Situated on the Capricorn Coast, Emu Park is a small coastal village renowned for its natural beauty, scenery and unspoilt beaches that enjoys an ideal sub-tropical climate. Overlooking the beautiful islands of Keppel Bay, Emu Park is located fifty kilometres east from the city centre of Rockhampton and 20 kilometres south from the township of Yeppoon.
Surrounded by kilometers of pristine beaches and located in the centre of Emu Park’s CBD, from your unit it’s a short stroll to any one of four beaches as well as conveniences such as:
- Local Pub
- Surf Club
- Bowls Club
- Beauty Therapists
- Tennis Court
- Bell Park
- Skate Park
- Children’s Playground
Rockhampton is serviced by regular direct flights from Brisbane, Sydney & Townsville as well as train & bus services. If arriving via air or rail, Young’s Bus Service frequently commutes to the Coast daily to the bus stop opposite Endeavour Inn.
If driving, please follow the signs to Emu Park from Rockhampton along the Rockhampton – Emu Park Road. Endeavour Inn is in the centre of the CBD of Emu Park, in front of the roundabout, diagonally opposite Bell Park, behind the Bendigo Bank
Emu Park also has its own airstrip for light aircraft & helicopter landings. A transfer service is available on request.
Winter is a perfect time of year on the Capricorn Coast with blue skies, crystal clear water and beautiful days end on end. May to September is typically dry with mild sunny days and cool nights, with daily maximums 23-30°C with 9-17°C overnight.
Located on the Tropic of Capricorn, the Capricorn Region is classified as having a subtropical climate. Summer is generally warm and humid with a wet season that stretches from December to April. Typical summer daytime temperature ranges are 22-32°C and 18-22°C overnight.
What to Wear:
With our relaxed lifestyle, casual, light and comfortable clothing is usually best suited for the Capricorn Region. In the winter months it is best to pack some warmer clothing. Remember to be sun smart and be sure to pack your swimmers for the beach and good walking shoes if you’re fond of National Parks. Ties and jackets are definitely not required.
An ATM and bank is located within the complex, with full banking facilities available, including currency exchange. Opening hours are from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday, and from 9am to 12pm Saturday (excludes public holidays).
The region has STD/ISD telephone facilities and broadband internet access. Most mobile phones service providers have good reception in urban areas, however rural areas may be out of range for all but CDMA phones.
The local power supply is 240 volts at 50 Hz, and uses a 3 pin plug connection. Many appliances have 110/240V switches, however it is advisable that overseas visitors bring their own plug adaptors.
Emu Park is well provided with emergency facilities having two medical centres, a chemist, ambulance, fire and police station. The region also has sophisticated public and private hospitals in both Yeppoon and Rockhampton. The Capricorn Coast has a volunteer and/or full-time Coast Guard presence at Keppel Sands and Yeppoon. The main swimming beaches in Emu Park and Yeppoon are patrolled by Surf Lifesavers.
Originally referred to by the Aboriginal people as “Oopal” – “Place of Emu’s”, Emu Park was considered a health resort by sailors from around the world and local fisherman alike. Suffering from tuberculosis and with nothing to lose, King O’Malley left America for this magical land and upon arriving was saved and nursed back to health by a tall aborigine named Coowonga.
In the 1870’s the area became popular with people anxious to gain possession of blocks of land for their holiday retreats with The Railway Hotel the first hotel built on the site where Endeavour Inn now stands.
One hundred years later on a lovely day in May 1970, Emu Park celebrated the bicentennial year of Captain James Cook’s journey through the Keppels aboard the Endeavour by unveiling the Singing Ship, a soaring white musical sculpture located on the headland.
Into the Tropics
INTO THE TROPICS - CAPTAIN JAMES COOK
Extract from the journal of Captain James Cook
Extract from the journal of Captain James Cook compiled during the voyage of the Endeavour up the eastern coast of Australia in 1770.
Friday May 25th
(Days were apparently from Noon til Noon ' Ed.) In the PM had it calm until 5 o'clock when a light breeze sprung up at SE and we steer'd NW as the land lay until 10 o'clock, then brought too having had along 14 and 15 fathom water. At 5 in the AM we made sail, at daylight the northernmost point of the main bore N70' West and soon after we saw more land making like islands bearing NWBN. At 9 o'clock we were abreast of the point distant from it 1 Mile, depth of water 14 fathom. I found this point to lay directly under the Tropic of Capricorn and for that reason call'd it by that Name. Longde 209'O' West.
