Bethania

On the eastern side of what is now Station Road, a large property of 330 acres was taken up by Pastor Haussmann to settle a group of Germans who had arrived in Brisbane between August 1863 and January 1864. On 23 February 1864, 22 families came to the Logan on the steamer Diamond and, despite the initial hardship of floods, established a strong agricultural community. They lived alongside each other on allotments ranging from five acres to more than 40 acres.

By September 1866 the Brisbane Courier reported a vibrant little township with church, graveyard, schoolhouse, blacksmith shop, brick kiln, joiners and wheelwrights. The area was locally known as German Pocket. The first church was a slab building. Pastor Haussmann sold his Bethania land in 1866 and moved to a sugar plantation on the Albert River, where he established the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Bethesda, with the intention to minister to the Aboriginal population.

Pastor Hellmuth came to the district in 1867. During 1868 German families spread throughout the district, establishing settlements at Alberton (Elkana), Eagleby (Philadelphia), Pimpama and Carbrook (Gramzow). While the maintenance of German religion and culture were important to these newcomers, they quickly established relationships with their English and Irish neighbours. Joel Hinchcliffe married Mrs Thumm, whose husband had died suddenly in 1865. Matthew and Verdon Hinchcliffe taught English to the German settlers to assist them in their everyday affairs. Once the school was established at Waterford in 1871, the children attended the German School from 8 am till 9.30 am and then went to the Waterford School.

A new brick church, which remains on site, was constructed in 1872 from locally made bricks, timber and shingles. Andreas Holzheimer made the bricks and the timber for the pews came from Henry Jordan's sawmill at Tygum. In 1878 a substantial brick house was under construction for the new pastor who was to replace Pastor Hellmuth who had gone to Maryborough in 1876. It was noted that the Germans did not utilise the river boats to take their goods to market, preferring to carry them by wagon and save the freight costs.

Another notable resident was Johann Gottleib Schneider. He originally established a primitive blacksmiths shop that he operated at night while clearing and farming his lot on the river at Bethania. He is credited with constructing the first German wagon for a Brisbane client in 1864. In 1880 he bought the sugar milling equipment from the Lahey family, who had purchased the mill on Henry Jordan's Estate at Tygum. Schneider's mill was built on the south-eastern outskirts of the township of Waterford. It was the cause of major pollution to the district in 1883 when locals complained that skimmings from the mill during crushing were allowed to flow into the creek, the odour causing illness to the local residents. It was later converted to a sawmill and a railway siding was provided here in 1899.

The railway to Beenleigh brought new prosperity to Bethania, with the Station Master, George Jones, acting as Post Master from July 1885. The line took on greater importance in September when Bethania became a junction for the line to Logan Village. The bridge was washed away in the flood of 1887 and rebuilt in March 1888. The new bridge was built on concrete piers with timber trusses with steel girders. Shields were added to the trusses to streamline the water flow in flood times. Despite some repairs following attack by cobra worm in 1894, the bridge remained in service until 1972 when a pre-stressed concrete bridge replaced it.

Refreshment Rooms were established at the Bethania Junction and in 1908 the establishment obtained a liquor licence. This stopover provided a chance for travellers to partake of various food and beverages. Proprietor Charlie Goll offered leading brands of ales, wines, tobacco, soft drinks, tea, cakes and sandwiches. This may have been a short lived operation because the official Bethania Refreshment Rooms opened by the railway department began in 1914. The facility also provided employment to many young ladies of the district.

In 1964 a re-enactment of the arrival of the German settlers was held and a plaque was laid at Eden's Landing by the Queensland Women's Historical Society.

In more recent times the alluvial sand deposited in Bethania by Logan River floods has been mined for the sand and gravel industry. Logan River Sands Pty Ltd dredged the river near Duck Island between 1985 and 1989 and the processing plant was located on the island. A disused barge remains in the river at the southern tip of Duck Island. This mining operation was limited by the fact that material had to be removed via Station Road, and the Albert and subsequent Gold Coast City Councils limited this traffic. Station Road is essentially residential, with poor access on to Kingston Road. The sand extraction business was superseded by a garden supply business.