Legend of the glasshouse mountains

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The Legend Of The Glasshouse Mountains

Glasshouse Mountains

The legend of the Glasshouse Mountains as we know it in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland region.

Even today Tibrogargan gazes far out to sea and never looks around at Coonowrin, who hangs his head and cries, his tears running off to the sea. His mother Beerwah is still heavy with child, as it takes a long, long time to give birth to a mountain.

Nat Smith, Senior Ranger with the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service welcomes you to the Glasshouse Mountains National Park on the Sunshine Coast.

The Glass House Mountains mean different things to different people. They are iconic South East Queensland landscape features. The Glass House Mountains also contain valuable remnants of our native plant communities. Visitors to this place experience a deep connection.

But first and foremost, the Glass House Mountains are highly significant for local Traditional Owners, the Jinibara people and the Kabi Kabi First Nations. We ask visitors to consider this carefully while they are here. These mountains command respect.

Legend of the Glasshouse Mountains

It is said that Tibrogargan, the father, and Beerwah, the mother, had many children. Coonowrin the eldest, Beerburrum, the Tunbubudla twins, the Coochin twins, Ngungun, Tibberoowuccum, Miketebumulgrai, and Saddleback. There was Round who was fat and small and Wildhorse who was always paddling in the sea.

One day, Tibrogargan was gazing out to sea and noticed a great rising of the waters. Hurrying off to gather his younger children, in order to flee to the safety of the mountains in the west, he called out to Coonowrin to help his mother Beerwah, who was again with child.

Looking back to see how Coonowrin was assisting Beerwah, Tibrogargan was greatly angered to see him running off alone. He pursued Coonowrin and, raising his club, struck the latter such a mighty blow that it dislodged Coonowrin’s neck, and he has never been able to straighten it since.

When the floods had subsided and the family returned to the plains, the other children teased Coonowrin about his crooked neck. Feeling ashamed, Coonowrin went over to Tibrogargan and asked for his forgiveness, but filled with shame at his son’s cowardice, Tibrogargan could do nothing but weep copious tears, which, trickling along the ground, formed a stream that flowed into the sea. Then Coonowrin went to his brothers and sisters, but they also wept at the shame of their brother’s cowardice. The lamentations of Coonowrin’s parents and of his brothers and sisters at his disgrace explain the presence of the numerous small streams of the area.

Tibrogargan then called to Coonowrin, asking him why he had deserted his mother. Coonowrin replied that as Beerwah was the biggest of them all she should be able to take care of herself. He did not know that she was again pregnant, which was the reason for her great size. Then Tibrogargan turned his back on his son and vowed that he would never look at him again.

Even today Tibrogargan gazes far out to sea and never looks around at Coonowrin, who hangs his head and cries, his tears running off to the sea. His mother Beerwah is still heavy with child, as it takes a long, long time to give birth to a mountain.

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The craggy peaks of the Glass House Mountains tower above the surrounding landscape. They are so significant that they are listed on the Queensland and National Heritage Register as a landscape of national significance.

Walking tracks lead through a variety of open forests to lookouts with panoramic views of the mountains. You can walk around the base of Mount Tibrogargan to see its profile from many angles and to the top of Mount Ngungun for spectacular views of nearby peaks and the surrounding landscape.

The Yul-yan-man track is accessible from Beerburrum and Tibrogargan trailheads. It offers a Grade 5 walk for people with rock scrambling skills.

The names of the 12 mountains are, in order of height:

  1. Mount Beerwah (556 metres)
  2. Mount Coonowrin (377 metres)
  3. Mount Tibrogargan (364 metres)
  4. Mount Tunbubudla (294 metres)
  5. Mount Beerburrum (278 metres)
  6. Mount Ngungun (253 metres)
  7. Mount Coochin (235 metres)
  8. Mount Tibberowuccum (220 metres)
  9. Mount Miketeebumulgrai (202 metres)
  10. Wild Horse Mountain (123 metres)
  11. Mount Elimbah (109 metres)
  12. Mount Cooee (106 metres)

Getting there and getting around

From Brisbane, follow the Bruce Highway north, take the Glass House Mountains tourist drive turn-off and follow the signs to the Glass House Mountains.

The Glass House Mountains Visitor and Interpretive Centre(external link) is a great place to visit first for an orientation to the area. It is located at Settler’s Rotary Park on Bruce Parade, corner of Reed Street, Glass House Mountains.

Within the national park, there are separate entrance points to each of the recreation nodes around the mountain peaks—Beerburrum, Beerwah, Ngungun and Tibrogargan entrances.

Refer to the Glass House Mountains and surrounds map (PDF, 273KB) for access routes to each recreation node.

The Glass House Mountains lookout is close by, in Beerburrum West State Forest.

Wheelchair accessibility

The toilets and a number of picnic tables at the Tibrogargan trailhead are wheelchair accessible—the access surface is gravel and grass. There are no wheelchair accessible walking tracks in the Glass House Mountains National Park.

Location

About 70km, or a one-hour drive, north of Brisbane on the Sunshine Coast.

The Glass House Mountains are not easy climbs and we do not promote climbing any other than Ngungun. If you do it is important to be prepared so that you can have a safe and enjoyable visit. Take six minutes to watch this safety video. It could help save you from having to stay overnight or be rescued.