Joseph Banks Conservation Park Gladstone

Photo credit: Maxime Coquard © Tourism and Events Queensland

Nature, culture and history

    Natural environment

    The rocky headland of Joseph Banks Conservation Park was formed by volcanic and sandstone rocks in the Triassic period (250 to 205 million years ago) and is bound by open ocean on the east and the still waters of Round Hill Creek and Bustard Bay to the west. Trademark south-easterly ocean swells anchor the beach sand to the rocky outcrop and create beautiful sandy bays.

    The headland and the still waters of Round Hill Creek to the west is home to ospreys and white-bellied sea-eagles. White-bellied sea-eagles are the second largest bird of prey found in Australia. In flight, their black flight feathers on their wings are easily seen when viewed from below. They are skilled hunters and feed mainly on aquatic animals, such as fish, turtles and sea snakes, but are known to take birds and mammals as well seizing prey up to the size of a swan.

    Culture and history

    The park is rich in cultural history and is part of the First Nations—Bailia, Gurang, Gooreng Gooreng and Taribelang Bunda Peoples whose ancestors have hunted and fished in this sea country since time immemorial.

    Lieutenant James Cook first landed on this picturesque stretch of coast with its broad, sandy beaches in May 1770. Cook's ship HMB Endeavour anchored in the sheltered inlet that was named Bustard Bay after a bustard or plains turkey was shot in the vicinity. While the crew renewed their water supplies, naturalist Joseph Banks collected 33 plant species from behind the curving beach of Bustard Bay (near the area that is now Eurimbula National Park) and noted the presence of palms, which indicated that the expedition had arrived in the tropics. Daniel Solander, a naturalist and a friend and assistant of Sir Banks, wrote the first technical report of a native land animal in Queensland by describing the Australian bustard.

    Originally called Round Hill by Cook, Seventeen Seventy was renamed in honour of his first landing in Queensland. A rock cairn was built on the road leading to the headland to commemorate the first landing of HMB Endeavour in Queensland. The cairn was dedicated in 1926 and stands on the site where one of Cook's crew carved the date on a tree, close to where they came ashore.

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