Idyllic and underdeveloped destination north of Agnes Water
Seventy Seventy is a new town. Captain Cook Drive was only sealed in the 1990s and all the houses now scattered around Ocean Drive, and surrounded by the Joseph Banks Regional Park, look as though they have been built this century. It is a place with a marina, a pub (The Tree Hotel), a few shops, a camping ground, and pleasant walks with delightful, tropical views across Bustard Bay. The area's chief appeal, as indicated by the name of the town, is its celebration of Captain James Cook's journey up the east coast of Australia. It was the second place (after Botany Bay) where he landed on the continent and that is worth celebrating. It barely has a separate identity which is why the area is often known by the combined name - Agnes Water 1770.
Seventeen Seventy is located 491 km north of Brisbane and 7 km north of Agnes Water.^ TOP
Origin of Name
Seventeen Seventy, previously known as 1770 and now as the Town of Seventeen Seventy, was the second place where Captain James Cook stepped onto Australian soil and the first place to experience "European feet" in what is now modern Queensland. It was named after the year of Cook's voyage up the east coast of Australia.^ TOP
Things to See and Do
Round Hill Headland - The Lookout and the anchor of the MV Countess Russell
At the end of the peninsula is Round Hill Headland where there is are two walks to Bustard Bay lookout and Wave Lookout. The walks around the headland are easy and the boardwalk around the end of the headland is particularly impressive with excellent views across the bay and out into the Coral Sea.
The signs at the car park explain:
Wave Lookout - Only 90 metres one way. "Enjoy a short, sunny stroll across the headland to a viewing platform overlooking a small rocky bay. South easterly winds whip waves into the bay and force the rich array of plants to creep low around the headland."
Bustard Bay Lookout - is 300 metres one way "Take a short easy walk to the tip of the headland. Coastal beach scrub closes around you and partly shades the track. A large comfortable viewing platform offers long views of Bustard Bay where the Endeavour anchored so many years ago."
On the road to the Round Hill car park is the anchor from the MV Countess Russell which, in 1873, was wrecked to the south, on what has become known as Wreck Rock off the coast of the Deepwater National Park.
It is particularly pleasant to watch the sun rise over the ocean and set over Bustard Bay from Round Hill Head. This is one of the few places on the Queensland east coast where visitors can see the sun set over the water.
Clearly signposted on the road out to Round Hill Headland is the cairn/obelisk known as Cook's Monument. It has the simple inscription: "Under the lee of this point Lieutenant James Cook RN, landed on 24th May 1770."
Nearby on The Discovery Trail a more comprehensive description of the events is offered: "To ensure the cairn was situated appropriately, local man Philip Elliot and Professor Cumbrae-Stewart of the Queensland Historical Society went across the bar in Mr Elliot's launch and then followed Cook's course to come back in, thus giving them a good idea of where Cook landed."
The result is strangely compelling. The visitor walks down the sandstone steps to a very small beach where it is possible to stand and imagine what it was like when Cook, Banks and Solander stepped ashore. It was only the second time (the first being at Botany Bay) that Cook actually made physical contact with the continent.
Captain Cook, Town of 1770 and the local Aborigines
On Wednesday 24 May 1770, Lieutenant James Cook anchored the Endeavour about 3 km off this part of the coast. By modern standards the Endeavour was a tiny vessel which was only 32 metres long, 9 metres wide and weighed 374 tonnes. At the time it was carrying 81 tonnes of water, 9.64 tonnes of bread in bags, 5460 litres of beer in puncheons, 4000 pieces of beef and 1.13 tonnes of raisins.
At this point Cook was about to enter the Great Barrier Reef (although, obviously, he did not know it) and until he ran aground at Cape Tribulation he was to demonstrate extraordinary seamanship as he weaved his way through the reef.
Cook, with his botanist Joseph Banks and Banks' assistant, Daniel Solander, went ashore near Round Hill Head. It was only the second time during the voyage that he had set foot on Australian soil. The first had been at Botany Bay. Today it is important symbolically because it was Cook's first venture on dry land which today is known as Queensland. The party landed within the south point of the bay where they found a channel leading into a large lagoon.
Cook wrote in his journal: "In this place there is room for a few ships to lie in great security, and a small stream of fresh water".
Cook, Banks and Solander noted many pelicans and, upon the shore, a species of bustard, one of which was shot. They considered it the best bird they had eaten since leaving England (it weighed 17.5 pounds - 7.93 kg), and in honour of it they called the inlet to the west of Seventeen Seventy, Bustard Bay. The crew also caught fish and harvested oysters from the rocks and around the mangroves.
Although the party did not make contact with any Aborigines they did find campsites, fires and artefacts. However members of the Endeavour's crew who had remained aboard the vessel observed about twenty members of the Meerooni tribe on the beach.
The Endeavour set sail at 0430 the following day. This historic occasion is commemorated by the Captain Cook Memorial at Round Hill Head.
