On a slightly elevated site in Shore Street North on Cleveland Point are two substantial Norfolk Pine trees thought to date to the 1860s or earlier.
The property was established by Francis Bigge, an early advocate for Cleveland as the port for Moreton Bay. He sold to Joshua Peter Bell in 1869, a Darling Downs squatter of Jimbour Station. His Cleveland house was named ‘Bell Vue’, and an 1871 photograph shows the young trees just above the height of the house. From 1882 William Finucane owned the property. A native of Corfu, he is credited with establishing the Capri Fig and introducing olives in Queensland, including those on St Helena Island.
When Finucane was Commissioner of Police in the 1890s, ‘Belle Vue’ was rented as holiday accommodation and boasted a jetty and bathing house. In 1911 it was transferred to Louis Bernays, a founding member of the Acclimatisation Society and clerk of the Legislative Assembly. Mrs Bernays refused to allow the Norfolk Pines to be cut down as the local fisherman relied on them in poor weather as a beacon, to find their way back to Cleveland.
The old house is gone, replaced with modern apartments, named ‘Norfolk Pines’.