A project of Capricorn Coast Historical Society and Livingstone Shire Council
The Historical Marker's location is located at the park in Ross Creek area.
Ross Creek is named after the Ross family. In 1870 Robert Ross,
a wealthy landowner, acquired land, erected a jetty and built his
homestead Taranganba above the creek.
Photo to the right:
2. Robert Ross
Ross and Fig Tree Creeks
The Early Years
Ross Creek is named after the Ross family. In 1870 Robert Ross, a wealthy landowner, acquired land, erected a jetty and built his homestead Taranganba above the creek. At full tide, tramp steamers came into the creek, delivering supplies for Ross and other pioneer families. The name of Cooee Bay refers to the calls made by settlers to attract the attention of a steamer.
As the settlement grew, the creek became a permanent and safe anchorage for vessels engaged in fishing, oyster harvesting and trawling, while traps, lines and nets in and around the creek supplied a local demand for seafood. During the 1930s Dana Fisheries operated a smoking room on the bank of Fig Tree Creek to preserve mackerel.
Importance to the community.
Ross & Fig Tree Creeks provided the playground and livelihood for many Yeppoon families and its banks were lined with jetties, sheds and shacks. It was a very popular swimming spot despite being dangerous at high tide, with strong currents and moving sandbars.
For 30 years the town enjoyed the Claude Press Swimming Pool, built at the mouth of the creeks and opened in 1931. A school teacher at Yeppoon for 17 years, Claude Press was a swimming instructor, member of the Royal Lifesaving Society and secretary of the Yeppoon Foreshore Improvement Committee. He built and developed the pool, with the help of the community. The older schoolboys helped at weekends taking sand and cement by dinghy to the site and they learnt swimming and lifesaving with Mr Press at the pool.
A popular spot, the pool eventually had two diving boards, a slippery slide, seating facilities, umbrellas and even floodlights. In the 1960s local schools began to plan and build their own more conventional pools. The Claude Press Swimming Pool was used less and less and gradually deteriorated. Remains are still visible among the rocks. It had always had its dangers – the current at the mouth, tidal variations, stingrays moving along the creek and sharks waiting to catch fish on the outgoing tide.
In 1926 The Livingstone Bridge was built over Ross Creek to facilitate land development in Cooee Bay. It served the area until 1972 when the Beak Bridge was opened.
During the 1960s many changes came to the creeks. A sea wall was built to control siltation and currents and Merv Anderson Park (Fig Tree Park) was created with dredged sand. The aim was to accommodate more and larger vessels. The improvements were not sufficient so a new harbour was planned and Rosslyn Harbour opened in 1972.
The later years.
The two creeks continue to support local fishing and boating. Community markets are held in the park and it has a popular sheltered picnic area. An environmental reserve extends over the mangroves, protecting the vegetation and the colonies of several varieties of flying fox that use the area as a place for mating, breeding, birthing and nursing their young. There is a permanent colony of approximately 2,000 bats (mainly Black bats Pteropus alecto) and up to 10,000 as seasonal visitors arrive in December/January. They provide a spectacular display when taking off at dusk to look for food.
1. Taranganba homestead - home of pioneer Robert Ross
3. Construction of Livingstone bridge over Ross Ck. (Courtesy K Jones)
4. Livingstone Bridge, opened in 1926. (Courtesy F Quinn)
5. Swimmers enjoying the amenities at the Ross Creek Pool.
6. Mouth of Ross Creej with swimmers in the mid 1950s. (Courtesy S Mayes)
7. Jetties and boats in Fig Tree Creek.
8. Construction of the new Beak Bridge - opened in 1972. (Courtesy S Jones)