History of

Brunswick Heads

By Frank Mills

Photo - Courtesy of the Dick Collection

The original inhabitants of the
Brunswick Valley were the Durrumbul People, who were part of the Minjungbal Tribe.

Extensive middins at Ocean Shores and New Brighton verify a large community of indigenous people lived on the north side of the river.


An early photo of the Brunswick River being crossed where the first traffic bridge was built in 1934.


The Port of Brunswick Heads was visited by Schooners and other shallow draught vessels during the early years of European settlement.


Land Tenure
It has always been a fixed principle of English Law, that the Crown is the proprietor of all lands. Governor Phillip received his first commission from King George 111 on 12th. October, 1786.

The whole of the land of Australia was the property of the King of England.

This principle of English Law is strongly debated today.

In fact, John Batman tried unsuccessfully to ignore the principle in 1830, by privately bargaining with Aborigines but the government didn’t recognise his claim to the land.


Crossing the bar in days of old


This photo of a Nicholl’s bullock team shows how a well trained team would haul an immense load over rough terrain.


Captain Simpson’s Pilot Station was located on the hill named after Harry Horton, who ferried people to North Beach in the early days. The Schooner “Emma” was one of the vessels built at Brunswick Heads and is shown here anchored in Readings Bay.


Reading’s Bay was a beautiful and a much deeper anchorage in the early years of settlement.