Arriving at St. Lawrence just before sunset works perfectly for viewing of the wetlands located behind the Recreation Area. Dawn and dusk are the best times for Kangaroo viewing and photography. Despite having driven past the turn off many times on trips from Townsville to Brisbane, we had not investigated the town previously.
This time we found the St. Lawrence free recreation ground on the WikiCamps Australia App and spent the last night of our Townsville to Gold Coast Caravan trip, there.
The town is tiny really but has a vibrant past.
In the late afternoon the wetlands, shrunken due to drought conditions, attract a large mob of kangaroos. A zoom lens is required to photograph the kangaroos when the water level is low as they stay near the water and the walkway is fenced.
Kangaroos getting in some fighting practice.
When the well maintained dirt/gravel track to the wetlands turns left, another continues on to who knows where. The walkways seemed extensive and well planned.
The boxing Kangaroos were too engrossed to worry about intruders, but some others pricked their ears up and kept watch.
A timber hide structure overlooks the billabong where black swans, geese, ducks and Ibis are silhouetted in the setting sun. The wetlands support a straw-necked Ibis population of 15,000.
The St. Lawrence town population is only 160, however the streets are wide with some nicely restored old buildings. Established midway between Mackay and Rockhampton, it became one of Queensland’s first ports. A meat-works opened in 1893, exporting both canned and casked meat until 1903.
The Court House and Police Station built in 1870’s. Painted in original colours, it was last used as a Magistrate’s Court in 1992.
Originally the Customs House then sold to the Broadsound Council in 1901.
The Australia Post Office also sells groceries, gifts and swaps gas bottles.
Bottom Right. The library is the old Railway Building restored. The pub is closed Mondays.
The remains of the meat-works – a collection of rusty boilers and a scrap heap of metal offcuts – are down Settlement Road near Newport Conservation Park.
These century old relics could easily be mistaken for an Aussie Bush Art Installation.
A short drive through the conservation area leads to Waverley Creek boat ramp, confusingly located in Meatworks Creek! Broadsound, the bay the town is built on, is known for it’s 9 metre tidal range, the largest on the East Coast of Australia. The theory is that St. Lawrence was named after Canada’s St. Lawrence River which also has huge tides.
The boat ramp totally covered by the previous tide, now with only a trickle of water in it.
To the right of the boat ramp, a board walk takes a right turn behind the mangroves before narrowing and becoming a slippery mess. Evidently it culminates in a jetty built by a professional fisherman. What state the jetty is in is anybody’s guess.
I started asking questions about the history of St. Lawrence and was thrilled by this quote from a local.
The history of St. Lawrence is a very interesting one. It was an important place back in the 1860’s and 70’s when it was also known for Goats, Girls, Glass Bottles and Grog. In it’s hey day there were 4 pubs and the streets were packed with horse and bullock teams making their way to the wharf with loads of wool and copper from the interior.
The following photos were provided by Meg Sargent from her father’s collection.
The meat works when in production. Probably taken in 1900. It ceased production in 1902/3.
Image provided by Meg Sargent.
Store Shed Stumps Waverley Creek 1930’s
Image provided by Meg Sargent.
The Brinwar ship at Waverley Creek Wharf. It was later destroyed in a 1918 cyclone.
Image provided by Meg Sargent.
The amount of people drawn to out of the way towns by free/low cost camping can only boost local economies.
Budget Travel Talk
At the moment the Recreation Camp Ground is free/donation, but will change to $10/night/camp by Parkmobile App shortly. Signage will be erected when this takes place. The camp has a tiled amenity building with free cold showers and gold coin operated hot showers. Considering the nearby wetlands which can be accessed without charge from the grounds this is excellent value.
Centenary Pavilion houses some old farm machinery and relics. (Near the tennis courts)
Library has internet access for locals and visitors.
St. Lawrence Cemetery graves from 1800. Register available at Council/Library.
Anglican Church built 1898 – monthly services for all denominations.
Seasonal fruit and veg stall on the road between the Camp ground and town.
Good fishing and crabbing (watch those tides though).
This post is linked to Noel’s Travel Photo Discovery. Noel shares his amazing photographs on Travel Photo Monday. This week from London.
I am co-hosting Travel Photo Thursday with Nancie from Budget Travelers Sandbox – add your link at the bottom!
What an interesting town – nice to know a bit about its history. Great photos Jan 🙂
Thanks Lyndal, it was such a surprise!
