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November 29, 2021

Landmark Tweed Heads lookout closed

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 A 1950 postcard showing the view to Razorback from Kirra Hill. St Augustine's Catholic Church is pictured on the left. Photo courtesy Tweed River Regional Museum.
A 1950 postcard showing the view to Razorback from Kirra Hill. St Augustine’s Catholic Church is pictured on the left. Photo courtesy Tweed River Regional Museum.

The Tweed Heads landmark lookout commonly known as Razorback has been closed to the public due to safety concerns, until further notice.

Tweed Shire Council staff on Friday erected fencing and signage at the bottom of the walkway at the base of the Tom Beatson Lookout to keep people out, but the carpark at the top end of Razorback Road remains open.

Council’s recreation services manager Stewart Brawley said council apologised for any inconvenience to residents and visitors and that alternative lookouts are located at Point Danger, Kirra Hill and Greenmount.

Mr Brawley said the site had ‘great cultural significance to the local Aboriginal community and historical connections for many in the Tweed and southern Gold Coast community’.

For generations of Tweed residents, Razorback has been a special place.

The track up Razorback looking towards the bottom of the hill in 1921. Photo courtesy Tweed River Regional Museum. Photo courtesy Tweed River Regional Museum.
The track up Razorback looking towards the bottom of the hill in 1921. Photo courtesy Tweed River Regional Museum.
Photo courtesy Tweed River Regional Museum.

The bushland around the lookout was restored around two years ago  as part of the Tweed Byron Bush Futures Project

Razorback was a special place for the people of the Tweed long before Europeans came to the area, according to local Aboriginal spokesman Joshua Slabb.

Tweed Heads Historical Society’s Joan Smith said that ‘by the 1920s, Coolangatta and Tweed Heads was becoming a tourist destination; mainly for the pristine beaches where the city people came to recuperate on their doctors’ advice’.

‘During the daytime guests were encouraged to walk and swim at the beach and take short walks to Point Danger and Razorback. A walk to Razorback from town would take at least half a day and kept the guests occupied and out of doors,’ Ms Smith said.

The landmark was not named until 1938 and up until then had been variously known as Toongarabah, Trig Hill and Observation Hill.

Mrs Smith recalls the difficult walk to the summit as a child, and the rocks which gave the landmark its name.

‘The top was very stony and difficult to walk on and it was easy to turn your ankle,’ she said.

‘That was the part referred to as the razor, the old-fashioned cut-throat razor? Many of the early visitors had to get down on their hands and knees to make the climb to the top.’

Bush Futures Project manager John Turnbull said Razorback supports littoral rainforest vegetation, an Endangered Ecological Community in NSW and a Critically Endangered Ecological Community under Commonwealth legislation.

Banana growing on Razorback circa 1890s. The small house in the foreground is approximately where Scotts Market Basket used to be (now a vacant lot opposite the Ivory Hotel). Photo courtesy Tweed River Regional Museum. Photo courtesy Tweed River Regional Museum.
Banana growing on Razorback circa 1890s. The small house in the foreground is approximately where Scotts Market Basket used to be (now a vacant lot opposite the Ivory Hotel). Photo courtesy Tweed River Regional Museum.
Photo courtesy Tweed River Regional Museum.

‘The vegetation at this site has persisted despite significant weed infestation and interestingly, is one of only two sites in the Tweed that supports littoral rainforest on soil substrates, with the majority of occurrences occurring on coastal sands and hind dunes,’ Mr Turnbull said.

The Lookout is located on Razorback Road, off Charles Street, Tweed Heads.

A fact sheet on the closure is available at www.tweed.nsw.gov.au/ParksAndGardens


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