MT PLEASANT: The owner of the Mt Pleasant Hotel Deborah Lewis at the fence of her property on the Gin Gin - Mt Perry Road. Photo: Mike Knott / NewsMail
MT PLEASANT: The owner of the Mt Pleasant Hotel Deborah Lewis at the fence of her property on the Gin Gin - Mt Perry Road. Photo: Mike Knott / NewsMail Mike Knott

Region’s rich past is preserved

CAN you guess what tops the list as the oldest building in the Bundaberg region?

It is located 53km west of Bundaberg on the Bruce Hwy in one of the first settled areas in the region.

The Gin Gin Homestead, built in 1848, is the oldest standing building in the Bundaberg region, built 19 years before Bundaberg was founded and 54 years before it became a town.

The Gin Gin Homestead is built on the Gin Gin station and was once owned by Thomas McIlwraith, a three-time premier of Queensland.

Bundaberg Regional Council Gin Gin divisional representative Wayne Honor said it was a privilege to have the region's oldest building in the rural community.

And it is not the only building in the Gin Gin district that lays claim as one of the 10 oldest buildings in the region with the Walla Homestead in Morganville built 14 years later, in 1862.

Cr Honor said Walla Station and Homestead was built for similar purposes as the Gin Gin Homestead.

"The Walla Homestead is another one of our early cattle stations, of which there were many," Cr Honor said.

He said its "premier spot" on the Burnett River made it an attractive residence over the years.

"Walla Station was used as a visiting place by governors," Cr Honor said.

He said the station had strong links with the Innes family of Gin Gin who sold the property after the 10/11 floods, although it was not flooded.

Cr Honor said the homestead was previously opened to the public as a bed and breakfast but was now used as a private residence.

Heading into North Bundaberg in Gooburrum is another station house, the Tantitha Homestead, built on the first cattle run to Mt Perry.

The original house was built by Henry Tyrer and James Henderson who managed the cattle run.

The five-bedroom homestead is now up for sale as a modernised private residence with a pool.

Back in the main stretch of Gin Gin again is the Gin Gin Railway Station Complex.

The building was built in 1881 and shares the title as one of the region's fourth-oldest building with Bundaberg's first railway station.

Cr Honor described the Gin Gin station building as "extremely significant" in the region's history and said it was heritage listed in 2000.

"It was the rail head that was utilised to bring timber from the Morganville area and Goodnight Scrub," Cr Honor said.

"And it was very significant on the link between Bundaberg and the copper and gold mines at Mt Perry.

"Many, many people left for the war from that station."

The station building is now used as a broadcast booth by community radio station 104.9 Gin Gin.

Station presenter at 104.9 Mikel O'Brien said he loved working from the decommissioned station.

"It's a pleasure, we always keep it clean, it's a beautiful building," he said.

"You're actually broadcasting from a train station."

While Bundaberg now has a new railway station in the main CBD area, its first station is still seeing traffic as the Bundaberg Railway Museum in North Bundaberg.

In the same year, 1881, the sugar industry was starting out as the Millaquin Refinery was set up in Bundaberg by Tooth and Cran.

While the Fairymead Refinery was built first in 1880, it ceased operations in 2005 and was later demolish in 2009.

Bundaberg Sugar general manager of refinery operations and sales Guy Basile said the Cran name was preserved in Bundaberg with an access road into Millaquin named Cran St.

"For the sake of posterity," he said.

Around the corner from the Millaquin Refinery is another of the region's oldest buildings, the Spring Hill Plantation House, built in 1883 by George Noakes.

The house is now owned and used by the Bundaberg Distilling Company as the Bundaberg Bond Store.

Over in South Bundaberg is another historical building, Normanby House, built in 1884.

Normanby House once housed the Bundaberg museum before it was moved into the Botanic Gardens.

Back in Gin Gin again, the Mt Pleasant Hotel was a popular watering hole, built in 1888.

The property is no longer a hotel, rather a private residence owned by Deborah Lewis who said her work to restore and maintain the home was a "labour of love".

"It's my home, I've put so much love into it," she said.

Ms Lewis lives at the property by herself but said she wasn't alone with her dogs and cattle keeping her company.

Another building constructed in 1888 is the School of Arts building, located alongside the Bundaberg Regional Council chambers on Bourbong St.

The building was heritage listed 23 years ago and the Queensland Government State registers noted the scale and style of the building demonstrated the "wealth and importance" of Bundaberg as a "sugar city" during the time it was constructed.

Cr Honor said it was important that the buildings in Gin Gin and Bundaberg were preserved as a part of the region's rich history.

"Those buildings are extremely important to our community because they really show the historic value of our region, it's what our community is built on," he said.

- LEAH KIDD

Some of the oldest buildings in the region

1. Gin Gin Homestead

Located on the Bruce Hwy in Gin Gin, the Gin Gin Homestead was built in 1848.

2. Walla Homestead

The homestead is situated on Walla Rd in Morganville, it was built around 1862.

3. Tantitha House

Tantitha House is located on Fairymead Rd, North Bundaberg, built in 1879.

4. Gin Gin Railway Station Complex

The Gin Gin Railway Station Complex located on Mulgrave St, Gin Gin, was built in 1881. It is now used as a broadcast point by a Gin Gin community radio station.

5. Bundaberg's first railway station

The first railway station in Bundaberg was built in 1881 and is now a museum in North Bundaberg.

6. Millaquin Refinery

The Millaquin Refinery was built after Fairymead Mill but is the only remaining one of the two mills. It was built in 1881 and started operating in 1882.

7. Spring Hill Plantation House

The Spring Hill Plantation House was built in 1883 and is now used by the Bundaberg Distilling Company.

8. Normanby House

Normanby House located on Normanby Square, South Bundaberg, was built in 1884 and once house the Bundaberg Museum.

9. Mt Pleasant Hotel

The Mt Pleasant Hotel situated on the Gin Gin - Mt Perry Rd and was built in 1888. It is now a private residence owned by Deborah Lewis.

10. The School of Arts building

The School of Arts building is heritage listed and was built in 1888.



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