"The traditional owners of this land, the Turrbal-speaking people used the hills as a vantage point to view tribal movements and later, the activities of the white settlers.
The area became known as Eildon Hill, named after the hills near Melrose in the border country between England and Scotland. In legend, these ancient hills held caverns where King Arthur and his knights lay sleeping and from their peaks more than forty spots famed in history and song could be seen.
The hills and surrounding land were first purchased in 1859 in the name of Sarah Sophia Bartley, the wife of Nehemiah Bartley, colonial wanderer, merchant & author. Bartley bought much of the hilly land around Brisbane in early Crown Land Sales.
In 1882 Rev. George Wight purchased almost 17 acres of Bartlely's land, including the summit, to add to the 47 acres he had purchased in 1858, a Congregational minister & journalist had established a preaching station and meeting place in a slab hut. In 1863, he erected a residence "Eildon House" on the site which later became the Wilson Ophthalmic Hostel and a Youth Detention Centre. Much of Wight's extensive holding was subdivided and offered for sale, first as the Eildon Hill Estate in 1885, and the remainder as the Eildon Tower Estate in 1887. To attract sales a timber tower was erected on the estate to allow visitors to fully appreciate the extensive views from the hilltop. [/I]"
Construction of the Reservoir
"The Brisbane Board of Waterworks acquired over 10 acres of Wight's land on the hill in 1906. Closer development followed the construction of the rail line in 1899 and Windsor was declared a town in 1904. As the population increased, the drain on the water supply meant that, particularly in summer, water pressure was insufficient to meet household demands.
Detailed plans for a reservoir able to hole 5,380,000 gallons of water were completed in 1929. Construction commenced just as the Great Depression started. The project provided much-needed employment and support for families as the economy stalled.
"The 'spoil' excavated after blasting was carried away by horse and dray or in large hoppers which moved along rail tracks around the rim of the hill. These hoppers were also pushed manually. Two men died in the course of its construction, and drays and horses were said to have capsized over the edge on a few occasions.
The original plans proposed that the roof would feature a lawn, bandstand and kiosk. None of these were implemented although a directional dial was added to the vents on the rooftop.
"Originally the twin peaks of Eildon Hill had no vegetation. The rock crust did not encourage tree growth, and it was not until sub-soil from the rock blasting was pushed over the edge could root growth take place. The steep slopes to the side of the hill were planted with introduced species to help stabilize the fill, and the yellow flowering coreopsis provided a spectacular display on the slopes in Spring.
In the earlier years, the hill became an adventure playground for the youngsters of the area. They hurtled down the roadway in billy carts, walked the huge pipes, and slid down the grassy slopes in homemade toboggan. "