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Binna Burra Cultural Landscape

  • 601899
  • Binna Burra Road, Beechmont


State Heritage
Register status
Date entered
31 December 2002
Natural feature: Vegetation
Recreation and entertainment: Holiday resort
2.9 Exploiting, utilising and transforming the land: Valuing and appreciating the environment and landscapes
3.12 Developing secondary and tertiary industries: Catering for tourists
Construction periods
1902–1934, Binna Burra Cultural Landscape - Binna Burra Mountain Lodge (1902 - 1934)
1930, Binna Burra Cultural Landscape - Cabins 41, 42, and Old Bill's Cabin (1930s - 1930s)
1934–1980, Binna Burra Cultural Landscape (1934 - 1980c)
1935–1980, Binna Burra Cultural Landscape - Groom Residence (former) (1935 - 1980)
1947, Binna Burra Cultural Landscape - Engine Room (1947c)
1990, Binna Burra Cultural Landscape - Bird Hide (former Garden Shed) (- 1990c)
Historical period
1919–1930s Interwar period
1939–1945 World War II
1940s–1960s Post-WWII
1970s–1990s Late 20th century


Binna Burra Road, Beechmont
Scenic Rim Regional Council
-28.19550043, 153.18884113


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Criterion AThe place is important in demonstrating the evolution or pattern of Queensland’s history.

Binna Burra Cultural Landscape (established 1933) is important in demonstrating the evolution of nature tourism in Queensland. Strongly associated with the establishment and expansion of tourism at Lamington National Park, a World Heritage site (Gondwana Rainforests of Australia), it is an early example of a nature tourism venture established to facilitate visitor access to, and understanding of, the adjacent national park, and is of international renown. It has sustained its use as a visitor base – offering a range of accommodation options, enhancing environmental awareness through education initiatives, and facilitating access to other nature-based experiences.

The extensive evolved and designed landscape retains evidence of its original and early layout of accommodation and facilities focused along the spine of the land holding’s main ridgeline. Built structures, landscape features and recreational activities are integrated with their surrounds through their careful siting, scale, form and materials – illustrating the aim of providing sensitively designed tourist facilities and accommodation within an area of outstanding natural beauty.

Criterion EThe place is important because of its aesthetic significance.

Surrounded by the Lamington National Park, part of the World Heritage listed Gondwana Rainforests of Australia, the picturesque mountaintop forest setting is an integral part of the Binna Burra nature tourism experience. The place affords spectacular panoramic views of the surrounding natural environment, layered with scenic vistas that unfold within the site.

Views from Bellbird Lookout and other eastern vantage points span a northeast-east-southeast arc across the Numinbah Valley towards the iconic natural formations of Egg Rock (Kurraragin), Turtle Rock, Ships Stern and the McPherson Range. Views from the former Lodge and cabins site take in the Darlington Range and Coomera River valley to the west and northwest, and Beechmont to the north. Attractive views within the site unfold along the tree-lined Lodge Road and across the open lawn of the saddle to Groom’s Cottage.

Evoking strong feelings of seclusion and tranquillity at being deep within the rainforest, with impressive views from mountain to mountain, artistic responses to the place have appeared consistently over time and include paintings, orchestral work, poetry, photography and descriptive writing that capture its distinctive physical features and outstanding natural beauty. 

As a nature tourism destination, Binna Burra Cultural Landscape is renowned for its natural aesthetic qualities and guest amenities that have evolved over time. The provision of amenities reflect a consistent design response to context that utilises modestly scaled built forms made with naturalistic materials such as stone and timber to carefully integrate with the surrounding landscape. First constructed in 1936, the siting, scale, form and materials of Groom’s Cottage are an exemplar of this design response.

Criterion GThe place has a strong or special association with a particular community or cultural group for social, cultural or spiritual reasons.

Binna Burra Cultural Landscape has a strong and special association with nature tourists to Binna Burra from Australia and overseas as a place that has offered the valued customary experience of appreciating and staying within the natural environment of the Lamington National Park since 1933. The extent and degree of the community association has been shown by repeat visits; the popularity of Binna Burra’s special interest schools and educational camps; acts of voluntary assistance, support and fundraising; the functioning of the Friends of Binna Burra since 1984; and the community and government response to the devastating 2019 bushfire.

Criterion HThe place has a special association with the life or work of a particular person, group or organisation of importance in Queensland’s history.

Binna Burra Cultural Landscape has a special association with the life and work of Romeo Watkins Lahey MBE (1887-1967), who was instrumental in the establishment of Lamington National Park, and of Arthur Groom (1904-53), who promoted Lamington National Park through his writing and photography. Both were founding members of the National Parks Association of Queensland, the first national park association in Australia. They formed the company Queensland Holiday Resorts Limited, which established Binna Burra, to provide accommodation and access to the adjacent Lamington National Park. From 1933 until 1960 and 1953 respectively, Lahey and Groom were closely associated with Binna Burra as its designers, builders and managers, and as company directors of Queensland Holiday Resorts Limited.


Binna Burra Cultural Landscape is a nature tourism site located on Mount Roberts about 8km south of the town of Beechmont and 32km southwest of the Gold Coast in southeast Queensland. Surrounded by the World Heritage-listed Lamington National Park, the place was established from 1933 by the company Queensland Holiday Resorts Limited, led by Romeo Watkins Lahey and Arthur Groom, to provide accommodation and facilitate visitors’ access to, and understanding of, the adjacent national park. It has picturesque aesthetic qualities, a strong and special association with those who value their experience of the place; and a special association with Lahey and Groom. It expresses evolved, designed and associative cultural landscape values.

Traditionally part of the lands of the Danggan Balun (Five Rivers) People, European activity at Beechmont (initially Beech Mountain) was limited to timber-getting until farming began in 1882. Selection of land for agricultural settlement to Beechmont’s south and east, including the Binna Burra site, occurred in the 1910s.[1]

A national park movement was initiated in Queensland after 1879 by pastoralist, businessman and politician Robert Martin Collins following his visit to the United States of America, where the movement had commenced in 1870.[2] This movement called for governments to reserve land in its natural state for the benefit of all people. Collins was instrumental in establishing Queensland’s first national park at Witches Falls, Mt Tamborine in 1908. He and others proposed the creation of a national park encompassing the Lamington Plateau, a spur of the McPherson Range.[3]

However, some of this land was made available for selection in 1911, as part of the state’s continued agricultural development. In that year, the O’Reilly family selected agricultural blocks located within the proposed national park.[4] The land on which Binna Burra was later established (Portion 178 at Mount Roberts) was selected by Beechmont dairy farmer George Daniel Rankin in 1913, while other portions to its north and east were also selected.[5]

Romeo Watkins Lahey, an engineer and timber merchant, joined the campaign to create a national park over the McPherson Range in 1911. Lahey was born on 2 June 1887 at Pimpama, the fourth child of David Lahey, arrowroot merchant and timber mill owner. Following Collins’ death in 1913, he played a significant role in the establishment of Lamington National Park.[6]

Lamington National Park, comprising 47,000 acres (19,020ha), was gazetted on 31 July 1915. It extended from Ships Stern in the northeast to the Queensland-New South Wales border in the south, west to the headwaters of Stockyard Creek and northwest toward Canungra.[7] The national park was declared a reserve for the protection and preservation of native birds and animals in July 1918, and was surveyed by 1919.[8] The O’Reilly family provided its first visitor accommodation from 1915 and opened its guest house at Easter 1926.[9] One of their visitors was Binna Burra founder Arthur Groom, who stayed there in December 1927 and at least one other time.[10]

