Allan Cunningham monument, Cunningham's Gap, 2009
|LGA(s)||Southern Downs Region|
|State electorate(s)||Southern Downs|
The eastern part of Tregony is the Main Range National Park on the western slopes of the Great Dividing Range (rising up to 1160 metres). From there Gap Creek rises and flows west, eventually becoming a tributary of Glengallan Creek, then the Condamine River and eventually the Murray-Darling River through New South Wales and South Australia.
The Cunningham Highway coming from Tarome to the east crosses the range at Cunningham's Gap (elevation 790 metres) on the eastern boundary of the locality and then runs from east to west through the locality running roughly parallel and south of Gap Creek falling to 590 metres elevation on the western boundary. The land in the western part of the locality is flatter and used for farming.
Although not called Tregony at that time, the area was of great interest to early explorers. The Darling Downs was seen as having great agricultural protential but initial access to the area was via an overland route through inland New South Wales, which would create an unreasonable time and cost barrier for trade. A faster route was needed to the coast, preferably via the newly developing towns of Ipswich and Brisbane, which were linked by the Bremer and Brisbane Rivers to Moreton Bay and then by sea to other parts of Australia and overseas. However, the Great Dividing Range separated the Darling Downs from the coast. On 11 June 1827, Allan Cunningham approaching from the Darling Downs identified a possible dray route (later known as Spicer's Gap) across the range. On 21 August 1828, travelling from Ipswich, Cunningham found a second pass, now known as Cunningham's Gap, but he thought (wrongly) that it was the same pass as he had found in 1827, but Cunningham's Gap is about 4 km north of Spicer's Gap. Cunningham reported to the New South Wales Government that the route should be via Cunningham's Gap.
As the Darling Downs was being settled, finding a dray route across the range became increasingly important. The route via Cunningham's Gap was too steep for a dray, but it was not until April 1847, that Henry Alphen rediscovered Spicer's Gap. In August 1847, two dray successfully travelled via Spicer's Gap to Ipswich. This led to the establishment of Spicers Gap Road (modern spelling omits the apostrophe) over the range. In 1861 the telegraph line was built along Spicers Gap Road linked up the first telegraph station at Fassifern Reserve with the station at Tregony, on the Darling Downs side.
Spicers Gap Road required extensive expenditure on maintenance and with the 1871 opening of the Southern railway line from Warwick (the major town on the Darling Downs) to Toowoomba and then by the Main Line railway to Brisbane, Spicers Gap Road was virtually abandoned as rail transport was superior to drays.
As automobiles started to become more widely available, it became realistic to create a road via Cunningham's Gap, which was built between 1925 and 1927. On 11 June 1927 (a century after Allan Cunningham discovered Spicer's Gap), the road was officially opened by the Acting Queensland Premier, William Forgan Smith, who also unveiled a monument to Cunningham. The plaque on the monument states that Cunningham found Cunningham's Gap in 1927 (perpetuating Cunningham's own confusion over the two gaps). In 1935, the road was upgraded to highway standard and was named the Cunningham Highway, and became the most direct route between Brisbane and Warwick.
Tregony has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:
- Spicers Gap Road, the former road across the Great Dividing Range prior to the development of the Cunningham Highway
- "Tregony (entry 45996)". Queensland Place Names. Queensland Government. Retrieved 23 November 2016.
- "Queensland Globe". State of Queensland. Retrieved 8 December 2016.
- "Spicers Gap Road Conservation Park (entry 601732)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 1 August 2014.
- "NEW EAST-WEST ROUTE". Warwick Daily News (2489). Queensland, Australia. 13 June 1927. p. 6. Retrieved 9 December 2016 – via National Library of Australia.
- "PERSONAL". The Brisbane Courier (21, 645). Queensland, Australia. 11 June 1927. p. 6. Retrieved 9 December 2016 – via National Library of Australia.
- "Allan Cunningham". Monument Australia. Retrieved 9 December 2016.
Media related to Tregony, Queensland at Wikimedia Commons