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Glass House Mountains National Landscape, Beerburrum Woodford Rd, Beerburrum, QLD, Australia

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List National Heritage List
Class Natural
Legal Status Listed place (03/08/2006)
Place ID 105815
Place File No 4/01/089/0003
Summary Statement of Significance
The Glass House Mountains are a distinctive and spectacular landform feature of South East Queensland. Rising abruptly from the coastal plain as group of isolated volcanic plugs silhouetted against the predominantly flat skyline, these mountains embody significant landmark qualities for the community and evoke strong emotional responses. They are a dominant and instantly identifiable landform from a number of distant observation points.
 
The aesthetic characteristics of the Glass House Mountains noted by Captain Cook in 1770, have inspired a number of works by significant Australian artists in a range of media including music, painting, poetry, photography and film. Some of these artists and their work are recognised at the international level and include Judith Wright, Conrad Martens, David Malouf and Fred Williams.
 
The Glass House Mountains represent the best example of an eroded central volcano complex in Australia. Because the volcanic bodies did not reach the surface during their formation, with the exception of Mount Beerwah, they are free from erosional complexities, and form a spectacular example of intrusive volcanic bodies.
 
The site is important for elucidating the volcanic history of the eastern Australian mainland. Recent research at the site has shown that there was more than one volcanic migration trend in eastern Australia, and that the Glass Houses were part of an older migration trend separate from the main migration line. This recent research at the Glass House Mountains has led to a greater understanding of the dynamic tectonic processes that generated the older chain of volcanoes, and their relative ages, and to the geochemical evolution of the rock types making up these volcanic centres. This research has also resulted in more accurate measurement of the rate of movement of sections of the Australian plate.
 
Official Values
Criterion A Events, Processes
The Glass House Mountains represent the best example of an eroded central volcano complex in Australia. Because the volcanic bodies did not reach the surface during their formation, with the exception of Mount Beerwah, they are free from erosional complexities, and form a spectacular example of intrusive volcanic bodies (Sutherland 2005).
Criterion C Research
The site is important for elucidating the volcanic history of the eastern Australian mainland. Recent research at the site has shown that there was more than one volcanic migration trend in eastern Australia, and that the Glass Houses were part of an older migration trend separate from the main migration line (Sutherland 2005). This recent research at the Glass House Mountains has led to a greater understanding of the dynamic tectonic processes that generated the older chain of volcanoes, and their relative ages, and to the geochemical evolution of the rock types making up these volcanic centres (Sutherland 2005). This research has also resulted in more accurate measurement of the rate of movement of sections of the Australian plate.
 
Criterion E Aesthetic characteristics
The Glass House Mountains are a distinctive and spectacular landform of south-east Queensland. Rising abruptly from the coastal plain, the group of isolated volcanic plugs silhouette against the predominantly flat skyline. These mountains embody significant landmark qualities for the community and evoke strong emotional responses. They are a dominant and instantly identifiable landform from a number of distant observation points (Seto, in Crocker & Davies 2005b).  Summit lookouts offer strong aesthetic experiences including broad panoramas.
 
The aesthetic characteristics of the Glass House Mountains have inspired a number of works by significant Australian artists such as Lawrence Daws, Judith Wright, Conrad Martens, David Malouf, Peter Kennedy and Fred Williams, in a range of media including music, painting, poetry, photography and film (Lennon & Townsley 1998).
Description
The Glass House Mountains (the mountains) are a series of peaks representing the weathered cores of volcanoes that were active in the Late Oligocene of the Tertiary period (24 - 27 million years ago). They are predominantly composed of the volcanic rocks rhyolite and trachyte. The peaks rise sharply above the surrounding landscape, and are a striking and well-known landscape feature of the coastal lowlands of Queensland. As a spectacular and iconic landmark, they attract large numbers of visitors from Australia and overseas.
 
South-east Queensland has a subtropical climate, and the annual rainfall of 1000 to 1200mm, combined with the fertile volcanic soils found on the flat or gently undulating lands between the mountain peaks, results in high agricultural productivity.
 
The mountains consist of a grouping of plugs and domes, and range in height from the southern-most peak of Saddleback (Mount Elimbah), at 109 metres, to the highest peak, Mt. Beerwah, at 556 metres. They vary greatly in shape from round domes such as Beerburrum, to spectacular volcanic plugs such as Coonowrin.  The mountains form the headwater of the catchment for the Pumicestone Passage – a major wetland for migratory bird-life.
 