Born on 11 December 1904, the son of Arthur Champion Groom, politician and land and stock agent, and his second wife Eva Rosabel, Groom jnr worked as a jackeroo in the Northern Territory, between 1922 and 1925. In 1925 he moved to Brisbane to write for the Sunday Mail newspaper. Between 1927 and 1932 Groom worked as a salesman for engineering companies, while in his spare time he explored and photographed the Lamington National Park. His first book was published in London in 1930.[11]

Upon Lahey’s return from World War I service with the Royal Australian Engineers of the Australian Imperial Force, he worked as an engineer in south-east Queensland, for the Lahey sawmilling enterprises and privately. He was director of the Lahey family’s companies (1924-30s), and chairman of directors of Laheys Pty Ltd (1934-49).[12]

Groom and Lahey were founding members of the National Parks Association of Queensland (NPAQ), established on 15 April 1930, the first national parks association formed in Australia.[13] The NPAQ was formed largely due to Lahey and he became its inaugural president, holding that position for 31 years, while Groom became its first honorary secretary, serving for four years.[14] The association’s purpose was: to preserve and promote the reservation of national parks in Queensland; educate the public about their value; achieve national parks’ legislation; ensure the enforcement of protective regulations for national parks; cooperate with all persons or organisations with similar objectives; and to raise funds to further these objectives.[15]

Groom and Lahey shared similar ideas for provision of lodges, guest houses or huts close to national parks throughout Queensland, but particularly near Lamington National Park. To turn their ideas into reality, they searched for a suitable site and financial supporters. In February 1933, with an option to purchase George Rankin’s isolated Mount Roberts’ selection (Portion 178), they met with interested backers, and resolved to establish a business partnership. As shares sold slowly during the Depression, they organised camps at Binna Burra to promote the company, including one on the King’s Birthday weekend in June 1933, with about 70 campers, and a month-long Christmas camp from 16 December 1933 for about 80 campers.[16]

They registered their limited liability company, Queensland Holiday Resorts Limited, on 3 March 1934.[17] Its objects were ‘to provide tourist facilities and accommodation in beauty spots throughout…Queensland, and…to assist in preserving such in their natural state for future generations in accordance with the ideals of the National Parks Association of Queensland’.[18]

At this early stage, Binna Burra comprised the June camp site on top of Mt Roberts; the site of the dining room; the Christmas camp site; a hoop pine tree planted by Lahey during the first Christmas camp; the access road to the first lagoon, which had been formed before the Christmas camp; and a track to Bellbird Lookout.[19] Fifty acres (20.23ha) were already cleared for farming[20] and one of the company’s immediate aims was to ‘carry out dairying and other agricultural operations on the property’.[21] Agricultural activities, including dairying, using pre-existing dairy shed and yards, and egg and vegetable production, were carried out on the site until 1947.[22]

During the 1930s, management of Binna Burra was divided between Groom and Lahey, with Groom as the on-site manager, while Lahey took charge of building infrastructure, and surveying and constructing the first walking tracks in the adjacent national park.[23]

In 1934, a flying fox and the first buildings were erected on site. The flying fox comprised a heavy-duty cable, strung between a tree at the unloading point known as ‘the Dump’ and one on the cliff top near the future Lodge site, driven by a large whim (wheel) laid horizontally and rotated by a draught horse, to raise attached baggage and supplies about 150 metres. Guests walked up the goat track (steep) or the sheep track (less steep) to the campsite.[24] In the same year, Lahey’s road building team excavated a large site for buildings and felled trees for their construction.[25] By October 1934, dining room, kitchen, store, staff dining room, bathrooms and lavatories, flooring and tables for the tents and the first slab cabin dormitory for guests were built.[26]

Lahey based his slab hut design on buildings he had seen in Victoria. They followed an early style of Australian housing and harmonised with the natural environment, consistent with the philosophy of Binna Burra. They were also inexpensive to build because the materials came from the property and achievable because there were skilled broad-axemen to build them.[27]

By the end of 1935, two more slab huts, accommodating 22 people, and staff quarters were completed, and a dinner bell had been installed by Lahey.[28] In 1936, Groom began constructing a small cottage on the other side of the small mountain saddle from the Lodge, in anticipation of his marriage to Marjorie Dunstan.[29]

Between 1938 and 1953, a further dozen cabins were constructed.[30] By September 1939, there was cabin accommodation for 54 guests and Lahey had constructed an attic for his own use above one of the guest cabins.[31] A separate laundry (1939) and an attic (1940) were added to Groom’s Cottage.[32] A Forestry Cottage (Cabin 43) was constructed in 1941 for the park overseer, about half-way between the Lodge and Groom’s Cottage.[33]

After World War II, visitor numbers seriously declined from their war-time high,[34] which Groom struggled to remedy through improvements and promotion. The road to Binna Burra was completed in 1947, ending the use of the flying fox, changing the way guests arrived, and resulting in the formation of the main entry, drive and arrival area.[35] In 1951, the Binna Burra road was transferred to the Crown and its maintenance taken over by the Department of Main Roads (MRD) leading to its upgrade to an all-weather road.[36]

Trees were removed from Binna Burra in the post-war period for several purposes. A sawmill operated onsite from c1947 until the early 1950s, which supplied firewood to heat water for the Lodge and two slab cabins were built during its operation. In the late 1950s, a timber firm paid to remove logs from the site. [37] Aerial photography from 1961 shows widespread clearing of the southern and eastern parts of the site (south and east of Binna Burra Road).[38] In 2020, only sawmill artefacts stored adjacent to the Engine Room remained.[39]

Groom died suddenly in November 1953 while on a business trip to Melbourne. For 20 years his life had focused on developing and managing Binna Burra. A memorial to him, designed by architect RP Cummings and funded by Binna Burra supporters, was unveiled on 3 February 1957 by Peter Grenning, Queensland’s Director of Forests. Originally sited on a grassy slope immediately in front of the entrance to the main border track at the Binna Burra end of Lamington National Park, the memorial was relocated closer to Groom’s Cottage, overlooking Nixon’s Creek and the Numinbah Valley, by 2001.[40] Its timber seat was replaced between July 2015 and March 2020.[41]

During the remainder of the 1950s, Binna Burra struggled to stay viable. The crisis culminated in 1960 with the Board of Directors proposing Binna Burra’s closure. Instead, Groom’s son Tony, assisted by his mother Marjorie, took over Binna Burra’s management and returned the business to profit during the following decade. From 1961, Groom’s other sons, Donn and Richard were also involved in the management of Binna Burra.[42]

As well as a return to the Groom-era style of management, facilities were improved. In the first few years, the reception area was lined (1961); electricity was connected to the site (c1962);[43] and the last 6.5 kilometres of road to the Lodge were completed (1964), improving access.[44]

During the second half of the 1960s services (telephone, electricity, water supply and heating) were upgraded and accommodation added to the site. In 1966, the camping area was developed, a new toilet block and a workshop were erected. Six self-contained cabins were constructed on the site of the old playground using volunteer labour in 1969. The Binna Burra Road was bituminised in 1969.[45]

