Redcliffe District history

Before European settlement in 1824, the area now known as Redcliffe was inhabited by Aborigines who took full advantage of the foods that could be easily found in and around its waters.

The settlement of Redcliffe (so named because of the distinctive red cliff faces) by the early Europeans was directly linked to Australia’s convict heritage. Redcliffe, situated on the edge of Moreton Bay, was considered to be the best location for a new northern penal settlement.

The brig Amity set sail for Redcliffe from Sydney on September 1, 1824 carrying settlement commandant Lieutenant Miller, explorer John Oxley, a crew and convicts. The party landed at Redcliffe on September 13, 1824.


When the decision was made to relocate the settlement to the banks of the Brisbane River in 1825, Redcliffe was deserted and remained so until the 1860s when the area was declared an agricultural reserve. The land was used for dairying, sugarcane, wheat, cotton, beef, honey, cattle feed, oranges and potatoes.

Land boom

Redcliffe underwent a significant land boom in the 1880s and was quickly gaining a reputation as a seaside resort - offering a seaside experience similar to many of the holiday destinations in England. A growing number of people were lured to Redcliffe to enjoy its safe, sheltered sandy beaches.

Day bathers travelled to the peninsula by steamer - the most celebrated being the Koopa. The Koopa delivered its first passengers to the Redcliffe Jetty in 1911 and continued to transport tourists to the city until World War II - when it was requisitioned by the Royal Australian Navy.

Population increases

Improved roads and the construction of the 2.8 kilometre Hornibrook Highway, which officially opened on Friday, October 4, 1935, allowed more and more people to experience the magic of Redcliffe. The bridge meant Redcliffe was no longer considered isolated - and this resulted in significant population increases across the city.

Today, Redcliffe is a modern city that still possesses the charm and beauty of a small seaside holiday town. The mix of old and new continues to make the city so inviting to locals and visitors alike.