Shorncliffe Pier - Out with the old and in with the new
Formerly known as Sandgate Pier, this long structure with its white timber rails and colonial lamps was completed in 1882. The Sandgate Pier Company Limited was formed on the 16 February 1882 to acquire freehold or leasehold land in the municipality of Sandgate on which to erect a pier, bathing houses, hotel and pavilions for the purpose of business and amusement. The original shareholders were prominent citizens of Brisbane and included Edward Drury, Boyd Moorhead, Henry Stanley, Thomas McIlwraith, Ambrose Palmer and Patrick Perkins. They secured a loan from the Queensland Investment and Land Mortgage Company to construct a pier 850 feet long and 18 feet 9 inches wide and is one of the longest piers in Australia.
Sandgate has long been the destination for many in search of cool breezes and respite from the summer heat. The area was known as a spa town, attracting visitors for weekends and holidays many of them businessmen and their families from Brisbane as well as pastoralists from the Darling Downs. The pier has always been a place used for amusement and recreation. In the early days steamers would pick up passengers traveling between Brisbane, the Redcliffe Peninsula and Woody Point. It was also used as a promenade, a place to meet friends and family for picnics beside the sea. Historical images, held in the collections of the State Library of Queensland, depict such days when families can be seen playing on the beach or standing on the pier enjoying the vistas across Moreton Bay. The Pier has also been a convenient stand for fishermen and a useful platform for viewing sailing regattas. It has also been the venue for concerts, carnivals and fairs and more recently for a television commercial.
In 2011 the pier was invaded by a British film crew who arrived to use the location for a television commercial for Homebase DIY. This saw a temporary makeover of the pier, which was later seen on British television. Nothing much has changed over the years as visitors have flocked to this location and enjoyed similar activities as those in the past. In March 2012, the council closed the pier to public access, due to safety concerns associated with the condition of its timbers. The decision was made to remove the old pier and replace it with a different structure. In December 2014 a barge fitted with a crane arrived to begin the task of removing the old timber pieces hailing the start of this iconic pier's demolition.
Council have estimated that it will take approximately 12 weeks to remove the existing structure. Once the old structure is removed a temporary bridge will be built to accommodate machinery that will be used in the construction of the new pier which should be completed by early 2016. You can view more information about the project for the Shorncliffe Pier here in the community newsletter produced by the Brisbane City Council
Janette Garrad – Original Content Technician, State Library of Queensland