Lahey resigned from Binna Burra’s Board of Directors in 1960 after a severe stroke and died on 26 October 1967. He had been a director, then chairman of directors of the Lahey family’s timber businesses from 1924 until 1949. Aware of the contradiction between his business and conservation interests, Lahey initiated reafforestation, reduced mill wastage, and gifted land for national park purposes, including land to Lamington National Park. He designed, surveyed, and often funded, graded tracks in national parks throughout Queensland to minimize ecological disturbance. In 1960, Lahey was awarded an MBE for services to national park development in Australia. Two plaques in Lamington National Park commemorate him, as does a stone memorial on Binna Burra’s front lawn.[46]

During the 1970s, the developmental phase begun at Binna Burra in the mid-1960s continued. From 1971 to 1972, cabins 24, 25, 26, 30 and 31 were replaced, while three new guest cabins were built. The Forestry Cottage, built on Binna Burra property in 1941, was acquired and the road encircling the Lodge was closed in preparation for new buildings. A new dining room, kitchen, lounge, and observation deck were opened by the Minister for Tourism, John Herbert, on 24 November 1973. The old dining room was repurposed as a games room, office foyer and fireplace.[47]

Camping has been integral to Binna Burra’s philosophy[48] and accordingly the camping grounds continued to be improved. By 1974 a kiosk, dining and activity centre, reticulated water, and powered sites were available at the camping ground to cater to campers’ and day-trippers’ needs.[49] Terracing of the campsite had commenced by 1977 and in 1988, permanent on-site tents were erected.[50] In May 1998, a teahouse opened near the camping grounds, replacing the kiosk.[51]

From the late 1970s into the 21st century, improvements, reconfiguration, and addition of buildings took place. The Workshop (now called the Barn) was relocated beside the Engine Room c1977. A series of cabin renovations were undertaken from the 1970s to the 1990s.[52] In 2013, the Binna Burra Sky Lodges, designed by DM2 Architecture, were completed. They comprised four separate three and a half storey buildings containing holiday units, located northeast of the Lodge complex on the edge of a north facing ridge.

Designed changes to the Binna Burra landscape in addition to building layout have been made. Development of the Lodge gardens began in September 1968, when regular guest Win Bristow created a native garden between the upper and lower cabin terraces. Gardener Perce Bishop created rock gardens that formed a retaining wall along the corridor of the eastern cabins, as well as a children’s playground, by Christmas 1973.[53] His track around Mount Roberts below the Lodge (originally ‘Perce’s Parade’) was later developed as the Sense Trail by the Lamington Natural History Association and opened in 1975.[54] A Discovery Forest Children's playground opened in 1997, north of the Forestry Cottage.[55]

Over the course of Binna Burra’s history, its original site (nearly 178 acres/72ha) has almost halved. In 1951, 7.23ha of land was transferred to the Crown when the MRD took responsibility for Binna Burra Road.[56] In 1965, a further 1.26ha was excised for road purposes.[57]

In 1969, three separate blocks of land with easements were created to the northeast of the Lodge buildings to provide a house lot for each Groom brother, who worked in rotation as Binna Burra’s manager and assistant manager from c1965-75.[58] These were treed allotments with views to the north. Lots 2 and 3 were purchased by Donn and his wife and Tony and his wife respectively, while Lot 1 remained in Binna Burra ownership. In 1970 Tony Groom erected a house on Lot 3. In 1973, Donn Groom erected a larger house, designed by Brisbane architect Robin Spencer, on Lot 2. This was purchased by Tony Groom and his wife in 1976. A one-bedroom house for Marjorie Groom was erected on Lot 2 in 1980. Lot 3 was sold by Tony Groom to his brother Richard in 1977 and returned to Binna Burra ownership in 1981 but was later sold.[59]

In March 1970, 0.55ha of land located southeast of the most southern point of Binna Burra Road (Lot 1 RP 128297) was resumed by the Crown for national park purposes (site of the ranger station).[60] The remaining Binna Burra site was subdivided into three allotments prior to resumption of two allotments (Lots 2 and 3 RP171126; 27ha) for national park purposes in September 1980. The third allotment (Lot 1 RP171126) comprising 34.81ha (86 acres) remained as Binna Burra land (same extent in 2020).[61]

Since Binna Burra’s establishment, a variety of recreational activities have been encouraged, bringing diverse groups to the site. Initially, bushwalking in the Lamington National Park and the appreciation of nature were the primary pastimes. Abseiling began in 1962 and horse-riding was offered between 1963 and c1985, with the horses held in a yard opposite the entrance to Lodge Road and near the start of the Senses Trail.[62] In 1990, a bird hide was constructed near Bellbird Clearing for bird watching activities. In the 1990s, a flying fox across Bellbird Clearing was installed as a guest activity and a high ropes course offered nearby.[63]

Vacation schools have been conducted since 1968. Starting with the Wildlife Preservation Society Spring School, others followed including shingle-splitting; Creative Arts and Photographics Schools (annually to 1984 at least); and Green Fingers Weeks (from 1970). The schools attracted and inspired well-known tutors and participants such as poet Heather Farmer; clarinettist Don Burrows AO MBE; photographer Steve Parish; Mervyn Moriarty, founder of the Flying Art School in outback Queensland; and photographer Nev Male.[64]

The Binna Burra Cultural Landscape, its surrounding rainforest, waterfalls and views, have inspired aesthetic responses from artists, photographers, writers and musicians for more than eight decades. Artists’ camps were held in the 1930s to take inspiration from the scenic views of Egg Rock and Turtle Rock and the McPherson Range. Artists have depicted this region including important Queensland artist Vida Lahey (From Binna Burra, 1934), international artist Lois Beumer in her watercolour Rainforest Tangle 1986, and nationally acclaimed William Robinson in his landscape paintings. The adjacent McPherson Range inspired well-known photographers including Arthur Groom, Doug Spowart and Charles Ernest Stanley Fryer, while Romeo Lahey took plate glass photographs at the outset of World War I to campaign for the area’s reservation as a national park. Books written about Binna Burra, include Arthur Groom’s 1949 work One Mountain After Another and Raymond Curtis’ 2003 book, Rainforest Journal. Curtis’ orchestral work ‘Journey Among Mountains’ (1989) also celebrates the area.[65]

Environmental protection and education were early objectives in the establishment of Binna Burra. Groom and Lahey encouraged this through guided walks and talks which were continued after Groom’s sons became managers. The Lamington Natural History Association established in 1975 as a combined organisation between Binna Burra, O’Reilly’s and the National Parks Wildlife Service (NPWS) furthered this objective. The Association’s headquarters became the Environmental Study Centre in Groom’s Cottage, which was enlarged and renovated to house the director’s office, and a workroom. Bunkroom accommodation was constructed behind it for 36 children to provide facilities for school camps, and officially opened in 1977.[66] In 2001, Binna Burra achieved certification under the Green Globe standards for ecological sustainability and by 2019 had achieved an ‘Advanced Ecotourism’ certification from Ecotourism Australia's ECO Certification program.[67] In February 2020, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Griffith University and Binna Burra Lodge Limited to create ‘a strategic partnership…focusing on the development, interpretation and presentation of collaborative research and educational activities’.[68]

One of the distinctive features of Binna Burra has been the support from its guests. For example, Frank Jesson, an artist who visited Binna Burra from 1938, illustrated cards and posters for Binna Burra without payment. Guests helped with chores in the 1930s, and from 1968 loyal guests improved the site by donating their time to building projects. This assistance was formalised by the establishment of the Friends of Binna Burra (FOBB) in 1984.[69]

