Where Did The Name Agnes Water Come From

Where Did The Name Agnes Water Come From? Agnes Water local historian, the late Arthur Jeffery would reply; Agnes Water is thought to take its name from the schooner ‘Agnes’.

Although Daniel Clowes had a daughter named Agnes, it is for that the coastline and beach area were called Agnes Water before the Clowes settled there.

The 66 ton schooner ‘Agnes’took on cargo and 12 passengers at Mackay and left for Brisbane on 7th of June, 1873. Meeting heavy weather a week later she entered Pancake Creek the shelter and additional ballast, leaving there 15th of June the ‘Agnes’ was never seen again.

The Queensland Premier refused requests to send a vessel to search the case for the ‘Agnes’ or survivors.

What if Survivors reached shore and waited in vain for rescue parties?

In the early 1900s some locals were of the opinion that Captain Cook visited Agnes Water in the Endeavour, and named it after his daughter. In April 1923 the Brisbane Courier published a letter stating as much, along with other snippets about the Agnes Water area.

Henry L Cramer of Rosedale Station wrote a letter in response, which should Brisbane Courier published on page 18 of 8 September, 1923 edition. It contains an account, told by Daniel Clowes, as to the naming of Agnes Water.

Daniel Clowes was on Rosedale Station of the time, having left Agnes Water after his father died in 1891, the graves of these parents, Rachel and Daniel Clowes, can be seen under the figtree in Tom Jeffrey Memorial Park, Agnes Water.

In part the letter stated:

Mr Clowes and his brother and father were on Broad Water, formerly known as East Taunton in 1877. During their time on East Taunton they missed some of their cattle, and they could not make out where they had strayed. So after a time they set out on horseback and road towards a coast, which they reached at Sundown, and For the night.

During the time they were looking for cattle, which eventually they found, they came across a blazed tree that had a carving on it, and on closer inspection they found the carving was the word ‘Agnes’, with the date ‘1864 ‘underneath. They then name the place Agnes Water.

Mr D Clowes informs me that during a conversation with Mr R Rookby, (should be T Rooksby), the then keeper of the Bustard Head Lighthouse, relative to the inscription on the tree, he learned from Mr Rooksby that, in 1864, a schooner was sighted from the Bustard Head Lighthouse at 4 o’clock in the afternoon, making for Agnes Water.

There was a very heavy squall at the time and after it was over there was no sign of the vessel. It is surmised one of the crew members must of rich land and carved on the tree the name and the date. But he was never seen or heard off. It is also surmised the name of the schooner was the Agnes, thus accounting for the inscription.

In 1878, in the month of April, or about 12 months after taking up East Taunton, Mr Clowes and his brother and father went to Agnes Water. I have seen some photographs of the first humpy Mr Clowes built there, also when they built their first house. Mr Clowes also has a photograph of the graves of his father and mother, who died about 40 years ago, and were buried their. Mr Clowes is the only surviving member of the family at the present time.

What about the date 1864? The Agnes was lost in 1873. Daniel Clowes was recounting an event more than 40 years earlier, so an imperfect memory was understandable.

Regarding the Agnes, the late Arthur Jeffrey wrote; during the 1930s Wilf Crow, who was intimate with that part of the coast, was fishing in calm weather and found an old wreck some miles north of Wreck Rock, that of an old time she had that would be much too small for the wreck of the Countess Russell. A steel shipped support and brass bikes are embedded in the rocks, but the wreck is only uncovered during certain currents and visible only in calm water.

This wreck has never been officially investigated, it is possible that this wreck is close to where the blaze tree was found by Daniel Clowes!

More on the region’s history can be found in the Museum on Springs Road, Agnes Water.