Buderim Historical Society

Old truck ride down Buderim Mountain

The Buderim Historical Society was formed in 1966 by the community at a well-attended meeting of the BWMCC (now called BWMCA)  in the Buderim Memorial Hall. The Society is a volunteer organisation that is an independent affiliate of the BWMCA. The original objective was to restore and preserve the original home of the Burnett family, now known as Pioneer Cottage.

Pioneer Cottage was given to the community in 1966 by Sybil Vise. The cottage is recognised as one of the most significant heritage homes in Queensland and the only one of its type that survives. The local
community offered enormous support for the restoration of the house and the establishment of the pioneer museum. The elected committee
managed and implemented many hours of volunteer work, plus goods and money donated by the wider community.

Pioneer Historical PhotoSybil Vise also gave another house on the property to the BWMCA. This house is now the home of the Buderim Historical Society. The
Society aims to develop a resource centre for educational and general
information purposes, chronicling the history of Buderim Mountain. Olive and John Close have performed a huge amount of work to
transfer the large number of images and documents to electronic

For more information phone the Buderim Historical Society on (07) 5450 1966

Buderim Early History

For the full story, please contact the Buderim Historical Society at the Pioneer Cottage or phone (07) 5450 1966) website

When William Pettigrew saw Buderim Mountain for the first time, he was seeking timber resources and farm land. He saw a large stands of beech and cedar trees – indeed some of the trees were so large that the workers had no way of transporting the logs down to the ships on the nearby coast! The isolated mountain environment presented a transportation problem that was the bane of farmers’ existence through to the early 1900’s.

In 1869 Pettigrew enlisted the help of Tom Petrie who spoke the local aboriginal dialect. The indigenous people showed Petrie the way to the top of the mountain and it is possible that he first penned the name “Buderim”.

Gloucester Road East

Beside the lure of the quality forest woods, the pressure was on to find quality farmland to feed the burgeoning demand of the cities. The
government required settlers to clear and fence their land under a covenant. Tenure could be lost if the requirements were not met.

Once the land was cleared around 1870, the area was opened for
general settlement. One of the first families to move here was that of
William Henry Guy, a surveyor who helped draw up the boundaries. The Guy family name is seen in roads around Buderim and family
descendants still live on the Mountain.

Buderim Mountain School

The first crops on Buderim were sugar cane, bananas and various small crops including beans and tomatoes. Peanuts were grown for a while but this was not successful.   A sugar mill was built in 1876 to service the local canefields.

In 1882, the John Burnett built the family home now known  as “Pioneer Cottage.”

Around 1891 citrus orchards and coffee plantations began to appear around Buderim Mountain. Buderim coffee was held in high regard and in 1899 Ernest Burnett won a Gold Certificate for the quality of his
produce at a trade fair in London. Indentured labourers from the
Pacific Islands were used extensively but the people were held as
virtual slaves. The only relief for their plight was provided by Joseph Dixon, a Quaker, who set up a school and Sunday School for the

The photo above looks across the track now known as Lindsay Road
towards the beginnings of Burnett Street and Ballinger Road. At that time, the Lindsay track did extend beyond the creek.

Ginger is the crop for which Buderim is the most famous. This was
introduced by William Burnett around the time of World War I. The crop was very successful and once the farming community embraced the exotic tuber, the results were spectacular. In the 1940s a Ginger Grower’s Cooperative was formed and the Buderim ginger legend was born.

Buderim became known as the Ginger Capital and was soon home to the largest and most significant ginger factory in the Southern Hemisphere. This was the place to buy ginger products right up until the
factory moved to Yandina in 1978. Now the factory is part of a major tourism complex and one of the “must see” places for the Sunshine Coast tourist.

Although often farmers hired out their trucks to take people down the mountain, as shown in the picture at the top of this page, eventually an official bus service was started.  One of the early buses is shown above.

In addition a tram service operated between Palmwoods and Buderim. The original steam locomotive has been restored and is awaiting transportation to the centre of Buderim when funds become available. Click here to read the story of the ambitious restoration process.

Gloucester Road WestThe photo above is a view from Gloucester Road looking south toward St. Mark’s Anglican Church. The church building that is visible is now the Church Function Hall.

Buderim has endured the pressures from urban life from the earliest days, but when the farmers could make a better life by getting jobs, the farms were subdivided and sold off for housing developments.

This pressure still exists today as the region is one of the fastest growth areas in Queensland.

Drunken Lice – read about medical history in Buderim

Read more on the history of medicine on this Buderim Blog Story