The 50th anniversary of the establishment of Binna Burra was celebrated in 1983. The tree-planting ceremony of the Christmas 1933 camp was repeated with the planting of another hoop pine 50m to its south; while a commemorative history of Binna Burra, Where the Beech Trees Grow: The Story of Binna Burra, was published in 1984.[70]

In 1994, the global importance of the Lamington National Park was recognised when it was declared part of the Australian East Coast Sub-tropical and Temperate Rainforest Parks World Heritage Area (renamed Gondwana Rainforests of Australia in 2007).[71] This landscape is recognised for its outstanding natural universal values, representing: major stages of the Earth’s evolutionary history; significant ongoing geological processes and biological evolution; and for containing important significant habitats for the in-situ conservation of biological diversity.[72]

Binna Burra Cultural Landscape expresses evolved, designed and associative attributes. The landscape evolved from rainforest, possibly exploited by early timber-getters, into a partly agricultural landscape with about a third of the site cleared for dairying between 1913 and 1933. Agricultural activities, including dairying, and poultry and vegetable production, were carried out on the site until 1947. Working horses were onsite from 1935 to c1985. Further timber felling occurred between 1934 and 1959. Substantial regrowth of native vegetation has occurred since and will continue as the site is subject to the provisions of the Vegetation Management Act 1999, which preserves vegetation on declared sites. Binna Burra Cultural Landscape also includes designed features such as buildings; gardens; built elements such as stone walls and edging; memorials; garden walks, walking tracks and roads; playgrounds; and open spaces such as lawns, camping grounds, terraces, lookouts, and Bellbird Clearing. All of these features were formed intentionally to fulfil aesthetic, functional, or philosophical purposes as expressed by Queensland Holiday Resorts Limited in 1934.[73]

On 8 September 2019, a devastating bushfire caused considerable damage at Binna Burra and the surrounding district. Buildings and site components were destroyed including the main Binna Burra Lodge complex (lounge/reception, shop, dining room, library and kitchen), all but one of the 43 Binna Burra cabins, and the three houses on Lots 2 and 3 RP124596.[74] The most easterly block of the Sky Lodges was significantly damaged. Some built features illustrating the layout of the Lodge complex remain. The flying fox whim (1934) and dinner bell (1935) also survived. Undamaged built features were primarily located south of the Lodge complex.[75] Binna Burra Road was rendered unsafe and in 2020 underwent major repairs and upgrade.

Following the 2019 fire event, Binna Burra Lodge Limited (formerly Queensland Holiday Resorts Limited) received support from community members and organisations, as well as government, showing the social importance of Binna Burra to the Queensland community and its importance to the region’s economy. The damage to the site was reported widely in the media, resulting in messages of support from individuals in Australia and overseas, and financial and in-kind support from businesses.[76] The FOBB raised more than $100,000 toward Binna Burra’s recovery.[77] Local, state and federal governments provided funding assistance.[78]

In 2020, the Binna Burra Cultural Landscape retains buildings dating from 1936 onward, the Christmas 1933 camp site, camping grounds and facilities, natural vegetation, and built elements such as retaining walls, tracks, memorials, early signs, and open spaces, which all form part of its evolved and designed landscape. Their form and layout reflect the underpinning philosophy of connection with the natural environment. It is a place of natural beauty with picturesque attributes and over its lifetime, visitors to the site have developed a strong and ongoing association with the place. Binna Burra Cultural Landscape also has a special association with the life and work of its founders, Romeo Watkins Lahey and Arthur Groom.


Binna Burra Cultural Landscape occupies 43.83ha on Mount Roberts, 8km south of Beechmont, and is surrounded by Lamington National Park – part of the World Heritage-listed Gondwana Rainforests of Australia. Set in a mountaintop forest, the landscape comprises a ridge running south to north and turning east, with a central saddle formation (dip), and a downward eastern slope to steep cliffs. Access is via Binna Burra Road, which approaches from the northwest, and winds up and around the north and east extents of the ridge, then south to the National Park entrance.

Features of Binna Burra Cultural Landscape of state-level cultural heritage significance are:

  • Elements of the site’s original and early layout, including: Lodge Road; the scale, form and natural materials of built elements and their relationship to a natural context; and the landscape setting of the place
  • Views
  • Site of former Binna Burra Lodge and cabins complex (1934-, buildings destroyed by fire 2019), including:
    • Lodge lawn and viewing terrace
    • Cabin terraces
    • Romeo Lahey memorial
    • Win Bristow garden walk (1968-) and memorial
    • Flying fox whim (1934)
  • Lodge Road (formed 1947)
  • Pottery Shed (pre-1961)
  • Engine Room (c1947) and Barn (former Workshop, 1966, relocated c1977, converted to Barn c2005)
  • Forestry Cottage (Cabin 43, 1941)
  • Christmas Camp (1933) and Commemorative Hoop Pine (1983)
  • Groom’s Cottage (1936-80)
  • Bunk House (1977)
  • Camping grounds (1966-)
  • Arthur Groom memorial (1957)
  • Bellbird Clearing
  • Bellbird Lookout (c1930s)
  • Old vegetable garden remnants (c1940s)
  • Other original and early built features, including: roads and paths; walking tracks and trail heads; gardens, plantings and lawn areas; terracing; stone retaining walls and steps; and signs.

Original and early layout, and setting

Surviving elements illustrating the site’s original and early layout demonstrate guest accommodation and facilities have been consistently set out in low-scaled clusters along the main ridgeline that forms a spine through the land holding, with groups of buildings set in clearings, orientated to attractive views of the surrounding landscape and interspersed with gardens and plantings, paths, memorials and signs.

The site of the former Binna Burra Lodge and cabins complex occupies the northern crest of the ridge, with associated buildings either side of Lodge Road on its southern approach, and Groom’s Cottage and the adjacent camping grounds occupy the southern crest. Between them is a lawn area on the central saddle, which provides open space and views connecting the early features.


The elevated position and varied topography offers attractive, and in some cases spectacular, views from and within the extensive site. These are:

  • Panoramic views of the forested mountains to the west and northwest, across the Coomera River valley and to the Darling Range, and north to Beechmont – from the former Binna Burra Lodge and cabins site
  • Panoramic views northeast, east, and southeast across the Numinbah Valley to natural formations including Egg Rock (Kurraragin), Turtle Rock, Ships Stern, and the McPherson Range – from Bellbird Lookout and from walking trails along the eastern cliffs
  • Extensive views north and east across the forested eastern slopes towards the Numinbah Valley – from Groom’s Cottage and the Safari Tents
  • Attractive open views across the lawn area on the saddle clearing – to and from Lodge Road, and to and from Groom’s Cottage
  • Scenic views that unfold along the single-lane, tree-lined Lodge Road approach to the former Lodge complex site
  • Scenic views of the surrounding forested landscape that unfold along the walking tracks that journey across the site.

Site of former Binna Burra Lodge and cabins complex (1934-, buildings destroyed by fire 2019)

The former Binna Burra Lodge and cabins complex site occupies an elevated clearing with steep slopes on its north and west sides, and two lower terraces (formerly occupied by cabins) formed to the east. The Lodge buildings stood on the south and west sides of the central open lawn area, with a paved viewing terrace to the north and the main entrance via Lodge Road to the south. An area of native gardens (established by regular guest Win Bristow) is between the two terraces, and memorials to Bristow and Binna Burra co-founder Romeo Lahey are at the northern end of the lawn. A remnant metal wheel (whim) survives from the former flying fox (1934) that conveyed guests’ luggage to the Lodge site.

