With all the activity in the vicinity of the Hornibrook Highway, as a new bridge is constructed across to the Redcliffe Peninsula, now is a good time to look at the history of the area.  So we look at Sandgate today with a further blog entry on Brighton in the near future.

The suburb now known as Sandgate was originally known as Cabbage Tree Creek.  Sandgate as a name is said to derive from the name of the town of Sandgate in Kent, England, which is also a seaside district.  The Aboriginal name for the area was said to be Warra, believed to mean a stretch or expanse of water.

Sandgate beach and pier.  Image No: 194855

Some of the early activity and some of the early settlers in the area includes:

  • the first early lobbying for a settlement in the Cabbage Tree Creek area commenced from 1852.
  • J.C. Burnett undertook an official land survey of the area (1852).  The name Sandgate was first used as an official name in his published survey report.
  • the site for the proposed village of Sandgate is gazetted (19 March 1853).
  • the first official land sales in the area take place (9 November 1853).
  • the first purchasers or settlers include Thomas Dowse and John Baxter (from 1853).
  • the Slaughter, Davie and Loudin families settle from 1864/5.  Mr. Slaughter became the first postmaster for the district.
  • the first hotel, known as the Sandgate Hotel established by Charles Davie (1858).
  • John Baxter’s café was established at Cabbage Tree Creek (1862).
  • seaside cottages are listed in newspapers as being available for rent at £3 per week (late 1860s).
  • there is growth in the number of accommodation houses including Villa Marina, Belair, Musgrave (from the 1870s).
  • a horse drawn coach service was established by the Best family.
  • soft drink manufacturing commenced from the 1880s.
  • Hoffy’s Cycles established (1928).
  • Jeay’s Hardware.
  • Frank Watson’s Kreamo ice cream factory.
  • clay quarries.
  • Sandgate Aerated Water Company, later to be known as Ibis established in the 1920s.
  • Pelaco shirt factory (post World War Two).

Bathers at Sandgate, ca. 1925 Image No: 60888

Some significant buildings and sites in Sandgate include:

  • Shepherd Place – Signal Row (named after Hezekiah Shepherd).
  • Murilla – Signal Row (1908).
  • Wesleyan Church – Signal Row (approx 1908).
  • Morven – this was the home of John McConnel, the owner of Durundur Station and dates from 1863.  The house was eventually acquired by Archbishop Duhig for the Catholic Church.  Morven is now located in the grounds of St. Patrick’s College.
  • Caversham – built by Robert Gray in 1882.
  • Clutha – built by Dr. John Thomas in 1882.
  • Saltwood – built by G. L. Hart in 1870.
  • Moora Park Grandstand – dates from the 1890s.

Grandstand in Moora Park Image No: 89952

  • Musgrave House – originally a childrens’ convalescent home (1884).
  • the  Sandgate Hotel, later to be known as the Belvedere Hotel, established by Charles Davie (1858).
  • the Claredon Hotel (David Mitchell) (1861).
  • 1862 – the Sandgate Hotel, built by William Loudin in 1862.  This was a different hotel to the Sandgate Hotel mentioned above, which by this time was trading as the Belvedere Hotel.
  • the London Hotel built in 1863 for Thomas Cahill.  This hotel was abandoned in 1864.
  • 1865 – Brighton Hotel built for William Rae and dating from 1865.
  • Masons Hotel (George Mason).
  • 1867 – the Osbourne Hotel built for Hiram Wakefield (1867).

Osbourne Hotel, 1882 Image No: 110667


  • 1881 – the Seaview Hotel established by Robert Todd in 1881.
  • 1861 – a bridge across Cabbage Tree Creek was constructed.
  • 1865 – a company is formed with the aim of constructing the Sandgate Pier.
  • 1868 – a regular coach service between Brisbane and Sandgate was established.  In the initial phase this was not a daily service.
  • 1873 – Sandgate State School was established with the original classes being held in the chapel of the Baptist Church.  The first teacher was W.R. Barfoot.
  • 1874 – the first permanent Sandgate State School building was constructed.
  • 1876 – daily coach services from Brisbane to Sandgate, via Nundah commence.
  • 1880 – Sandgate was proclaimed a Municipal Borough.
  • 1880 – Sandgate was proclaimed a Town.  The names of some of the first Town Councillors are honoured in the names of local streets including Townsend, Board, Bott, Kift and Deagon streets.
  • 1881 – a railway construction contract was awarded for construction of a line to Sandgate.
  • 1882 – (11 May) the railway line to Sandgate was opened.