It is of moderate height and looks white and barren and may be known by some Islands that lay to the NW of it and some small rocks one League SE from it. On the west side of the Cape there appear'd to be a Lagoon of the two spits which form'd the entrance where a great number of Pelicans at least I so call them. The most northernmost land we could see bore from C. Capricorn N24' West and appear'd to an Island, but the Main land trended WBN1/2N which Course we steer'd having from 15 to 6 fathom and from 6 to 9 a hard sandy bottom. At noon our Latitude by observation was 23'24'S. C. Capricorn bore S60' east distant 2 Leagues, a small Island NBE 2 Miles. In this situation had 9 fm water at the distance of 4 Miles from the Main land, which is here low and Sandy next the Sea, except the points which are moderately high and rocky; in land the Country is hilly and affords but a very indifferent prospect.
Saturday May 26th
In the PM had a light breeze at ESE with which we stood to the NW until 4 oclock when it fell Cam and soon after we Anchor'd in 12 fathom water, Cape Capricorn bearing S54' East distant 4 Leagues, having the Main land and Islands in a manner all around us.
In the night we found the tide to rise and fall near 7 feet and the flood to set to the westward and Ebb to the Eastward, which is the very reverse to what we found when at Anchor to the Eastward of Bustard Bay. At 6 in the AM we weigh'd with the wind at South a gentle breeze and stood away to the NW between the outermost raing(e) of Islands and the Main land, leaving several small Island(s) between us and the latter, which we passed close by. Our soundings were a little irregular from 12 to 4 fathom, which caused me to send a boat a head to sound. At noon we were about 3 Miles from the Main about the same distance from the Islands without us, our Latitude by obsn was 23'7'S and Longitude made from Cape Capricorn 18 miles west. The Mainland in this Latitude is tolerable high and Mountainous and the Island, which lay off it, are the most of them pretty high and of a small circuit and have more the appearance of barrenness than fertility.
We saw smooks a good way inland which makes me think that there must be a River Lagoon or Inlet into the Country and we pass'd two places that had the appearance of such this morning, but our depth of water at that time was too little to haul in for them where I might expect to meet with less.
Sunday May 27th
We had not stood in to the northward quite an hour before we fell into 3 fathom water, upon which I Anchor'd and sent away the master with two boats to sound the Channel which lay to the leeward of us between the Northernmost Island and the Main land, which appear'd to me to be pretty broad; but I suspected that it was shoal and so it was found, for the Master reported to me upon his return that he found in many places only 2 1/2 fathoms, and where we lay at Anchor we had only 16 feet which was not 2 feet more than the Ship draw'd. In the evening the wind Veer'd to ENE which gave us an opportunity to stretch 3 or 4 Miles back the way we came before the wind shifted to South and oblige'd us again to anchor in 6 fathom. At 5 o'clock in the AM I sent away the Master with two boats to search for a passage out between the Islands while we got the Ship under sail. As soon as it was light the Signal was made by the boats of their having found a passage upon which we follow'd with the Ship. After we got out and into deep water we hoisted in the boats and made Sail to the Northward as the land lay, soundings from 9 to 15 fathom, having still some small Islands without us. At Noon we were about 2 Leagues from the Mainland and by observation in the latitude of 22'53'S, Longitude made from Cape Capricorn 20 miles west. At this the northernmost point of land we had in sight bore NNW distant 10 Miles, this point I name C. Manyfold from the number of high hills over it. Latitude 22'43'S, It lies N26' West distant 17 1/3 Leagues from C. Capricorn, between them the shore forms a large bay which I call'd Keppel Bay and the Islands which lay in and off it are known by the same name. In this Bay is good anchorage where there is a sufficient depth of water. What refreshments it may afford for shipping I know not, we caught no fish here not withstanding we were at anchor. It can hardly be doubted but what it affords fresh water in several place(s) as both main land and Islands are inhabited; we saw smooks by day and fires in the night upon the Main and people upon one of the Islands.