Features of the former Binna Burra Lodge and cabins complex of state-level cultural heritage significance are:

  • Features that reflect the complex’s historic layout and allow the appreciation of important views, including: arrival via Lodge Road; siting of Lodge buildings adjacent to central open lawn area; and alignment and levels of cabin terraces
  • Lodge lawn (1934) and paved viewing terrace, including: open lawn area; and stone retaining wall and terracing along north and northeast extents
  • Cabin terraces (1934-), including: two long, slightly-curved terrace formations with level building platforms
  • Stone retaining walls forming a base along the eastern perimeter of the Lodge and cabins site
  • Romeo Lahey memorial, comprising: three stone walls with timber seats, arranged in an arc and facing a single stone wall with a memorial plaque
  • Win Bristow memorial, comprising: rock garden with native plantings; and timber post with memorial plaque to ‘Win’s Garden’
  • Win Bristow garden walk (1968-), comprising: native plantings
  • Flying fox whim (1934), comprising: a large metal wheel (currently stored adjacent to the Engine Room) that was originally laid horizontally on the western side of the Lodge site

Lodge Road (formed 1947)

The single-lane Lodge Road branches off Binna Burra Road at the Christmas Camp site and ascends along the ridge to the former Lodge site. A ‘Welcome’ sign along the road denotes the entrance to the former Lodge, and the road ends with a turning loop at the arrivals area.

Features of the Lodge Road of state-level cultural heritage significance are:

  • Original road alignment and single-lane configuration
  • Arrivals area at former Lodge site, comprising: turning loop; and central garden beds, with stone edging and concrete pedestrian path
  • Lodge entrance sign, comprising: timber slab sign with ‘WELCOME TO BINNA BURRA MOUNTAIN LODGE’; and rock garden with native plantings.

Pottery Shed (pre-1961)

The Pottery Shed is located on the west side of the Lodge Road, to the immediate north of the entrance sign. The single-storey stone building is rectangular in plan and has a shallow gable roof.

Features of the Pottery Shed of state-level cultural heritage significance are:

  • Lowset, gable-roofed form
  • Exterior low-height stone walls and structural pillars, with sections of lightweight infills
  • Exterior timber-framed and clad walls on timber stumps
  • Landscaped setting, including: earth platform and stone retaining walls; and adjacent paved area with perimeter timber seating and screened garden.

Engine Room (c1947) and Barn (former Workshop 1966, relocated c1977, converted to Barn c2005)

The Engine Room and Barn building stands on a level clearing, immediately southwest of the Pottery Shed. The lowset building comprises two parts both rectangular in plan. The Barn has a gable-roof and a later skillion-roofed west verandah. The Engine Room comprises a stone-walled skillion-roofed annexe on its east side. Remnant machinery (possibly from the 1950s sawmill constructed for cutting firewood to heat water for the Lodge) and the flying fox whim, are located adjacent to the building.

Features of the Engine Room and Barn of state-level cultural heritage significance are:

  • Lowset, gable-roofed form with eastern skillion-roofed annexe
  • Barn, including: metal-framed structure, with timber- and corrugated metal-cladding; and timber-boarded and corrugated metal-clad doors
  • Engine Room, including: random rock walls; timber-boarded doors; and timber-framed roof and posts to annexe
  • Sawmill remnants, including: timber saw bench frame; large metal saw blade; and various other metal fittings and equipment.

Forestry Cottage (Cabin 43, 1941)

The Forestry Cottage is situated on a slope on the eastern side of the Lodge Road, near the entrance to the Lodge area but separate to the main former Lodge site. The single-storey timber-framed cottage is rectangular in plan, with a shallow gable-roofed core and a later (c1970s) skillion-roofed extension on its eastern side.

Features of the Forestry Cabin of state-level cultural heritage significance are:

  • Building location and orientation
  • Lowset, gable-roofed form (core)
  • Corrugated metal roof cladding
  • Timber weatherboard exterior wall cladding
  • Timber-framed, multi-pane double-hung sash windows (some relocated)
  • Early flat sheet interior wall and ceiling linings, with cover strips
  • Exposed timber trusses
  • Timber floor (concealed) and sub-structure.

Christmas Camp (1933) and Commemorative Hoop Pines (1933 stump removed, 1983)

The former Christmas Camp site comprises approximately one-hectare area of open, lawn on the saddle, roughly 250 metres south of the former Lodge site. One hoop pine (Araucaria cunninghamii) planted in 1983, and a timber marker identifying the location of the original Christmas Camp hoop pine planted in 1933 (stump no longer extant in 2020) are situated along the forest edge, on the western side of the Christmas Camp 1933 site.

Features of Christmas Camp of state-level cultural heritage significance are:

  • Open lawn area
  • Proximity of former camp site to, and visual connection with, commemorative hoop pine locations
  • Established hoop pine (1983)
  • Site of former hoop pine (1933) as marked by a timber paling plaque.

Groom’s Cottage (1936-80)

Groom’s Cottage is located approximately 450 metres south of the former Lodge site, on the slope rising to the entrance of Lamington National Park. The cottage is rectangular in plan and sits on a terrace formed by an original stone rubble retaining wall. The ground floor is open-plan, with a stone fireplace on the south wall, a ground floor living area and an open-sided timber staircase that accesses the attic bedrooms (upper storey added 1940-80).

Features of Groom’s Cottage of state-level cultural heritage significance are:

  • Building location and orientation
  • Lowset, gable-roofed form with attic bedrooms and north-facing dormer windows
  • Stone fireplace
  • Timber exterior walls, including: ground floor slab construction, with hardwood posts and slabs; cedar weatherboards to first floor gable ends; and shingles to sides of dormer windows
  • Original and early timber joinery, including: multi-pane casement windows; and boarded, ledged and braced doors
  • Unlined ground floor interior walls and ceiling
  • Timber board-lined first floor walls and ceiling with exposed rafters
  • Timber floor framing and boards
  • Original earth terrace with stone rubble retaining wall.

Bunk House (1977)

The Bunk House is sited parallel to the southern side of Groom’s Cottage. The single-storey building has a steeply-pitched skillion roof with high-level windows on its northern side. It contains four cabins, each with three-tier built-in timber bunks. 

Features of the Bunk House of state-level cultural heritage significance are:

  • Steep-pitched skillion-roofed form
  • Timber-framed and -clad structure
  • North-facing high-level windows for natural light and ventilation
  • Rows of low-level and high-level square windows on southern wall, reflecting interior bunk configuration
  • Flat sheet-lined ceiling with exposed timber rafters
  • Clear-finished timber board-lined interior walls
  • Clear-finished built-in timber bunks
  • Stone retaining wall on southern side of building.

Camping grounds (1966-)

The camping grounds to the south are sited with easy access to the National Park entrance and are arranged with a relatively organic layout, with camping sites and amenities shelters set amongst mature trees on the western side, and on-site Safari Tents occupying the terraced eastern slope.

Features of the camping grounds of state-level cultural heritage significance are:

  • Original and early camping terraces, including: terrace layout; level earth platforms; and stone and timber retaining walls
  • Mature trees dotted across camping grounds
  • Original and early timber-framed amenity shelters
  • Open lawn area with provision of picnic amenities adjacent to National Park entrance.

Arthur Groom memorial (1957)

The Arthur Groom memorial is located on the lawn adjacent to the National Park entrance. The memorial comprises a basalt stone wall, with an off-centre brass plaque and rosewood timber seat.

