A project of Capricorn Coast Historical Society and Livingstone Shire Council
The Historical Marker's location is located at Whitman Street entrance.
In 1922 the Yeppoon Sports Committee announced that they had acquired 2¼ acres of land at a cost of £445.
The Early Years
The original town plan for Yeppoon was drawn up prior to the first land sale in 1873. As with many other Queensland town plans, the focus was on the size of allotments and the layout of streets and roads. No provision was made for the allocation of land for any public facilities such as sporting grounds. As Yeppoon grew, land suitable for recreational use diminished and this concerned the sporting fraternity.
With this in mind, in 1921 the secretary of the Yeppoon Football Club pointed out that the only available land left for a sporting ground was part of the Whitman Estate. In 1922 the Yeppoon Sports Committee announced that they had acquired 2¼ acres of this land at a cost of £445. Trustees were appointed including long-time local identity James Edgar Stevenson (1867-1946) as Chairman. The trustees requested the Lands Department close that part of Whitman Street which divided the land.
Importance to the Community
The Yeppoon Tennis Club was the first to make use of the new sports ground, constructing tennis courts in 1922. Other clubs followed and the area proved to be a popular venue for many local sporting events, becoming unofficially known as “The Footy Ground”.
Financing the upkeep of the grounds was never an easy matter for the trustees and they fell behind with payment of council rates. From 1929 onwards there was a push for the Council to assume responsibility for the provision of a sports ground for the people of Yeppoon. Eventually in 1942 the Livingstone Shire Council purchased the land from the Sports Committee for £288/17/6. Council subsequently officially named the ground “Stevenson Park” in recognition of the commitment given by James Edgar Stevenson and members of his family.
The Later Years
In 1943 Stevenson Park was extended when an area exceeding 10 acres (33 allotments) was generously donated by Mrs Ida Burnett, greatly enlarging the size of the grounds. In ensuing years, additional blocks were acquired and others sold to improve the suitability of the land as a sporting venue.
The Yeppoon and District Improvement League had held a festival in 1953 and in 1954 moved the event to Stevenson Park. They were given permission to make improvements to facilities in 1954 and in 1955 held a festival that is now recognised as the first Yeppoon Show.
The Yeppoon and District Agricultural Society was formed at a public meeting in August 1955 to take over organisation of future shows. The Society continues to lease Stevenson Park from Livingstone Shire Council and sub-leases portions to other community groups and sporting bodies, including a local cricket club which has used Stevenson Park since the early 1920s.
1. Hockey practice in Stevenson Park, about 1950. (Courtesy K Schelks)
2. Map showing the initial land purchase, 1922.
3. Map showing land donated by Mrs Ida Burnett in 1943. (Shown by green shaded area, with land exceeding 10 acres in total)
4. Present configuration of allotments making up Stevenson Park.