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Posted on: 26 May, 2020

Iconic landmark in Livingstone celebrates 50-year anniversary

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In an exciting milestone for the Shire, one of our most iconic landmarks – The Singing Ship – will celebrate its 50th anniversary on Saturday 30 May.


Set against a spectacular coastal vista of blue seas and Great Keppel Island in the distance, the Singing Ship at Emu Park is a majestic monument that commemorates the area’s legacy of the historical explorations of Captain James Cook, who sailed into this bay in May 1770.

One of Queensland’s most original works of outdoor public art, the unique design represents the billowing sail, mast and rigging of his ship Endeavour. Over 12 metres in height, its concealed organ pipes use the sea breezes to create the musical sounds.

Tourism, Events and Culture Councillor Tanya Lynch said the anniversary was a special occasion not only for residents of Emu Park but also for the wider community.

“I’m sure many locals across the Shire have wonderful memories of enjoying the beauty of The Singing Ship over the past 50 years and Council is encouraging residents to jump on its Facebook page and share their photos of the beautiful monument to help celebrate this special anniversary,” Cr Lynch said.

“The Singing Ship has been a tourism drawcard for many years and offers a wonderful and unique experience for visitors to the Capricorn Coast.

“Our Shire has a rich history filled with many fascinating tales and I encourage residents to uncover those stories to learn more about this wonderful part of the world.”

Emu Park local for the past 15 years, Merryl Gardner said she has many fond memories of the Singing Ship over the years.

“My family has had a holiday house at the base of the Singing Ship since 1959, so I visited on holidays and saw its construction and learnt about its story,” Merryl said.

“It has a lot of historic significance and I think locals are really proud of it, not only for its majestic beauty but because it was all designed and built by local people.

“I’ve spoken to a lot of visitors and overseas travellers and they’re just blown away by it. It’s a real place of serenity and complements the landscape. My husband and I love hearing its singing on a windy day.”

A book launch was held in Emu Park last year by local author Claire Ryan who published her first book titled The Singing Ship: Captain and Crew – about the history of its construction.

Claire’s book was the result of months of research and enormous contributions from those involved with the construction in the late 1960s, including Steve Kele, Peggy Westmoreland, George Cain, David Thomas, and the Bicentennial Committee who persevered with this project, even when the going got tough.


Built to celebrate the Bicentenary of Captain James Cook’s visit to Keppel Bay in May 1770, Steve Kele captained the construction of this memorial with constant support from his wife Isabel. Designer Peggy was part of this Ship’s crew.

Claire said the book launch was also a great opportunity to hear from family members who hold precious memories of relatives who were at the forefront of the Singing Ship’s design and building process.

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