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ST GEORGE QUEENSLAND - A Brief History

  
LEFT: Victoria Street. RIGHT: Balonne River

Photos courtesy of Balonne Visitor Information Centre

In April 1846 New South Wales Surveyor-General, Sir Thomas Mitchell came upon the Balonne River, crossing and naming it
St George after England's patron saint.

There was already limited settlement in the area and, by 1864, the St George crossing had become the focal point of the area and enabled travel to places further north and west. Early infrastructure built from 1864 included a post office, hotel, court house, a school and telegraph lines to Surat and Roma. Despite continued growth during these times, the town was unable to attract a railway line.

St George continued to grow and became a significant centre for sheep and wheat enterprises. Construction of a weir at the old Mitchell crossing commenced in 1948 and, with completion of the Beardmore Dam in the 1970's, irrigation water availability created opportunities for expanding local agricultural projects. A cotton gin was established in 1976.

Today St George is a town of more than 2,600 people. By road, St George is about 510 kms west of Brisbane and surrounding coastal regions. St George sits at the junction of several major routes including the Castlereagh, Moonie, Carnarvon Balonne Highways. The only crossing of the Balonne River is the Andrew Nixon Bridge on the Balonne Highway. St George is on the Balonne River which is reputedly an excellent fishing site.

St George offers with a wide range of tourism, accommodation, commercial, agricultural and health services and facilities. As a gateway for access to areas further west and north, St George is a busy stop-over point for trucks, buses, aeroplane services and  holiday travellers.

The St George show is held annual during the May Labour Day long weekend in May. The event draws locals and visitors and far-way areas and includes a rodeo competition.



Jack Taylor Weir and road bridge across Balonne River.
The Balonne River often provides excellent fishing. Catch your dinner and barbecue it at Kamarooka Tourist Park!
Photo Courtesy of Balonne Visitor Information Centre


Towns and Places of Interest in the Balonne Shire.
 

Balonne Visitor Information Centre
113 St George's Terrace
(just across the road from the Balonne River)
St George Queensland 4487

Opening Hours:
9am-5pm (Monday-Friday)
10am-2pm (Weekends and Public Holidays)

Telephone: 07 4620 8877
or email the Centre for more information


St George:

Opposite the Visitor Information Centre, on the bank of the Balonne River, is a memorial to local WWII fighter pilots, John Jackson and Leonard Waters.

These brave pilots distinguished themselves in aerial battles in New Guinea, helping to prevent Japanese advancement towards Australia.

Leonard Waters was the first Aboriginal fighter pilot in the Royal Australian Air Force.

Other historical sites of interest include the St George Heritage Centre and the Heritage Trail.


Bollon:

Located on the Balonne Highway and on the banks of Wallam Creek, about 112 kms west of St George on the way to Cunnamulla.

Established in about 18790, Bollon has a population of more than 300 and provides travellers with a handy refreshment stop on their way further west.

Bollon boasts a thriving koala population and is the gateway to Narkoola National Park, known especially for its Mulga trees.

It is not unusual to see emus walking about in the main street.

The creek side walkway offers opportunities to test exercise equipment and view Aboriginal dreamtime artworks.


Dirranbandi:

A small, well-serviced town between St George and Hebel, Dirranbandi is a major and important hub for cotton producers.

Dirranbandi offers travellers opportunity for rest and refreshments.

The town has a special history as the final stop on the South West rail line. Dirranbandi also welcomed the very last mail train to operate in Australia.

It's worthwhile visiting Railway Park where the old waiting room,  original parcels office and the 1913 Station Master's residence which are are now used as the Dirranbandi Rural Transaction Centre.

In the centre of town, a bronze statue of Aboriginal sportsman Tom Dancey which celebrates his remarkable win in the 1910 Stawell Gift.


Hebel:

This famous, small border town of Hebel welcomes travellers with a "General Store" that is much more. Steeped in history this property is today crafted from a 19th century dancehall.

The food and table service is always popular with locals and visitors.

Across the road, the Hebel Hotel features spectacular artworks by Lightning Ridge artist, John Murray.

Murray describes his art as "whimsical photo-realism".

Only a brief walk from the main street, the Bokhara River attracts fishermen and will often also provide a nice haul of yabbies.


Nindigully Pub:

45 kms from St George and about 70m kms north of Mungindi is Nindigully Pub, the oldest continuously operating hotel in Queensland, which first opened its doors in 1864.

Nindigully Pub was the setting for the 1999 film "Paperback Hero" starring Hugh Jackman and Claudia Karvan.


Thallon:

Thallon sits between St George and the border town of Mungindi, about 80 kms south of St George. The town is of major importance to local grain growers and, including the local area, has a population of about 400. Giant grain silos dominate the town's skyline, but nothing has been overlooked providing amenities for travellers.

The most popular sites for visitors include Barney's Beach on the banks of the Moonie River and Thallon's Francis Hotel. The hotel is just off the highway and serves quality meals, snacks and espresso coffee.


Mungindi:

Mungindi is about 120 kms north of Moree and 120 kms south St George. The town sits on the Barwon River which, at that point, is the Queensland-NSW border. With a population of about 700, Mungindi therefore boasts two police stations and two time zones when daylight savings kicks in south of the border. The major schools are located in NSW while the hospital in in Queensland.

The Barwon River Parkland offers a great place to rest or fish while you are travelling.

About 6kms off the Carnarvon Highway as you begin to head north from town, is a turn-off to the "One Ton Post". This is believed to be the largest timber surveyor's peg, probably in the world. It was positioned there by John Cameron in 1881 to celebrate more than two years of a very difficult survey to define the Queensland NSW border.


 2014 Kamarooka Tourist Park (ABN  13 386 019 639)  l St George Queensland  l Tel: 07 4625 3120   l  Created by RedBack Networks