After leaving the Gold Coast, I stopped in Mount Coolum on the northern end of the Sunshine Coast for a day to spend time with family before embarking on the Rocky Road Trip. I was joined there by my Mum, who had been living in Yeppoon for several months prior to my own relocation there, and who was helping me with the big move from the Gold Coast.
11 km north of Maroochydore, Mount Coolum is a residential suburb whose boundaries enclose the Mount Coolum National Park (north section) and the topographical mountain (207 m). The name is thought to derive from an Aboriginal word describing the blunt or cut-off summit of Mount Coolum. The craggy mount contrasts dramatically with the lowland heaths and wetlands.
Land selection around Mount Coolum began in 1871, including the future adjoining suburbs of Marcoola, Yaroomba and Coolum Beach. All had swampy parts, but drainage schemes during the 1910s-30s produced land for cane farms and dairying. A cane tramway from Nambour and Bli Bli included a passenger service, bringing visitors to the area. Among various beach-subdivision proposals there was the idea of tobogganing on Mount Coolum.
Coolum Beach’s surfing and fishing were more realistic attractions, and the beachfront population came to a few thousand by the mid 1980s. Developers turned their eyes to the mountain’s subdivisional potential, but a successful preservation campaign instead brought about the national park. Land south of the national park had already been acquired for a golf course (1976), to which Mount Coolum is a stunning backdrop.
Mount Coolum has a stretch of beach further east.
Well-known authors from the Sunshine Coast include Emily Bulcock, Kathleen McArthur and Nancy Cato.
Emily Bulcock became a well-known poet and was awarded an OBE for her services to literature. Emily was a foundation member of the Queensland Country Women’s Association and a member of the Queensland Authors’ and Artists/ Association.
Kathleen McArthur was a gifted wildflower artist and author and, in 1962, co-founded the Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland. Kathleen’s home in Midyim, near Kings Beach, was named after the native sandberry, and was the first native garden in Caloundra. In 1967, the first Wildflower Show was held in Midyim and continued there until 1971, when it outgrew the space and was moved to Coolum.
A friend and associate of Kathleen’s was the acclaimed Noosa author Nancy Cato. Nancy was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for services to literature and the environment and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters in 1991. She wrote for more than 50 years, producing a vast amount of work includign an accalimed environmental book titled The Noosa Story first published in 1989.
In 2017, local author Jess Townsend was dubbed the next J. K. Rowling with her first novel Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow touted to be the next generation’s Harry Potter.
Join me next at Gympie- the first stop on my Rocky Road Blog Tour!