There is a record of his arrival in the area with the local Aborigines recalling "When Cook and his landing party came ashore the local Aboriginal people watched hidden from view. 'The tall leader (Cook) was clever as he directed the canoe and had a good look at two of their food trees (Fig and Burdekin Plum). The short leader (Banks) was not clever as he was stung by the ants and caterpillars and took away plants that were useless for food or medicine.'"
Countess Russell Anchor
The sign on the anchor, which is located just off Captain Cook Drive near Round Hill (it is clearly marked) explains: "The emigrant ship Countess Russell (965 tons) having landed 366 immigrants at Rockhampton was proceeding in ballast to Newcastle NSW when she was driven ashore near midnight 21st August 1873 upon Wreck Reef 10 miles south of this point by a south-easterly gale despite this huge anchor. No lives were lost but she broke up and her remains lay there for almost a century. The anchor was exposed by cyclonic storms and after being brought ashore was restored by Pioneer Chemicals Ltd at Brisbane and brought here at the instance of the National Trust of Queensland and Miriam Vale Shire Council and set upon this base October 1972." The anchor was restored in 2005 by the 1770 Action Group.
Walking Tracks around 1770
There is an excellent brochure - Agnes Water & Town of 1770 Walking Tracks - which details eight walks in the district and two around 1770. The brochure is available at the Agnes Water Visitor Information Centre. Just to make life a little easier for you, here are summaries of the descriptions of the two walks at 1770:
The Round Hill Creek Track
"Starting at the Captain Cook Monument point, walkers can take in the natural beauty of the regional park by following the track along the shoreline of Round Hill Creek for 1.2 kilometres. Enjoy spectacular north-facing views across Eurimbula National Park and Bustard Bay to Bustard Head and Rodds Peninsula from the walking track. Through the autumn and winter months, you will notice the migrating blue tiger butterflies. Most years the butterflies migrate to 1770 by the thousands. The blue tiger butterflies are also known as Captain Cook's butterfly, as they were sighted on Cook's voyage when he discovered the east coast of Australia. The track is relatively easy for walkers. There are some steep steps down to small log bridges which cross over gullies and lead to vantage points overlooking Round Hill Creek and Bustard Bay."
1770 Foreshore Walk
"Follow the boardwalk along the 1770 foreshore of Round Hill Creek which takes you through to the parkland adjacent to the 1770 Camping Ground. You can continue walking along the foreshore on the sand if you wish to walk further past the camp grounds. As you walk further around the foreshore of Round Hill Creek, this will eventually lead you to steps on the right of the hill that will lead you to the Captain Cook Monument. As you walk along the foreshore, marvel at the beauty of this little seaside town. Notice the many yachts anchored in Round Hill Creek and feel the peace and tranquility. Take in the magical views overlooking Bustard Bay and the sandbars. See an abundance of bird life from pelicans, seagulls and white-bellied sea eagles. Be on the lookout for dolphins as they swim and play in the creek. Anywhere along the foreshore is the perfect spot to sit and watch the sun as it sets at the end of the day. The Town of 1770 is where you will witness the most spectacular sunsets."
The Park in front of The Tree Hotel
Visitors wanting to learn about the wildlife in the area will find that the park over the road from The Tree Hotel has a number of informative signs about Mud Crabs (scylla serrata), common coral trout (plectropomus leopardus), flypan bream (argyrops spinifer) among others. It also has signs telling the history of the area.
Other Attractions in the Area
Bustard Head Lighthouse
Although it is only at the end of the beach which lies to the north of Seventeen Seventy (and thus less than 20 km to the north) the beach is broken by five tidal creeks and thus, by road, Bustard Head lighthouse is 127 km via Mirian Vale. It was built in 1868 and is recognised as the second oldest lighthouse in Queensland. Built out of prefabricated sheets of cast iron which were bolted together it is still an active lighthouse. The original cottages were destroyed by fire in 1932. The lighthouse was automated in 1985 and demanned in 1986. The lighthouse is currently managed by the Bustard Head Lighthouse Association. The light can be seen 21 nautical miles out to sea. The lighthouse stands 18 metres above ground and 102 metres above sea level. There are regular tours to the lighthouse which travel along the shore of Bustard Bay and cross five tidal creeks. Check out http://www.1770larctours.com.au for details.
To the south of Seventeen Seventy lies Joseph Banks Regional Park and Deepwater National Park. To the north and west is the Eurimbula National Park. Both parks are rich in floral diversity and are characterised by rainforests, native shrubs, open heathland, swamplands, coastal vegetation, water holes, coastal beaches and estuaries. They are also rich in native animals and birdlife.
