Strange, the game of the name

Blackwater Creek was discovered and named by Ludwig Leichhardt in 1845 when he was trekking from Moreton Bay to Port Essington (Darwin).

Coal deposits in the bed of the creek gave the water a black appearance. At the time, similar deposits of coal had already been discovered at Newcastle. A small township was established in 1886 to provide facilities for railway workers who were building the line from Rockhampton to Longreach and Winton. A Post Office was opened in July 1877.

In more recent times, six open cut mines have been developed with a peak population of 6760 in 1991.

The interesting tourist area of Blackdown Tableland is a reasonable drive from Rockhampton, with it being a further 74km to the town of Emerald.

There are 37 towns in the world which have a number as a name, 20 of them in the county of Lincolnshire in England.

More correctly spelt as Seventeen Seventy, the town of 1770 is located on a peninsula between the Pacific Ocean and Bustard Bay. The location was named by Captain Cook who landed in May 1770.

During the search for fresh water Joseph Banks came across a very large bird which he named a bustard hence the name Bustard Bay. In the 21st century, the area is known as the Discovery Coast. It is half residential and half tourist, Lady Musgrave Island and its coral lagoon being close enough for day trippers.

The National Parks of Deepwater, Eurimbula, Round Hill and Mount Colosseum are added attractions, especially for the overseas visitor.

In the southwest, the McDougall brothers settled on an area of land and then went gold mining. Upon their return, they found that the run had been occupied by an unauthorized group of true squatters.

Legal redress was undertaken and eventually the run was handed back to

the McDougalls. They named the area Texas as a reference to the dispute between the USA and Mexico over the present-day state of Texas.

The township is just 2km north of the New South Wales/ Queensland border.

A major tributary of the Burnett River is Three Moon Creek.

The story goes that a traveller, camped beside one of the creek’s deep and long lagoons, went for water on a moonlit night. He observed three moons. One in the sky, one reflected in the water of the lagoon and a third reflected in his billy can.

Possibly the most unusual name for a town came from OK, a popular brand of jam which was a staple in mining camps.

A rich copper deposit was found by John Munroe in September 1901, 35 miles north-north-west of Mungana in the Chillagoe district west of Cairns.

OK was reputedly a rip-roaring settlement with fights, shootings and stabbings common.

There were five hotels and a general store. The one policeman, a trooper, Mick O’Toole, had no jail so his prisoners were chained to a tree.

Women were scarce and for a long time Mrs McNairn, who was in charge of the mess at the smelter in 1905, was the only woman in town. When other women arrived, the town became more orderly.

Fever took many lives as the hospital was just a tent, unlike Stannary Hills, another mining town on the Atherton Tableland, which had a well-equipped hospital and competent doctor.

Initially ore was carried by camel train, although a railway line eventually reached Mungana in 1910.

Until then, up to 500 camels had been used to carry the ore back to the Mungana smelter.  Many camels died from eating the leaves of the ironwood tree which was poisonous.

In 1906, a dozen traction engines which burnt wood were bought and piles of timber at one mile intervals were placed beside the road from Mungana to OK. Trooper O’Toole, riding his camel, would take on any horse rider who took up the challenge to race.

In 1910 the price of copper dropped worldwide and the mine closed.

Diana Hacker is archivist for the Queensland Women’s Historical Association based at Miegunyah in Bowen Hills. Visit miegunyah.org