90th anniversary – O’Reilly’s Guest House

O’Reilly’s Guest House (now known as O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat) in Lamington National Park opened for business Easter 1926.

In 1911, eight men of the O’Reilly family from the Blue Mountains district selected 100 acres of land to create a diary farm. In 1915 Lamington National Park was proclaimed, preventing further development in the area, and leaving the O’Reilly’s farm an island surrounded by the new national park. In the same year the Stock Yard Creek Track running down the mountain into the Kerry Valley was completed, enticing sightseers to the area.

The Beauties of Lamington Plateau – Queensland’s National Park. Published in The Queenslander, 4 November 1916. John Oxley Library, SLQ. Neg 702692-19161104-0024

The Beauties of Lamington Plateau – Queensland’s National Park. Published in The Queenslander, 4 November 1916. John Oxley Library, SLQ. Neg 702692-19161104-0024

By 1926 the O’Reilly’s had decided to abandon farming and built the guest house to capitalise on the increasing tourist interest. Due to its remote location guests had to ride up the mountain on horseback. Access was improved in the mid-1930’s with the construction of a road linking O’Reilly’s with the town of Canungra.

In front of O'Reilly Guest House, Lamington National Park, 1928. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 82982

In front of O’Reilly Guest House, Lamington National Park, 1928. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 82982

Leaving for Sunshine Falls, in front of O'Reilly's Guest House. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 82976

Leaving for Sunshine Falls, in front of O’Reilly’s Guest House. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 82976

O'Reilly's Guest House, date unknown, L to R: [unidentified], [unidentified], Mary Persse, Lady Gowrie, [unidentified], Betty Persse. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 126648

O’Reilly’s Guest House, date unknown, L to R: [unidentified], [unidentified], Mary Persse, Lady Gowrie, [unidentified], Betty Persse. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 126648

O'Reilly's Guest House, Lamington House, June 1931. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 126158

O’Reilly’s Guest House, Lamington House, June 1931. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 126158

Guest Marion E. Smith at O'Reilly's Guesthouse. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 147138

Guest Marion E. Smith at O’Reilly’s Guest House. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 147138

Bernard O'Reilly. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 887

Bernard O’Reilly. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 887

Bernard O'Reilly in the garden. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 31115

Bernard O’Reilly in the garden. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 31115

O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat in Lamington National Park. Image in copyright. From 7032 Kahlert collection of colour slides 1970-1990. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image  7032-0001-0003

O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat in Lamington National Park. Image in copyright. From 7032 Kahlert collection of colour slides 1970-1990. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image 7032-0001-0003

State Library of Queensland has a number of items documenting the history of O’Reilly’s Guest House, including photographs and historical tourist information guides.

From - "Hotel and boarding house directory, 1929-30" (SLQ collection)

From – “Hotel and boarding house directory, 1929-30” (SLQ collection)

Hotel and boarding house directory of the principal cities, towns and tourist resorts in Queensland

From – “Hotel and boarding house directory, 1929-30” (SLQ collection)

Tourist pamphlets for O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat in the John Oxley Library Collection. State Library of Queensland

Tourist pamphlets for O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat in the John Oxley Library Collection. State Library of Queensland

You can find more information about the history of O’Reilly’s Guest House on their website.

Myles Sinnamon – Project Coordinator, State Library of Queensland