Sandgate Railway Station, ca. 1920 Image No: 194780


  • 1887 – the Sandgate Post Office was established.
  • 1912 – the new Sandgate Town Hall was constructed to replace the original chambers which were destroyed by fire in 1910.
  • 1915 – the Sandgate Drill Hall was opened, possibly replacing an earlier building.  The Drill Hall was recently moved to the Chermside Historical Precinct.
  • 1919 – the Shorncliffe State School was established.
  • 1935 – the Hornibrook Highway was opened.

more photographs of Sandgate


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Does anyone know how Cabbage Tree Creek, which enters Moreton Bay at Shorncliffe, got its name? There do not appear to be any "cabbage trees" (usually referring to Livistonia australis palms) in the area now. If indeed the palms were there originally, they may have been eliminated by harvesting for food or even cabbage tree hats.Livistonia palms are listed in Qld Museum's "Wild Plants of Greater Brisbane" but there are no specifics on their distribution in the region. We will have to "rehabilitate" a small grassed area of EPZ in Brighton soon, and I would dearly love to plant some cabbage trees.

according to a historial book about Sandgate (published by the local historical society) Cabbage tree creek was named after a hat (cabbage tree hat)that was worn by European settler who whilst at the creek had a dispute with the first people of the area. He was shot in the head but the hat saved his life.

Dear Ms WighamWe will look into the naming of Cabbage Tree Creek and get back to you soon.Thanks for your interest and information.

I was born in a house in Scott St Deagon in 1932. I have resided in Darwin for many years.Can anyone tell me how Scott St got it's name & any info on my family who were early residents of Sandgate area

Dear Mr. WebberWe will look into this and get back to you.John Oxley Library

Dear Ms WighamThank you for your enquiry regarding the naming of Cabbage Tree Creek.Unfortunately I have been unable to come up with a definitive answer. The Queensland Place Names Board online search ( was checked and although there is an entry for Cabbage Tree Creek they have no information regarding the naming. General information about Sandgate from the Qld Place Names Board Brisbane Suburbs and Localities includes the following references to Cabbage Tree Creek:“Strange as it may seem it would appear that Sandgate had its origin in what happened after a shipwreck in Torres Strait. On April 7th, 1852 the barque, Thomas King, left Sydney for Manilla and was wrecked on Cato’s Bank in the Strait on April 17th. Captain Walker, the only passenger, Dr Hyslop, the second mate and three seamen, took the ship’s boat and set out for Moreton Bay. The party sailed as far south as Wide Bay and then decided to travel overland to Moreton Bay. After being attacked by aborigines only the captain and one seaman survived. They reached Brisbane on May 17th. According to Captain Walker, he and his seamen had been in the vicinity of Cabbage Tree Creek for some days and it was thought that if there had been a settlement there some of the others might have been rescued. An agitation for the establishment of a village on the coast in the vicinity of Cabbage Tree Creek got under way. A notice appeared in the New South Wales Government Gazette (22/3/1853) notifying that a site had been fixed for a village called Sandgate at Cabbage Tree Head”John Oxley, in his survey of the Brisbane River, camped overnight at Cabbage Tree Head on December 1, 1823. The entry in his field book reads “After pulling out of the inlet, we landed at sun-set on a point ( present day Shorncliffe). Stony, good land, about three miles to the south-east of the entrance in to the inlet we had examined, and round which is a shoal inlet (Cabbage Tree Creek). Plenty of fresh water and grass”. (Steele, J.G. Explorers of the Moreton Bay District 1770-1830, St. Lucia: University of Qld Press, 1972 , p.107). Oxley does not appear to have named the creek.I trust this information is of assistance to you. It seems probable that the creek was named for the vegetation in the area at the time.John Oxley Library Librarian

dear sir ihave read all that you have passed on about sandgate and i found it to be realy great the origins andthe original history of sandgate iwas particurly intrested inyou remarks a bout sand gate and cabbage treecreek having looked at the the photos and the history iam most grateful to you for all that you have submited ithas given me a wonderful insight and the history of sangate. kind reguards Greg Litfin. ps ilived as asa boy in boondall and sandgate and shorncliffee were and still are my favoutite places to visit

