Fire Lookout Towers in Queensland, Australia
All information about the towers in Queensland was supplied by Dr David Cameron, unless stated otherwise.
In Queensland, construction of towers for fire detection commenced during the mid-1930s as part of a fire protection system which also included firebreaks (Holzworth 1996, p 23). Fire towers continued to be erected as plantations were established through the 1940s and 1950s and beyond.
One person has to be singled out when we talk about the fire towers in Queensland and that person is Arthur Leis.
Arthur Leis started working for the Department of Forestry in 1957 and until his retirement in 1991, Leis was responsible for the erection of over 20 fire towers in Queensland. Leis designed the towers himself, cutting all the timber on site and usually erecting each tower with the help of an off-sider and a block and tackle. Initially Leis's towers followed conventional design, supported by four timber legs. In 1967 Leis completed the first three-legged timber tower to be erected in Queensland, at
Mt. Binga, in the Yarraman District. It is generally understood that Leis was responsible for the innovative new design. In 1968 the Department reported on "the wisdom of converting to this type of structure. Cost per foot at $66 was about 25% down on the 4-legged design, formerly adopted, and the structure is very stable and firm" (Annual Report Department of Forestry 1968, p7)
Arthur Leis constructed his last fire tower in 1986-87; a three legged wooden tower at Mt. Wolvi, in the Maryborough District.
The naming and numbering of towers and cabins in Queensland has been a complex system. We have used the names as they were supplied by Dr David Cameron. We have also noted the tower number on each individual tower page, as they were supplied by Dr David Cameron.
Here is a link to an excellent 10min video on YouTube called "Queensland's Forest Fire Towers".
The district set-up was changed in the early 2000's. The whole state is now divided into 4 regions.
The previous districts are now in the following regions: