History of the O'Reilly family and guest house

Gold Coast Travel Blog

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In 1911, when the O’Reilly brothers scrambled up the mountain determined to establish dairy farms near the crest of the McPherson Range, the thought of nature based tourism and pioneering of the local tourist industry, could not have been further from their minds.

It may have been the luck of the Irish, but the O’Reilly selections happened to be part of one of the most beautiful and rugged areas of Australia. In 1915 the lush rainforest that surrounded the O’Reilly’s became the Lamington National Park, effectively ensuring their isolation evenmore  
O'Reilly's Guest House has a long history of putting visitors first!

The O’Reilly boys carved a track down the side of the mountain to enable their packhorses to carry out the cream cans and return with supplies. This track soon became popular with local tourists and naturalists who came to stay with the O’Reilly's to study the natural splendour of the newly declared park.  The increasing flow of visitors requiring accommodation prompted the establishment of a guesthouse which opened its doors for Easter, 1926.  They have remained open ever since.

THe Stinson Rescue

In February1937 Australia was shocked to hear that a Stinson airliner was reported missing on a flight from Brisbane. The news did not reach the Guesthouse for almost a week until Herb O'Reilly in Kerry informed his brother Bernard that it flew up the Kerry Valley and disappeared into cloud towards the McPherson Range.

According to reports, low cloud would have prevented it landing at Lismore where passengers were waiting, but numerous sightings of the Stinson were reported over the Hawkesbury area further south. Bernard decided to search the area where the flight path of the Stinson crossed the McPherson Range. He left the Guesthouse and followed the rugged McPherson Range to the west. He pushed his way through dense rainforest dominated by lawyer vine and spent the night huddled with his back to a tree.

Next morning he climbed  Mount Throakban and sighted a tree 8 kilometres away that appeared to have been burnt. This interested him greatly and he charged off into the rainforest to look for it. Three hours later a 'coo-ee' startled him and he came upon the crash site to find two men, John Proud and Joe Binstead, still alive after 10 days.

Four men died in the crash but he was told of another man, Jim Westray, who had survived and gone for help. Bernard left the two men at the wreck to seek assistance and as he walked down Christmas Creek he found Westray’s body. He had died as a result of a fall over a waterfall.

Bernard returned with a party including a doctor while local farmers cut 16 kilometres tracks though Lamington Plateu to rescue the two survivors. The four men who died in the crash were buried in a common grave beside the wreck while Jim Westray was buried beside Christmas Creek.

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photo by: RJ1982