I was a child of sandgate back in the 60s and 70s and I recently met a person who went to Sandgate primary when we were there. We cahtted over old times etc. One of the questions came up we both knew a child whose mother owned a hair dressing salon in the shopping centre in Hancock St. I was wondering if you could tell me the name or where I might look to find out. Thank you for your very interesting blog. I use to go to the Sandgate Baths when they were ther and often passed Musgrave House and looked at the children there in their blue uniforms and never knew what it wa about. Thank you for your asistance with my question. Regards Tony Densley

Dear Mr LitfinThanks for your comment. So glad you enjoyed reading about the history of Sandgate and surrounds.John Oxley Library

Dear Mr DensleyThanks for your enquiry. We will look into this and get back to you.John Oxley Library

Dear Mr Densley,I have found what is the best match for the salon in question from the Brisbane Telephone Books of the time and other sources. I would like to send you the information found and will be contacting you shortly via email for your postal address.JOL Librarian

I know that the household "Morven" was owned at one time by the merchant D L Brown (1891) , his gardener was a young lad by the name of Thomas Nightingale and a house maid called Elizabeth Grant-Laidlaw both lived there.I would love to know if you have any more information concerning those two staff or about the house at that time.Dear Mr NightingaleWe hold several photographs of the residence Morven on our Picture Queensland website. In addition historical information about the house is contained in the publication "Edmund Rice comes to St Patrick's Shorncliffe" by D. J. Beatson. Morven was sold to the Catholic Church in 1952 and became a Christian Brothers College known as St. Patrick's. In regard to Thomas Nightingale and Elizabeth Grant Laidlaw I searched through the Queensland Birth, Marriage and Death indexes. The couple were married in March 1892 and had several children. I have located the dates of their deaths and funeral notices from the Courier Mail. This information will be sent to you by mail. You may like to obtain the actual certificates from the Queensland Registrar General as they will provide you with more information.JOL Librarian

We were having a family discussion about the Baxters Jetty and a couple of members of our family thought that there was a jetty or landing further up the creek which was near the site of the old Baxter's Restaurant (sixties and seventies) on Sandgate Road which was used by the restaurant and they thought that it was also called Baxters Jetty. Can you confirm that the Jetty at the mouth of Cabbage Tree Creek has always been known as Baxters Jetty and if there was another jetty up further near Sandgate Road? It has been interesting finding out other information about the area from your blog.Dear Ms OttoBaxter's Jetty was originally known as Corporation Jetty and was erected by the Sandgate Council after it came into existence in 1880. It became commonly known as Baxter's Jetty after John Thomas Baxter, who ran the nearby Baxter's Oyster Saloon, drowned at the bottom of the steps leading from the jetty on the 26th March 1897. Baxter apparently caught his foot in the steps and drowned on the incoming tide. In 1923 a new jetty was built to replace the Corporation Jetty which had fallen into disrepair.John Oxley Library

Our family history indicates that there is a Bowser parade at Sandgate. The library holds two photos of a Mayor Bowser one in front of city hall and one with the Governer. Can you tell more information about Mayor Bowser and was Bowser Parade Sandgate named in reference to him?

I am looking into the Deagon, Lightbody, Heckenberg and Marshall families of Sandgate/Deagon. I wondered how I might find the addresses of their homes in the 1800s?Thanks for any assistance.

Can you tell me if there was an air strip in sandgate during ww2. Also can you tell me what year the protection partition that ran from the jetty to the rock spit was installed, as you can still see the main supports.

