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Thursday, April 18, 2024

We must fight for the Bowen Jetty

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By Bruce Hedditch – Chairman Bowen Chamber of Commerce

THE COMMUNITY must realise that to save an historical icon in Bowen we need to fight, and this especially applies to the Bowen Jetty.

Bowen was officially proclaimed a settlement in 1861 and, only four years later in 1865, the Department of Harbours and Rivers commenced construction of the Bowen Jetty, which was completed in May 1867.

This officially established the Bowen Jetty as being part of our region and North Queensland, now numbering 157 years.

Here we have an historical asset that served Bowen and the region by providing coal and other mining exports, cattle, horse and mule transport, meat, agriculture and horticulture shipping facilities.

In 2013, the Bowen Chamber of Commerce wrote to Mr Brad Fish, the then CEO of North Queensland Bulk Ports, seeking an opportunity to further discuss the jetty and saving the jetty as a tourist feature, when no longer required by NQBP.

The Bowen community cannot sit idly and allow this structure to disappear into obscurity, we must fight to retain this jewel and I appreciate the Queensland Government has allocated $50m, on the basis it will assist for the replacement.

We don’t want the Bowen Jetty replaced, it must be repaired and renovated in its existing format – just because something has not been maintained correctly doesn’t mean the facility must be replaced.

I urge the community to stand and fight for our jetty and I urge Bowen residents to attend a meeting to hear the consultants representing North Queensland Bulk Ports outline their deliberations at a public meeting, on Tuesday, March 26, at the Bowen PCYC, starting at 12.30pm.

At one time in the operation of the Bowen Jetty there were 700 wharfies working at the jetty; where is the Trade Union movement assisting us in saving this history?

The saving of the Bowen Jetty is the responsibility of the whole community, together with business and the union movement, and the Whitsunday Regional Council.

Recently, the Bowen Neighbourhood Centre conducted a survey of the community to ascertain the views on the future of the jetty.

Of the 622 responses, 97.6 per cent opposed Bowen Jetty being demolished while 95.5 per cent would prefer to see the existing jetty repaired and restored, a pretty resounding result.

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