Sandgate Road stretches 13.1 kilometres through various suburbs. In Clayfield, it is located at the Clayfield-Nundah boundary and crosses the Doomben-Pinkenba railway line through an overpass. Did you know that the original Sandgate Rd is not exactly the Sandgate Rd that we now know?
Designated as State Route 26, this major road is divided into four or six lanes and leads to Junction Road from Clayfield, to get to Hendra or Wooloowin, and Oriel Road, to get to Ascot. Aside from Clayfield, Sandgate Rd also traverses Albion, Nundah, Virginia, Boondall, and Deagon.
Bonney Ave: Old Sandgate Road
European settlers were already living along Sandgate Road as early as 1838 but the original access to get to Albion was a few miles off, in a street now known as Bonney Ave, which joined Jackson Street in the Eagle Junction area. At that time, this old Sandgate Road was the main link to Nudgee.
The area was often plagued with floods, causing extreme inconvenience and hazard to resiidents and traders, especially during the wet season. Travellers had to get off their wagons and row their produce or baggage across in narrow flat-bottomed boats to continue with their journey.
Soon enough, local demand raised a need to re-route the road to a “new” Sandgate Road, sometime in the 1870s.
New Sandgate Road
To make sure that all concerns were considered, the location and route of the new Sandgate Road was repeatedly surveyed and much deliberated nearly a full decade before it came to be.
Initially, it started along the stretch of Gregory Street, passing through Clayfield in the northeast beyond the site of what’s now known as the Clayfield Railway Station. During this time, the railway had not even been surveyed yet. The railway would be established decades later.
The land where the new Sandgate Road finally came to pass was bought from William Widdop, Theodor Franz, J. G. Wagner, R. Curtis, and Kate Falkner. The deeds were sub-divided, disposed and signed by 1877.
Upon its establishment, the new Sandgate Road became a major route for residents of Clayfield and the surrounding districts, as well as for travellers coming from the river, the Eagle Junction, and the Racecourse Station (Ascot Station), who were headed to Brisbane CBD.
The road had a peculiar, sharp, angular turn near Junction Road, where it veered away from a large paddock that could not be removed without the permission of an owner who could not be located.
Road planners also did not anticipate the increasing traffic that commuters had to endure along Sandgate Road until the Hornibrook Highway opened in 1935. Further east, the Gateway Arterial was constructed to ease the pressure and congestion in the area.
What Happened to the Old Sandgate Rd?
The old Sandgate Road was renamed Bonney Ave for Mrs Maude Rose Lores Bonney, a pioneering Australian aviator, who was born in South Africa, educated in Melbourne, and then married Harry Barrington Bonney, a leather goods manufacturer. The couple settled in Bowen Hills.
Mrs Bonney had always been interested in aviation. She took lessons in secret until she got her pilot licence in 1930. When her husband found out, he bought her “My Little Ship,” a de Havilland DH.60 Gypsy Moth.
Mrs Bonney had four major solo fights. She recorded the longest one-day flight to be ever achieved by an Australian female pilot when she left Brisbane on Boxing Day in 1931 at 4:30 a.m. to arrive in Wangaratta, Victoria at 7:20 p.m. — just in time to spend dinner with her father.
She was also the first woman to circumnavigate the Australian mainland by air and the first woman to fly from Australia to England. She earned her commercial licence in 1932 and also served on the Women’s Voluntary National Register of Queensland during World War II.
Mrs Bonney retired from flying in 1949 when her eyesight started to fail. She died at the age of 96 in 1994.