Features of the memorial of state-level cultural heritage significance are:

  • Random coursed basalt stone wall with beaded pointing
  • Rosewood timber bench seat (recently replaced), with round stump base
  • Rectangular stone platform.

Bellbird Clearing

Bellbird Clearing is an activity area located on the eastern slopes. The area contains a lagoon, and a flying fox passes through the clearing. An activity area for ropes courses and abseiling activities is located adjacent to Bellbird Clearing.

Feature of Bellbird Clearing of state-level cultural heritage significance is:

  • Open clearing for a range of recreational activities

Bellbird Lookout (c1930s)

Bellbird Lookout is located approximately one kilometre east of the former Lodge site. The view from this barrier free natural rock formation sweeps across the Numinbah Valley, taking in Egg Rock (Kurraragin), Turtle Rock, Ships Stern and the McPherson Range. There is an early track to the lookout (1930s).

Features of Bellbird Lookout of state-level cultural heritage significance are:

  • Natural rock formation, with panoramic views across the Numinbah Valley
  • Early walking track alignment.

Old Vegetable Garden remnants (c1940s)

The Old Vegetable Garden is an area located west of Bellbird Clearing that was originally used to grow vegetables to supply the Lodge, and retains remnant plantings and some garden fencing. Both the original late-1940s wells are housed in the old pump shed located in the area, along with partially restored engines.

Features of the Old Vegetable Garden of state-level cultural heritage significance are:

  • Remnant garden fencing and plantings of citrus trees and passionfruit vines
  • Pump shed and early water supply wells.

Other original and early built features

The place incorporates a range of evolved and designed built features that contribute to the setting and functioning of the place. They include garden layouts and plantings; stone walls and edging; memorials; garden walks, walking tracks and roads; and open spaces such as lawns (some cleared of trees before the establishment of the site as a nature tourism resort), terraces and lookouts. Walking tracks traverse the site and journey deep into the forest or along clifftops. Signs are dotted across the site and vary in style, age and condition.

Landscape features of state-level cultural heritage significance are:

  • Arrival sequence along Binna Burra Road (formed 1947, bituminised 1969) that winds up and around the steep north and east sides of the ridgeline, emerging from the forest into the central open saddle lawn, then south through the site to the National Park entrance
  • Open lawn area on the central saddle
  • Original and early terraces, stone retaining walls and garden edging
  • Original and early timber walking tracks and signs
  • Welcome signs, including: timber slab sign along Lodge Road; and welcome  directional signage board with shingle-clad gable roof, located on the saddle lawn
  • Horse paddock, track and yard remnants, including: open lawn area on the western edge of the saddle, with remnant timber fence posts visible in the perimeter forest
  • Senses Trail signage and trail head, including: stone seating circle at trail head on western side of saddle lawn; and timber-framed signage with braille on saddle lawn
  • Goat Track and Sheep Track route remnants (1934-47), including: two walking tracks with stone edging and retaining walls, located in the reserve in the northwest corner of the site, in a bend along Binna Burra Road near the Information Centre, that are possible remnants of the early routes taken by visitors up to the Lodge.

Non-significant features

Features of Binna Burra Cultural Landscape not of state-level cultural heritage significance are:

  • Modern metal sheds and concrete blockwork amenities buildings
  • Modern metal-framed windows
  • Modern light fittings, kitchen and toilet joinery and fixtures, and carpet and other floor linings
  • Modern communications towers in camping ground, and power lines and post on the northeast side of the former Lodge and cabins site
  • Modern recreational activities infrastructure and equipment
  • Recent signs including temporary core-flute directional signs.


