Nevaeh and Albert Whap with Chenika Meredith at the Fitzroy Barrage Open Day on Saturday.
Nevaeh and Albert Whap with Chenika Meredith at the Fitzroy Barrage Open Day on Saturday. Amber Hooker

More beneath the surface of Rocky's unique Fitzroy Barrage

STANDING atop the barrage with families milling past, Cr Fisher shared the pride many expressed over the unique piece of infrastructure.

The Fitzroy Barrage was celebrated yesterday in a one-in-three year open day event.

It was an opportunity for locals to learn about one of the region's most significant pieces of infrastructure, and take in the spectacular view from atop the 37-year-old barrage.

As they milled past, Cr Fisher told families to keep an eye out for bull sharks, which have been spotted in the waterway recently.

READ | Bull shark alert: Predators spotted lurking in the Fitzroy

It's not the first time the creatures have been spotted lurking in our waters, with this fisherman reeling one in from a kayak in 2014.

Fisherman snares Shark in Fitzroy River while on Kayak: Fisherman snares shark while fishing on Fitzroy River in kayak
Fisherman snares Shark in Fitzroy River while on Kayak: Fisherman snares shark while fishing on Fitzroy River in kayak

But it wasn't just the river which captured an estimated 5000 people's attention yesterday. 

Perfect weather shone over the event, which boasted a range of activities, information stalls, food and attractions aimed at educating locals on the Fitzroy.

Cr Fisher took the opportunity to take his hat off to the former council of the day, who had the foresight to flood and drought proof the "river city".

He said Rockhampton had enough water to nearly double its population, a goal today's Rockhampton Regional Council is actively working towards.

The barrage separates the fresh water upstream from the tidal salt water downstream.

 

Fitzroy River Water manager Jason Plumb and Rockhampton region councillor Neil Fisher take in the view from the top at the Fitzroy Barrage Open Day on Saturday.
Fitzroy River Water manager Jason Plumb and Rockhampton region councillor Neil Fisher take in the view from the top at the Fitzroy Barrage Open Day on Saturday. Amber Hooker

Fitzroy River Water manager Jason Plumb said CCTV footage often captured crocodiles lazing by the barrage drinking up the freshwater as it flowed through.

Koorana Crocodile Farm's Adam Lever was also on hand to offer a hands-on experience with crocodiles, but also teach them of the dangers.

"There are crocodiles in the Fitzroy River so people want to have a bit of an understanding of what they feel like, what they look like, without having to reach over the side of a boat and grab one," he said.

With him was hand-raised Harley, a three-year-old crocodile, hand fed after not eating well, and now very much a "mumma's boy".

He was the star attraction for children and young adults keen for their first encounter.

 

Three-year-old Harley the crocodile visits from the Koorana Crocodile Farm to take part in the Fitzroy Barrage Open Day on Saturday.
Three-year-old Harley the crocodile visits from the Koorana Crocodile Farm to take part in the Fitzroy Barrage Open Day on Saturday. Amber Hooker

"The intrigue of crocodiles is the mystery," Adam said.

"It's an animal that not many people ever get a chance to be around, and if they are around it they are usually too frightened to enjoy the experience.

"So we like to get people face to face, hands upon hands, touch the animal, smell it, just get into the whole atmosphere of the crocodile."

He said most people were surprised by how soft Harley was, and while he described him as a "beautiful, soft subtle creature", Adam had a simple warning.

"Don't go near them, just leave them alone," he said.

"This is a dangerous animal if you want to push your luck around them they will usually push the luck back as well."

 

Thousands turned out to tour the Fitzroy Barrage at the Open Day on Saturday.
Thousands turned out to tour the Fitzroy Barrage at the Open Day on Saturday. Amber Hooker

Cr Fisher stressed Rockhampton stands alone as the only city who to proudly own its own water storage.

"We are the only community in the whole of Australia that not only owns its storage, but also owns a barrage or a dam," he said.

"When you look at it State Governments can't even build a dam and yet we have got the city of Rockhampton and we have achieved this wonderful thing.

"People have had fun, people have really enjoyed it, it's a beautiful spot," he said.

"Anyone who likes to take a camera - look at the view - we are the river city and it doesn't get much better than this."

Fast 5 Fitzroy Barrage facts:

  • The Fitzroy Barrage and the Glenmore Water Treatment Plant were constructed in 1970 and 1971.
  • The Barrage separates the fresh water upstream from the tidal salt water downstream.
  • The Barrage operates through 18 remotely operated vertical lift gates.
  • The Barrage provides a water storage that extends approximately 60 km upstream with a volume of 74,390 megalitres.
  • A fish ladder allows water flowing from the upper level of the river to the below barrage level so that juvenile fish can navigate safely upstream through the Barrage, improving habitat connectivity.