now Petrie, north of Brisbane.

He was the custodian of several sacred sites in the district including a bora-ring called “Nindur-Ngineddo” (meaning “leech sitting down”).

Sadly, the bora ring today is under the round-about at Petrie, and no trace of it remains.

It does seem ironic that a modern circular traffic construction should be sitting on top of an ancient circular spiritual construction.

Perhaps the spirit of Dalaipi had something to do with that.

You’re supposed to treat a bora ring with respect and not just go blundering through it. The busy traffic makes it virtually impossible for anyone to casually blunder through the site at all. In fact I risked life and limb to just cross the road to get to it.

Although thousands of cars per day drive around it, I think it would be rare for someone to actually walk through it.

Cobb & Co Horse Change at Petrie

Cobb & Co Horse Change at Petrie

Cobb & Co Horse Change at PetrieCobb & Co Horse Change at PetrieCobb & Co Horse Change at Petrie
Cobb & Co operated a horse -drawn coach service between Brisbane and Gympie in the nineteenth century.

The coaches would stop at “Murrumba” – Tom Petrie’s homestead (now at the top of Armstrong Street, Petrie).

At Murrumba, they’d change the horses, freshen up, and continue the journey to Gympie along what today is known as “Old Gympie Road”.

Nothing remains of the homestead, but Tom’s grandson, Rollo, unveiled this memorial to the coach stop in 1987.

This is a beautiful spot. If you’re ever in Petrie and have a spare ten minutes, walk to the top of Armstrong Street in the grounds of the Catholic Church and Schools. If you’re still, you’ll hear the hoof-beats of the Cobb & Co coach coming up the road.

It’s magic.



In 1824, John Oxley wrote that he saw a weir in the North Pine River. The local Turrbal people called it “Mandin”. It was a pocket coming off the river into which they would drive fish, which would then be easily caught.

This is “Mandin” as it appears today, just west of the railway bridge over the North Pine River.

I stopped there today, and it was easy to imagine young Aborigine kids from 200 years ago splashing about in the water, chasing fish into this pocket.

I could almost hear it.