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April 5, 2021
What is North Harbour Heritage Park?
What is a Heritage Park, you may well ask! Heritage Parks are not very common in Queensland, in fact, North Harbour Heritage Park is one of only a handful of this type of public park in the state and is fast becoming known as one of the top things to do on the northside of Brisbane.
North Harbour Heritage Park opened in 2019 and is a celebration of the heritage of the North Harbour site which has a very interesting and varied history, including artefacts from the early European settlement in the 1860s. When the land was purchased in the early 2000s, the only obvious part of the historical remains was the steps of the Old Homestead. The whole area had been swallowed by weeds and undergrowth and needed to be expertly uncovered to display the story beneath.
Retaining and preserving the historical remnants of the North Harbour site was a crucial part of the North Harbour planning process, we wanted to ensure that these remains were preserved and made available for everyone to experience safely as the land had been in private ownership since the 1860s. To ensure this area could be protected in perpetuity North Harbour sought to have the area legally protected and as a result the Heritage Park area has been listed and protected on the Queensland Heritage Register since 2011 as a place of Queensland State significance.
As a result of the hard work by a team of heritage experts including archaeologists and our heritage partners from The Abbey Museum of Art and Archaeology, the artefacts can now be enjoyed as part of a publicly accessible precinct which encompasses a vast expanse of parkland, including walking tracks, river access, picnic areas and a small museum, the Compass Centre, filled with stories about the history of the site.
The Heritage Park precinct is one of the many excellent things to do on Brisbane’s Northside and offers a great day out in a stunning natural setting. Bring a picnic or food to BBQ after a walk around the heritage trails, or a bike/ scooter for the kids and enjoy a great day. Heritage Park has plenty of picnic areas with shelters, BBQs, tables and benches and toilet facilities and is open every day, from 6am to sunset. For more information on what is available and the Heritage Park location please click here.
Creating North Harbour Heritage Park
The Abbey Museum and North Harbour worked in partnership through project planning and project management to create Heritage Park, and we continue to work together as heritage partners. North Harbour is currently operating and maintaining the precinct as well as preserving the artefacts and we are working to put together a conservation group of local volunteers to help us curate and maintain this special place in perpetuity.
The Heritage Park took three years to construct, and cost over $3M, with $1,535,062 of funds coming from the Federal Government through a funding agreement with the Abbey Museum of Art and Archaeology. Funding was through the Community Development Grants programme, provided through the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development. The $1,535,062 Grant was matched by North Harbour.
The History of North Harbour
North Harbour’s Heritage Park allows you to take a step back in time and imagine yourself 160 years ago, in one of the first European settlements in Southeast Queensland. The “Moray Fields” sugar plantation on the site of what is now North Harbour was owned by George Raff, who migrated to Australia from Morayshire in Scotland, hence the name he chose for his sugar plantation. The Morayfield area derives from this naming.
Raff was an important figure in early Queensland Parliament and this settlement had immense economic importance for the region supplying sugar, rum and molasses to the growing population. Unfortunately, this site also was one of the places which used “indentured” labour at the time, from the South Sea Islands. The Heritage Park remembers these people and their stories, we encourage you to visit and imagine what life must have been like for indentured labourers in those times. Space is made available for the South Sea Islander community to remember their ancestors at this place. You can find out more about the history of the Moray Fields plantation and subsequent land uses here including the dairy farm from the 1950s.
The heritage remains along the Heritage Trail have been carefully preserved and show the significant developments of the North Harbour site from early European settlement through to the present day. Our heritage trails tell the story of the site on educational signage, allowing for complete immersion in this special space.
When you first arrive at Heritage Park, we recommend you visit the Compass Centre which tells the history of the site through historic photographs, sketches and display objects which allow visitors to appreciate the stories and significant developments from the past up to the present day.
After learning about the history of the site, you can then walk through the heritage trails and view the remaining artefacts of the residents of yesteryear such as the Old Well, and the steps of the Old Homestead. For more information on North Harbour Heritage Park including how to get there, click here.
Contact North Harbour
For more information on land for sale and house and land packages at North Harbour, please click here to contact us. To keep up to date with the latest North Harbour news and events, sign up to receive our regular email updates and find us on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/northharbour/, Instagram (@northharbourliving) and North Harbour YouTube Channel.