04 Nov Here in History by Betty Laver
Bags of Sorghum on the Auckland Point Wharf
In the 1960s the Central Highland region became a sorghum growing and fat cattle area.
In 1949, the vessel “Paringa” loaded the first shipment of sorghum at the Auckland Point Wharf.
The Gladstone Harbour Board increased the number of berths at the Auckland Point Wharf, and reconstructed some of the old section that had outlived its usefulness.
The potential of Central Queensland (namely Springsure, Emerald and Clermont) as a grain growing region was given much attention and more and more farmers succeeded in growing sorghum with Gladstone as the port of international trade.
Eventually the farmers introduced wheat, which was also exported through the Gladstone Harbour.
Although the Auckland Point Wharf had upgraded the wharf facilities, it was ill prepared to receive so much grain on its docks.
In the initial stages, the grain would arrive in jute sacks and tens of thousands of bags of grain would be stacked at the waterfront in any available space.
The advent of the Grain Sorghum Pool, which received and handled the volume of grain, saw the erection of a shed on land adjacent to the railway and Roseberry Street.
This then shaped the waterfront to allow them to handle up to 6,000 tons of bulk and bagged grain.
The question of grain being exported through Gladstone on a permanent basis was discussed at a public meeting at Emerald between the growers and the Harbour Boards of Rockhampton and Gladstone.
The growers were in favour of Gladstone and the Central Queensland grain-growers put their faith for international trade in the port of Gladstone.
A second shed was erected, and a conveyor belt and augers were constructed to load the grain for export from Auckland Point Wharf.
A third shed was built by the Queensland Grain Marketing Board and contained mechanical equipment for the unloading of rail wagons and the automatic loading to the ships.
Photo courtesy of Joey Lee