Helidon, Queensland

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Helidon, Queensland
Helidon is located in Queensland
Coordinates 27°33′02″S 152°07′32″E / 27.55056°S 152.12556°E / -27.55056; 152.12556Coordinates: 27°33′02″S 152°07′32″E / 27.55056°S 152.12556°E / -27.55056; 152.12556
Population 1,053 (2011 census)[1]
Postcode(s) 4344
LGA(s) Lockyer Valley Region
County Cavendish
Parish Helidon
State electorate(s) Lockyer
Federal Division(s) Blair
Localities around Helidon:
Upper Lockyer White Mountain
Seventeen Mile
Seventeen Mile
Helidon Spa
Helidon Grantham
Iredale Iredale

Helidon is a town in the Lockyer Valley region of southeast Queensland, Australia. Helidon is located on the Warrego Highway, 106 kilometres (66 mi) west of the state capital, Brisbane, and 21 kilometres (13 mi) east of Toowoomba. The town had a population of 1,053 at the 2011 census.[1]

Helidon is known in Queensland for its high quality sandstone, used extensively in private and public buildings in the state and elsewhere, including Brisbane City Hall,Brisbane Treasury Building, University of Queensland, and sought after internationally for its quality, especially in China.[2] Helidon is also the location of a natural mineral spring[3] whose products were sold by the Helidon Spa Water Company, now known as Kirks.


The Toowoomba Second Range Crossing will join the Warrego Highway at Helidon and is expected to open in 2018.[4] Parts of the hilly, undeveloped north of Helidon have been protected within Lockyer National Park.


The Country Women's Association Rest Room opened in 1957 (Photo taken in 2009)

The Helidon district is called by Aboriginal inhabitants "Yabarba", the name of the Curriejung, and the nearby spring is known as "Woonar-rajimmi", the place "where the clouds fell down!"

William Turner payed 60 pounds rent for the Hellidon Run of 25,600 acres, in 1853.[5] He was later (1861), appointed magistrate for the district[6].

Richard Kettle (born in Whissendine, England in 1838), together with his family, were amongst the principle farming families to establish Helidon [7]. Following a failed attempt to lease land in Tent Hill in 1871[8], Richard Kettle was granted 150 Lockyer acres, in 1873[9], improved to a Homestead in 1878[10], and a further 80 acres in 1882 [11].

Helidon Post Office opened on 1 August 1866.[12]

In 1874 settlers in the Helidon District wrote to the Board of General Education, which from 1860 was authorised to establish and administer primary schools,[13] requesting that a school be established in Helidon. The Helidon State School opened on 11 May 1874 with 8 pupils.[14][15]. In 1882, the school had 24 students[16]. Helidon State School was only the second school in the Lockyer Valley district and was the 52nd primary school opened in Queensland.[14] The school's original building was damaged in a cyclone and a new school erected at its current location in School Street in 1919.[14]

In December 1924, a branch of the Country Women's Association was formed in nearby Gatton,[17] and had a membership of 28 by 1925.[18] The Helidon Branch was formed in 1933.[19] The branch was active but in more recent times struggled with diminishing membership and in 2013 was under threat of closure.[20] The branch closed and the closest branch to Helidon is now the Upper Lockyer/Withcott branch which meets in Withcott.[21]

Two women and a man taking the waters at Helidon Spa, ca. 1918
Women taking baskets of food to the troop train passing through Helidon, World War I

The Sisters of St Joseph came to Helidon in 1874 and established a convent in 1884.[22]

1914 cyclone[edit]

In April 1914 a cyclonic storm swept through Helidon destroying the Catholic Church and severely damaging the convent, as well as many of the other buildings in the town – the Methodist Church, the school, post office and many businesses.[23] St. Joseph's Catholic Church was rebuilt and was opened in September 1914[24] by Archbishop Duhig.[25]

Spring Water[edit]

The quality of the water at Helidon had long been known to the local indigenous population prior to colonisation, who believed the water had great healing and strength giving properties.[26] They knew the spring water as "kowoor".[27] These properties were thought to be the result of high lithium content, leading it to be sold and marketed as a powerful tonic for cleansing the bladder, kidneys and digestive system.[28]

