Emu Park’s Beginning
In 1770, when Captain Cook sailed past Emu Park, he noticed smoke from fires but did not see any people. However, the Darumbal tribe inhabited this land hunting and gathering and ensuring that their country was cared for.
European settlement of coastal areas in Central Queensland began in 1855. The discovery of beautiful beaches by a trader in 1867 led to a Government Commission to resume land that is now Emu Park. This was to pacify Rockhampton residents who lobbied hard for a coastal resort to escape the heat.
OOPAL – “Place of Emu’s” – Thomas E Smithwick 1979 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 per acre. It was not until 1871 that buildings started to go up. Building was slow, owing to the difficulty of getting material to the Park.