Janet aka Middle Aged Mama
Despite the fact we’ve driven to Mackay and back numerous times to visit family (the hubster grew up in Mackay), I don’t think we’ve ever actually stopped in St Lawrence. Next time!!!
Yes do it Janet!
What an interesting place. My gosh those late years of the 18th Century were full of pioneers, beer and no doubt brawling – but interesting times. It looks a very serene spot now 😉
I loved that quote so much – I would loved to have seen those days.
Hi Jan, love your photos, what a great trip. I love reading about the history to. Kangaroos, I never know whether to feel safe or scared x
I would not get close to a wild kangaroo but we were a fair distance away so they did not feel threatened. They’re gorgeous though and seeing them in their own environment was the best thing of all.
I really love the architectural styles of old Australia, it really exudes a sense of place and what amazing landscape and fauna.
That’s true Noel. My eyes have been opened to a different Australia since we have taken up free camping.
St Lawrence looks like an interesting historical town. I always love learning the history of places I visit. The Wetlands look like they are thriving with birdlife. Love the fighting kangaroos!
I loved those kangaroos too Kathy!
What an interesting place! The light during your time watching the roos is just stunning. 🙂
It was lovely light. We could have arrived 15 minutes earlier so as not to be rushed.
Linda ~ Journey Jottings
I love all your photographs and the historical images – Now this really is a spot to stop and be in the moment 😉
Definitely an in the moment place and experience Linda!
Life Images by Jill
St Lawrence looks like a lovely and fascinating place to visit. I love those old Queenslander houses, and we are always on the lookout for free camping. I enjoyed your post Jan. Happy travels and have a great week.
I love free camping and the experiences like St. Lawrence that it has delivered Jill.
Toni | 2 Aussie Travellers
So many interesting little town to explore in this huge country, how will we ever get to all of them. I love the golden hour and sunset shots.
I’m excited at the thought Toni. 🙂
What an interesting place – such a mix of nature and history in a small spot! The historic photos are great – it’s always so interesting to see how places change over time.
I agree Cindy. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to time travel back for just a short time? I would love to have seen the bullock teams and horses, but I’d much prefer modern toilets to the Dunny out the back.
Ruth - Tanama Tales
I love to camp too. Great to know that there is an app that let you search for campsites. I do not think we have something similar in here. So many kangaroos. Do them come close to the campgrounds?
I believe that you do have a Wikicamps app too Ruth. These roos were close to the campgrounds but they stayed near the Wetlands. Kangaroos will come into a campground if they are used to being fed by tourists. If it is a small mob and they are used to interacting with humans they don’t pose a problem. If it is in an area where a wild kangaroo arrives on the scene they can jump and hit you in the chest with their rear legs (a sign of agression). It happened to a friend of mine on her acreage property and she was very bruised and sore. She was a wildlife carer but she was not caring for the one that kicked her, he just came onto the property from the bush.
I loved your sunset photos from St Lawrence Wetlands, especially the one of the swan! Breathtaking!
That was a magic moment too!
Pinay Flying High
160 population? Wow! I would love to see a town like that, I bet it’s very unique and original. I love how tiny the courthouse/police station is. 🙂
Definitely unique. We didn’t have time to visit the pub, but it looked like a beauty.
This looks like a really interesting place to visit with the history and wildlife. The pics of the kangaroos are great!
I’m so happy that you liked the kangaroo photos Ruth, I was delighted to see them and be able to capture it.
Hi Jan. I love this little town, and your photos are gorgeous. I was surprised to read of its names connection to Canada. I had to check about the high tides, and it’s true. For some reason I never associated the St. Lawrence with high tides. In school I remember learning about its lock system, but nothing about tides. That could be because the highest tides in the world are in the Bay of Fundy which is in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. We learned about those tides because the are close to home 🙂
I wonder of the pub can fit the entire town on pub night 🙂
Thanks for co-hosting Travel Photo Thursday this week. #TPThursday
I knew about the Bay of Fundy tides and thought that the St. Lawrence tides must have been the same (it’s sort of the same area lol). That pub looks like an old beauty, I would have liked to have gone inside but it was before opening time.
Anita @ No Particular Place To Go
I’d love to visit this beautiful and out-of-the-way place with kangaroos, ibis and gorgeous scenery. The history of this outpost is fascinating and I love looking at the old photos and imagining the rough and rowdy old days!
Exactly Anita, I want to see it in the old days. It would have been the exact opposite to the quiet place it is today.
worked at Waverley station 1967 as a 20 year old lerned to milk a cow there wolud like to visit again before i go