The recent Open Day at historic Bankfoot House, the old Cobb and Co coaching house at 1998 Old Gympie Road, Glasshouse Mountains, saw the Governor of Queensland, Penelope Wensley and guests celebrate the centenary of an incredile feat by three young women in 1912. The three young women – Etty, Jinny and Sara Clark – climbed two of the mountains in one weekend, as well as riding their bikes to and from Brisbane.
FOLLOWING in her grandmother’s ‘wheel tracks’, Judy Harry Mikalsen’s successful attempt two years earlier in
Bligh (pictured below), cycled from Brisbane to
Bankfoot House in the Glasshouse Mountains for the May 27 Open Day to actively celebrate the centenary of a remarkable cycling feat, exactly 100 years earlier.
During the Empire Day weekend in May 1912, Judy’s grandmother, Etty Clark, cycled from Brisbane to the Glasshouse Mountains and climbed two of the steepest peaks – Mt Tibrogargan and Mt Coonowrin. Etty’s sisters, Jinny and Sara, also climbed the peaks. It is believed they were the first women to scale Mt Coonowrin, following
1910. Not only that – Etty and Jinny, with their male companions, then rode their bicycles back home to Brisbane. (See story next page).
Judy Bligh arrived at Bankfoot House on the Open Day to meet up with her mother, Heather Mott, and her Aunt, Moira Minty, both being the daughters of Etty Clark. Judy was justifiably proud of her effort and congratulated the Friends of Bankfoot House on a hugely successful Open Day.
‘Last Sunday was a very special day,’ she said in a recent email to Friends of Bankfoot House. ‘It was a great treat for our family to be together and for me to learn more about my family and local heritage.’ Judy had been keen to do the ride. She said, ‘If Grandma could do it, I can do it!’
Friends of Bankfoot House President Ron Gillinder (pictured right with Her Excellency Penelope Wensley), said he was pleased with the overall support for the day and he really enjoyed meeting the Clark family descendants.
Special guest at the Open Day was Her Excellency the Governor of Queensland, Penelope Wensley. In her speech Her Excellency paid tribute to the determination of the Clark sisters and in particular mentioned the different attitudes prevailing at the time towards women riding bicycles.
Visiting cyclists, descendants of the Clark sisters, State Member for Glasshouse Andrew Powell, Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Mark Jamieson and members of the Glasshouse community were among the estimated 900 people attending the Open Day.
The Open Day also featured 100 year old bicycles, Pennyfarthings, and a beautifully restored 1903 Oldsmobile owned by John Day of Brisbane. Bill Ferris, a descendant of the Bankfoot House families, was the mechanical master who had rebuilt the motor of the 1903 Oldsmobile. The Governor was quick to accept a ride in the antique horseless carriage and John Day was happy to oblige. The Governor’s girlish delight in the ride was obvious to all who witnessed it.
The Governor said she regretted that good judgement and modesty prevented her from riding a Pennyfarthing.
Also featured on the day were historic photographs from the Bankfoot House collection of young men and women climbing the mountains in the 1920s and 30s, historical displays from the Landsborough Museum, Woodford Museum, Peachester History Committee and Caloundra Family History Research Group. Many patrons took the opportunity of a guided tour of the historic House.
Bankfoot House is situated in the Glasshouse Mountains and dates from 1868, when William and Mary Grigor established it as a lunch stop, post office and staging point for the Cobb and Co coach service between Brisbane and Gympie. Bankfoot House also provided accommodation for people who visited the area to climb the Glasshouse Mountain peaks.