The beautiful, inviting sub-tropical waters of Hervey Bay in Queensland are perfect in which to enjoy all manner of water sports. Kayaking, wind surfing, kite surfing, paddle boarding, swimming, sailing, boating, fishing – just to name a few . . .Dugongs. This section of reef is best accessed via the beach off Nielsens Park in Torquay.
Hervey Bay’s long, sandy beaches are lined with beautiful parks, gardens, walking / bike riding trails, shopping and eateries – all delighting in the views of this magnificent body of water.
The bay and its beaches enjoy a north facing perspective – bordered by the iconic, World Heritage Listed, Fraser Island to the eastward and the mainland to the west. Perhaps it is the unique, large, bowl-shape of the bay – with the huge opening across its northern edge, that attracts the Humpback Whales to stop, rest and play, whilst on route back to the Antarctic ??? The privilege of watching and sometimes interacting with these amazing animals literally stirs the soul – their sheer size surreal . . .
Hervey Bay was first observed by Captain Cook during his voyage around the world in 1770. He was responsible for naming many of the landmarks mapped for future explorers, for example:
Double Island Point – 18th May 1770 – (” . . . I have named it Double Island Point, on account of its figure . . . “)
Large Bay – 18th May 1770 – (” . . . and forms a large open bay . . . “)
Indian Point – 20th May 1770 – (” . . . a black bluff head or point of land, on which a number of the Natives were Assembled, which occasioned my naming it Indian Head . . . “)
Sandy Cape – 20th May 1770 – (” . . . The extreme point of the Shoal we judged to bear about North-West of us; and the point of land above-mentioned bore South 3/4 West, distant 20 Miles. This point I have named Sandy Cape on account of 2 very large white Patches of Sand upon it . . . “)
Break Sea Spit – 21st May 1770 – (” . . . From 6 fathoms we had the next Cast, 13, and then 20 immediately, as fast as the Man could heave the Lead; from this I did suppose that the West side of the Shoal is pretty steep too, whereas on the other side we had gradual Soundings from 13 to 7 fathoms. This Shoal I called Break Sea Spit, because now we had smooth water, whereas upon the whole Coast to the Southward of it we had always a high Sea or swell from the South-East . . . “)
Captain Cook did not name “Harvey” or “Hervey” Bay in his journal . . .
Interestingly, a map dated c 1780 notes ‘Wide Bay’ and ‘Sandy Cape’, however Hervey Bay remains unnamed, yet by 1788 a French map of “Cooks 1er Voyage” clearly notes the name “Baie d’Hervey”.
By the time Matthew Flinders mapped the area in the August of 1799, the maps clearly noted the name of “Hervey’s Bay”. Up until this time it was believed that Fraser Island as we know it today, was a peninsula. Matthew Flinders established that it was, in fact an island, the maps referring to the island as the “Great Sandy Island”, however:
” . . . The larger island, lying to the east, is richly covered with grass and wood. Its position is nearly in the middle of the entrance to what may be called the upper bay; and as no deep channel past the island could be found on the west, I determined to try on the east side; having much difficulty in believing, that a piece of water six or seven miles in extent every way, should not have a channel into it sufficiently deep for the Norfolk.
The anchor was weighed soon after four o’clock, and several attempts made to get round the larger island; but being constantly repulsed by shoals, I was at length forced to relinquish the hope of penetrating further up Hervey’s Bay. We then steered north-westward, to complete the examination of the west side down to the coast seen by captain Cook . . . “
Source: “A Voyage to Terra Australis . . . ” – by Matthew Flinders Commander of the Investigator – published 1814.
It was Lieutenant Dayman who successfully navigated a course through the channel between the “Great Sandy Island” and the mainland around the 10th November 1846:
” . . . A few days after our arrival at Port Curtis, the Asp, as our decked boat had been named, joined us, having made an important addition to the surveys of this portion of the coast. On his passage up from Brisbane, Lieutenant Dayman, under the unexpected circumstances of finding that the Rattlesnake had sailed, instead of coasting along the eastern side of Great Sandy Island, thus involving the necessity of rounding Breaksea Spit, determined upon trying the passage between that island and the mainland leading into Hervey Bay; this he fortunately succeeded in accomplishing, although under difficulties which his sketch (since published by the Admiralty) will lessen to those who may require to use the same previously little known channel . . . “
Source: Excerpt – “Voyage of HMS Rattlesnake Vol 1” – by John Macgillivray – published 1852
Finally, to the name “Hervey Bay”, as we know it today . . .
The following excerpt of a newspaper article, published in the ‘Brisbane Courier’ on the 5th April 1924 does suggest that Captain Cook did name the bay, though it is not recorded on the maps of the time nor in: “Captain Cook’s Journal during his First Voyage Round the World made in H.M. Bark ‘Endeavour’ 1768-71 – A Literal Transcription of the Original MSS with Notes and Introduction by Captain W.J.L. Wharton, R.N., F.R.S. – Hydrographer of the Admiralty – Illustrated by Maps and Facsimiles” 1768-71 – published in 1893″:
” . . . “To this bay I gave the name of Hervey’s Bay, in honour of Captain Hervey.” This is what Doctor Hawkesworth makes Captain Cook say in his account of the great navigator’s first voyage, when dealing with the deep bay to the southward, when he sailed from Sandy Cape to the mainland in May, 1770. It was not thought necessary when Cook’s voyage was published to say who was the Captain Hervey thus honoured. Every one in the navy new Captain Hervey, and shortly afterwards every one in England was talking talking about him and his wife. She figures in Smith’s “Immortal” Leading Cases, its Pendennis called them, for she was the subject of “The Duchess of Kingston’s case” decided by the House of Lords. Captain Hervey was Augustus John Hervey, son of the Lord Hervey who wrote the Memoirs of the Reign of George II and uncle of “Fighting Fitzgerald.” Hervey Fitzgerald, of the Queensland place mentioned by General Spencer Browne in a recent article in the “Courier,” was connected with him. Augustus John Hervey was born in 1724, and entered the navy at the age of 12. As a lieutenant he met, at Winchester races in 1744, the notorious Elizabeth Chudleigh [?], one of Queen Caroline’s maids of honour and married her secretly at night. This was before the time of Lord Hardwicke’s Marriage Act and the marriage was valid and binding. It did not interfere with Hervey’s professional career, and in 1747 he became a post captain. His bravery and good seamanship, combined with his generosity, made him an exceedingly popular commander. He was captain of the “Centurion” 30 guns, when the Peace of Paris was signed in 1763. He had for some years been in Parliament and henceforth he gave up all his energies to political life. His elder brother became Lord Lieutenant of Ireland in 1766, and Captain Hervey was appointed his Chief Secretary. He was afterwards a Lord of the Admiralty. His relations with his wife involved one of the great scandals of the 18th century. The marriage was dissolved by the Ecclesiastical Court in 1769, but it was said that there was collusion, and Mrs. Hervey, who had gone through a ceremony of marriage with the Duke of Kingston, was afterwards convicted of bigamy. Captain Hervey succeeded as third Earl of Brighton [?] in 1775, and afterwards became Vice Admiral of the Blue. He died in 1779, and was succeeded by his brother Frederic, the eccentric Bishop of Derby. The Herveys were a remarkable family, and their peculiarities gave rise to a popular saying which divided the human race into “men, women, and Herveys.” . . . “
Source: Excerpt – “Hervey’s Bay – Discovery and Exploration – No. I” – by W. Cumbrae Stewart – published in ‘The Brisbane Courier” on Saturday, 5th April 1924
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