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The name ‘Red Cliff Point’ was first mentioned by Matthew Flinders on his voyage of exploration along the east coast in 1799. John Oxley also referred to ‘Red Cliff Point’ in 1823. He recommended ‘Red Cliff Point’ as a possible settlement site.
‘Should it be deemed expedient to establish a Settlement in Moreton Bay, the Country in the vicinity of Red Cliff Point offers the best Site for an Establishment in the first instance.’ (Historical Records of NSW, Vol XI, p. 222)
The Redcliffe Peninsula was defined as an Agricultural Reserve with the name ‘Redcliff’ by government proclamation in March 1861. When the divisions were first established, Redcliffe and surrounding areas became part of the Caboolture Division until 1888 when the Redcliffe Divisional Board was established.
The Local Authorities Act of 1902 changed Divisional Boards to Shire Councils and the Redcliffe Divisional Board became the Redcliffe Shire Council at that time. The Town of Redcliffe was constituted on 27 May 1921, and the City of Redcliffe was proclaimed in 1959.
The area in the vicinity of the Redcliffe jetty has been designated as ‘Redcliffe’ since the early pioneering days and the name is derived from the red cliffs:
‘Situated midway between Woody Point and Scarborough, on the eastern shores on Humpybong Peninsula, it is open to the refreshing breezes of the bay and commands a good view of Moreton Island, at the southern point of which the sand hills are clearly discernible’. (‘Mountain & Seaside Resorts of Southern Queensland from Noosa to the Tweed’, compiled and issued by the Queensland Government Intelligence and Tourist Bureau, 1917, p. 69)
The Queensland Place names Board approved the naming of the suburbs for the City of Redcliffe in 1971.