Joseph Banks Regional Park
Immediately to the south of Seventeen Seventy is the Joseph Banks Regional Park. It separates 1770 from Agnes Water. Named after Captain James Cook's botanist, Sir Joseph Banks, it is a section of attractive coastline noted for its coastal plant communities, its sections of tropical rainforest and its mangroves. There is a useful map which can be downloaded at http://www.nprsr.qld.gov.au/parks/joseph-banks/pdf/joseph-banks-rp-map.pdf. It marks the locations of Cook's Monument, the Countess Russell anchor, Wave Lookout and Bustard Bay lookout.
Deepwater National Park
Deepwater National Park can be accessed from Agnes Water and Seventeen Seventy by driving south on Springs Road and following a sandy track to the park's northern boundary. Access is only available to high clearance 4WD vehicles.
The National Parks website outlines the park's features as follows: "The park's diverse vegetation of coastal scrubs, eucalypt woodlands, wet heaths and sedgelands surround Deepwater Creek and its tributaries. Tannins and other substances leached from surrounding heath plants stain the creek water brown. The creek is fringed by tall forests of swamp mahogany, paperbark and cabbage palms, and is broken in places by shallow sections of reed bed and paperbark forest. In these areas water only flows during the wet season. Deepwater supports diverse birdlife such as emus, red-tailed black-cockatoos, honeyeaters, brahminy kites and waterbirds. Nesting turtles frequent Deepwater Beach from October to April, turtle hatchlings emerge from the nests from January, usually at night."
A day use only area is provided at Flat Rock which is a great place for families at around low tide, with a shallow swimming lagoon created by the long flat rock shelf.
At Middle Rock there is both basic camping without facilities and defined campsites, picnic tables, a cold shower, self-composting toilets, rainwater and bore water at Wreck Rock. For comprehensive information check out http://www.nprsr.qld.gov.au/parks/deepwater/about.html which provides detailed information about camping and access.
Eurimbula National Park
Return from 1770 to Agnes Water and head out of town along Round Hill Road for 10 km then turn at the Eurimbula National Park sign. A 15 km bush track leads to Bustard Beach camping area at the mouth of Eurimbula Creek.
About 6 km from Round Hill Road (9 km before you reach Bustard Bay camping area) is the turnoff to Middle Creek. This track is approximately 13 km. About 7 km from Round Hill Road is the start of a moderately steep 720 m (return) walk to Ganoonga Noonga Lookout which provides sweeping views of Bustard Bay, Seventeen Seventy and the local swamps and heathland. The website explains: "From this vantage point you can view the low grounds (Ganoonga Noonga)—swamps and heaths—covering the parallel dunes that have built up over the last 6000 years. Panoramic views include Munro Range to the west, Bray Hills to the north, and Bustard Head and Bustard Bay to the east." For more detailed information check out http://www.nprsr.qld.gov.au/parks/eurimbula/about.html.
Rock fishing, surf fishing, estuary and reef fishing available either privately or through commercial operators. Check the Visitor Information Centre for more information.
Tours and Cruises
In recent times Seventeen Seventy and Agnes Water have become part of the great backpacker trek up the coast of Queensland and consequently a tourist industry of cruises and adventure tours has developed in the area. To discover the available tours check out http://www.1770larctours.com.au/tours.aspx (they offer four tours including trips along Bustard Bay beach, a trip to Bustard Head lighthouse and an Indigenous Walkabout tour. The local website offers a range of offshore charters, dolphin trips, surfing schools, kayak hires and undersea adventures. Check out http://www.agneswater.net.
* Prior to the arrival of Europeans the area was home to people from the Meerooni Aboriginal group who were part of the Gooreng Gooreng language group.
* On Wednesday 24 May 1770, Lieutenant James Cook anchored the Endeavour about 3 km off the coast.
* Cook went ashore near Round Hill Head with botanist Joseph Banks and his assistant Daniel Solander. It was only the second time during the voyage that he had set foot on Australian soil. The party landed within the south point of the bay where they found a channel leading into a large lagoon. Cook wrote: "In this place there is room for a few ships to lie in great security, and a small stream of fresh water". They noted many pelicans and, upon the shore, a species of bustard, one of which was shot. They considered it the best bird they had eaten since leaving England, and in honour of it they called the inlet Bustard Bay.
* Cook's party did not see any Aborigines during their shore visit, but they did find campsites, fires and artefacts.
* The schooner Agnes sank off Bustard Head in 1873.
* In 1883 Daniel Clowes took up land in the area which he named Agnes Water after a coastal schooner named Agnes.
* By the 1890s timber cutters had moved into the hinterland and there was a sawmill operating.
* By the end of the 19th century the area was popular with holidaymakers.
* The Town of 1770 was officially named in 1936.
* The road from Agnes Water to 1770 was not sealed until the 1990s.^ TOP
The 1770 visitor centre is located in Agnes Water. Agnes Water & Town of 1770 Visitor Information Centre, 71 Spring Street, Agnes Water, tel: (07) 4902 1533.^ TOP
There is a useful website with information about activities in the area. Check out http://www.visitagnes1770.com.au.^ TOP