Swinging Bridge Park at Cooyar 01/01/2015

New Year's Day Lunch was spent as a family at Swinging Bridge Park, Cooyar.  We enjoyed a picnic lunch at the shaded tables and a walk across the swaying suspension bridge, along with a little bit of birding. Swinging Bridge Park is located in-between Back Creek and Cooyar Creek and is a picturesque little camping and picnic ground.  The long suspension bridge is fairly new, being erected in December 1988 after the previous one washed away in the famous Cooyar floods of the same year.  Many turtles were seen from the suspension bridge and we are told that there is a good chance of seeing a platypus if one visits at the right time of the day.

The Swinging Bridge Park is part of the Crows Nest Bird Trail and although we only visited for a short time over lunch we saw a good range of birds.  The park is also home to some historic farm machinery on the northern side of the bridge and the very sad grave of a little girl named Ethel Tebb who drowned in Back Creek three days after Christmas in 1904 and was then buried at her death site.  The grave has been cared for and fenced nicely with information about her tragic drowning displayed.  It was a very sad and I  found myself saying a prayer for this poor little girl and her grieving family.

Swinging Bridge Park is a hidden gem of Cooyar and could be easily overlooked when driving through.  It is definitely worth a stop over to brave the suspension bridge and take in the views of the beautiful creek below.

Bird list from Swinging Bridge Park today:

  1. Dollarbird
  2. Laughing Kookaburra
  3. Sacred Kingfisher
  4. Pee Wee
  5. Australian Magpie
  6. Toresian Crow
  7. Willie Wagtail
  8. Rainbow Lorikeet
  9. Scaley-breasted Lorikeet
  10. King Parrot
  11. Galah
  12. Little Friarbird
  13. Red-browed Finch
  14. Superb Blue Fairy Wren
  15. Red Backed Fairy Wren
  16. Australian Wood Duck

and a few large turtles.

Swinging Bridge Park at Cooyar 01/01/2015

Entrance to Swinging Bridge Park at Cooyar 01/01/2015

Views to Cooyar Creek from Swinging Bridge Park at Cooyar 01/01/2015 

Cooyar Creek, Swinging Bridge Park at Cooyar 01/01/2015

Walking across Swinging Bridge Park at Cooyar 01/01/2015

Memorial Plaque at Swinging Bridge Park at Cooyar 01/01/2015

Superb Blue Fairy Wren at Swinging Bridge Park at Cooyar 01/01/2015

Laughing Kookaburra at Swinging Bridge Park at Cooyar 01/01/2015

Massive tree hollow (with Dollar birds to the left of the hollow) at Swinging Bridge Park at Cooyar 01/01/2015

Lonely grave of  little Ethel Tebb at Swinging Bridge Park at Cooyar 01/01/2015

Sad little grave of Ethel Tebb at Swinging Bridge Park at Cooyar 01/01/2015

Toowoomba Chronicle excerpt on the drowning of Ethel Tebb at Back Creek, displayed at Swinging Bridge Park, Cooyar 01/01/2015
Some of the historic farming machinery on the Northern Side of Swinging Bridge Park, Cooyar. 01/01/15


  1. I used to live on the other side of the bridge. These days, and only recently as of posting this, has Cooyar come out of the dark ages, and is now properly connected to the internet. Our power lines were old twisted copper pairs, incapable of carrying loads demanded by residents, and thus were upgraded. Living on dialup, then for a short while ISDN 128/128Kbps internet after having come from ADSL2 was like pulling teeth in frustration of slow data speeds, then whenever the fella across the street started his welders, we would have to shut our computers down due to large power dips, and surges. Life in Cooyar is simple, but everything is too far away. I feel sorry for young people living in that town, with the nearest High School being in Nanango via two busses interchanging at Yarraman. Needless to say, I moved to Nanango for a while near the High School (left the country for good now.)

    I recall Ethel Tebb's grave being uncovered during a big land cleanup to promote tourism to the town. The sea shells on the cross used to mark out her grave. Obviously sea shells were a long way from the beach by coach, or horse! As a parent with again small children, it be unfathomable pain to have to endure dragging your five year old daughter's lifeless body out of the creek. The story says that by the time the Mother had got to the house thinking Ethel had run ahead, and discovered she wasn't there, then (obviously in panic) going back to where they collect water to find her, it would have been too late. In those days, CPR was not known. Ethel must have gone back to refill her pail or a contair of some sort, and fell off the bank. Yes, very sad, and I don't think it paints a pleasant picture of such bleak town history when a tourist visits the park. You visit there, learn of the flood, and a dead little girl, and enjoy your tranquil, yet numb surroundings. How pretty…

    It was recorded somewhere that a truck driver saw the floods coming, and knew the town was in trouble, sat on the hill with his horn blasting to alert residents. No doubt he would have saved some lives!

    I'd visited Cooyar last in mid 2017, and imagine I won't be back any time soon. The only thing the area had going for it was an annual trail bike ride. Forget the pub, it had a smell to it, like urine under the floor boards. My teens used to get the school bus out the front of the pub, so the swinging bridge got used every day. Quite dangerous for them with nobody around. It's better to ride bicycles across it then do a wobbly walk. The post boxes there were too expensive, and mail got wet a lot, so we had to use the Yarraman boxes. The is no postie due to the large area, and sparce population.

    There is a nice springs reserve down the road if you head East from the town. You can go for a short walk on a dirt circuit. You might see a colony of Bats in the palms too.

    Couldn't resist. I have Cooyar burnt into my memory now. Not good memories at that.


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