The Glass Houses are one of a series of volcanic mountains found along the length of the eastern coast of Australia, that were formed as part of a geologically recent episode of volcanic activity between 70 million and 4,600 years ago.
 
Volcanologists have divided this recent volcanic activity in Australia into two different types, lava fields and central volcanoes. Lava fields are areas where large amounts of lava have flowed up to and over the surface over a wide area. Examples include the Newer Volcanics region in Victoria, and the Atherton Tableland in far north Queensland. Central volcanoes are sites where volcanism is produced from either a single central vent or a cluster of vents. Examples include the Glass House Mountains, Mount Warning, the Warrumbungles and many other sites scattered down the eastern seaboard.
 
The age of these central (or shield) volcanoes becomes progressively younger from north to south, reflecting the penetration of Earth’s deeper mantle into the crust as the Indo-Australian plate drifted northwards, with the Hillsborough volcano in north Queensland aged 34 million years, and Mount Canobolas in southern NSW aged 12 million years. A still younger shield volcano, Mount Macedon, occurs as an isolated outpost in southern Victoria, aged 6 million years old.
 
Recent research has shown that the Glass House Mountains are part of a separate and smaller chain of volcanoes that preceeded the main volcanic chain. This older chain is found in south-east Queensland between Fraser Island and Flinders Peak, south of the Glass House Mountains.
 
The vegetation communities of the Glass House Mountains include dry sclerophyll forest, eucalypt woodland, montane heath and wallum (shrubland) vegetation.  Montane heath has a restricted distribution in south-east Queensland, and exhibits high levels of species endemism, while the wallum vegetation exhibits a high diversity of species.
 
Where there has been development of a soil profile on Mount Coonowrin and Mount Beerwah, a mixed eucalyptus open forest occurs, and supports pink bloodwood (E. intermedia), brown bloodwood (Eucalyptus trachyphloia), scribbly gum (E. signata) and brush box (Lophostemon confertus).  Much of the peak of Mount Beerwah is covered by heathy vegetation, often with mallee forms of brown bloodwood and the endemic E. kabiana. Scribbly gum is found in the more sheltered sites. Under the cliffs on the northern side, an area of wet sclerophyll forest occurs, dominated by turpentine (Syncarpia glomulifera) and brush box. In protected wetter gullies, small stands of vine forest have developed.
 
An open forest containing blackbutt (Eucalyptus pilularis) covers seventy five percent of Mount Ngungun. The remainder of the area is low open forest dominated by pink bloodwood. The lower slopes of Mount Tibrogargan are covered by an open forest alliance containing pink bloodwood and scribbly gum. 
 
Two peaks have complex rainforest on them, namely Mount Beerburrum and Mount Tibberoowuccum, although the area is not extensive on either peak. The majority of Mount Tunbubudla is covered in dry sclerophyll forest. There are also areas of exposed rock where Leptospermum luehmannii dominates.
 
The area is relatively rich in a number of fauna groups such as birds, with approximately 170 species. Other groups include frogs, with 11 species recorded, mammals, with 32 known species, and reptiles, with 39 known species.
 
The mountains and surrounding area are well known to Aboriginal people in southeast Queensland.  The Glass House Mountains are of special spiritual significance to the Gubbi Gubbi and Jinibara people, and are important physical markers in their landscape. 
 
A Cultural Landscape Study conducted for the Caloundra City Council identified numerous occupation sites within the Glass House Mountains area, including women’s birthing sites, and grinding grooves (more than 80 identified) on Wild Horse Mountain and at Rocky Creek, southwest of Landsborough, along the traditional pathways.  These grooves are indicative of intensive and long occupation of this area by Aboriginal people.  A rock art site of an engraved sailing ship is also located at the base of Tibrogargan Mountain.
 
Other sites known to Jinibara people in the Glass House Mountains include dreaming sites, creation place, evil or dangerous places, increase places, story places, birth places, magical places, healing places, graves and burials, reported rock art (although not confirmed), axe grinding groves, quarries, pathways, scarred trees, good food places, camping places and artifact scatters.
 
