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Gold Coast history and heritage

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Yatala history

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Click to enlarge The steamer 'Amy' on the Albert River at Yatala, circa 1872. Photographer unknown.

The steamer 'Amy' on the Albert River at
Yatala, circa 1872. Photographer unknown.

Thomas Hanlon's Ferry Hotel, Yatala, 1872. Photographer unknown.

Thomas Hanlon's Ferry Hotel, Yatala, 1872.
Photographer unknown.

Arthur Dixon, an official in the Union Bank, came to the area in 1868 from Yatala in South Australia.

He purchased a block of scrub land on the Albert River from a Captain Thomas Smales. Smales had operated a ferry here in the 1860s, but later moved to Cabbage Tree Point on the edge of Moreton Bay.

Arthur Dixon named the property Yatala after its South Australian namesake. So it is in its origins an Aboriginal word meaning swampy, but the name relates to an area near Adelaide.

Yatala is located about three kilometres south of Beenleigh. In the days of the large sugar plantations, Yatala was the mail and business centre for the immediate area.

In 1871, Thomas Hanlon built his hotel here on a site that was located on the coach route to Nerang and near a wharf site for the local steamers travelling up and down the Albert River.

On the banks of the Albert River, William Witty named his plantation and sugar mill Yatala.

On the Albert River, just downstream from Yatala, is the Beenleigh Rum Distillery. The distillery was legally founded in 1884 and is today Australia's oldest registered distillery.

By the early 20th century, the sugar plantations were cut up into smaller farming blocks.

The village of Yatala, halfway between Brisbane and the Gold Coast, captured passing food trade with a hotel, pie shop and fish shop. In 1965, the Pacific Highway bypassed the area.

However, despite fluctuations in business activity, by the 1980s, Yatala continued to develop as a commercial and light industrial area.

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

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