Redcliffe is a coastal residential suburb of the Moreton Bay Region in the east north-east of the Redcliffe peninsula, approximately 28 kilometres (17 mi) north-north-east of the Brisbane CBD. It serves as the Central Business District for the Redcliffe Peninsula and its surrounding suburbs.
Redcliffe is part of the statistical division of Brisbane. The town’s name originates from “Red Cliff Point” named by the explorer Matthew Flinders, referring to the red cliffs at Woody Point. Redcliffe became Queensland’s first colony in 1824; however, it was soon abandoned for Brisbane. Since the 1880s, Redcliffe has been a popular seaside resort location due to its proximity to Brisbane. It is served by a small general aviation airfield, Redcliffe Airport (ICAO: YRED), located 2.5 nautical miles (4.6 km; 2.9 mi) northwest of Redcliffe in the suburb of Rothwell.
Redcliffe holds the distinction of being the first European settlement in Queensland, first visited by Matthew Flinders on 17 July 1799. Explorer John Oxley recommended “Red Cliff Point” – named after the red-coloured cliffs visible from Moreton Bay – to the Governor Thomas Brisbane for the new colony, reporting that ships could land at any tide and easily get close to the shore. The party settled in Redcliffe on 13 September 1824, under the command of Lieutenant Henry Miller with 14 soldiers, some with wives and children, and 29 convicts. However, this settlement was abandoned after one year and the colony was moved south to a site on the Brisbane River at North Quay, 28 km (17 mi) south, that offered a more reliable water supply.
Crowds at the beach, 1937
Redcliffe became a pastoral district in the 1860s and in the 1880s boomed as a seaside resort town. In 1878, a suburban subdivision called Portwood Estate (around the present day Portwood Street, Sheehan Street, and Sylvin Street) was offered for sale, with the lots described as “large, elevated, picturesque, salubrious, with rare perspective” in Humpy Bong which was to be “the fashionable watering place of the future!”. The estate map shows the Redcliffe railway line terminating at a railway station just to the north-east of the estate (in the area of present day Macnaughton Street). However, the Redcliffe Peninsula railway line was not opened until October 2016 (138 years later) and the terminus was located in neighbouring Kippa-Ring.