Four of the main peaks of the Glass House Mountains were declared as separate National Parks in 1978. These separate parks were amalgamated into the Glass House Mountains National Park in 1995, and another four peaks were added, bringing to eight the total number of separate areas or peaks that constitute the national park.
 
The proposed National List area includes seven areas of the Glass House Mountains National Park, these being: Beerwah (556 metres); Coonowrin (Crookneck) (377 metres); Tibrogargan & Cooee (364 metres & 177 metres); Ngungun (253 metres); the Coochin Hills (235 and 230 metres); Miketeebumulgrai 199.5m; and Elimbah (Saddleback) 109m. In addition there are a further three areas: Beerburrum (278 metres); Tunbubudla (the twins) 294 and 338 metres); and Tibberoowuccum (220 metres) which currently comprise sections of the Beerburrum Forest Reserve.
 
The area today is a mosaic of National Parks, State Forest areas and privately owned land. Much of the privately owned land is used for farming produce such as pineapples, avocado, strawberries and macadamia nuts. The contrasting patterns of land use between the natural forested areas and the agricultural plantations are a distinctive feature of the landscape. There are a number of villages along the main historical settlement routes. The more recent alignment of the Bruce Highway is to the east of most of the mountains and the rural landscape setting. The old Bruce Highway is now designated the Glass House Mountains Highway and a scenic route. Further inland the old Gympie Road winds close to many of the peaks and is also a popular tourist route. 
 
Aesthetic Characteristics
The Glass House Mountains can be seen as far away as the Scenic Rim on the Queensland and New South Wales Border and the immediate view field is estimated to be an area close to 25kms by 40kms including views from the ocean off parts of the southern Sunshine Coast. The mountains can be viewed in their wider setting from Mary Cairncross Park and Mount Beerburrum and Wild Horse Mountain. From the lookouts panoramic views can be experienced of the family of mountains with their massive jagged peaks arising from an extensive plain with forested foothill reserves, agricultural land, small village roads, highways and coastal urban developments. The elevated viewpoints provide prospects with scenery that has been described as sublime, awesome and also picturesque. Yeates (2001) in his analysis of geological sites around Australia describes the Glass House Mountains as ‘spectacular relicts of eroded volcanic spines’.
 
The family group that these mountains form adds a depth of meaning to the landscape appreciation as each mountain is rarely seen on its own.  Even from very distant viewpoints close to the NSW border, two or three of the peaks will indicate where the family is sitting (Brouwer, 2005).
 
The Glass House Mountains are a defining image of south-east Queensland and are frequently used to identify the region - in local government logos, promotional tourist, recreation, and liveability publications, real estate advertising and product marketing. Images of the mountains have been so frequently used in recent years the mountains are now are one of the primary signifiers of the region (Brouwer, 2005).
 
The wider community values these mountains as places for recreation, and their closeness to Brisbane, and major residential and tourist centres on the Sunshine Coast make them easily accessible. The Glass House Mountains National Park attracts large numbers of visitors - the steep geological formations make the park attractive to rock climbers and abseilers, and the peaks and surrounding lands continue to be popular destinations for visitors wanting to bushwalk, picnic, and enjoy the volcanic scenery.
 
History
The Glass House Mountains are said to lie on the boundary between the coastal Undambi peoples of the Gubbi Gubbi (Kabi Kabi or Ka’bi) speakers and the Nalbo clan of the Jinibara people.
 
The mountains lay on a pathway to the Blackall Ranges, where Aboriginal people gathered seasonally for the Bunya nut harvest.  Explorers and settlers followed similar pathways into the region.  Steele (1983: 174) identified the area as an important gathering place in the past, including for Bora ceremonies.  These were highly sacred ceremonies throughout eastern Australia.  Groups from the surrounding region would attend Bora ceremonies held for the initiation of young men at particular places marked by elaborate ceremony grounds, including Bora rings (Flood, 1990: 137).  A well preserved Bora ring lies north of Beerburrum and 2.7kms south east of the Glass House Mountain township.
 
There are several creation stories that relate to the Dreaming when anthropomorphic ancestor spirits moved across the landscape and through their actions created landscape features, such as mountains, waterholes, creeks and rock outcrops.  Jinibara people regard them as creator beings, a family in stone that enshrined ancient stories perhaps reaching back 6000 years.
 
