Mount Coot-tha is a forest reserve, seven km west of central Brisbane. It is the eastern-most part of the Brisbane Forest Park which extends to the D'Aguilar Range (Mount Glorious and beyond). Mount Coot-tha adjoins the residential suburbs of Chapel Hill, Taringa, Toowong, Bardon and The Gap.
Mount Coot-tha is part of the Taylor Range and was used for walking and recreation from the 1860s. Its forests were cut for timber, but in 1880 it was declared a public recreation reserve of about 1500 acres, enclosing the headwaters of the East Ithaca Creek. Known then as One Tree Hill (all except a eucalypt had been removed from the summit), the reserve's trustees renamed it Mount Coot-tha, apparently an Aboriginal word meaning honey. A walking track took visitors from the Toowong cemetery to Mount Coot-tha (287 m), Constitution Hill (c320 m) and later further west. When widened for buggies the track was named Coronation Drive, and later Sir Samuel Griffith Drive (named after an early trustee). There were an elementary kiosk and shelter shed at the summit.
The reserve was put under the management of Toowong Town Council in 1918 and Brisbane City Council upon municipal amalgamation in 1925. The reserve and the kiosk were enlarged. Mount Coot-tha gave 360º views, distantly to Moreton Island and Mount Warning, and closer to the Nundah pineapple farms, the Queensland meatworks at Pinkenba and St Brigid's church at Red Hill. It was Brisbane's favourite picnic and excursion place.
Television towers were built there from 1960 onwards, a planetarium was built in the 1970s, and the Council planted a 52 ha botanic garden with about half the plants being indigenous to Queensland. The J.C. Slaughter falls on East Ithaca Creek (named after Brisbane Council's chief administrator, 1940-67) are on a site once filled by two dams, c1913. A new Summit Restaurant was built in 1983.
There are no census population figures for Mount Coot-tha.
Mount Coot-tha (One Tree Hill) Brisbane: an amphitheatre of unrivalled grandeur, Brisbane, Qld Gov Intelligence and Tourist Bureau, 1914
Janet Spillman, 'The lookout at Mt Coot-tha: how One Tree Hill's vantage point became a tourist attraction', Queensland history journal, May 2013