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  • Writer's pictureRandall Curry

The History of Christmas Creek Valley and Buchanans Fort



Nestled deep within the heart of Lamington National Park, the Christmas Creek Valley has a rich history that dates back centuries. This pristine and breathtaking valley is home to the enigmatic Buchanans Fort, a place shrouded in tales of exploration, resilience, and the indomitable spirit of the early pioneers.


A Glimpse into the Valley's Past:

Before we delve into the history of the Buchanans Fort, let's first transport ourselves back to a time when the Christmas Creek Valley was inhabited by the indigenous Yugambeh people. For countless generations, they thrived in harmony with the land, their stories interwoven with the natural beauty that surrounded them.

However, the valley's history took a new turn with the arrival of European settlers in the 19th century. Among them was Mr. John Thomas Buchanan, a Scottish pioneer whose name would forever be linked to the valley's legacy.


The Buchanan Legacy:

Mr. J. T. Buchanan, born to Scottish parents in Brisbane in 1847, was one of the earliest pioneers of the Upper Logan region. His journey into the untamed wilderness of the Christmas Creek Valley was a testament to his adventurous spirit and determination.


As a youth, Mr. Buchanan worked alongside his father in the coopering business for about six years. However, it was his fascination with the timber industry that led him to haul hardwood and pine in the Brisbane River district. Eventually, he made his way to the Logan, where he hauled cedar from Upper Logan, Widgee, and Christmas Creek to the rafting grounds at Logan Village. Mr. Buchanan's connection with this region would span a lifetime.


Seventy years ago, Mr. Buchanan married Miss Maria Condon, a young Irish girl, and together, they embarked on a remarkable journey that lasted sixty-three years until the passing of Mrs. Buchanan.


A Man of Many Talents:

Mr. Buchanan's life was a tapestry of experiences. He spent a brief period hauling cedar at Nerang and was known for his skill in taming wild horses. An accomplished horseman and athlete, he left an indelible mark in his community.


Yet, it wasn't just his prowess with horses that made Mr. Buchanan a beloved figure. He was an accomplished fiddler, and his music became an integral part of local dances and other entertainments. Jack Buchanan and his fiddle were always greeted with delight.


Exploring the Lamington Plateau:

Mr. Buchanan's legacy extends beyond the Christmas Creek Valley. He was a close friend of the late Mr. R. M. Collins and played a significant role, along with Mr. Collins and Lord Lamington, in exploring the Lamington Plateau, now a national park. It was Lord Lamington himself who named Fort Buchanan, situated on the Widgee Range, in honor of Mr. J. T. Buchanan.


Today, as we stand in awe of the pristine beauty of the Christmas Creek Valley and explore Buchanans Fort, let us remember the pioneers who forged their path into this wilderness. Their legacy lives on in the stories they left behind, the wilderness they cherished, and the indomitable spirit that continues to define the valley and its remarkable history.


In traversing this timeless landscape, we honor not only Mr. J. T. Buchanan but all those who contributed to the rich tapestry of Christmas Creek Valley's past. Their stories remind us of the enduring connection between humanity and nature, and the resilience that defines us as pioneers of the present.


As we wander the paths of Lamington National Park and explore the wonders of the Christmas Creek Valley, may we always carry with us the spirit of adventure, the love for nature, and the appreciation for the past that has shaped this remarkable place we call home.


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