Here is the story of a man who came to Emu Park suffering from tuberculosis, but he came prepared to die, for he brought his coffin with him. He was an American, named King O'Malley.
King O'Malley, a Californian suffering from tuberculosis, was told by a sailor that if he went to Australia, to a place called Rockhampton, he would be cured of his complaint. So he induced a captain of a ship leaving for Australia and the port of Rockhampton to take him on board. O'Malley was so sick he did not think he would live to reach Australia, so he had a lead coffin made so that if he died on the voyage, he could be buried at sea, without having to be sewn up in canvas, thus saving the captain and sailors a lot of bother.
He survived the voyage to Port Alma where he and his coffin were put ashore. Two fishermen on the wharf asked where he was heading for; O'Malley said he wanted to find a place where he could live in the sun, as he was very sick. They told him they were going fishing, but they would drop him off at Emu Park, as it was deemed a health resort. They told him there were fine beaches and he could find a place to stay. He felt so sick and could hardly stand, so he accepted their offer, said goodbye to his coffin and departed with the fishermen.
They put him ashore on a small beach between Rocky Point and Zilzie. O'Malley saw a cave there and stooped to get into it, he lay down where the sun would shine on him and closed his eyes, too ill to care what happened to him.
A tall aborigine named Coowonga carried him some distance and put him down gently in a rough shelter built of logs and bark. It overlooked a lovely stretch of beach and ocean. Coowonga left O'Malley and went back to the cave to get his belongings. When he returned, he pointed to the cave and O'Malley realised that if Coowonga had not found him and carried him from the cave he would have been drowned by the incoming tide.
He had to rely on Coowonga for a great deal of help and care, but the aborigine seemed pleased to be of service. At last, after nearly two years, O'Malley felt he was growing strong again, and it was wonderful to be able to breathe freely and be free of the racking cough.
One morning Coowonga came to O'Malley and said, "We all go walkabout, too many white men come. Kangaroo and Emu he go, we go too, you no want me now." But O'Malley decided to go too; so he packed his few belongings and made ready to leave Emu Park.
While in Rockhampton he offered Coowonga a sum of money in appreciation of all the services he had rendered him, but Coowonga refused the money and picking up O'Malley's swag headed off in a southerly direction. He went a few miles along with King, then suddenly he handed King's swag back and disappeared into the bush. O'Malley never heard of, or ever saw him again.
O'Malley travelled on foot all the way to Brisbane, meeting a few people on the way. This man was destined to become one of Australia's great men. He came to Emu Park in the early part of Emu Park's history prepared to die, but God provided him with a "Man Friday" who saved his life and nursed him back to health, to become the founder of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and to conceive the building of the Transcontinental Railway. He was Minister for Home Affairs from 1910 to 1913 and 1915 to 1916, King O'Malley died on December 20th, 1953, at the age of 99 years and 6 months.
Was it the climate of Emu Park, the good nursing by an Aborigine, or the Burdekin plums that prolonged the life of this great man. O'Malley always maintained that Emu Park was the finest health resort in the world. Emu Park lost a great attraction when the cave that sheltered this great and wonderful man, collapsed into the sea during the heavy rains, high winds and rough seas, experienced in February and March 1890.
Birth of a Town
OOPAL - "Place of Emu's"
Emu Park was gazetted as a township on January 9th, 1869. It was not called Emu Park then, it was given the name Hewittville, after the man who battled so hard for its establishment. Mr Gregory, the Government Surveyor, objected to its being gazetted as he favoured the area now known as Yeppoon. As a result of his objection there was a hold up in the sale of land, but as the people of Rockhampton and there were many of them who visited the area favoured it, Mr Gregory’s objection was overruled and the first land sale took place in Rockhampton on May 18th, 1870.
The first land put up for sale by the Crown comprised five sections. The upset price was 8 pound per acre.
It was not until 1871 that buildings started to go up. One of the first was built by Mr Rees R. Jones on the corner of Emu and Granville Street; other houses were built, but building was slow, owing to the difficulty of getting material to the Park. This had to be brought in by dray and bullock teams. Mr Charles Redman conducted this class of business and Mr Robert Hewitt started a mail and passenger service, which he continued for a considerable time. It was a once a week service, leaving Rockhampton on Saturday and returning on Monday morning; it took four hours to journey from Rockhampton, even with a good pair of horses.
