I refer to the proposed naming of the currently un-named road reserve which is the access leading to Gold Coast Marine Aquaculture address which is on the agenda for consideration at tomorrow’s Douglas Shire Council Ordinary meeting.
Douglas Shire Council Staff and Councillors will likely not be aware of the history and heritage of the portion of the road requested on behalf of the family business to be named “Noel Herbst Road”.
This road and its extension Easement A, SP222765 as shown on GCMA Site Plan Drawing No. 5555-P-00-01, is in fact part of the original 1880s Port Douglas Ferry Road which acted as a shortcut between Port Douglas and the settlement at Mossman River.
In 1993, together with Bill Pye (who was involved with the original Teamsters’ Memorial at Craiglie), he and I walked and identified this road as far as the fringing mangrove regrowth on Dickson Inlet. There is plenty of evidence to support the facts of this shortcut connection which by-passed the longer distance via Craiglie, for which there is documentary usage evidence as early as October 1886.
Two Ferry Reserves were gazetted in 1886 to allow a Ferryman to convey passengers in a punt rowed across the Inlet to and from Port Douglas. In the northern vicinity of what is now the prawn aquaculture business, the gravel road had been built up on top of the corduroyed original road and this mangrove wood layer was clearly visible in 1993. This method had been applied to the several shallow creek crossings between the mostly sand flats along the road.
Council may wish to investigate whether this route was used by the Indigenous occupants of this region but I do not find the 1985 walking track mapping work of Charlie McCracken includes this road – nor indeed why would local indigenous risk the mangrove access difficulty and the crossing of the crocodile infested Dickson Inlet at that point?
I urge Council to review the proposal at Item 5.7 which is neither significantly applicable to our Shire nor historically sensitive to this road.
My suggestion is that this road be aptly named “Old Ferry Road”.
Further, I do not see the necessity to barricade the continuing Easement A, SP222765, north of the prawn aquaculture business site since it is not trafficable nor inviting today through to the original Ferry Reserve. I include materials to support the bonafides of my research.
It is always difficult for Douglas Shire Council to properly assess these matters. It always seems that heritage has to be fought as a rearguard action (and not only in this Shire).
Council has budgeted for more work to be performed by Planning Officers on the Local Heritage Register during 2020/2021 but so far the “Ordinary Council Meeting – 30 June 2020 | Operational Plan for 2020-2021 | Theme 4 – Inclusive Engagement, Planning and Partnerships | Item 4.3.1” has not advanced.
Thank you for your time, and for considering my letter,