Leaving the mountain means a drive past the spot named Skipper Musk Teahouse Lookout on the Landsborough/Maleny Road. You may also have noticed that recently, repairs and maintenance of the spot were undertaken, particularly the removal of long over-grown weedy vegetation that’s blocked the magnificent views of the coast for many years. No longer! Thanks to newly elected Councillor Winston Johnston, the magnificent views have been restored. More often than not, Pete’s Coffee Van is there, it’s a great spot to stop for a refreshment. So how did this lookout get its name?
It is because it is closest to the actual location of the original “Old Tea House Rooms” with of course, its own interesting history. Two enterprising pioneer women, Mrs Amelia Elizabeth Skipper and Mrs Daisy Georgina Musk, once ran a teahouse in the 1920’s (not far from the lookout) for bullock drivers as they got to the top of the range. The drivers could be heard cracking their whips as they got close, to alert the ladies to put the scones in the oven! The teahouse was a welcome place of warmth for all those who travelled the rough and often boggy mountain road. This very early “Tea House” on the southern edge of the Blackall Range became a stopping place of refuge for selectors and early travellers to and from the Blackall Mountains – a spot for weary travellers to rest and have a break from the tedious journey up or down the range. The teahouse was actually located on the south east corner of Hovard (Quarry) and Ensbey Roads. (The main Landsborough/Maleny Road no longer traverses the eastern side of Wilkes Knob but passes between Bald Knob and Wilkes Knob). It is fitting that the “Old Skipper/Musk Teahouse” is re-membered at the southern end of “The Ice Box,” the name locals long ago gave the cutting between Wilkes Knob and Bald Knob. For a long time, Skipper Musk Teahouse Lookout was an unnamed spot, until officially named by the Qld Government in 2009. Much of this story is from the writings of local freelance historian, Bill Johnston – it was Bill who spent a long time lobbying both Sunshine Coast Regional Council and the State Transport Department to have the local historical lookout signposted. (Picture courtesy of Maleny Historical Society from Bill Hankinson’s collection.)