The several peaks of the Glass House Mountains are significant in an Aboriginal tradition relating to Tibrogargan, said to be the father of all tribes, and a flood.  Each of the peaks represents a family member, including Tibrogargan, Beerwah (his pregnant wife, in the form of a rounded peak), Coonowrin (the eldest son, Crookneck) and other peaks associated with Beerburrum and Tunbubudla (represented by peaks known as “The Twins”) Ngungun, and Tibberoowuccum).
 
The story tells of an approaching flood. Tibrogargan told Coonowrin to help his mother flee the rising waters but he did not and ran off to escape the waters. Tibrogargan, angry with Coonowrin’s neglect of his mother, gave chase and chased him with a nulla nulla and cracked Coonowrin over the head, dislocating his neck.   Coonowrin is also known as Crookneck. Coonowrin’s parents and brothers and sisters wept copiously at his disgrace resulting in the numerous small streams flowing from the mountains.  Beerwah, the mother, is still pregnant. Both Beerwah and Coonowrin are now cursed and therefore should never be climbed. It is believed a spirit lives at the top of Mt Beerwah and Aboriginal people are generally afraid to climb the mountain. An early explorer, Andrew Petrie, once climbed Mt Beerwah and when he later became blind, the Aboriginals of the area believed that this was the work of the spirit (Steele, 1983, p. 174).
 
The mountains hold great spiritual significance for the Gubbi Gubbi people because of this tradition.  The mountains are the prominent physical reminders of the story and the individual members of Tibrogargan ‘s family.  As a story of a family it can ‘speak’ to Indigenous and non-Indigenous alike.
 
The Jinibura story for the Glass House Mountains refers to geological events more than 10,000 years ago.  One of the creation stories from Glass House Mountains recounts how the sea flooded the coastal plain and nearly washed away one of the small hills, Wild Horse.  This story perhaps recalls the higher sea levels at the end of the ice age, when melting ice brought the sea close to Wild Horse Mountain, and may also accounts for the unique appearance of Coonowrin, with his bent neck, the result of a punishment from Tibrogargan for breaking the law. 
 
Because of their dominance over the surrounding landscape, the mountains were important navigational beacons both by land and by sea. European settlers used the mountains as a guide for their ships, and tracks north to the goldfields of Gympie pass through the mountains.
 
The Glass House Mountains area is associated with the history related to the voyages and explorations of James Cook and Mathew Flinders. Cook commenced his running survey of the east coast of Australia in the HMS Endeavour in early 1770. On 17 May 1770 Cook had reached the area adjacent to the Glass House Mountains. He noted in his journal:
 
“….. this place may always be found by three hills which lay to the northward (of it) in the Latitude of 26 (degrees)..53 (minutes) S these hills lay but a little way inland and not far from each other, they are very remarkable on account of there singular form of elevation which very much resemble glass houses which occasioned my giving them that name, the northernmost of the three is the highest and the largest, there are likewise several other peaked hills inland to the northward of these but they are not near so remarkable……”
 
The glass houses referred to by Cook were the glass making foundries in Yorkshire England (Brouwer 2002).
 
On the same day Joseph Banks noted in his journal “…..About it (the bay) were many smoaks especially on the Northern side near some remarkable conical hills….” Cook, Banks, Doctor Solander and a small group of men landed on the north shore of Moreton Bay however their landing was short and no records were cited to establish any further details in relation to this landing or whether botanical or other scientific specimens were collected from the area.
 
Matthew Flinders had established himself as an accomplished navigator and cartographer. During his exploration of the Queensland coast in 1799 he explored parts of the Glass House Mountains area. Flinders, two crewmen and an Eora man from Port Jackson called Bungaree, explored Mt Beerburrum and Mt Tibrogargan. Bungaree was an Eora man from Port Jackson, and Flinders had “invited” him to accompany him on his voyage to the Queensland coast presumably as an Indigenous interpreter.
 
Other early explorers connected with the Glass House Mountains are John Oxley, Alan Cunningham, Andrew Petrie, and Ludwig Leichhardt.
 
The mountains have been continuously depicted since Cook first sketched and described them as ‘Glass houses’ in 1770. Internationally recognised Australian artists such as Geoffrey Dutton, Thomas Shapcott and David Malouf have all written poetry inspired by the Glass Houses, and writers such as Judith Wright also drew inspiration from the mountains in her short story ‘The Mountains Played’. Other poets of national standing such as Mocco Wollert and David Phillip Reiter have also commemorated the mountains in their work. (Lennon & Townsley 1998).
 
