Beyond Morton Bay to Laidley, Queensland

19th June 1829

It was on this day, 19th June 1829, near Laidley, Mr Cunningham saved the lives of his men and their equipment as a result of his knowledge of back-burning. The explorers had encountered local indigenous people who were not happy about the presence of strangers in their Country; so a few of the men of the tribe set fire to the dry grass with the intention of doing harm.. ((Source: John Whitehead’s “Cunningham’s Gap”, Volume 9 of his Tracking and Mapping Series p112))

Sometime, before or after this skirmish the explorers rested on the crest of a hill, now known as Cunningham Crest, After a short rest, they travelled west into the valley below and camped beside Laidley Creek, (where the showground is currently situated). From there they continued their journey north west searching for the source of the Brisbane River. They had travelled from the Limestone Station, near Morton Bay (now known as Brisbane) with two men (assigned servants who had accompanied him on previous expeditions) and two other men who Commandant Logan had made available. He also had with him three pack bullocks and three dogs and provisions for five weeks. ((Find out more about this journey by reading John Whitehead’s “Cunningham’s Gap”))

Cunningham Crest now has a Lookout so people can enjoy the view that the explorers experienced. It was built in 2007, on the spot where historians have calculated Allan Cunningham overlooked the valley. The construction of the lookout was organised by the Regional Arts Development Fund (RADF) Committee, Arts Queensland, the Laidley Shire Council and local artists.

Directions: In Laidley, turn east into Railway St at the railway line and after 1km turn left into Summers St. Turn right at Paroz Rd and at Mountain Rd turn right and follow the signs to the Lookout. Return to Laidley via the same route. ((Find out more at the Visit Brisbane website))

Cunningham's Gap by John Whiitheaad
Including Mapping Allan Cunningham’s expeditions through Ipswich, Beaudesert, Mt Barney, Cunningham’s Gap, Gatton, Brisbane River, and Esk