By Warren Nunn

Beer brewed on Coorooman Creek near Emu Park by a Livingstone Shire Councillor.

Edwin Macaree

Among other things, Edwin Macaree was a brewer and councillor.

No, it’s not a planned new project, but rather it was a less-than-successful business that operated 100-plus years ago.

It was one of many ventures of a man named Edwin Macaree who lived from 1834 to 1910.

He came from London and first settled in Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia, before establishing the Coorooman Creek property where he built a brewery as well as a sawmill.

Macaree was a Livingstone Shire Councillor from 1904 and previously had been a North Rockhampton Borough Council representative and also was its Mayor for a time.

When Macaree opened his brewery in 1888, a reporter gave a glowing assessment, not only of the beer, but also of the Coorooman Creek property described as Inglewood Park.

The brewery was beside the Emu Park railway line in an area surrounded by “Alexandra palms, Leichhardt trees, she-oaks, ti-trees, and many other varieties of Australian timber”.

It was located 8 miles (about 12km) from Emu Park.

And the beer? The reporter wrote that it “leaves no unpleasant taste in the mouth, has more body than is often the case, and is apparently slightly darker in colour than that manufactured at other places”.

The article also gives details of the brewery’s operations.

“The tower is 46 feet high, 27 feet long, and 20 feet wide. On the top of the tower is an open tank capable of holding 8000 gallons of water. The water is pumped from a creek below by a pulsometer pump, made by Messrs Burns and Twigg.”

Left a bad taste

Newspaper article

Newspaper article about Macaree’s brewery.

However, Macaree’s brew didn’t impress drinkers and it was not the successful business venture that he had planned.

In 1893, another newspaper report observed that “with so many things in favour of making the Coorooman Creek Brewery a profitable concern, it has for years been a surprise to many why the beer was not placed more prominently on the market, and why the buildings and plant were allowed to fall into disuse”.

There was an attempt to revitalise the brewery, but, after a while, it again stopped production.

Macaree was a larger-than-life character who was known to often quote Shakespeare. When the brewery started, he is reported to have said: “Beer, beer, beautiful beer, cheering, frothing, bright and clear”.

Financial strife

Within a decade he faced significant financial problems and put up for sale several properties in Rockhampton and on the Coast.

By 1910 Macaree sold the large piece of land known as the Coorooman Estate. That included the brewery and sawmill.

While the brewery did not last more than a few decades, for a time it provided a living for several families.

It’s possible that there are descendants of those who worked at the Coorooman Creek Brewery still living on the Capricorn Coast.

As for Edwin Macaree, he died in Emu Park in September 1910 aged 75.

Australian pioneer

For anyone who wants to find out more about Edwin Macaree you may be interested in the book Edwin: Flamboyant Australian Pioneer. It is a wonderful in-depth look at his life.

It was written by one of his descendants, Shirley Eldridge, and is available through Linellen Press (

Spectator article on Coorooman Creek brewery

Excerpt of this article that appeared in the Spectator News Magazine.