[1] DATSIP, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Heritage Database and Register, <>, accessed 10 Jan 2020; Robert Longhurst (comp. & ed.), Taming a Plateau: A history of the Beechmont District, Beechmont Centenary Association Inc, Beechmont, 1992; Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy (DNRME), Survey Plans: WD641, WD639, WD 763. Fruit growing was Beechmont farmers’ main focus until dairying commenced in the early 1900s.
[2] Sally O'Neill, 'Collins, Robert Martin (1843–1913)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1969, accessed online 24 Jan 2020. As a result, the Queensland Parliament passed the State Forest and National Parks Act 1906. (Department of Environment and Science, Parks and Forests. ‘Lamington National Park Centenary. <> accessed 15 Jan 2020.) Judge Cornelius Hedges in the USA proposed the creation of national parks for the benefit and enjoyment of the people. (V Genning in Arthur Groom, One Mountain after Another, Angus and Robertson, Sydney, 1949, foreword.) Australia’s first national park was established in New  South Wales (Royal National Park) in 1879, with Bel Air, SA (1891) and Wilson Promontory and Mt Buffalo, Vic (1898) following. (Queensland Historical Atlas, ‘National Parks in Queensland’, <>, accessed 4 Mar 2020.)
[3] ‘The South-Eastern Highlands of Queensland, Brisbane Courier, 13 Oct 1896, p. 2; Letter from R M Collins to Minister for Lands, 5 Apr 1905 cited by J Keith Jarrott, History of Lamington National Park, J K Jarrott and The National Parks Association of Queensland Inc, 1990, p. 3; Other proposals were made by Surveyor Maguire in 1900 in a paper read to the Royal Geographical Society in Brisbane (‘Royal Geographical Society Site for National Park’, Brisbane Courier, 1 Dec 1900, p. 14.) and by Forest Ranger Burnett in his report, which the Director of Forests, P M McMahon, adopted in Mar 1907. (‘National Park. Official History. Mr R Lahey’s Generosity’, Brisbane Courier, 15 Apr 1930, p. 16).
[4] DNRME, Survey Plans: WD571, WD573, WD574; Bernard O’Reilly, Green Mountains, n.p., Brisbane, 1940, p. 95-112.
[5] Portions 174 (1913), 175 (1915), 176 (1915), 177 (1915), 179 (1914), and 180 (1914). (DNRME, Survey Plans: WD641, WD639, WD763.) Most or all of this land is now within Lamington National Park. The Rankin family had settled at Beechmont and begun farming in 1903. (‘Beechmont’, Brisbane Courier, 10 Nov 1928, p. 13.) Romeo Lahey selected Portion 179 in 1924 and surrendered the selection for inclusion in the Lamington National Park in 1930. (DNRME, Survey Plan WD641.)
[6] Jarrott, History of Lamington National Park, pp. 1, 29-45. Lahey was educated at state primary schools and Brisbane Grammar School. He worked as a clerk for Australian Mutual Provident Society in Brisbane before entering the University of Sydney where he completed a Bachelor of Engineering in 1914 and a Master of Engineering in 1921.
[7] DNRME: Survey Plan WD919; cad-map-40chn-moreton-ag2-sh14-south-1919;cad-map-40chn-moreton-ag2-sh13-south-1922.
[8] ‘The Week at a Glance’, The Queenslander, 1 Mar 1919, p. 10; Throssell, Where the Beech Trees Grow, p. 33; DNRME, Survey Plan WD919. Lamington National Park’s first rangers were Herbert, Thomas, Luke, Mick, and Bernard O’Reilly, appointed in February 1919, while Mick was employed as overseer. (Queensland Government. ‘Lamington National Park Centenary’, <>, accessed 16 Jan 2020.)
[9] O’Reilly, Green Mountains, pp. 154-55, 170-82; Groom, One Mountain After Another, p. 89; O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat website, ‘About O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat’, <>, accessed 28 Feb 2020; State Library of Queensland blog, <> accessed 28 Feb 2020..
[10] Groom, One Mountain after Another, pp. Preface, 90-5, 114.
[11] J Keith Jarrott. 'Groom, Arthur (1904–1953)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1983, accessed online 15 Jan 2020; Groom, One Mountain After Another, Preface; Throssell, Where the Beech Trees Grow, pp. 49, 54, 82-91. Groom had five books and numerous articles published. He was also a member of the Royal Geographical Society and the Anthropological Society.
[12] Betty Crouchley,. 'Lahey, Romeo Watkins (1887–1968)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, <>, published first in hardcopy 1983, accessed online 15 Jan 2020.
[13] Groom, One Mountain After Another, p. 110; NPAQ website, About us’, <>, accessed 21 Jan 2020; ‘Our Readers’ Diary’, Brisbane Courier, 5 Apr 1930, p. 26.
[14] ‘National Parks, Telegraph, 16 Apr 1930, p. 4; Throssell, Where the Beech Trees Grow, p. 147.
[15] ‘National Parks, Telegraph, 16 Apr 1930, p. 4.
[16] Groom, One Mountain after Another, pp. 126-127, 129, 130, 131-143; Throssell, Where the Beech Trees Grow, pp. 64, 66.
[17] Groom, One Mountain After Another, pp. 126-8, p. 145; Queensland State Archives. Companies Index 1863-1959. <> accessed 6 Feb 2020. The other original company directors were: Roy Graeme Groom (director: 1934-46), Philip Lewis Day (1934-53), and Dr Edward Oswald Marks (1934-57), while T R Groom (later Sir Reginald) served as company secretary (1933-67). (Throssell, Where the Beech Trees Grow, pp. 64, 66, 145.)
[18] Groom, One Mountain After Another, pp. 128-9.
[19] Riddel Architecture, Binna Burra Conservation Management Plan prepared for Binna Burra Lodge Ltd (CMP), May 2010, p. 20; Throssell, Where the Beech Trees Grow, p. 77.
[20] Prospectus, Mar 1932 cited by Riddel Architecture, CMP, p. 13.
[21] Prospectus, 1933 cited by Riddel Architecture, CMP, p. 13.
[22] Throssell, Where the Beech Trees Grow, pp. 80, 82, 87;. Riddel Architecture, ‘Binna Burra CMP’, p. 87. A vegetable garden (~0.5ha) was established west of Bell Bird Clearing.
[23] Groom, One Mountain After Another, p.149; Throssell, Where the Beech Trees Grow, pp. 78, 80, 82, 87. Binna Burra featured in at least one Queensland Government Tourist Bureau booklet. (Queensland Government Tourist Bureau, Peaks and Plateaus, Queensland Government Printer, c1934-39.)
[24] ERM ‘Binna Burra Road and Road Reserve Conservation Management Plan for Department of Transport and Main Roads’ (CMP), Jun 2016, p. 14. Possible sections of both tracks were identified by ERM in 2016, located in the reserve in the northwest corner of the site, in a bend along Binna Burra Road near the Information Centre. They included a steep 150m long (Goat) track and a gradual 300m long (Sheep) track; both narrow walking tracks have stone edging and retaining walls.
[25] Groom, One Mountain After Another, p. 145-7; Throssell, Where the Beech Trees Grow, p. 66-7. The Dump was the starting point for the goat and sheep tracks. Lahey bought Leighton House, a Canungra boarding house built by his family’s company in 1902 and a small house, which were dismantled and transported to Binna Burra to serve as the dining and recreation room, and kitchen respectively.
[26] Throssell, Where the Beech Trees Grow, p. 67.
[27] Throssell, Where the Beech Trees Grow, p. 68.
[28] Throssell, Where the Beech Trees Grow, pp. 68, 147; ‘The Women’s World’, The Courier-Mail, 9 May 1935, p. 20. Old Bill’s Cottage dates from c1935. Old Bill served as Binna Burra’s flying fox operator and handyman from 1934 to his death in 1968. His cottage was the most southerly accommodation on the west side of Lodge road. (Riddel Architecture, CMP, p. 78.)
[29] Riddel Architecture, CMP, p. 19. Roy Schorr cut many of the slabs and shingles for the first huts and for Groom’s Cottage. (Throssell, Where the Beech Trees Grow, p. 125.)
[30] Riddel Architecture, CMP, p. 23.
[31] Throssell, Where the Beech Trees Grow, pp. 44, 68.
[32] Riddel Architecture, CMP, p. 73.
[33] Throssell, Where the Beech Trees Grow, p. 114; Riddel Architecture, CMP, p. 121. The vegetable garden was managed by the gardener, Old Dave, who passed away in 1957.
[34] World War II brought staff shortages and challenges. In 1940, Lahey enlisted again in the Australian army and Groom, not accepted for enlistment, became Binna Burra’s general manager. He also lectured army personnel at Canungra training camp on jungle survival. After an initial decline, Binna Burra’s visitor numbers, including servicemen, were high during the war. (Groom, One Mountain After Another, p. 175; Throssell, Where the Beech Trees Grow, p. 86.)
[35] Throssell, Where the Beech Trees Grow, p. 147; Riddel Architecture, CMP, p. 134. In 1947-48, a sewerage plant, bathrooms and new toilets were installed. (Riddel Architecture, CMP, p. 73.)
[36] DNRME: DoG 11922049, 1935; DoG 13022207, 1957.
