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Tom Abell

The history of Abell Point 10:15am, Wed 01 Dec 2021

In 1872, a surveyor by the name O'Connell acquired 1,100 acres in Cannon Valley and in 1884, he contracted the services of William and John Compton, brothers who had arrived from England with their carpenters tools to carve out a new life in the land downunder.

Making way to their new building site on board a timber steamer, the engineer took great pleasure in telling the brothers about the ferocious tigers and man eating crocodiles which roamed the valley. Rowed to the beach with tools in hands, they were left with the promise that the steamer would return in a few days with cedar logs from the Proserpine River. When the steamer did return a few days later, the brothers were found in the exact same spot they were dropped off at not having moved an inch. The explained they were not cut out for the bush life and begged to be taken back to civilization. The captain having pity on them took them back to Bowen.

It wasn't until 1904 when Tom Abell with his family of eight rowed to shore and built a home on the foreshore of Pioneer Bay, now known as Abell Point.

Both William and John Compton returned to live on the banks of Proserpine River in 1895. John married Sarah Gray who's family were pioneers of the timber industry and are still operating today. William had a daughter who married Arthur Abell, son of Tom. So begun a community of pastoralists and garden farmers with properties surrounding the beautiful bay of which would become known as Airlie Beach and the centre town of the Whitsundays.

Source: The History, Stories, Legends and Tales of the Whitsunday Island The Last Islands written by John Bates


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