Horseshoe Bay School Environmental Reserve
The European settlement of Horseshoe Bay began early in the 20th century with beach huts at the mouth of the mangrove estuary, where a boat could be launched and retrieved with ease.
The Horseshoe Bay State School was opened on this site in 1953. An earlier school, privately built by Mr Bill Swenson, a local pineapple farmer, had operated at 13 Heath Street from about 1949, staffed by an Education Department teacher.
In December 1971, Cyclone Althea wreaked havoc in Horseshoe Bay, washing out the main road, damaging the jetty and destroying several houses, whose occupants were forced to leave Magnetic Island. Student numbers were so severely depleted when classes started in the New Year that by May 1972 the Education Department was forced to close the school permanently. The remaining students were transferred to Nelly Bay. The Picnic Bay State School had already closed in 1970.
The wooded lot adjacent to the school was used historically as a dumping ground. A large number of radio parts, batteries and old drums were dumped under the trees, where they remained for many years.
Elsewhere under the trees a large infestation of sisal hemp (Agave spp.) had become established, probably from dumped garden waste, and by the 1950s was marked on some local street maps.