A Project of Capricorn Coast Historical Society & Livingstone Shire Council
Adelaide Park Station
“Adelaide Park” station was the home of pioneer grazier and
overlander James Atherton.
The Historical Marker's location is located on Adelaide Park Road.
The Early Years
“Adelaide Park” station was the home of pioneer grazier and overlander James Atherton. It had once been part of the large Barmoya land holding of N T Elliott until it was taken over in 1868 by the Atherton family of Mount Hedlow. James, his wife Mary and his family moved there about 1870 naming the property “Adelaide Park”.
James Atherton was born in Lancashire in 1830. In 1844 the Athertons migrated to New South Wales, settling on the “Bald Blair” selection near Armidale. In 1857, after hearing news of prime pasture land being available in the Rockhampton area, James and his younger brother John left Armidale and headed north with their herd of sheep. They camped at the Archers’ property at Gracemere for fourteen months during the lambing season and while they shore their sheep and explored the area.
1. James Atherton
2. Adelaide Park Homestead (about 1900)
4. Map with pink shading to show Adelaide Park the Property of James Atherton Esq
5. Adelaide Park map with present roads marked to identify the location
3. A 1948 newspaper photo of the homestead stating it was built of pit-sawn timbers about 90 years ago. (CQ Herald, 15 January 1948)
Caption: Built of pit-sawn timber, this old home, built by James Atherton, at Adelaide Park, near Yeppoon, nearly 90 years ago, has seen the birth of two generations of his family and is still the home of his daughter, Mrs Morgan, senior.
Importance to the Community
The Athertons settled properties in the region including Rosewood and West Hill near St Lawrence. James successfully tendered for the pastoral lease at “Hedloo” (Mount Hedlow) and the brothers swam their sheep across the Fitzroy River and moved onto the holding in 1858. The rest of the family later sold “Bald Blair” and joined them, bringing 2,000 head of cattle.
After taking up “Adelaide Park”, James and his brother John used bullock teams, axes and cross-cut saws to forge the first road between Rockhampton and Adelaide Park station. Twenty settlers each contributed one pound to cover the cost of the road. It was no highway but later, when it was pushed through to Yeppoon, it provided a serviceable road between the two towns. The route between Rockhampton and Yeppoon has altered course a number of times since then. The early road passed to the north of Mt Jim Crow along often boggy ground.
In the first Yeppoon land sale of 1873, James was one of the buyers and became the first person to build a home in the township. He erected a beachfront retreat near the junction of Normanby and James Streets and called it “Beach House”. James Street bears his name and other streets are named after Atherton family members.
James raised livestock and trialled a variety of crops. In 1877 he was awarded a silver medal by the Fitzroy Pastoral, Agricultural and Horticultural Society for the best example of maize, and won prizes for his fruit and marmalade. He was among the first in the Yeppoon district to grow bananas, citrus fruits, arrowroot and coffee. James also experimented with growing sugarcane for which he had his own crushing and boiling plant, and was later a provisional director when the Farnborough sugar mill was established. Being community-minded, he was involved in many organisations, serving on the Gogango Divisional Board from 1881-1893 and later as a councillor of the Livingstone Shire Council in 1903 until ill-health forced his retirement the same year.
The Later Years
After selling “Adelaide Park” to his son-in-law Mr A J Morgan, James retired to his “Copland” property nearer Yeppoon where he died in 1903. After his death, “Copland” was sold to the Catholic Diocese of Rockhampton and is now the site of St Brendan’s College.