Backward Glance: Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve – a gift to the Sunshine Coast
  • Wednesday 07 September 2016
Today’s Backward Glance features one of our natural jewels of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland.

Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve is situated on the steep southern end of the Blackall Range with an altitude of 420 metres and consists of an isolated remnant of the rainforest that once covered the Maleny plateau.

Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve is located on Mountain View Road not far from the township of Maleny with the entrance on the southern side offering commanding views over the Glass House Mountains.

The reserve has a network of walking tracks and an education centre as well as interpretative signage throughout the walking trails identifying flora and fauna from that region.

This important parcel of land, managed by Sunshine Coast Council, covers 55 hectares and is a living area of diverse plant and animal life preserved for all to enjoy.

The name “Mary Cairncross” is a tribute to the memory of Mary Thynne, whose maiden name was Mary Williamina Cairncross.

Mary married the Hon. Andrew J Thynne in 1869. She was one of seven daughters of William Cairncross, after whom the Cairncross Dock in Brisbane was named.

William Cairncross was a highly respected businessman in Brisbane in the early 1900s.

In 1941, 100 acres was transferred to the Landsborough Shire Council through a Deed of Trust with the aim of preserving the rainforest in perpetuity by sisters Elizabeth, Mabel and Mary Thynne while honouring their mother Mary Thynne nee Cairncross.

On December 12, 1960 the Governor of Queensland Sir Henry Abel Smith officially opened Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve.

On December 11, 1966 the sole remaining daughter of Mary Cairncross, Miss Elizabeth Thynne donated a further five acres to council.

Mary Thynne’s memory is enshrined within the 55 hectares of Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve.

This reserve is now an area where many of the trees, plants, birds and small animals that may have been lost through the clearing of the forests is now a valued environmental pocket.

The Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve building renewal project currently underway seeks to strengthen the critical role the reserve plays in the conservation and exhibition of flora and fauna, and the scenic values of the Glass House Mountains' landscape.

This is in line with what the Thynne sisters intended when they gifted the land for our community to enjoy.

Thanks to Sunshine Coast Council’s Heritage Library Officers for the words and Picture Sunshine Coast for the images.

Image captions:
Hero image: Crowd gathered for the opening of Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve, Maleny on 12 December 1960.

Carousel images:
Image 1:  View towards the Glass House Mountains from Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve, Maleny, 1961.
Image 2:  Official opening of Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve, Maleny on 12 December 1960.
Image 3:  Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve, Maleny, 7 September 1995.
Image 4:  Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve on Mountain View Road, Maleny, 1995.