My family,moved to Sandgate 1936-7, Finally renting a house in Hancock st., next to the rear of the Bonacord Theatre.;there was a hair dresser at the corner of the theatre building. All was owned by Mr George Hancock sr.Our house number was 15, Hancock street. I wonder if photos exist of our house or indeed others in Hancock st. I also attended Sandgate Primary from1938.I am also interested in the lady Hairdresser in the salon in Hancock street. Thankyou for reading this V M

It is great to see so much interest in Sangate!We will look into each of the recent enquiries above and get back to you.John Oxley Library

Hello, I have come across information that my great grandfather's brother, Howard English, lived at Morven, Sandgate in 1919 and was a company manager. I would be interested to know more about him and his time in Sandgate. He was born in England and probably came to Australia in the late 1870s. Thank you.

I am wondering if you have any information on the Moss family Garage / car sales business at Sandgate / Shorncliff. I believe my father was connected with it in the mid to late 1920's. I believe it was in the vicinity of the Seaview Hotel and they lost the buisness through the depression.I would appreciate hearing about any information you may have.Thank you............Lou Moss

My great,grandparents had a house in brighton terrace, sandgate in 1920-1940 .It was called Rotherham.His name was william morten gower and he came to Qld in 1885/ He was a retired headmaster who taught in many schools from his arrival in Australia.paula roberts

I lived and grew up in Sandgate. I was told at Sandgate State school, that the owner of the local bus company, took the name for the buses from the Ibis birds; I.B.I.S. standing for, I Believe in Sandgate." The owner of the buses did this to generate interest in , and promote business in the Sandgate area' which had been in decline.Others may have more to add regarding the subjectThanhyou ............Val MacGregor, nee Spark

does anyone know anything about a boat built by the Massey Family in Deagon called the Tijuana which capsised in morteon bay sometime in the 60's i think. I would be very interested to know as i grew up next to the block of land where they built the boat and I would be interest in any info anyone might have.ThankyouLeonie Kidd

I worked at the Sandgate Telephone Exchange from 1956-57 before it became automatic and lived both at Flinders Parade Brighton (cnr 11th avenue) and Shorncliffe Parade Shorncliffe. My late stepfather grew up in both Sandgate and Brighton and attended the Sacred Heart Convent in the 1920s-30s. His name was Cedric Bailes and I remember the talks we had about his childhood memories during his early years in Sandgate.

My grandparents and then my aunts owned 30 Second Ave Sandgate which later became the Seabreeze Lodge burnt down with loss of life in the early 2000's. I would be interested to hear from anyone who knew the original house which when they owned it was named "Ruddington". Thanks

My grandparents and then my aunts owned 30 Second Ave Sandgate which later became the Seabreeze Lodge burnt down with loss of life in the early 2000's. I would be interested to hear from anyone who knew the original house which when they owned it was named "Ruddington". Thanks

Hi everyone,If you find some interesting history about Sandgate that you would like to share I would gladly publish some articles on my website Michels

Hello there. I'm doing some family history research and from have discovered that some relatives lived in 'Villa Marina' on Flinders Parade in Sandgate (or Brighton?) in 1903. I'm wondering if there are any images of the building remaining? The current generation of my family has spent lots of time in the area and it'd be great to see some pics if they're available. Many thanks x

It\`s always a good plan to try your local Historical Society and/or Museum as many of these searches can be satisfied either from their records or from elderly members who can give first-hand accounts of Sandgate history

Hi RowenaI did a search on our website and noticed there are 15 images coming up for Flinders Parade in Sandgate. You can have a look at these through our Onesearch catalogue.I am not able to access our Sandgate photographs as we are not yet back in the building at Southbank due to the flood last week.There could be an image of Villa Marina in there.Simon FarleyManager - Client ServicesHeritage CollectionsState Library of Queensland

What a wonderful JOL site. I am impressed. Thanks gang.My ggg grandfather Thomas Shepherd set up a brick factory in Curlew Street Sandgate around 1864. He & his son-in-law Edwin Meredith (who later established brickworks at Maryborough in 1874) would row a boat along Cabbage Tree Creek to collect suitable clay. Thomas later relocated the brickworks to Virginia.Any additional information and photos of the Sandgate brickworks would be appreciated.Regards Ron

Edwin Meredith was my great grandfather. I know one of his daughters married a Fulcher so I'm guessing we are related. I was interested to hear your story of the search for clay along Cabbage Tree Creek, posted many years ago. I'd like to make contact.

