Local advocates for reopening Duck Creek Road have vowed to persist in their efforts and are making sure it stays on the public radar by sharing stories of the road’s significance.
Duck Creek Road, officially opened in 1988 and dubbed the ‘Do it yourself road to O’Reilly’s’, was built by forward-thinking volunteers to provide a shorter alternate route up the mountain and attract more tourists.
That same community spirit is behind the dogged efforts of locals campaigning to reopen the road, which has been closed since Cyclone Debbie in 2017.
Local campaign to reopen road
Regional connectivity, community safety and economic opportunity are key reasons local Duck Creek Road advocates are not giving up.
Since Cyclone Debbie damage forced the road’s closure in 2017, five years of frustration and funding rejections have bolstered locals’ determination to get the road reopened.
Through the ‘Bring Back Duck Creek Road’ campaign, the Beaudesert Bulletin is sharing the stories of the road the community built and why it matters to locals today.
Kerry Valley residents Jodie O’Reilly, Peter and Mary Rohan, Sally and Michael Undery and Dick Moloney are among local advocates.
Duck Creek Road, which connects Beaudesert and O’Reilly’s via Kerry Road, is considered an essential route for safety, particularly during bushfire season, and for local employment.
Advocates were seeking a meeting with Council to explore the possibility of getting Duck Creek Road on Council’s 10-year plan and to see how they could enrich further funding applications, after Council’s two most recent funding applications were unsuccessful.
They were buoyed by a Beaudesert Chamber of Commerce decision to continue its tradition of supporting the road, with the Chamber resolving at a recent meeting to keep money in their Duck Creek Road fund for that purpose.
Chamber President, David Kassulke, confirmed the group has $32,000 in funds it collected via the Duck Creek Road donations box prior to the road’s closure. Mr Kassulke, whose uncle and aunt had ‘Kassulke Lookout’ named after them and were among locals who helped establish the road, said he took his hat off to current advocates for their determination.
The Duck Creek Road story dates back to before settlement, with a brochure produced by the Beaudesert Community Arts and Information Centre highlighting historic sites along the route, including Wangerriburra Place.
Today, locals are deeply feeling the loss of Duck Creek Road, with the journey to O’Reilly’s taking two hours from Kerry rather than 30 minutes, making it unfeasible to drive there for work, and tourist traffic and dollars going through Canungra instead of Beaudesert.
“The majority of people working up at O’Reilly’s in the 1980s were locals, and they could just whiz up Duck Creek Road,” Michael Undery said.
“If there were 50 locals working up there today, even earning $40,000 each, there’s $2m at least that our local economy is missing out on.”
In response to a recent enquiry from the Bulletin, Council committed to keep seeking external funding to reopen Duck Creek Road, citing bushfire and wet weather safety and positive flow-on economic benefits.