Backward Glance: The history of the name Glass House Mountains
  • Wednesday 31 August 2016
The National Heritage listed Glass House Mountains are renowned for their natural beauty and in today’s Backward Glance we look at how these rugged volcanic peaks were named.

The Glass House Mountains were named by Lieutenant James Cook, when he was sailing north during his epic journey along Australia’s east coast. He navigated the area on May 17, 1770 in HM Bark Endeavour. 

In his journal of that day Cook wrote ‘these hills lie but a little way inland, and not from each other: they are remarkable for the singular form of their elevation, which very much resembles a glass house, and for this reason I called them Glass Houses’. 

The glass houses referred to by Cook were the glass making foundries in Yorkshire England which reminded him of a familiar landscape. 

Next came explorer Lieutenant Matthew Flinders in the sloop Norfolk. 

Flinders had been sent from Port Jackson to search Glass House Bay (now Deception Bay) for a large river and left his ship and went with others on foot across country and climbed Beerburrum Mountain in July 1799.

A railway station called Coonowrin Station was opened at Glass House soon after the North Coast railway opened to Mellum Creek on February 1, 1890. In January 21, 1894 it was renamed Glass House Station. 

The railway station retained this name until 1914 when it became Glass House Mountains Station. 

In the Queensland Government Gazette of June 22, 1935 the place name of the town was altered to three distinct words being Glass House Mountains. 

The Glass House Mountains can be seen from almost all of Moreton Bay to the far north of Caloundra and are protected in the Glass House Mountains National Park. 

On August 3, 2006 the then Prime Minister John Howard visited the mountains and announced the Glass House Mountains were of national significance. 

Prime Minister Howard named them as the 32nd entry on the National Heritage List joining important Australian sites such as the Sydney Opera House. 

The National Heritage List of mountains in the area of the Glass House Mountains National Park is Beerwah (556 metres); Coonowrin (Crookneck) (377 metres); Tibrogargan and Cooee (364 metres and 177 metres); Ngungun (253 metres); the Coochin Hills (235 and 230 metres); Miketeebumulgrai 199.5m; and Elimbah (Saddleback) 109m. In addition there are a further three areas Beerburrum (278 metres); Tunbubudla (the twins) (294 and 338 metres); and Tibberoowuccum (220 metres). 

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

Image captions:
Hero image: Glass House Mountains School camp, Mount Ngun Ngun, ca 1920.

Carousel image captions:
Image 1: Mountain climbers on ledge, south ' Crookneck' also known as Coonowrin Mountain, ca 1932.
Image 2: Jean Easton on the Mount Tibrogargan overhangs, Glass House Mountains, late 1920s.
Image 3: Group at the Glass House Mountains Railway, ca 1938.
Image 4: Majestic Glass House Mountains showing their rugged volcanic peaks, 1976.