Upon arrival at the Bligh Street access to Hiliards Creek a resident Striated Heron offers a greeting of sorts. Like an old man with hunch back, he lurks, amidst mangroves foraging on mudflats. Its depth and protected tidal pull is such that paddling is effortless. A well worn thoroughfare for first nation peoples and also the new arrivals of the past 200 years and their industry.

Despite a hefty utilitarian history it’s extraordinary aesthetic value can be found in the complex and contrasting ecologies of salt marsh colours and entangled mangrove root watched over by paired Brahminy Kite soaring above.

“The Geoff Skinner wetlands form a large portion of the creek’s foreshore area bordering the Moreton Bay Marine Park.  It contains a number of critical high tide wader bird roost sites giving it very high conservation significance (Wader Site Data Collation and Survey Project for South East Queensland 1997, Department of Environment – collated by Gregory Miller).  A Management Proposal was drafted for the Geoff Skinner wetlands in December 1996 by Greenspace (a consultancy located in Wellington Point).  Given the age of the document, and did not include any stakeholder consultation, it is recommended that a new management plan should be developed at the earliest opportunity”.

Retrieved from http://web01.redland.qld.gov.au/robo/plans/hilliards_creek_mp/Wetlands.htm August 29 2017

“Waterways description

Hilliards Creek rises in the low hills of Sheldon and Thornlands either side of Taylor Road. Woodlands Drive forms part of the catchment boundary between Hilliards and Eprapah Creeks catchments. Hilliards Creek upper branches meet just north of Boundary Road and flows northward, through Alexandra Hills and Ormiston, draining into Central (Moreton) Bay. The creek is about 13km long.

The freshwater section of the creek ends at the road crossing at Sturgeon Street Ormiston and the estuarine section extends for three to four kilometres to the foreshore. Wetlands of state significance are located around the mouth of Hilliards Creek and foreshore of Wellington Point.


Hilliards Creek and its catchment have provided people with resources for thousands of years.  Bora rings and scar trees along the Creek near Weippen St are some of the surviving physical evidence left behind by early indigenous users.  The local clan was the Koobenpul, who spoke the same language as the Gorenpul of Dunwich.[1]

The first surveys

The first surveys of Hilliards Creek and surrounds were carried out in the early

1840s.  Surveyor James Warner surveyed the Creek up to approximately Boundary Rd, Thornlands, commenting that the creek was “navigable for boats about six miles and at the head is a lagoon of good water.” [2]   On a subsequent plan Warner noted the mouth of the creek contained a “foul rocky bed.” [3]

Surveyor Robert Dixon is credited with bestowing some of the district’s first non-indigenous names on various places, including Hilliards Creek. [4] The Creek is believed to have been named after Lieutenant Hilliard, an ensign in the British 28th Regiment of Foot, which was stationed in Moreton Bay.  In 1839 Hilliard was briefly in charge of the penal settlement between Commandant Cotton and Lieutenant Gravatt. [5]

Although it was named Hilliards Creek in the early 1840s, in 1859, when Captain Louis Hope was working on his sugar plantation at Ormiston, the creek was referred to as Wogan Creek.

First settlers

The first non-indigenous settlers began to seriously impact on Hilliards Creek from the late 1840s, mainly through small industries and particularly farming.  As a result, the Creek was used as a transport route, a water source and a drain. Industries included farming, sawmill, saltworks, woolscours, brickworks and gravel extraction”.

Hilliards Creek History

Extract Author: Tracy Ryan, Local Historian RSC