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Palmwoods records its own history

Palmwoods’ pavement project and the Nicklin Clock.


Palmwoods records its own history

In 1998, to celebrate the looming new millennium, the Palmwoods Progress Association came up with a plan to acknowledge the district’s past and present residents, community organisations and businesses in a memorial pavement. AUDIENNE BLYTH explains how it all panned out.

The brainchild of committed community worker and Lions Club members Roger Brooke, Project 2000 would commemorate the community’s contribution to Palmwoods, which was first settled in 1881.

Terracotta tiles would be inscribed with the names of early pioneer families, past and present residents, clubs and businesses, in a unique memorial pavement which would carry their names into the future.

It would make a fitting centre-point for the historic Main Street.

Three hundred individually engraved terracotta tiles were sold at $100 each. Each tile contained a name and message. Residents were assured the tiles would record their name in perpetuity.

Maroochy Shire mayor, Alison Grosse, officially opened the pavement project in 2001. There is also a historical display of photographs in the Memorial Hall, all very popular with locals.

About 15 years later, Sunshine Coast Regional Council decided on road widening and a change of street lay-out and removed the original tiled pavement. No trace remains.

It built a boardwalk leading to a village green where the names from the tiles have been etched into the timber flooring. Many locals expressed concern over these events.

The historic Nicklin Clock which stood above the pavement was also lost.

The original Nicklin Clock was erected in 1979 to honour Palmwoods’ most famous son, Sir Francis Nicklin (1895 – 1978).

He was elected to parliament in 1941 and was premier of Queensland 1957-1968.

Frank Nicklin was awarded the Military Cross in World War I and on his return, took up a 20 acre pineapple farm as part of a soldier settlement scheme, at Palmwoods. Locals knew him as Frank, a pineapple farmer, a very likeable personality and a man of great integrity.

Because of problems with the original landmark clock, a new clock was commissioned in 2001. It was replaced with a more reliable model in 2010 but has been relocated and is now in a less prominent position.

Palmwoods has been famous for its farming. Pioneer Peter Kuskopf settled in 1881 to establish his livestock business and supplied beef to the navvies building the railway line.

The Fewtrell, Roy and Spackman families were among the first to establish the pineapple and citrus farms for which Palmwoods became famous.

The opening of the railway line gave the farmers new opportunities.

From 1914-1935 a tram from Buderim brought fruit and vegetables to Palmwoods to meet the mainline for quick transport to Brisbane. Express fruit trains transported the produce to city buyers.

Avocadoes, strawberries, citrus and pineapples have always been grown in abundance during the1900s. In more recent years, subdivisions and retirement villages began replacing the farms and orchards.

A book, The Palmwoods Pavement Project was recently published by the Sunshine Coast Genealogy Society.

It records the names from the original tiles and also includes remarkable details about the community as well as information about the families and their lives. It will outlast the boardwalk and the tiles.

 Audienne Blyth is a member of the Nambour Historical Museum, open Wednesday to Friday, 1pm-4pm and Saturday 10am-3pm. All welcome.

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