Glass House Mountains
|Glass House Mountains|
Aerial photo of Glass House Mountains township with the Glass House Mountains in the distance
|Elevation||555 m (1,821 ft)|
|Region||South East Queensland|
|Formed by||Volcanic plugs|
The Glass House Mountains are a group of eleven hills that rise abruptly from the coastal plain on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia. The highest mountain is Mount Beerwah at 556 m above sea level, but the most identifiable of all the mountains is Mount Tibrogargan which appears like a giant ape sitting by the roadside staring out to sea.
The mountains were named by explorer Captain James Cook on 17 May 1770. The peaks reminded him of the glass furnaces in his home county of Yorkshire. Matthew Flinders explored the area and climbed Mount Beerburrum after sailing along Pumicestone Passage in 1799.
The range was formed as molten lava cooled to form hard rock in the cores of volcanoes between 26-27 million years ago. The source of the lava was from the East Australia hotspot. The cores of the mountains contain columns of comendite from lava which cools quickly into a hard rock. The surrounding softer rocks have been eroded in the subsequent time, forming the spectacular volcanic plugs that remain today. The peaks location relative to each other exhibits an alignment that is believed to have occurred due to fracturing.
Each of the peaks is protected within the Glass House Mountains National Park. Some of the peaks display vertical columns, particularly Mount Coonowrin, Mount Ngungun and Mount Beerwah at the Organ Pipes. These columns are the result of lava contraction. Scattered throughout the mountains are shallow caves which have been formed by wind erosion on rocks that were softened by groundwater. The names of each mountain in the range are:
The peaks are culturally significant to the traditional owners, the Gubbi Gubbi people. Under a native title claim, access to the peaks could be restricted as they are considered spiritual places. To the south east of the Glass House Mountains township is an Aboriginal bora ring.
In the land between the peaks, pineapple and poultry farming, as well as commercial forestry and quarrying are the main land uses.
The Glass House Mountains are located in the traditional lands of the Gubbi Gubbi people. In the Aboriginal legend the mountains are members of a family with the father being Mount Tibrogargan and the mother Mount Beerwah. All of the other mountains are sons and daughters with the eldest being Mount Coonowrin.
Tibrogargan, the father, observes that the sea is rising and asks that Coonowrin the eldest son help their pregnant mother to safety. Terrified, Coonowrin instead flees. Infuriated by his son's cowardliness, Tibrogargan pursues him and strikes him with his nulla nulla so hard that he dislocates Coonowrin's neck.
Once the danger passes Coonowrin feels tremendous guilt for his actions and asks his father, brothers and sisters for forgiveness but they all weep with shame. This is said to explain the many small streams that flow through the area. Tibrogargan turns his back on Coonowrin and gazes out to sea refusing to look at his son Coonowrin who continues to hang his head in shame and weeps.
The mountains are managed by Queensland National Parks and are promoted as a tourist asset. Historically bushwalking and climbing has been undertaken for more than a century. However the two largest mountains have been closed by National Parks in recent years. Firstly Coonowrin in 1999 as a result of a geological report and the development of an adjacent rock quarry. Secondly Beerwah in 2009 as the result of a rock collapse from the caves area across the main tourist track. At this stage there is no indication from NPRSR that Mount Beerwah will be re-opened. Tibrogargan and Ngungun are open to the public for bushwalking and climbing.
- "Flashback", page 6, Brisbane News — May 11-17, 2011
- Environmental Protection Agency (Queensland) (2000). Heritage Trails of the Great South East. State of Queensland. p. 127. ISBN 0-7345-1008-X.
- Willmott, Warwick (2004). Rocks and Landscapes of the National Parks of Southern Queensland. Brisbane, Queensland: Geological Society of Australia, Queensland Division. p. 162. ISBN 1-876125-46-2.
- Shilton, Peter (2005). Natural Areas of Queensland. Mount Gravatt, Queensland: Goldpress. pp. 160–162. ISBN 0-9758275-0-2.
- Explore Queensland's National Parks. Prahran, Victoria: Explore Australia Publishing. 2008. pp. 14–15. ISBN 978-1-74117-245-4.
- Mount Beerwah track closed - Glass House Mountains National Park. Department of National Parks, Recreation, Sport and Racing. Retrieved 6 May 2013.
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