A small inland town of some 600 people that is known for its mud crabs, Miriam Vale services a traditional cattle growing area, and also supports timber, beef and dairy cattle. Tourism is an emerging industry within the shire and the town is a gateway to the tourist resorts of Agnes Water and the Town of 1770. The town offers the traveller an excellent opportunity to rest and refresh. Drop into the service station with the giant crab for one of their famous mud crab sandwiches. In the old-style main street near the highway through the town, you can have a picnic lunch in the park, a coffee in the cafe or a cool drink in the nearby pub.
Location: 119 km north of Bundaberg on the Bruce Highway; 464 km from Brisbane; 68 km from Gladstone; 170 km from Rockhampton.
Miriam Vale boasts a strong tourist influx, good fishing, National Parks and a high population growth particularly along the Coastal fringe. Miriam Vale also has a nine-hole golf course with small greens and mature gum trees. At times in its history the course was stretched to twelve holes but the members and district could not sustain the extra work needed to keep these holes open.
Places of interest: Bilburrin State Forest; Baffle Creek; Eurimbula National Park; Mount Colosseum National Park; Castle Tower National Park; Blackman Gap; Many Peaks Range; Bobby Range; Grevillea Range; Edinburgh Mountains; The Giant Crab.; localities of Bororen, Turkey Beach, Lowmead, Rosedale.
Mount Colosseum National ParkFrom the highway near Miriam Vale, Mount Colosseum is a prominent feature on the skyline. Mount Colosseum is a volcanic dome and is the dominant feature on the skyline of the area. The dome rises to an elevation of 470 metres and is sparsely covered in hoop pines, while the dry rainforest below contains ironbarks and bloodwoods. Enjoy nature in this undeveloped park, but remember to take your own food and water. No facilities are provided and camping is not allowed. As yet there are no walking tracks in the park.
Turn off the Bruce Highway at Miriam Vale and drive 6 km east towards Seventeen Seventy until you come to a T-junction signposted 'Mount Colosseum 5 km'. Turn right and follow this road for 5 km to a Y-junction. Continue right and across the railway line. The gravel road takes you to the signposted park boundary.
Castle Tower National ParkTowering granite cliffs flank two large granite outcrops, Mount Castle Tower and Mount Stanley - the highest peak on the Many Peaks Range. There are no formal walking tracks or route markers within the park. Experienced, self-sufficient bushwalkers with skills in bush navigation can explore the park and enjoy panoramic views over the Boyne Valley, Lake Awoonga and Gladstone from the summits. Spectacular wildflower displays can be seen in late winter and spring.
Panoramic views over the Boyne Valley and Gladstone can be enjoyed from the summits of Mount Castle Tower and Mount Stanley the two highest peaks in the park. Mount Castle Tower is 475.5m above sea level and Mount Stanley is 690.9m.
Eurimbula National ParkDeepwater National Park and Eurimbula National Park are characterised by rainforests, native shrubs, open heathland, swamplands, coastal vegetation, waterholes, plenty of native animals and birdlife including emus. There are some lovely secluded beaches which afford excellent opportunities for swimming and both beach and rock-fishing.
You can obtain a camping permit, pay your fees and gain further information from the Seventeen Seventy National Parks office, tel: (07) 4974 9350. If you arrive at a park without a permit obtain one from the self-registration stand, complete it and place it in the self-registration box with money enclosed before setting up camp. No domestic animals, no generators and no open fires are permitted in the parks. Please use a gas or fuel stove for cooking.
To get to Eurimbula National Park from Agnes Water and Seventeen Seventy, head towards the Bruce Highway and Miriam Vale. On the way, ook out for the Eurimbula National Park sign. Turn onto the unsealed road and travel 4km to the park entrance. If you plan on travelling along the park's many tracks, high clearance four-wheel-drive vehicles with low range capacity are recommended.
Deepwater National ParkThe 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.
Be aware that swimming is not recommended in the coastal waters in this area there are strong currents and rips, sharks and marine stingers. The beach is not patrolled and help can be hours away. You can take a beach walk or rest and enjoy the beach environment beneath shady she-oaks. The beach is a vehicle-free zone.
From Agnes Water, travel along Springs Road for 4km, follow the unsealed, sand track to the park's northern boundary. Middle Rock camping area is 14km south of Agnes Water. Wreck Rock camping area is 17km south of Agnes Water.
Brief historyDuring his 1770 exploratory trip north along the east coast of Australia, Lieut. James Cook made his second landing here (the first was at Botany Bay). His visit is remembered in the name of the locality, Town of 19770. The building of the railway line through Miriam Vale in 1897 bought new people to the area. The timber industry was growing in the area and with it the need for a service town, hence Miriam Vale had established.
Origin of name: Arthur Chauvel discovered a large area of well grassed and watered country in 1853. He was so impressed with its scenery he named it Miriam Vale in honour of his sister Miriam who was considered to be very beautiful.
The timber industry has roots in the late 19th century, with early timber cutters working along the Bobby Range cutting hoop pine. In these early days hoop pine was cut and two timer chutes allowed logs to be shot to the foot of the range where bullock wagons were waiting. Evidence of these old chutes can still be found at the back of Boreelum on the sides of the range. The southern chute was on tram rails and consisted of two carriages. As the log was lowered down the mountain the other empty carriage was drawn to the top. This was achieved by a small overtaking siding in the middle. The other chute to the west was smaller and built out of logs. The timber was in most cases ferried to rail at Lowmead.
The dairy industry has the most claim to fame with a massive fig tree near the railway station being the drop off point of "cream cans" full of milk. This depot (being no more than a wooden stage) was the district dairy focal point. Locals would deliver the fresh milk to the depot where it was then loaded onto Claude's Truck for the trip to the Port Curtis Dairy (PCD). Fresh milk wasn't always the delivery and in the 1950s cream was separated on farms and delivered to town. Cream in those days was sold on "degrees of Rancid" (fresh, ripe, stale) as there was no refrigeration. The cream even then was going to the PCD in Gladstone.
A car rally passed through Miriam Vale in 1924; the stretch of road between Miram Vale and Gin Gin was said to the roughest of the rally. Across House Creek there is also evidence of an old speed way ground (circa 1970s) and if you look around the district you can find history in old horse race tracks.
In the 1970s signs at the entry to town proudly proclaimed "Welcome to Miriam Vale - Cattle, Tobacco, Timber and Dairy". The tobacco industry faded in the late 1970s followed by the dairy industry in the 1990s.