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Posted on: 23 September, 2019

Book Launch celebrates iconic Livingstone landmark – The Singing Ship

The Singing Ship1970.jpg

The spectacular Singing Ship is one of our region’s most iconic landmarks and local resident Claire Ryan plans to share its history with the community in her first book, The Singing Ship: Captain and Crew.

Claire has compiled a history of the concept, design and building of the Emu Park memorial to Captain James Cook and its place in the local culture and residents are being invited to attend the books launch on Saturday, 28 September from 10am at Emu Park Cultural Hall.

Claire said the book was the result of months of research and enormous contributions from those involved with the construction in the late 1960s, including Steve Kele, Peggy Westmoreland, George Cain, David Thomas and the Bicentennial Committee who persevered with this project, even when the going got tough.

“While researching this book, everyone I met generously shared their personal reflections, photos and other memorabilia to ensure that readers have a big picture view of the Singing Ship‘s whole building process,” Claire said.

“What I enjoy about our Capricorn region’s history is seeing what a positive difference it makes when ordinary people come together as a team to work for the common good of their community. It turns good ideas into sustainable realities!”

The book’s formation began when a chance conversation led Claire to artist Peggy Westmoreland, designer of Emu Park’s Singing Ship and her diaries that traced the building process.

“Built to celebrate the Bicentenary of Captain James Cook’s visit to Keppel Bay in May 1770, Steve Kele captained the construction of this memorial with constant support from his wife Isabel. Designer Peggy was part of this Ship’s crew,” Claire continued.

“All have much in common with Captain James Cook. Their talents created original solutions for each challenge faced. The Singing Ship reminds us all that when we use our creativity to learn and use new skills, we can become our best selves.”

Hearing from family members who hold precious memories of relatives who were at the forefront of the Singing Ship’s building and design process is one of the reasons Claire is looking forward to the launch on Saturday.

“I hope readers appreciate the efforts of groups such as the Livingstone, Rockhampton and Fitzroy Councils, the Emu Park and Yeppoon Country Women’s Association, local schools and other Capricorn community groups who took part in the Rockhampton, Yeppoon and Emu Park Bicentennial displays or street processions, or catered for crowds of observers, or played host to government officials and other visitors before and on the Singing Ship’s official opening day on 30 May, 1970,” Claire said.

To attend this free event, please register via

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