[37] Throssell, Where the Beech Trees Grow, pp. 94-5, 103, 145; Riddel Architecture, CMP, p. 23. Cabins 30 and 31 were erected at this time. Both the sawmill and the Binna Burra site were powered by a diesel-powered generator from 1947. Lahey resigned as director of Queensland Holiday Resorts Ltd in November 1946 in protest at tree-felling on the property, but re-joined the board in 1954.
[38] DNRME, QAP1190078, 1 Sep 1961.
[39] Department of Environment and Science (DES) site visit 19 Mar 2020. In 2000, the sawmill was being renovated and reconstructed for interpretation purposes. (Department of Environment and Heritage (DEH) site visit, 2000.)
[40] Riddel Architecture, CMP, p. 74; ERM, CMP, pp. 11, 74. Professor Robert Percy Cummings, founding professor of architecture at the University of Queensland, designed the basalt stone wall and the rosewood seat, sourced from Binna Burra and adzed by Forest Ranger Gus Kouskos, while Romeo Lahey designed the brass plaque.
[41] ERM, CMP, p. 18. The seat was removed before the ERM site visit in Jul 2015 and had been replaced by the time of the DES site visit on 9 March 2020.
[42] Throssell, Where the Beech Trees Grow, pp. 92-103, 108-13, 117.
[43] Riddel Architecture, CMP, p. 74. The reception area was formerly Leighton House (Canungra, 1902).
[44] Throssell, Where the Beech Trees Grow, p. 106.
[45] Throssell, Where the Beech Trees Grow, pp. 77, 112-3; Riddel Architecture, CMP, p. 75. A telephone exchange was installed, the Lodge was rewired, an oil-fired hot water system and high pressure water reticulation were installed, a new dam was built and an electric pump installed. In 1968, a water connection from the Upper Coomera River was completed, ensuring water supply. Cabins 14-19 were constructed by volunteer labour in 1969.
[46] Crouchley,. 'Lahey, Romeo Watkins (1887–1968)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, <>, accessed 15 Jan 2020; Throssell, Where the Beech Trees Grow, p. 46; DNRME, Survey Plan WD641; Riddel Architecture, CMP, p. 11.
[47] Throssell, Where the Beech Trees Grow, p. 113.
[48] Ann Neal, Romeo Lahey’s daughter, Pers. Comm. 2001. (Heritage DES archive, BNE3177 vol 1, 601899 Binna Burra Lodge, ‘Report to Heritage Register Advisory Committee, 13 Feb 2001 Re: Binna Burra Cultural Landscape’.)
[49] Riddel Architecture, CMP, pp. 28, 76.
[50] QImagery, aerial QAP34145442, 19 Oct 1977; Riddel Architecture, CMP, p. 77.
[51] Riddel Architecture, CMP, pp. 77-8. The teahouse burnt down in 2005 and was replaced by a temporary teahouse, until a new teahouse opened in 2007.
[52] Riddel Architecture, CMP, pp. 29-35; QImagery, aerial QAP34145442, 19 Oct 1977. The old Workshop was converted and known as the Barn c2005, and FOBB performed unspecified work on the Barn c2008. (Riddel Architecture, CMP, pp. 38, 119.)
[53] Throssell, Where the Beech Trees Grow, p. 114. Native orchids were added to the Win Bristow garden in 1972 by the John Oxley Orchid Society.
[54] This initiative was funded by the Lamington Natural History Association, the Welfare Association for the Blind, Blind Citizens, the National Fitness Council, and the Blind School P & C Committee. (Throssell, Where the Beech Trees Grow, p. 116.)
[55] ERM, CMP, p. 12.
[56] DNRME: DoG 11922049, 1935; DoG 13022207, 1957; and Survey Plan WD2253, 29 Apr 1957. Seventeen acres 3 roods 20 perches (7.23ha) were removed, leaving Portion 178 as 160 acres 1 rood 6 perches (64.87ha). (DNRME, DoG 13022207, 1957.)
[57] DNRME, WD2916, 1965. (3acres 19 perches)
[58] Lots 1-3 RP124596.
[59] DNRME: Survey Plan RP 124596, 31 Jul 1969; CoT14460015; CoT14460016; Throssell, Where the Beech Trees Grow, pp. 108-9. Build dates of the houses on Lot 2 provided by applicant. In 2006, Lot 3 RP124596 was sold to the owner current in 2020. (DNRME, CoT 14460016.)
[60] DNRME: Survey Plan WD3445; CoT14460017, 1970; Queensland Government Gazette (QGG), 1970.1.913.
[61] DNRME: Survey Plan, WD3968, 1973; Survey Plan RP171126, 1980; CoT16135183, 1981; QGG 1980.3.433. The real property description for these allotments has changed since 1980.
[62] Throssell, Where the Beech Trees Grow, p. 104; Images showing paddock, 1970, Riddel Architecture, CMP, p. 128; Riddel Architecture, CMP, p. 77. The horses were removed to Beechmont c1985.
[63] Riddel Architecture, CMP, p. 121. High rope course available as a guided activity in 2019.
[64] Throssell, Where the Beech Trees Grow, pp. 114, 116.
[65] Groom, One Mountain After Another, Angus and Robertson, Sydney, 1949; ‘It’s Been a Lovely Life’, Scenic News, 8 Jan 2019, pp. 4-5. Groom also wrote articles about the Lamington National Park for publication. (Throssell, Where the Beech Trees Grow, p. 54.)
[66] Throssell, Where the Beech Trees Grow, p. 139. Later the Association split into two chapters, one at each resort, with the Binna Burra chapter retaining the name.
[67] GSTC Sustainable Tourism Training - Lamington National Park, < › news› gstc-sustainable-tourism-training-lamin...>, accessed 10 Jan 2020.
[68] ‘Griffith partners with Binna Burra on bushfire recovery’ Mirage News, 5 Feb 2020, <>, accessed 6 Feb 2020.
[69] A 1938 publication on Lamington National Park and posters for Binna Burra’s 21st and 50th anniversaries were illustrated by Frank Jesson, an artist for the Queensland Government Printing Office from 1910. His wife recalled that in the 1930s guests were expected to help with chores. Projects included constructing a swimming pool at Bellbird (1968); working on a new water supply from the Upper Coomera (1969); creating gardens (1968-) and constructing cabins (1970s). Guest, Winifred (Win) Bristow, who volunteered at the Lodge for over 40 years, received recognition in March 1984 when a plaque commemorating her efforts was placed by the FOBB between the terraces of cabins. Throssell, Where the Beech Trees Grow, pp. 52, 83,112, 128. 130.
[70] Harry Throssell, Where the Beech Trees Grow: The Story of Binna Burra, Binna Burra Lodge Ltd, Brisbane, 1984. The second Hoop pine was planted approximately 50m to the south of the first, near the entrance to the Senses Trail.
[71] Queensland Government. ‘Lamington National Park Centenary’, <>, accessed 16 Jan 2020.
[72]Queensland Government. ‘Lamington National Park Centenary’, <>, accessed 16 Jan 2020; Australian Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment. World Heritage Places – Gondwana Rainforests of Australia, <> , accessed 26 Feb 2020.
[73] Prospectus, 1933 cited by Riddel Architecture, CMP, p. 12; ’National Parks Movement in Queensland. An Association Formed’, Telegraph, 16 Apr 1930, p. 4; Throssell, Where the Beech Trees Grow, p. 95.
[74] The stone-faced concrete amenities block beneath cabins 36-38 (1971) was damaged but not destroyed. Brick and masonry chimneys from the Lodge buildings were damaged but remained standing. [DES site visit, 19 Mar 2020.]
[75] Remaining features at the southern end of the site include Groom’s Cottage (1936-80); the Bunk House (1977); the camping grounds and permanent tents (Safari Tents), and associated facilities (1966-); Teahouse (2007); and built elements and landscaping. In the central area, the Forestry Cottage (Cabin 43: 1941); the Engine Room (c1947) and Barn (former Workshop 1966, relocated 1977, converted to Barn c2005); and the Pottery Shed (pre-1961); the 1983 memorial pine tree, and the site of the Christmas 1933 camp remain. Three Sky Lodges (2013) and retaining walls and site layout remain at the northern end of the site. The flying fox whim (1934) and dinner bell (1935) survived.(‘Binna Burra Sets Sights on New Future’ Tamborine Times, 27 Feb 2020, p.15.)
[76] ‘Inside the Devastation and Heartache of razed Binna Burra Lodge’, ABC News online, 12 Sep 2019, <>, accessed Jan 2020; ‘Binna Burra Lodge Company Support’, <>, accessed 20 Mar 2020.
[77] Through a fundraising dinner and a GoFundMe page, which raised more than $100,000 from 778 donors. ‘Friends of Binna Burra Lodge Charity Dinner at The Fish House’, , accessed 18 Feb 2020 ;GoFundMe Friends of Binna Burra Lodge <>, accessed 20 Mar 2020. $111,147 raised from 778 donors by 20 March 2020.
[78] ‘Govt grant for late 2020 Binna Burra Festival’, Fassifern Guardian, 19 Feb 2020, p. 6; ‘$50,000 funding boost for Binna Burra event’, Scenic News, 26 Feb 2020, p. 18; 'Burnt out Binna Burra Lodge given $1.8m more to rebuild' Brisbane Times, <>, accessed 6 Mar 2020.

Image gallery


Location of Binna Burra Cultural Landscape within Queensland
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
Last reviewed
1 July 2022
Last updated
20 February 2022