Capricorn Coast - History - European Settlement - Discovery and Exploration

Discovery and Exploration

The Capricorn Coast was first explored by James Cook in 1770. He did not make landing in the area however he named several islands and land forms; Cape Capricorn, Keppel Isles, Keppel Bay, Cape Many Fold (later Cape Manifold), and Shoal Water Bay (later Shoalwater Bay).

Matthew Flinders explored the Capricorn Coast in great detail in 1804. Flinders spent the best part of a month in the shallow bays, making landings at Curtis Island, Port Clinton, Shoalwater Bay and Percy Island. Matthew Flinders Drive, a scenic cliffside road that winds through Cooee Bay and up over the top of Wreck Point, is named in his honour.

Phillip Parker King followed in 1820 but encountered difficulties when his ship, the Mermaid, ran aground. In 1843, an extensive survey was carried out by Captain Francis Price Blackwood on HMS Fly and Captain Charles Yule who commanded HMS Bramble.

In 1844 and 1846, Ludwig Leichhardt and Thomas Mitchell explored what would later become Rockhampton, noting the quality of grazing lands in the district.

In 1853, brothers William and Charles Archer followed in the footsteps of Leichhardt and Mitchell. They settled in Gracemere, twelve kilometres west of the present day City of Rockhampton. By 1858, the town of Rockhampton was officially proclaimed, and settlement began in earnest. The following year, gold was discovered at Canoona, approximately 50 kilometres north, and also due west of Shoalwater Bay on the northern end of what would later become known as the Capricorn Coast.

Read more about this topic:  Capricorn Coast, History, European Settlement

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