Kilcoy

A quiet rural centre which was made famous by reports of a mythical Yowie wandering about in the woods. Official statistics record over 3,000 sightings of Yowies throughout Australia between 1975 and 1979. A statue, based on descriptions from claimed observations, is in Yowie Park in Hope Street, Kilcoy. For unbelievers, there is also an indoor sports complex in Yowie Park.

Location: 94 km north west of Brisbane via the D'Aguilar Highway; 50 km west of Caboolture; 125 m above sea level.

The Jimna Forest Fire Tower was opened in 1977. A 47 metre structure it afforded panoramic views of the surrounding ranges including hoop pine plantations and native forests. Despite its listing on the Queensland heritage register in 2000, the wooden based tower was threatened with demolition since 2006.

The Kilcoy region is a rich Aboriginal cultural landscape. Mount Archer was known as Buruja, and also the name of a wetland near Villeneuve that was one of the main camps of the Dungidau clan. Bora rings existed at ‘Wellcourt’ on Somerset Dam and at Sandy Creek east of Kilcoy, Oaky Creek and Waraba Creek The junction of the Brisbane and Stanley Rivers was known as Gunundjin, meaning a ‘hollow place’, and a sacred place, called Gairnbee Rock, recalled a dreaming story of a girl who went swimming there and was turned by her father, a gundir (clever man) by magic into a rock to save her from a dangerous evil spirit. The Stanley River was also called Gairnbee, meaning the water gum. The Brisbane River was known as Mairwar or Mairrwarrh, meaning ‘platypus’ in Dungidau.

Somerset DamSomerset Dam was constructed between 1935 and 1959 with suspension of construction during the Second World War. The dam is situated on the Stanley River approximately 220 km upstream from the mouth of the Brisbane River. Construction of the Somerset Dam created jobs and in 1953 Kilcoy Pastoral Company established the meat works and has steadily increased production to what it is today.

Natural features: Yabba Creek; Conondale Range; Red Bluff; Sheep Station Creek; Conondale National Parks

Heritage features: Kilcoy Station Homestead (6 km north-east, 1850s); The Australian Narrow Gauge Railway Museum Society

Origin of name: derived from the name of a pastoral run, the name first used in 1842 by pastoralists Sir Evan (1816-1883) Colin Mackenzie, after the Mackenzie's birthplace of Kilcoy in Rosshire, Scotland. Originally called Kilcoy, the township changed its name to Hopetoun 1892 (after Capt. Louis Hope (1817-1894) grazier, sugar miller and planter, who ran the Kilcoy pastoral property, 1858-94). It was then was changed back to Kilcoy 1906 because of confusion with similar place names in Victoria and Western Australia.


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Brief history

Scottish migrants opened up the area in the early 1840s and cleared land to run beef and dairy cattle. In 1842 on the outskirts of Kilcoy Station, 30-60 Native Aborigines of the Kabi Kabi (or gubi gubi) died from eating flour laced with strychnine or arsenic. The Mackenzies were admonished for this mass killing by attorney-General John Hubert Plunkett (1802 - 1869), who threatened prosecution if an official complaint was lodged. Up until the early 1990s Evan Mackenzie was a prime suspect but recent research suggests that he himself was probably not responsible for the massacre, since he was in Sydney at the time. The property's English overseer disappeared upon Mackenzie returning. Mackenzie appears to have organised a conspiracy of silence to protect the Englishman.

Mackenzie sold the property in 1854 to Capt. Louis Hope who built the heritage listed Kilcoy Station Homestead. Timber felling and milling was also important in the early development of Kilcoy, which was founded in the 1890s.

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