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Gold Coast History & Heritage

Discover how Council is working to conserve and celebrate the rich and unique heritage of the Gold Coast.

Advancetown History

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Click to enlarge Students and teacher of Advancetown State School, 1910. Photographer unknown.

Students and teacher of Advancetown State
School, 1910. Photographer unknown.

Advancetown is located in the heart of the Gold Coast Hinterland. The Hinze Dam on the Nerang River is the major water supply for much of the Gold Coast and a significant feature in the area. Beneath the waters of the dam is the site of the original small settlement called Advancetown.

A tourist attraction in the 1960s, the Pioneer Slab Hut was located behind the Advancetown Hotel.

Like many other areas in the Hinterland, people settled around Advancetown because of the good stands of local timber.

As the city of Brisbane and other regional towns grew in the 19th century, so did the colonial building industry. Small settlements often grew around timber mills, hotels and at points where main roads or tracks crossed.

The workers and bullock team drivers (bullockies) who cut and transported the timber gave business to the nearby hotels, butchers and blacksmiths and the township developed.

As late as the 1930s there were as many as 24 bullock teams operating in the Hinterland, carting logs off the McPherson Ranges to the rail head at Nerang. Advancetown was a halfway point where the drivers and bullocks rested, ate and drank.

Timber getter and sawyer, Ernest Belliss left a permanent mark on the area. In 1905, Belliss opened a hotel at the junction of the Numinbah Road and the Black Shoot, a bullock road from Beechmont.

In an era of prosperity, Belliss coined the name Advancetown for the district, donated land for a school and so perpetuated the locality name.

By the time the Hinze Dam opened in 1977, the Advancetown school had long closed and farming residents had needed to relocate to other areas.

Information and images provided by the City of Gold Coast Local Studies Library.