Important early depictions of the Glass Houses were by Conrad Martens in 1852, in his ‘Glasshouse Mountains, Moreton Bay early morning, Nov 6th, 1851’. Douglas Scott Montagu was an early artist depicting the region in 1853, and early photographers such as Charles Ernest Stanley Fryer and G. A. Rowley also depicted the mountains. Innovative contemporary landscape painters such as Lawrence Daws have depicted the mountains in his famous series of works simply entitled ‘Glasshouse Mountains (1980). Fred Williams painting ‘Glasshouse Mountains III’ (1971) is another important work by an international artist. Other notable artists include William Bustard, P. Hobday Stanhope, Lois Beumer, Max Ragless, Kenneth MacQueen, Jessie Traill, Karl Langer, Gwendolyn Grant and Robert Campbell. Musical works by Robert Davidson in his work ‘Tibrogargan (1996) and John Gilfedder’s work ‘Legend of Tibrogargan’ (1986) testify to the region’s aesthetic value and broad ranging appeal to artists. Charles Chauvel’s film, Heritage (1935) was shot at Canungra.  His later film, Sons of Matthew (1949), was shot partly in the Glass House Mountains, as was George Miller’s 1992 Over the Hill. (Lennon & Townsley 1998). Other notable artists that have depicted the mountains are Donald Friend, Peter Kennedy and Judy Watson.
 
Condition and Integrity
The Glass House Mountains constitute islands of natural habitat surrounded by pine plantations and rural and residential development.
 
The vegetation communities in the park sections are fragile because of their isolation, and because of the steep terrain and easily eroded soils. Degradation is occurring through high recreational use, fire frequency, and extractive industry at the base of some of the mountains. Heathlands on the summits of some of the peaks are being degraded by trampling as a result of high numbers of visitors, and the skeletal soils make rehabilitation difficult. Examples of species that are threatened by trampling include the rare mountain reed-grass Arundinella montana and another grass species Micraira subulifolia, which are found in the rocky pavement vegetation community on the summit of Mount Ngungun. (QNPWS 98)
 
Fragmentation of the vegetation has reduced the viability of the habitat for many fauna species that once occurred here. Species that are affected include the larger arboreal mammals, wallabies and kangaroos, and ground dwellers (QNPWS 98).
 
The peaks are prone to wildfires, due to the dry nature of the vegetation, and fires are often started outside the park sections and travel into them. An increase in the frequency of burning has resulted in changes to the composition of the vegetation species, with fire sensitive species becoming rarer, or disappearing from some of the peaks. For example, the rare Banksia conferta subsp. conferta appears to have disappeared from Mts Beerwah and Tibrogargan (QNPWS 98).
 
A number of weeds occur in the parks. Species found on the lower slopes of the mountains include lantana (Lantana camara), camphor laurel (Cinnamomum camphora), groundsel (Baccharis halimifolia) and slash pine (Pinus elliottii). The rocky summits are under threat from introduced grasses including red natal grass (Melinis repens) and molasses grass (M. minutiflora). Feral animals are also present, and foxes, cats and cane toads have been recorded (QNPWS 98).
 
Expanding urban development in the area and further afield have increased recreational pressure on the peaks. Rockclimbing is a popular sport on numbers of the rock faces, and walking to several of the summits is also increasingly popular. Both these activities create pressure on the environment such as an increase in informal paths, erosion, littering and fire (QNPWS 98).
 
Condition Statement as at 1998.
 
Location
About 1897ha, 0.5km west of Beerburrum, comprising the following areas:
1.  Seven Lots that are part of the Glass House Mountains National Park. All are part of Lot 127 NPW640. The seven Lots are centred on Mount Coochin, Beerwah, Coonowrin, Ngungun, Tibrogargan, Miketeebumulgrai and Elimbah (Saddleback). All other Lots that are part of Glass House Mountains National Park are not included.
2.  The three Lots that make up Lot 589 AP6213FR. The three Lots are centred on Tunbudla (The Twins), Beerburrum and Tibberoowuccum.
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Participants in the 1995 ICOMOS-sponsored workshop on Indigenous Landscapes (February 1995)

Report Produced  Fri Sep 19 02:39:07 2014