Thanks RonCan you go to our online webform and enter your request in there?:'ll take it as a query and get back to you. It may take a bit longer than usual as staff are only just now able to work from South Bank again and able to access collections.We have resources like post office directories and almanacs in addition to images. The Courier Mail is also digitised and available online. This may have something about the Sandgate brickworks: Farley

RonIf you have a look on our OneSearch catalogue using search terms "Shepherd's Brickworks" or "Sandgate Brickworks" you will find an image of one of Fred Shepherd's Bricks:,Des.

Hi my great grandfather was Issac Benjamin Best who was known as the first white baby born in Sandgate (newspaper article). He had a butcher shop in Sandgate where my grandfather worked (Stanley Cecil Mudford Best) He and his wife Olwen Elizabeth nee Edwards lived at Verney St sandgate. This street was named after the Verney family. Can anyone assist me with any information about IBBest's family and history. I. B. Best's father was Benjamin Best and his mother was Jane Mudford Salisbury. They had many children and Jane later married Archibald Glen who was a caretaker. Jane was a midwife.Thanks for any help. Narelle Falkenhagen ( nee Robinson, nee Best)

Jane Mudford Salisbury was my GG Grandmother. Her parents are buried at St Marks Anglican Church at Daisy Hill. Just a marker now. Search her father Isaac Salisbury who was born in Chinnock Somerset UK. He is listed in the 400 Queenslanders who signed the deeds to separate Qld from the NSW Colony. Check internet for Q150 celebrations back in 2009. There is now a new time capsule with all of the history in parliament house gardens. They came to Australia in 1850 on the EMIGRANT. Many more records and memorial to children lost on Nth Stradbroke Island.

Hi Narelle, can you write your query with contact details into our online enquiry form: It may be that our family history section can help you with this or that there is something in published items on Sandgate relating to I B Best in the John Oxley Library collection.

Hi JOL Admin,Thanks for responding and will do as stated.Narelle

Frank Watson and his wife, Alice, were my grandparents. Frank suffered from chronic and severe Asthma. Family information is that Alice made the ice-cream, based around custard. Following Frank's death, the milk/ice-cream part of the business was sold off to a well-known dairy produce manufacturer who maintained a depot at the ice-works. I have been told that following the sale my grandmother was to neither make ice-cream again nor divulge the recipe. My father was demobbed from the RAAF during the war to return to Sandgate to keep the ice manufacturing going - considered an essential service. As children my brother and I played in the sand-pit with the old ice-cream scoops. I also remember Grandma firing up her copper with the thousands of remaining waxed cardboard Kreamo milk-bottle lids.

Villa Marina was built at 16 Park Parade, Shorncliffe in 1881 by John Hall (Architect) for his new family. He died in 1883 leaving the house to his wife Charlotte. Charlotte (nee Whiteway) turned her home into a holiday boarding house to provide for her family. Villa Marina became a favoured destination for many country, interstate and overseas travellers. Twenty years later Charlotte Hall commissioned her son (Thomas Ramsay Hall, Architect) to design a new boarding house to be built next door to Villa Marina. Belair was built by George Thomson in 1902 and is located at 14 Park Parade. Charlotte Hall also leased Monaro (previously Capri) at 18 Park Parade and in all proved 40 rooms for rent between the three establishments. There was also a tennis court (12 Park Parade) and croque lawn. Many references are made to these times and can be found at the National Library of Australia trove website. Charlotte Hall died in March 1910 - the properties of Villa Marina and Belair were willed to her surviving children Jane Ellen Hall (spinster) and Thomas Ramsay Hall and were at that time valued at 1000 pounds each. The properties were sold by the Hall family in 1918.

