The coastal town of Yeppoon, located in Central Queensland, Australia, is famous for its pristine beaches, the tropical climate the region enjoys with its warm winter temperatures, and the numerous islands to be found out on its bay. It is the principal town of what is known as the Capricorn Coast, a series of coastal communities that stretch for over 150 kilometres. It is a popular tourist destination for both international visitors and local miners from areas like Central Queensland, and there are 27 different islands to be found off its shores. The town also hosts the Yeppoon Cup, a popular horseracing event, annually, although the damage wreaked by Cyclone Marcia played havoc with this event in 2015.
The History of the Yeppoon Area
The Australian areas now known as the Capricorn Coast were once part of the traditional lands of the Darumbal Aborigines, and were first settled in 1865 by the Ross family. The major industries of Yeppoon were various fruit crops, as well as cattle and wool, although there was an attempt to introduce sugar cane crops that took place from the years 1883 to 1903. This venture failed due to the unseasonal rains the area underwent during this period, and a lack of financial support that would otherwise have allowed this undertaking to succeed despite the setbacks. As a result, the mainstay of local agriculture in this town became pineapples, mangoes, and other tropical fruit, with cattle grazing and fishing also making large contributions to the local economy, along with the increase in traffic the town experiences each year thanks to the Yeppoon Cup.
History – Cyclone Marcia and the Yeppoon Cup in 2015
On the 20th of February 2015 the tropical cyclone Marcia managed to cross the Capricorn Coast near the Shoalwater Bay as a category five cyclone, meaning that it had winds of above 137kn, or 252km per hour. Cyclone Marcia destroyed more than 150 houses in Yeppoon and left tens of thousands of residents without power. The various areas affected by this cyclone suffered at least AU$750 million worth of damage, and extensive rebuilding has since had to be undertaken.
Yeppoon’s famous horse race, the Yeppoon Cup, had been set to take place on the 2nd of May 2015, but had to be postponed as the town’s race club attempted to pick up the pieces following the devastation wreaked by the cyclone. Many areas of the racing course sustained serious damage, and the repair work was ongoing, necessitating the delay for the horse racing event.
The Yeppoon Cup, an open handicap race run over the distance of 1400 metres, was rescheduled to take place at the Yeppoon Racing Club’s next race meeting, on Saturday the 29th of August of this year, and thanks to the hard work of the Yeppoon community, it went off without a hitch.
Almost AU$200 000 worth of damage was inflicted on the racecourse, but by the time the rescheduled Yeppoon Cup race took place on the 29th of August, with Hard Liquor, Iownaprince and Slim Henry clinching the top three places, there was little evidence of what the town had so recently undergone, thanks to the massive outpouring of volunteer work the community racetrack was able to take advantage of.