Burrum Heads is located about three and a half hours drive north of Brisbane and approximately half an hour from Hervey Bay and Maryborough, 50 kms from Maryborough. I lived in Burrum Heads 10 years ago, so decided to book into the Burrum Heads Caravan Park in Hillcrest Avenue and visit my old haunts. The Caravan Park has become huge. It now stretches from one end to the waterfront, and the last sites overlook the Parking area and the water. There are extra toilet facilities but basically it is just as I remembered it…the permanents on one side glowering at the temporary transit travellers in their caravans and camping vans. I was trying to park and the lady next door virtually told me to trot elsewhere as her friends were joining them. I was happy to do so and leave their barking dogs behind too. I parked my van and went for a walk to see the water to discover that little had really changed in the ten years I had been away.
The town was named after the Burrum River where, about 30 km upstream, coal was found and mined in the 1860s. Known as the Burrum and Howard coal fields, they continued to be mined until the 1990s. The origin of the name of the river possibly signified the river’s rocky bed in a local Aboriginal language.
European settlement at the river mouth began with Robert Travis, a selector of a homestead allotment in 1871. In 1888 a township was marked out and named Traveston (subsequently adjusted to Traviston). By the end of the nineteenth century residents of Howard and other inland areas visited Traviston for holidays, leading to a few beach cottages. Pugh’s Almanac (1924) recorded Traviston as a grazing settlement. Renamed Burrum Heads in 1950, the holiday spot reflected a preference for an out-of-the-way, ramshackle lifestyle, and its Anti-Progress Association (1966) achieved the exact opposite of its aim: Burrum Heads became a national news story.
The sunrises and the sunsets are truly magnificent and you can see both from the foreshore which is still lined with the same buildings that were there ten years ago. I am sure there is a story behind that dilapidated house that has had some restraining woodblocks and palettes added to stop the verandah falling down. The caravan park on the foreshore also looked exactly as I remember it. Maybe the same campers are still coming and camping there in the town that time muzzled and held tight and the same pelican stood and watched time go by.
In the 2016 census, Burrum Town had a population of 168 people and I doubt that there are many more added this year. Burrum Heads is essentially a small village visited by the same people who have been coming here for years. There are the same number of shops as there was 10 years ago. A supermarket, a butcher, a real estate agent, a fishing shop and one Take-Away serving mostly fish and chips in paper to caravanners queued up on the pavement. There used to be an Indian dress shop, but I cannot remember it still being there, and I do remember the skirt I bought from there, and the hairdresser was closed. I considered the vacant house next to the shops as I have been wanting to retire to Burrum Heads, but was told it is too close to the shops and attracts undesirables. I walked back to the van and read a book.
Its a great fishing place. Its a safe harbour for mooring your boat and there are more boats moored there than before, and a new boat ramp and a boat storage site suggests an attempt to increase boating and fishing in this area especially with all the new housing estates around Burrum Heads.
Check the tides before taking a boat out…… https://www.tideschart.com/Australia/Queensland/Hervey-Bay/