Hi, my research is on the Sandgate Drill Hall. The above writings state that there may have been a building at this site prior to 1915, if that was the case was it the town Hall Chambers that burnt down in 1910. Being next to the Post Office which was (established in 1887) it seems an obvious place to have the chambers. Can you verify the site of the original Chambers as this may shed some light on the subject. If not do you have any idea what was the building on the site next to the Post Office prior to the Drill Hall.Thankyou

Hi, this is a wonderful site. I have been writing a family history book and was wondering whether Doris Street Deagon could be named after my Grandmother Doris Blake, who bought several blocks of land in Doris and Adam Streets Deagon?Doris lived next door to the Deagon Butcher Shop and her Mother Ellen Dodd ran a lolly shop in the Bonacord theatre. Ellen and Herbert Dodd sold pies in winter and icecream in summer. I believe this was in the 1920s and 1930s.My father Eric Blake belonged to the Sandgate Amateur Cycling Club and frequented Hoffys Cycling Shop and won the Sandgate Kidd Cup in 1933.My maternal Grandparents, Eve and William Clarke, lived in Barclay Street Deagon originally with their three daughters, one being my Mother, Sally Blake (nee Clarke).This brings me to another question:- Was their an Army Barracks in Sandgate in WWII, who employed local people?Thanking You - Janette

In regard to the interest in the naming of Cabbage Tree Creek....I obtained a 1859 photocopy of a map from the JO library that has [It's hard to make out] "TIGMGUM or CABBAGE TREE CREEK" named on it.Maybe JOI Admin [or me next time I'm in there] could look at the original map [841 Brisbane - Suburbs - BALD HILLS, BRAKEN RIDGE, DEAGON, SANDGATE, BRIGHTON, 1859 Parish of Nundah, County of Stanley, NSW, 1859], and make out the other correct spelling of the name.... it could be some kind of Gum tree and throw some light on how the creek was named.Hope it helps.....regards

Further to Comment #16 by Val Mc Gregor (neeSpark) aprox 2 years agoVal I was your neighbour from 1943 (when born) to approx 1953I have photos of our house and Mums parents house in Flinders Parade (Least that is what we think it is) I also have a photo of the Church of England Debutate Ball held in 1948 Our young neighbour Pam and I lead the procession of Debutantes on to the Dance Floor of the Town Hall I am will to forward these photos on to you if some one would explain how.RegardsBob H

Am son in law , Rick , Col is 80 and he is really interested in the history of sangate, catching up with past . Both brothers lived on cabbage tree creek. Thanx ,

HiThis site is so interesting to those of us who have connections around Sandgate.I grew up in Brighton in the late 50's, 60's and 70's and attended school at Sacred Heart in Sandgate. I am so grateful for the idyllic childhood that I remember so fondly.I was just wondering if you would have any record of my relations, the Healion family, at all? John Francis Healion was born in 1866, married Julia Jane Bacon and had two daughters Julie Catherine and Theresa. The daughters were supposed to be the first boarders at Sacred Heart and later taught there. I'm told their mother, Julia ,was the first burial in the new Sandgate parish. John, the father, owned a house at Shorncliffe.Thanks and keep up the good workMarie

Can anyone assist please with the following regards a windmill that was used to access water for the locals at the beginning of the 20th century in Sandgate?. I have searched the Trove website and found some odd references made about it in the local council meetings circa 1920-1930I have also seen an old photo of what looks like a windmill on the site of the Sandgate bowls club. I am doing some otherwise unrelated research where reference to a windmill is shown. If anyone might be able to pinpoint where the windmill was and what happened to it I would be much obliged. Thank you. Bob B

Hi BobPlease fill in our online enquiry form and we will look into this for you –

hi I am the current owner /operator/butcher of DeagonBulk Meats cnr. Adams and Barclay Streets, Deagonwe have been in this shop for 6 years in july, 2014I have spent many hours talking with the customers and cant get a date for the butcher shop.we are registered shop No 18 in Queensland One of my customers is 97 this year and tells me she use to frequent my shop when she was about 5I am trying to find out the age of my Butcher shopmany thanks CatCatherine WalkOI know the building is listed with the Brisbane CityCouncil,

Hi Catherine. Thank you for your question. Please fill in our online enquiry form and we will investigate this for you -