Captain James Cook rounded Sandy Cape in 1770 and found what is now
Fraser Island, he initially concluded it was part of the mainnland. Cook named the area "Hervey's Bay" after Augustus Hervey, at that time
Britain's First Lord of the Admiralty
In 11802 Matthew Flinders landede
at Sandy Cape and drew detailed maps of the bay.
Indigenous Aborigines had inhabited the area for generations,
but in 1850 acquired vast tracts of country for cattle rearing between
Booral and Burrum Heads.Pines growing along the foreshore attrcted timber
cutters in 1863 and by the mid 1860 the first five white settlers took
possession of seaside leases stretching from Point Vernon to Urangan.Each
of the land leases developed into small townships, with seaside lots
being bought up by wealthy businessmen from Maryborough and Gympie.
Boyle Martin, acknowledged as the first white settler in
the bay, took up land at Pialba, which soon became a small but thriving
seaside resort. Although Torquay, named after the English seaside resort
in Devon and Scarborough (now Scarness) also grew rapidly, the whole
area at that time was known as Pialba. Coal mining was initiated at
Howard in 1863 and limestone, bismuth, magnetite and mineral sands were
also mined. In 1883 two sugar mills opened in Hervey Bay and the population
of Pialba swelled to 85.
A railway line from Maryborough to Pialba was built in 1896,
substantially boosting visitors and sightseers to the bay. The construction
of Urangan pier in 1913 and the extension of the raiway line to serve
the pier, greatly facilitated the export of sugar, coal and coffee to
By the 1920s Hervey Bay's local industries included sugar
cane, citrus and pineapple plantations, cattle and fishing. The growing
popularity of the bay as a holiday destination was recognised even at
this point in time.
A 1964 land use survey shows residential and commercial
development hugging the beach from Gataker's Bay at Point Vernon to
the Urangan site where a boat harbour was built in the 1960s. Over the
years this evolved into the present impressive Urangan boat Harbour.
The 1970s saw Hervey Bay enter a growth period matched by
few other cities in Australia. The five resorts of point Vernon, Pialba,
scarness, Torquay and Urangan were still separate towns administered
by Burrum shire Council. By 1976 resident numbers were estimated at
9,100 and the town was beginning to assert itself.
Up to this time Hervey Bay had been a division of the Burrum
Shire council which stretched from near Mayborough to woodgate near
Childers. A strenuous push by Hervey Bay businessmen and shire councillors
now convinced the State Government to gazette Hervey Bay Shire Council
in 1976 and proclaimed a City on 18th February 1984.