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Gold Coast history and heritage

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Pimpama history

Click to enlarge Pimpama Methodist Church, circa 1890s. Photographer unknown.

Pimpama Methodist Church, circa 1890s.
Photographer unknown.

Mrs Allen carting corn on a horse drawn sled, Pimpama, circa 1930. Photographer unknown.

Mrs Allen carting corn on a horse drawn sled,
Pimpama, circa 1930. Photographer unknown.

  1. In one Aboriginal dialect, Pimpama means freshwater crayfish (lobby), however it is really derived from the word Peempeema which means the place of the peewee.
  2. Pimpama is believed to be a corruption for bimbinbah, an Aboriginal word meaning place of the soldier bird. In the early days at Pimpama there was a fresh water swamp complete with tea trees in which soldier birds or mickey birds would nest. The water in Pimpama Creek came down from the Darlington Range crystal clear.

Travelling on the Pacific Highway on their way to Brisbane, many people can recall seeing the little Uniting Church and soldier at Pimpama.

Recently a new soldier replaced the old, when it was obvious that seventy years of exposure to the elements, and a couple of moves to accommodate an extended highway, had at last taken a toll on the old monument.

The old soldier was erected by local families just after World War 1 and from that time, he kept a vigil on the hill.

In the river valley below, the Pimpama River, bridged today by the Pacific Highway, flows unobtrusively beneath the road bridges to finally reach the salt water of southern Moreton Bay.

To the south of the monument, Hotham Creek also flows beneath the highway to join with the Pimpama River further east.

Taking the highway exit, we continue to travel along down a length of old highway to the township of Pimpama, which was bypassed by a new highway section in the 1960s.

The small township grew from a cluster of houses built around a sawmill established just after the second World War.

Until the closure of the South Coast Railway Line in the mid 1960s, a railway station was located near the township. A new station, Ormeau Station, is now located a short distance away.

A general store continues to operate in the township. Not far from the road bridges over Hotham Creek is the Pimpama State School, opened in 1872.

At the time of opening, Pimpama was regarded as one of the more progressive areas south of Brisbane. In these times, the Cobb & Co coach service terminated near the Hotham Creek Bridge, as the road to New South Wales was not yet cleared.

Eventually two hotels were established on either side of Hotham Creek - although evidence of these sites is not obvious today.

During the period of rail work when the line was extended from Beenleigh in the 1880s, another hotel The Railway was established for a short time near the crossing over the Pimpama River.

The establishment of a Methodist Church and later a School of Arts, meant that Pimpama had a good chance of remaining on the map, although not in such a prominent position as first believed in the 1870s.

Along with all the basic services and buildings which consolidated a district, Pimpama also had the distinction of having a resident ghost.

By the Pimpama River, just on the boundary between the district of Pimpama and the neighbouring district of Ormeau, lived one Dick Edwards, a settler with a mysterious past.

He made a living from cutting timber for fence posts and shingles. He was a loner, who would periodically go on a bender, drinking rum from one of the hotels.

When he wasn't seen for some time, one of the locals went to investigate and found that he had died.

Some time later, the local publican returning from Beenleigh one night, swore that he saw the spectre of Dick Edwards near the Pimpama River. It is likely that the publican had also indulged in a bit of rum, or maybe he had just seen a mist rising from the river.

Still, the story of the ghost of Dick Edwards was well known to many local residents in years gone by. Today, Dick Edward's old haunts are covered by asphalt and concrete.

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

Sources of information and further reading

Hanlon W. E., 1934, The Early Settlement of the Logan and Albert Districts.

Telegraph 25 July 1974.

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