The Singing Ship
During 1969, the attention of all Local Authorities was drawn to the Bi-Centenary of the discovery of Australia by Captain James Cook in 1770 and the desirability of having appropriate celebrations.
A meeting was convened of all interested parties and the Captain Cook Bi-Centenary Celebrations Committee was formed under the chairmanship of Mr J.B. Hinz, Chairman of the Livingstone Shire Council, with Tom Edminstone as Secretary and Frank Edwards as Treasurer.
A competition was held for a suitable expression of commemoration with a prize of $100.00. About twenty entries were received and the prize was awarded to a tie between Mrs C.M. Westmoreland for her drawing of the Singing Ship and the Lions Club of Yeppoon for their idea of a Youth Holiday Camp on one of the islands in Keppel Bay.
The Committee adopted the Singing Ship as its commemoration object in preference to the Holiday Camp idea as the latter appeared to be more of a long-term project that could not be completed in time for the due date of May 30th the following year.
The Lions Club persevered with their idea later on and achieved their objective.
The Committee commenced fund raising with a target of $5,000.00 and the Lions Club generously donated their share of the prize to the project. Fund raising progressed slowly, no large donations being received except for $300.00 from Rockhampton City Council, Fitzroy Shire Council and Livingstone Shire Council. A collective donation from the Rockhampton and District Historical Society of $100.00 brought the fund up to its first $1,000.00.
After inspection of several sites along the Capricorn Coast, the present site, then known as Churchill's Lookout near Fishermans Beach, was selected and submitted to the Livingstone Shire Council for approval, which was given. Tenure of the land was to be arranged with the Lands Department.
Mr S.W. Kele, a Rockhampton steel and concrete contractor had become interested in the project, and Mr D. Thomas and Mr G. Cain, lecturers in Engineering and Physics respectively at the Capricornia Institute of Advanced Education, also became interested. The success of the project was the result of these people's knowledge and work.
While George Cain experimented with piping and perforations on the roof of the Institute to find the correct sizes required for the sound effect, David Thomas prepared, from the artist's drawing, section plans for the structure at various heights, and estimates of the steel and concrete required
As Mr Thomas said, such an edifice would require to be moulded as it was being built, rather than being built to a set plan, owing to its form. Steve Kele was definitely the man for the job and with only five months to go before the due date of May 30th, work was commenced on the laying of the foundation slab that was necessary as there was only sand for many feet below the surface of the site.
This slab was thirty feet in diameter and two feet thick made of reinforced concrete. The ship itself was to be forty feet high with dimensions in proportion to the artist's drawing. Mrs "Peggy" Westmorland made a model of the ship, which was of great assistance.
It was expected at the time, that "working bees" under the direction of Steve Kele would do the job, thus cutting down the expense, but this did not work out, except for a few individuals who gave time and effort when they could.
On looking back, the project was a formidable undertaking and the finished work is a credit to the builder's skill and ingenuity.
As work progressed, Steve realised that he was being left to build the Ship more or less on his own resources, with family and hired labour and no contract. This led to some recriminations later on but they were finally ironed out.
At last, the Ship was finished and ready in time for the unveiling and it did sing in the wind, as was the artist's intention.
On a lovely day, May 30th, 1970, in the presence of a large crowd of interested people, the main plaque was unveiled by the Hon. Ian Sinclair, Minister for Shipping in the Federal Parliament, who was presented with a coloured photograph of the Singing Ship as a memento of the occasion. Burns and Twigg had cast two plaques under the supervision of Committeeman Mr S.A. Robinson, a former foundry owner of Rockhampton. The main plaque was to the honour of Captain Cook and the second paid tribute to the Artist, the Engineer, the Accoustician and to the Builder.
One thing was overlooked at the time, but this was remedied by the Rockhampton and District Historical Society. It had been intended to place a Time Capsule in a space left for that purpose in the base of the concrete block supporting the main plaque. The Capsule was placed five years late almost to the day and is to be opened on the 300th anniversary of Captain Cook's discovery.
