Armstrong's Monument

Livingstone Shire Historical Markers

A Project of Capricorn Coast Historical Society & Livingstone Shire Council

Armstrong's Monument

The Historical Marker's planned location is located on Farnborough Road.

This landmark pinnacle-shaped rock became known to local residents under several names including Queensland Rock, but it was Donald Brown who called it “Armstrong’s Monument”.

The Early Years

This landmark pinnacle-shaped rock became known to local residents under several names including Queensland Rock, but it was Donald Brown who called it “Armstrong’s Monument”.

Rowley Rutherford Armstrong was the last manager of the Farnborough Sugar Plantation and Mill from 1891 until economic and financial circumstances forced its closure in 1901.

This roadside spot is said to have been used as a neighbourhood meeting place. Local lore has it that children played a prank with a dead possum at this spot, and Armstrong, who was a good horseman, fell and broke his arm when his horse shied.  Although light-hearted in origin, this monument serves as a reminder of Armstrong’s commitment to the community and, in particular, to the sugar industry.

Importance to the Community

As manager, Armstrong introduced a number of measures to help improve the mill’s viability.  Because much of the mill’s 2,000 acres of land lay idle, he introduced a radical system of land tenancy which allowed people to rent 20, 30 and 150 acre blocks of the mill plantation area to use for whatever purpose they desired, so long as a quarter of the acreage rented was devoted to growing sugar cane.

As another incentive, Armstrong introduced a new system of payment. A weighbridge was installed at the mill and growers received a prompt payment according to gross weight of harvested cane.

To allow more reliable transport of the sugar through Yeppoon from the mill to the Tanby railway siding, he constructed a stable road around the Bluff to avoid having to take sugar wagons along the beach at low tide. He continuously but unsuccessfully lobbied both Council and State Government for better roads and a railway to Yeppoon.

Low rainfall, labour supply difficulties and transport problems continued to plague the mill’s operation and in spite of Armstrong’s best efforts, the mill closed in 1901.  He stayed on until the business was wound up, and in 1910 sold his Yeppoon property and moved to a block near Richmond in North Queensland, not returning to Yeppoon for many years.

The Later Years

Rutherford Armstrong returned to visit his family in the UK about 1917 and volunteered for active service in World War 1 at the age of 56.  He was appointed to the Labour Corps, serving in France before being repatriated to Australia in 1920.  He returned to his Richmond property where he lived until 1946, then at age 85, sold this property and returned to Yeppoon, staying with friends, Carden & Florence Collins on Farnborough Road and the Archers at Gracemere.

After a few years, Armstrong built a house in Strow Street and lived there until his death in 1958 aged 98 years.  At his request, his ashes were scattered over the old mill site.




1. Rowley Rutherford Armstrong (State Library QLD Image 3682)
1. Rowley Rutherford Armstrong.
(State Library QLD - Image 3682)
2. Armstrong on Left
2. Armstrong on left.
3. Early image of Armstrongs Monument looking towards Yeppoon
3. Early image of Armstrong's Monument looking towards Yeppoon.
4. The Monument is being overgrown and is easier to see when the foliage is lost in dry seasons.
4. The 'monument' is being overgrown and is easier to see when the foliage is lost in dry seasons.