From The Archives: Lahey’s Canungra Tramway Tunnel

From The Archives: Lahey’s Canungra Tramway Tunnel

Tunnel Through Darlington Range, Tamborine District

In 1901, workers began to cut a ninety-one-metre tunnel through the sandstone of the Darlington Range. First used in 1903, it is now known as the Lahey’s Canungra Tramway Tunnel. It was part of a privately-constructed tramway route owned by the Lahey family, who controlled a large timber operation and used it to haul logs between their leases in the Coomera Valley and their mill in Canungra.

In 1884, David Lahey began work on Canungra’s first sawmill. He and four of his siblings soon obtained parcels of timber-rich land, totalling approximately 3000 acres. During the late-nineteenth century, they acquired an office in Brisbane, established further mills at Beaudesert and Widgee, and increased their lease-holdings to 16,000 acres. By the beginning of the twentieth century, the Laheys’ Canungra mill was the dominant force in the town’s economy. The expanding scope of their operation required them to use inefficient and expensive bullock-trains to haul timber across increasingly large distances. A private tramway, using a geared Climax steam locomotive which could operate on the steep track, offered a possible solution. It initially proved a success, being substantially extended during the early-twentieth century. The Climax locomotive was joined by three Shay patent geared steam locomotives as the haulage task grew.

In 1920, the War Service Homes Commission purchased Laheys’ operation, effective 1st January 1921, and closed the mill shortly afterwards. The Lahey family in the guise of Brisbane Timbers Ltd repurchased the tramway in 1924 and continued to use it intermittently to supply their mill at Corinda. In 1933, it closed for good and the track was dismantled. During the Second World War, the Kokoda Barracks at Canungra used the tunnel to store ammunition. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, it gained a new lease on life, opening to the public in 2001 and obtaining heritage listing in 2005.


  1. Centre for the Government of Queensland. “Canungra.” Queensland Places (
  2. Susan Prior. “The Laheys’ Legacy.” Secret Brisbane (
  3. Queensland Government. “Lahey’s Canungra Tramway Tunnel.” Queensland Government: Queensland Heritage Register (

Queensland Museum. “Industrial Light Rail in Queensland.” Queensland Museum (


COMPETITION: 110 years of lifesaving in Queensland

110 years ago,  on 21 February 1909, Queensland surf lifesavers rescued a group of young people in the first recorded rescue at Greenmount Beach Collangatta. To commemorate this event, the Royal Historical Society of Queensland is running a competition for primary school students. The competition has three categories, according to year levels. The following works can be handed in by the different categories:
1. category (prep to Year 2):
Make an artwork with any preferable techniques (size: A4) about lifesavers in action!
2. category (Year 3 and 4) and 3. category (Year 5 and 6 ):
Write an essay (up to 300 words) or a poem (up to 150 words) by choosing ONE  from the following topics: 
  • why safety  is important in the water?
  • a day in the life of a lifesaver
  • tell the story of someone who was saved by  lifesavers

The winners of each category will receive wonderful prizes thank to our sponsors. The award ceremony will be on the 10 December. The following prizes can go to the winners:

  • entry tickets to Boggo Rd Jail
  • entry tickets to Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
  • standup paddleboard lessons
  • book vouchers
  • cinema voucher
  • entry ticket to Queensland Museum – SparkLab


  1. Download the ENTRY FORM
  2. Prepare you artwork, poem or essay.
  3. Before 15 November scan your form and artwork/essay/poem and send it to our email
  4. You will receive a notification by the end of November.

Surf Connect

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National Trust

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Queensland Museum - Spark Lab

Ignite your imagination in SparkLab, an interactive science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) space, ideal for 6 to 13 year olds!