Captain Creek – Sailor or Cow?

Leading up to the 1770 Festival in May 2020, we are all about anything Captain Cook: from the Endeavour replica visiting the bay and historical monuments, to sailor hats and commemorative souvenirs. We are also about busting some myths, today, one in particular – Captain Creek.

Located 17km from the town centre of Agnes Water lies Captain Creek. A quiet rural community with a common misconception. Being within close proximity of Cook’s second Australian landing at the Town of 1770, many have forever believed that Captain Creek was named after this particular man and moment in history.

However, this is bullocks, literally.

The real naming of Captain Creek came from a lead steer in the local bullock team. What is a bullock team you ask?

A bullock is a mature, desexed bull. Bullocks are usually harnessed in pairs as their strong necks make them ideally suited to wearing a wooden yoke which efficiently transfers their draught power through a chain or pole to the load. When two or more pairs of bullocks are harnessed together to perform draught work, you have a bullock team.

The lead steer in the local bullock team was named Captain, he was loyal, strong and a fearless leader. Sadly, for Captain, during the lead of a tedious job he was first into a deep muddy creek and ended up perilously stuck. Despite the best efforts to free Captain from the sucking capture of the creek, he unfortunately passed away.

As a tribute to this much-loved animal the creek was forever named Captain Creek.

And now, almost 400 people reside in the bush setting of Captain Creek, with properties large enough to run cows and other livestock, but no regular sightings of bullock teams.

Fun facts:

  • The driver of the bullocks is called a bullocky.
  • One bullocky could drive up to 30 Bullocks at a time.
  • Bullock teams peaked in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
  • Captain Cook wasn’t a Captain when he visited the coastline of Agnes Water& 1770.
  • Lieutenant James Cook never made it that far inland to ever consider naming the location of Captain Creek.

Author: fabienne

DCTC Vise president

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