The Hornibrook Highway

The Grey St/William Jolly Bridge, the Hornibrook Highway and the Story Bridge were all opened between 1932 and 1940, opening up land, business, communication and connecting people back and forth across a rapidly growing city and across Moreton Bay to Redcliffe from Sandgate. This project, through the Business Leaders Hall of Fame Fellowship, features an essay and blog on each of the three major Brisbane bridges of the 30s, with photos and anecdotes of life in Brisbane then and the role of MR in shaping a more modern view of Queensland. This edition highlights photos of the building of the Hornibrook Highway, a road link from Brighton and Sandgate to Clontarf Point at Redcliffe with a bridge spanning Hays Inlet and Bramble Bay.

Julie Hornibrook is the recipient of the 2015 Queensland Business Leaders Hall of Fame Fellowship.  As an accompaniment to this showcase of historic images, Julie has written an in-depth essay about the building of the Hornibrook Highway.

Read the Hornibrook Highway essay >

Read more about the 2015 Fellowship >

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The 12 miles of the proposed Highway is highlighted on the semi-rural land of Sandgate and Redcliffe, showing a path through land that would need to be resumed on the south side and new road to be built along the foreshore to Woody Point on the Peninsula.

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This illustration of the concept of the Hornibrook Highway with art deco portal was included in the Prospectus for Hornibrook Highway Ltd to raise funds to progress the building of the roads and Bridge.

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1746 corbels supported the decking and were part of the 2.5 million cubic feet of timber used to build the Bridge, cut from forests in Conondale, Mapleton and Kilcoy.

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The timber used on the deck was ironbark or tallowwood, sourced from Conondale, Mapleton or Kilcoy. It was soaked in a hot creosote bath prior to use to preserve against decay, insects, weather and fire. 2.5 million super feet of timber was used in the building of the Bridge.

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Girder supplies being loaded from a barge to be placed between the spans on the Bridge. 1752 girders were used, all 30’ lengths. They were shipped down river by barge, after coming by rail from the mills at Conondale or Mapleton.

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The Bridge was opened by the Governor, Sir Leslie Orme Wilson. After the ceremony and cutting of the ribbon his car led a procession of more than a mile long over the Bridge, nearly as long as the Bridge itself. They were greeted by schoolchildren, war veterans guard of honour and Scottish pipe band when they reached the Clontarf side.

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The aerial view of the Bridge shows the southern portal in art deco style. The northern entrance was also defined by a portal where tolls were collected. Both portals were identical and designed by architect John Beebe.

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The party of dignitaries includes Manuel Hornibrook on the left and his wife, Daphne, next to him, dressed in all white. They are standing next to the Governor, Sir Leslie Orme Wilson and his wife, Lady Wilson.

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Manuel Hornibrook with Sir Leslie Orme Wilson, Governor, as he is getting into the car to lead the procession of vehicles over the Bridge on Opening Day of the Hornibrook Highway

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Manuel Hornibrook stands before a large microphone to make a speech on opening day of the Hornibrook Highway. The proceedings were also broadcast on radio. Sir Leslie Orme Wilson, Governor, and his wife, Lady Wilson, are seated behind him.

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The Governor, Sir Leslie Orme Wilson, stands to make a speech at opening of the Hornibrook Highway, also broadcast on radio. Manuel Hornibrook, his wife Daphne, and other dignitaries sit behind him, with journalists in the background.

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This image looks like the moment when the ribbon has been cut to open the Hornibrook Highway, by the Governor, Sir Leslie Orme Wilson. Standing opposite him is Manuel Hornibrook in a proud moment. Manuel gave the Governor a gold boomerang to mark the occasion, which was used to cut the ribbon.

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The Queensland legislation that enabled MR to operate a toll bridge was also a catalyst for other enterprising builders to develop toll bridges, such as the Walter Taylor Bridge at Indooroopilly. This photo shows opening day of the Walter Taylor Bridge on 14 Feb 1936, 4 months after the opening of the Hornibrook Highway. Manuel Hornibrook is pictured second from the left in the photo and was reported as being the first person to pay the toll on the Bridge.

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Pylons to mark the entrance to the Hornibrook Highway. The Fourex beer advertisement is above the gateway. ‘Ionlite’ was the company which erected the signs in neon red tubing (5’high x 3’9”across each X and 20’ in length across the pylon.) Correspondence held by Julie Hornibrook shows letters of request to Manuel Hornibrook to erect the sign on the pylon but there is no reference to payment for use of the location.

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This postcard depicts images of cars and buses as they pay the toll for the Hornibrook Highway Bridge. One photo shows the house built for the tollmaster by the company and designed by John Beebe, who also designed the portals. This house later burnt down but a house nearby, owned by Manuel Hornibrook for family use and holidays is still standing on the same site.

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This photo was taken by Redcliffe resident Paul McKenzie, who donated the image on the 80th anniversary of the opening of the Bridge. Since this picture was taken the Hornibrook Bridge has been dismantled to become a fishing pier on the Clontarf side, and two more bridges have been built to link Redcliffe and Sandgate - the Houghton Highway and the Ted Smout Bridge.

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Thanks to the Moreton Bay Herald for image of Julie Hornibrook when she visited Redcliffe to give a talk to the Museum on the 80th anniversary of the Opening of the Hornibrook Highway. This was taken on Clontarf pier, with a hardwood girder salvaged from the Bridge in the foreground.