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Hopevale

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Hopevale: Where To Go / Sightseeing

Mary Watson Monument Cooktown


This monument was erected in 1886 by the residents of Cooktown honouring Mrs Mary Watson. Mary, her infant son and Chinese employee Ah Sam, perished from thirst and exposure after fleeing Lizard Island in October 1881. Ironically the memorial includes a water fountain.

Mary Watson's husband Robert had worked a b?che-de-mer processing operation on the island and both lived there after their 1880 marriage. Two Chinese men, Ah Sam and Ah Leong, assisted in the house and garden. Mary gave birth to her son in mid-1881. In September there was a conflict with an Aboriginal group while Robert was away. Ah Leong was killed and Ah Sam wounded.

Mary, the baby, and Ah Sam launched a cut-down ship's tank, and left the island on 1 October. They made it to No 5 Howick Island, which unfortunately lacked fresh water. Mary's last diary entry was on 11 October 1881. Returning to find signs of an attack and his wife and child missing, Watson searched in vain. Mary Watson, her son and Ah Sam's remains were found in January 1882. Mary Watson's story saw her raised to heroic status in Queensland's history.




Charlotte Street
Cooktown, QLD, 4895

Located 17.2K from Hopevale

Cooktown War Memorial


Recruitment for WWI in the Cooktown region drew men from the tin mining industries around Rossville and Shiptons Flat to the south.

After the war, the population of the town was small and early ANZAC commemorations were low key. In 1934 the citizens of Cooktown revived ANZAC Day marking the 16th anniversary of the stand at Villiers Brettoneux. A temporary cenotaph was established at the Cook Memorial. This became the location for future Anzac ceremonies for many years.

The Cook Memorial, a tall sandstone column, is located to the north of ANZAC Park, was unveiled in 1888 when Australia was celebrating its centenary.

The Cooktown RSL later built a memorial to both WWI and WWII soldiers in a park in the main street, renamed ANZAC Memorial Park. The memorials comprise two granite boulders with metal plaques, the largest of which commemorates all who served in WWI. The smaller listing for WWII service reflects the dwindling of the town in the mid-twentieth century. The second boulder is a general war memorial.




Charlotte Street
Cooktown, QLD, 4895

Located 17.4K from Hopevale

James Cook Historical Museum Cooktown


The James Cook Historical Museum is housed in the former St Mary's Convent for the Sisters of Mercy, built in 1888-9.

Cooktown's economy was buoyant due to the town's role as a port for the region's mineral wealth, dominated by the Palmer River goldmines. The local Catholic Priest was appointed Bishop in 1887, and prioritised the establishment of the convent, day and boarding school for girls. Financed by his Irish relatives, the building was designed by former colonial architect FDG Stanley.

As gold production declined so did Cooktown. Businesses that were not prospering didn't rebuild after the destruction of the 1907 cyclone. St Mary's continued to operate until the 1930s. It was occupied by the US military during World War Two and then abandoned and earmarked for demolition.

The building was saved and donated to the National Trust for use as the James Cook Historical Museum. The grounds have been landscaped as the Joseph Banks Memorial Garden, planted with species identified by Banks and Dr Solander during their seven week stay at the Endeavour River in 1770. The museum holds many items related to the large Chinese population of Cooktown, including items from a temple formerly located on Charlotte Street.




Furneaux Street
Cooktown, QLD, 4895

Located 17.6K from Hopevale

Cooktown Cemetery


The Cooktown cemetery has been in continuous use since the town was established in October 1873. The cemetery was proclaimed in 1875 with trustees representing each of the denominations in Cooktown; Church of England, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Hebrew and Wesleyan Methodist. Despite the large Chinese population there, no Chinese representative was appointed.

The entrance gate faces the road to the Palmer River, where gold discoveries led to Cooktown becoming a port. An internal road leads from the gate and forks in the middle of the reserve. The track to the west terminates at a Chinese Shrine with a low concrete altar. Nestled amongst the trees in the north-west of the cemetery is a brick well, evidence of the Chinese market gardeners who once worked there.

The rest of the site is divided into denominations by the unsealed paths. Significant graves within the site include that of Mary Watson who died of thirst escaping Lizard Island, 90 kilometres to the north-east; mariner Albert Ross Hovell, son of the explorer William Hovell, known for his involvement in 'blackbirding', or procuring Islanders to work as labourers; and Mother Mary De Sales Meagher, founder of the Sisters of Mercy Convent in Cooktown.




Charlotte Street
Cooktown, QLD, 4895

Located 17.8K from Hopevale

Cooktown Botanic Gardens and Gallop Botanic Reserve


Nature's Powerhouse Visitor Information Centre at the Cooktown Botanic Gardens provides all the information you need to explore this site. Established in 1878 as the Gallop Botanic Reserve, it comprises a formal botanic garden, and a substantial natural forest and ocean frontage.

It commemorates the work of naturalists Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander on HMS Endeavour who collected and documented botanical specimens from the district in 1770. A century later Cooktown was the main port for the Palmer River gold fields. Thousands of Chinese landed here, later settling in Cooktown. The Chinese had market gardens here and produced charcoal from timber felled on site.

After the declaration of a botanical reserve, a road was built, a nursery established and trees and shrubs ordered from the Acclimatisation Society in Brisbane. During the 1890s, stone lined paths, stone pitched pools and stone-work bridges were built and the nursery supplied ornamental trees for Cooktown. The gardens suffered in the 1907 cyclone, were closed after World War One and were not rebuilt until 1979. The gardens now boast an exotic plant section, a palm garden, a native plants section and 'Solander's Garden' which is used by tourists and locals for recreational and educational purposes.




Finch Bay Road
Cooktown, QLD, 4895

Located 18.3K from Hopevale

Mount Cook National Park


This park features the rugged Mount Cook, which provides a scenic backdrop to the town of Cooktown. Rainforest and tropical woodlands with a heath understorey cover the upper slopes and sheltered gullies. Mount Cook was named after Lieutenant James Cook, navigator and explorer, who had repaired the Endeavour in 1770 where Cooktown now stands, after damaging it on the reefs off Cape Tribulation.

Take the steep two kilometre walk to the lookout for scenic views over the Great Barrier Reef and coastline. Climb one kilometre further to Mount Cook's summit. See large granite boulders covered with ferns. Look for tree snakes and lace monitors. Take binoculars for birdwatching.





Ida Street
Cooktown, QLD, 4895

Located 19.4K from Hopevale

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