There remained the payment of the Builder's account which had been rendered in detail to the Committee for a total of about $5,500.00 of which $3,000.00 had been paid. Many things like travelling time, crane hire, incidental living away from home expenses and general business overhead expenses had not been charged. Had these been included, and the value of all material and labour donated, the total cost would have been in the vicinity of $30,000.00.
Mr Kele and his family generously wrote off $1,000.00 and in recognition of the value of the Singing Ship to the community, the three Councils donated another $800.00. Finally to the rescue came the Emu Park Progress Association and the Rockhampton Rodeo Picnic Club with the balance owing.
In appreciation of the tourist potential of the Singing Ship, the Livingstone Shire Council, now with a change of members, has constructed a sealed road and car park at the site.
The many visitors leave favourable comments in the Visitor's Book, and the popularity and the more than Australia-wide renown of the Memorial is a tribute to those who were inspired to erect it.
It should be recorded that Steve Kele's interest in the project did not cease with the finished job. Grass was planted and tended; stepping stones, seats and a refuse bin were provided; and a Wishing Well with direction pointers and Visitor's Book were set up, while Steve and his family acted as trustees and caretakers.
Endeavour Inn - Site's most Prestigious Building
The Endeavour Inn Emu Park could be said to be the most prestigious building on the site in the history of the town that began on January 9, 1869.
The area had been claimed by Rockhampton business people, central and western graziers and sheep farmers as a seaside resort. They were anxious to gain possession of blocks of land for their holiday retreats overlooking the Keppel Islands.
A protracted battle for land ownership raged between an original owner Robert Ross, who owned a cattle run almost the length of the coast and business and western grazing interests.
It is recorded in the archives of Emu Park Historical Museum Society Incorporated, that the first sale of 34 Emu Park allotments was held at the Lands Office in Rockhampton on May 18, 1970. All were sold. The upset price was eight pounds an acre.
Two allotments on the corner of Hill & Pattison Sts (allotments 1 and 5, Section 3) were bought by a Rockhampton ironmonger named Robert Gardiner.
Their value was recognised by a former Cawarral stockman Mr Charles Redman who bought the allotments from Gardiner and built The Railway Hotel.
The site was opposite Emu Park railway station and turntable on the end of the line that was built from Rockhampton. The first licensee was Mrs Kate Evans and husband Mr J.H. Evans.
The hotel was gutted by fire in 1905 and replaced with a boarding house operated by Mr & Mrs Hugh Owens until 1914.
Mrs J Begg moved into Emu Park and in 1912, bought the Imperial Hotel, the boarding house and two shops in between. Just before the outbreak of World War 1, Mrs Begg acquired Mt Usher Hotel for removal and relocated it in front of the boarding house, under the name of The Grand Central.
Mrs Begg leased The Imperial to Mr Charles Hoffman and in early 1920s bought Mr Howard English's home on the corner of Pattison and Granville Sts to build the Pine Beach Hotel.
She moved into the Pine Beach and leased The Grand Central to Mr Wiltshire until 1931. The hotel was taken over by the Finlay family from Mt Morgan until 1940, then it went to Brice and Molly Begg and again to Mr Walter Miller who changed The Grand Central to Emu Park Hotel.
There followed another series of changes in ownership with Mr Don Cameron and Inez Taylor buying in, in 1945. They sold to Mrs Smith who ran the hotel for a short time with her sons, then sold to Mrs Mellick.
The next owner and licensee was Mrs Rowe who sold out of the Toowoomba Shamrock Hotel and took over the Grand Central for a couple of years. During the term of the next licensees, the Bennetts, the hotel was condemned as a licensed premise by the Licensing Commission, put up for sale and won a new owner in Mr Edward McInnes, the engine driver of the Emu Park train. After the Emu Park rail passenger service was discontinued, The Beachcomber was sold to Mr Bob Leicht and lay vacant for some considerable time. Eventually the building was demolished.
In December 1986, T.T. Cummins & Son, builders of Rockhampton, took interest in the block of land and bought it at auction in May 1987. Construction of the Endeavour Inn commenced Monday September 7th 1987 and was officially opened by Member for Broadsound Mr Denis Hinton on Friday, February 26th 1988.