In the 1820s, botanist and explorer Alan Cunningham became the first European to be introduced to Helidon's mineral waters. In 1879, chemist Reginald Larard was selling water from the spring as "Oogar Dang Water."[29] The soda water was considered by a government analyst to be "a valuable discovery" and of a quality to "satisfy anyone of its immense superiority over all common soda water".[30] By 1881 he had entered a partnership with Scottish sportsman and entrepreneur Gilbert E. Primrose, who had purchased the agricultural land around the springs, establishing the Helidon Spa Water Company. To combat competition from imported soft drink products, the company would later merge with Owen Gardner & Sons in 1959 to become Kirks, now owned by Coca-Cola Amatil.

With the popularity of Helidon's spa water, the first 'spa park' was opened in 1926.[31] During the 60's, a large caravan park and pool were constructed, briefly earning the area the name 'Toowoomba's Gold Coast'. The area remained popular until the 1980s amid water safety concerns, however a few spa hotels still remain today.


On 10 January 2011, Helidon was hit by a wall of flood water which had previously struck Toowoomba, part of the 2010–2011 Queensland floods.[32] Few houses were affected directly; those that were inundated sat directly on the creek bank, lower than the rest of the town. The main creek bank did not break, and the town was used as an evacuation centre for nearby Grantham.[33]

Heritage listings[edit]

Helidon has a number of heritage-listed sites, which are included in the Helidon Heritage Walk. The walk encompasses:

  • 7 Railway Street: Bank of New South Wales Building[34]
  • Turner Street: named after Mr. William Turner, the first manager of 'Hellidon Run'.
  • Phone exchange
  • Helidon State School, established 1874
  • McGovern Park
  • Criterion Hotel, 1913.
  • Tyson Park
  • Pictorial Museum
  • St. Joseph's Catholic Church
  • War Memorial, erected 1978.
  • Railway Station & Refreshment Rooms, 1867.
  • Progress Park tennis club
  • Helidon sewerage scheme
  • Cunningham's Camp
  • Post Office
  • Police station
  • Helidon Cemetery, first gazetted by the Land Administration Commission in the early 1890's, though the site had been being used before that date.

The Heritage Walk was supported by the Helidon & District Progress Association inc., Helidon State School, and Lockyer Valley Regional Council.


