History of CREEC



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History of Burpengary Creek

Imagine back in the 1800’s when there were indigenous people, the Gubbi Gubbi’s, who originally inhabited the land.   The name Burpengary is an aboriginal name meaning ‘the place of the green wattle tree’.  The land along the Burpengary Creek was significant the aborigines.  They would often camp along the creek in their assembled bark humpy’s and lived on the plentiful fish in the creek with their spears and nets.  The trees were ideal to make canoes, shields and shelter.


Sometime later, white men started inhabiting the land too.  In 1842, Robert Dixon developed the first map of the area and marked Burpengary Creek on it as Cuthbertson Creek.  In the mid to late 1800’s land bordering the Burpengary and Little Burpengary Creeks was changed forever when it was utilized for dairy farms on the flats, grazing cattle on the ridges.   White people did interact with the indigenous people and some of them worked on the farms.  The Aborigines would tell children about their fishing stories and show them their spears.  The last male of the local tribe, Menvil Wanmurarn, was buried alongside the Creek when he died in 1900. 


Joseph Bancroft purchased land along Burpengary Creek and gradually increased his property purchases, becoming the largest landholder in Deception Bay and Burpengary area.  During his time he made numerous and significant scientific and medical discoveries with his son Thomas (parasitologist) at Deception Bay.  They did many studies on parasites, native plants, crop development, plant disease and livestock disease.  Mosquitoes were in plentiful supply to assist with the research.  They collected and studied flora and fauna and gave over 1000 plants to the QLD Herbarium, some of which would have come from Burpengary Creek and many species of native trees, plants and insects bear the ‘Bancroft’ name.  The property became his station supporting Joseph’s research into botany & zoology, with his house situated right on the beach at Deception Bay. 


Banana plantations popped up and sugarcane was planted out closer to the coastal areas around Burpengary Creek.  

There are references of stone, quarried from the Burpengary creek to lay a small length of bitumen in 1924 from the creek, heading north for a few miles. This would probably be the Bruce Highway.


There were many farming families in which our local streets are named by today – Facers, Buckleys, O’Briens,  Fountains, Henderson’s and Torrens’s.  The Facer family moved to dairy farm on Rowley Rd in 1960.  On hot summer days they would go to the creek and swim in the water hole.  Growing up in Burpengary was very different back then.  The creek was a ‘children’s wonderland’ (and still is).  Swinging ropes and vines would be tied to trees along the banks.  Most of the time, the children would end up in the creek, especially if they didn’t choose a strong one.  Stories were told to grandchildren of the days when children would hold onto cow tail’s and swim across the flooded creek to bring the cow’s home for milking.  The creek water would cover the flats.


Some people were inspired by the creek and wrote about it:

At Burpengary Creek

So still it was, at Burpengary Creek,

The night we camped by torchlight, pitching tents

Beside great trees, whose silver, soaring trunks

Held high dark traceries of leaf and twig

To trap unwary stars on fragile nets.

And lazing by our ember fire, we watched

A car race through the night with a cone of light,

Leaving a darker darkness, sparked with red.

The full moon rose beyond a frieze of trees;

A possum paused, fantastic silhouette,

High on a branch.  In silent peace we slept

While drifting down came feint, elusive scent

Of honey flowers – at Burpengary Creek.

By Jean Edgecombe, published in the Burpengary State School magazine February 1962.


In the 1950’s dairy farming came to an end and farmers sold their land to the Australian Paper Manufacturers who grew pine trees on the land.  Again the land was changed forever with the introduction of pine trees, many native flora and fauna was pushed out.   You can still see remnants of pine plantations here today.  Clearing of pine trees were happened later in the 1990’s onwards and now most of the land bordering the creek is housing estates and of course our lovely environmental centre. 


Burpengary Creek also experienced its highest levels of flooding in February 1972 and January 2011.  Apart from the floodwaters changing the creek there has been some erosion.  Everyday more bush land is being cleared for the development to cater for the human population and its growth. It is estimated that less than 7.5% of the original vegetation within Burpengary Creek catchment remains. 


Research from: A trip through time Photographic treasures of Caboolture by Caboolture Shire Council, Deception Bay The history of a seaside village by Peter Osbourne and Thom Blake, In the shadow of the Glass House Mountains researched and compiled by Chris Edwards, The Living History of the Burpengary State School and Wikipedia.