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Central West Queensland – Matilda Country

Central West Queensland is the source of much of Australia’s iconic history. It’s where Banjo Paterson wrote and first performed ‘Waltzing Matilda’, international airline Qantas was founded and the 1891 shearer’s strike that led to the formation of the Australian Labor Party began out here. This is an interactive place of Australian history where you can enjoy some traditional bush tucker, hear yarns of the glory days, learn about the pioneering years at several innovative museums and see where the legend of the Australian stockman started. This is one of the most sparsely populated areas in Queensland which means you will not be bothered by large crowds, everything moves a little slower out here. Head out and enjoy the calmer living, friendly locals and the extensive National Parklands.

Natural Attractions in Central West QLD

Lark Quarry Conservation Park dinosaur trackways

Only a short drive out of Winton is Bladensburg National Park, home to a huge variety of wildlife including tiny mammals called dunnarts. The flat-topped mesas and sandstone ranges form a scenic landscape beyond the park’s grassland plains and river flats.

At the original homestead complex visitors can learn about the early days of station life and the park’s native plants and wildlife before going camping under a stunning star-filled night sky.

The Idalia National Park up in the Gowan Range tablelands protects extensive mulga woodlands, the Bulloo River’s headwaters and several species of threatened wildlife.

Visitors can explore the park on self-guided drives enjoying panoramic views from several lookouts. Walk the cliff tops and camp at any number of campsites under a spectacular night sky.

Lark Quarry Conservation Park was set up to protect the Lark Quarry Dinosaur Tracks, the best example of dinosaur tracks in the world and the only recorded evidence of a dinosaur stampede. Tours of the park run regularly out of Winton and also include an information centre and free activity book for children.

Things To See & Do

Stockmans Hall of Fame statueHead out to Longreach to visit the ‘Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame’ and the ‘Qantas Founders Outback Museum’. The museum is home to a decommissioned Boeing 747 and 707 and the Longreach Railway Station that was built in 1916.

In Tambo take the Tambo Heritage Trail for a taste of Central West Queensland’s pioneering history. The trail includes 17 historic buildings including the Post Office (1876), Courthouse (1888), old powerhouse and historic cemetery.

For a taste of outback mythology visit the Min Min Encounter Complex in Boulia. Local legends talk of a mysterious hovering light at night that would follow lone travellers outside of Boulia. The myth claims that if the light touches you – you disappear! The complex presents a 45 minute show revealing the several encounters with the Min Min Lights that started in 1912.

In Isisford is the Outer Barcoo Interpretation Centre, featuring a world class fossil exhibit of Isisfordia Duncani – reported to be the ancestor of all modern croc species. The exhibit showcases time 100 million years ago and the changes in flora and fauna from the surrounding shire.

The Dr Arratta Memorial Museum in Muttaburra is a tribute to Dr Joseph Arratta who was renowned throughout Central Western Queensland for his diagnostic and surgical skills in the 1930s. The museum displays medical history and equipment from the turn of the century.

Landmarks

Isisford Corner Store

Any lover of Australian film would have to make a visit to the Walkabout Creek Hotel in McKinlay. The pub was made famous as the home location of Mick Dundee in the Crocodile Dundee movies. It is also not far from Dagworth Station where it is believed Banjo Patterson wrote Australia’s non official anthem ‘Waltzing Matilda’.

The small sheep and cattle farming town of Barcaldine is a place of significant Australian political history. In the early 1890s it was the source of the shearer’s strike that eventually led to the formation of the Australian Labor Party.

Blackall, while home to a relaxing artesian spa, was the home of the Black Stump which was used for surveying purposes in the 1800s. Anything beyond this point was said to be “beyond the black stump”.

The Isis Downs Shearing Shed is a piece of Australian shearing history in Isisford. The massive shearing complex was fabricated in England and shipped to Australia to be erected in 1914 by the same crew that made the Sydney Harbour Bridge. At full capacity the shed can hold around 30,000 sheep.