  1. ^ a b Australian Bureau of Statistics (31 October 2012). "Helidon (State Suburb)". 2011 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 28 August 2014. 
  2. ^ Morley, Peter (12 May 2008). "Helidon sandstone helps build China by the block". Courier-Mail. Retrieved 11 January 2011. 
  3. ^ "Places to Visit:Helidon". queenslandholidays.com.au, Retrieved 12 January 2011
  4. ^ Queensland Treasury and Trade (28 January 2014). "Toowoomba Second Range Crossing – Project Fact Sheet" (PDF). Projects Queensland. Retrieved 5 November 2014. 
  5. ^ "LEASES OF CROWN LANDS BROUGHT WITHIN THE SETTLED DISTRICTS.". The Moreton Bay Courier. VIII, (386). Queensland, Australia. 5 November 1853. p. 4. Retrieved 14 May 2017 – via National Library of Australia. 
  6. ^ "The Moreton Bay Courier (Brisbane, Qld.) Thu 14 Feb 1861 Page 2 COMMISSION OF THE PEACE.". Retrieved 13 May 2017. 
  7. ^ "Complimentary Dinner at Helidon". Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald And General Advertiser. XLIV, (6638). Queensland, Australia. 18 August 1903. p. 7. Retrieved 13 May 2017 – via National Library of Australia. 
  8. ^ "IPSWICH.". The Brisbane Courier. XXV, (4,186). Queensland, Australia. 4 March 1871. p. 5. Retrieved 13 May 2017 – via National Library of Australia. 
  9. ^ "LAND SELECTIONS IN WEST MORETON.". The Brisbane Courier. XXVII, (4,794). Queensland, Australia. 10 February 1873. p. 3. Retrieved 13 May 2017 – via National Library of Australia. 
  10. ^ "HELIDON.". The Queenslander. XIII, (132). Queensland, Australia. 23 February 1878. p. 21. Retrieved 13 May 2017 – via National Library of Australia. 
  11. ^ "HELIDON.". The Queenslander. XXI, (343). Queensland, Australia. 22 April 1882. p. 505. Retrieved 13 May 2017 – via National Library of Australia. 
  12. ^ Premier Postal History. "Post Office List". Premier Postal Auctions. Retrieved 10 May 2014. 
  13. ^ "The Board of General Education 1860-1875". education.qld.gov.au. Retrieved 2017-02-01. 
  14. ^ a b c "History". helidonss.eq.edu.au. Retrieved 2017-02-01. 
  15. ^ "Opening and closing dates of Queensland schools (H)". 1 February 2017. Archived from the original on 1 February 2017. Retrieved 1 February 2017. 
  16. ^ "EDUCATION REPORT.". Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald And General Advertiser. XXII, (3124). Queensland, Australia. 1 August 1882. p. 3. Retrieved 13 May 2017 – via National Library of Australia. 
  17. ^ "THE LOCKYER". Daily Mail (7105). Brisbane. 4 December 1924. p. 14. Retrieved 1 February 2017 – via National Library of Australia. 
  18. ^ "THE LOCKYER". Daily Mail. Brisbane. 14 March 1925. p. 9. Retrieved 1 February 2017 – via National Library of Australia. 
  19. ^ "HELIDON.". The Courier-Mail. Brisbane. 4 September 1933. p. 8. Retrieved 1 February 2017 – via National Library of Australia. 
  20. ^ "CWA under threat as members migrate to Toowoomba | Chronicle". 1 February 2017. Archived from the original on 1 February 2017. Retrieved 1 February 2017. 
  21. ^ "QCWA". QCWA. Retrieved 2017-02-01. 
  22. ^ "Australian Christian Church Histories :: Helidon QLD – St Joseph's Catholic". www.churchhistories.net.au. Retrieved 2017-02-01. 
  23. ^ "Cyclone at Helidon.". Queensland Times (Daily ed.). 4 April 1914. p. 13. Retrieved 1 February 2017 – via National Library of Australia. 
  24. ^ Wright, Carmel; St. Joseph's Catholic Church (Helidon, Qld.) (contractor.) (2014), St. Joseph's Catholic Church, Helidon, Queensland : celebrating a century 1914 - 2014, [Ingolsby, Queensland) [Carmel Wright], ISBN 978-0-646-92767-1 
  25. ^ "HELIDON R.C. CHURCH.". Darling Downs Gazette. Queensland. 19 September 1914. p. 4. Retrieved 1 February 2017 – via National Library of Australia. 
  26. ^ "Helidon Hills/Helidon Spa Park/Lockyer Valley". 2012-03-14. Archived from the original on 14 March 2012. Retrieved 2016-02-07. 
  27. ^ Meston, Archibald (1891). Queensland railway & tourists' guide : compiled under instructions from the Queensland Railway Commissioners, with concise history of the colony, and complete description of all country traversed by the railway lines, with interesting extra information. Brisbane: Gordon and Gotch. p. 29.
  28. ^ "Bottles and cans: an adventure in suburban archaeology | There once was a creek . . .". www.oncewasacreek.org. Retrieved 2016-02-07. 
  29. ^ "Helidon | Queensland Places". queenslandplaces.com.au. Retrieved 2016-02-07. 
  30. ^ "Discovery of a Spring of Mineral Water at Helidon.". Warwick Examiner and Times. Queensland. 31 December 1880. p. 2. Retrieved 1 February 2017 – via National Library of Australia. 
  31. ^ "Bottles and cans: an adventure in suburban archaeology | There once was a creek . . .". www.oncewasacreek.org. Retrieved 2016-02-07. 
  32. ^ Kerin, Lindy "Wall of water hits Helidon". ABC Radio, AM. 11 January 2011, Retrieved 12 January 2011
  33. ^ Amber Jamieson (11 January 2011), ‘Situation continues to deteriorate’: QLD floods 
  34. ^ "Bank of New South Wales premises and attached residence (former) (entry 600512)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 10 July 2013. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Media related to Helidon, Queensland at Wikimedia Commons