Oxley Creek Transformation - Sergeant Dan Stiller Memorial Reserve headcut

The History

Oxley Creek was first known as Benarrawa, and its surrounding catchment provided abundant resources for the Jagera People, the Turrbal People and the Jinibara People. The region is also significant to other Traditional Owners, including the Yugumbir People, near the Logan River.

John Oxley was the first to sail into Oxley Creek in December 1823. He originally named the creek the 'Canoe Creek' in recognition of the first Europeans to reach the creek, Thomas Pamphlett, John Finnegan, Richard Parsons who reached the area after being shipwrecked on Stradbroke Island. They were shown into the Brisbane River, and also to Oxley Creek, by the local people who helped the ex-convicts by loaning them canoes. But by 1825 it had become known as Oxley Creek.

Convicts were brought into the area to construct the first penal settlement road between Brisbane and Limestone (now Ipswich) during 1828-29, with the first free settlement on Oxley Creek in 1850.

The creek was named in honour of John Oxley who first sailed into it in December 1823. Oxley Creek was first known as Benarrawa.

Oxley Creek has always been a hard-working creek. Sustaining indigenous life for millennia, it quickly became the lifeblood of colonial Brisbane. Sand and cobbles from the creek paved the first streets while timber cut from the banks raised the city that followed. Farms on the floodplain fed the growing colony as factories set the foundation for the city's thriving economy. This area was used by various industries from timber logging and sawmills, brickworks and sand quarries to agricultural land for cattle, sheep, pigs, sugar, cotton, maize and potatoes.

The first railway between Brisbane and Ipswich opened in 1876, prompting increased development and greater land subdivision.

Local industries took on national significance during the war years. Rocklea’s wartime munitions and armaments works became the bedrock of the prosperous manufacturing industry while Archerfield Airport kickstarted Brisbane's aviation sector. Holden began building cars at Acacia Ridge in the 60s, the Brisbane Markets moved to Rocklea, and the area became known as Brisbane’s industrial powerhouse.

Oxley Creek catchment continues today as a major industrial hub and a critical part of the region's transport network. It's also home to diverse and multicultural communities and one of the city's few remaining greenfield sites suitable for new housing.

Transforming the impacts of industry and development on a creek system that still bears the scars of yesterday’s activities is a major challenge. Catchment groups, bushcare groups, indigenous communities and hundreds of volunteers have worked hard to restore the creek, with a focus on practical, on-the-ground projects and rehabilitation efforts. The Lord Mayor's Oxley Creek Catchment Taskforce unified and intensified these recovery efforts in recent years, paving the way for the work of Oxley Creek Transformation.

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