Mount Cotton Rainforest Gardens
LOCATION – Approx 35KM from Brisbane City
Mount Cotton was named by surveyor Robert Dixon, after the commandant of the penal settlement of Moreton Bay, Major Sydney Cotton. The original inhabitants called the mountain Toongipin, meaning west wind. It is the Aboriginal people who are credited with showing the Mount Cotton region to various early settlers including Jack Shears, the first European to fell timber in the area.
Like the Carbrook area, Mount Cotton was settled mostly by people of German origins. Early settlers had to clear the land. Maize was the first crop grown and this was closely followed by sugar. Kanakas were brought in to work the sugar plantations and this was a major industry until the late 1880s. Bananas later became a staple crop and many Chinese people were involved in this industry until the turn of the century.
The first church in the area was a Lutheran Church and served the German communities of Gramzow (later Carbrook) and Mt Cotton. It was dedicated as St Pauls in December 1875.
New industries in the early years of the 20th century included passionfruit, citrus, and mangoes, which were used in chutney manufacturing. Dairying was also carried out with the cream being sent to the Kingston Butter Factory.
Mount Cotton residents rallied to build a new community hall during the depression years. Up until that time the ageing Divisional Board’s house was used for social events in the district. The new hall was completed in the mid 1930s. Electricity was connected to the district in 1936. Planning was underway for a new Lutheran Church in the 1940s. The old traditional German structure adjacent to the cemetery was in a state of disrepair. A new timber church was located opposite the school and officially opened on Palm Sunday 1951.
During the 1940s and 50s a new industry began to develop in Mount Cotton. Adolph Benfer’s poultry business began in 1933. By the 1950s he was a major player in the Queensland poultry industry. He set up an abattoir in Labrador in 1962 and then established the Mt Cotton abattoir in 1966. Benfer’s contribution to the development of the poultry industry was ongoing and in 1977 he was awarded an MBE.
Mt Cotton is also home to attractions such as the Rainforest Gardens and Sirromet wines.
Much of the Mt Cotton area retains its peaceful rural atmosphere.
Urban development in Mount Cotton began in the late 1970s with the instigation of the Solar City project. Development began in July 1977 with site works and a solar demonstration house which was completed the following year. The estate has changed names over the years from Cotton Fields to the current Bayview Country Estate.
Mt Cotton is also home to attractions such as the Rainforest Gardens and Sirromet Winery.