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69 Stuart Street, Mount Lofty QLD | 1800 463 468 | 6901630ab

110 Years Of Chinchilla News 1907 – 2017 WELCOME

Erika Brayshaw

GENERAL MANAGER Chinchilla News & The Surat Basin

“It is exciting to see a local business still thriving after 110 years”. As the current Chinchilla News General Manager, I find it amazing to see the progression of a newspaper over the past 110 years and how much not only publishing has changed but the communities themselves. It was our pleasure to collate the content of this wonderful keepsake and once in a life time edition of “110 Years of Chinchilla News”. We truly hope you enjoy this publication and are able to reflect upon some very interesting milestones and achievements, not only within the “print world” but in our exciting regional area of south west Queensland. They really do breed them tough “out west”, even after natural disasters such as droughts, floods and fires, the region still continues to grow. So, put the kettle on, sit back and immerse yourself in yesteryear.


State Library Queensland • Susan Felix • Jeff Brown • Megan Masters Chinchilla Historical Society • Elouise Quinlivan • Carmen Miller • Tricia Henningsen • Jodie Williams • Rachael Green • Debbie Phillips • Miles Museum • Dorothy Fuller • Author of “Footsteps Through Time” Dr Tony Matthews Publisher’s indemnity: 110 Years of Chinchilla News, was published by News Corp Australia. Those who make advertising placement and/ or supply copy material or editorial submissions to this publication, undertake to ensure that all such material does not infringe any copyright, trademark, defamation, libel, slander or title, breach of confidence, does not contain anything obscene or indecent, or does not infringe the trade practices act or other laws, regulations or statutes. Further to the abovementioned these persons agree to indemnify the publisher and/ or its agents against any investigations, claims or judgements. Although we have taken every duty of care with this production, due to the age and condition of some of the front cover content, some images may appear blurry or illegible.

General Manager: Erika Brayshaw Email: • Ph: 07 4672 9921 Printed in Australia by Chinchilla News through APN Print, Warwick, Queensland

12 Mayne Street, Chinchilla Qld 4413 Ph: 07 4672 9900

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History in the making

Dorothy and David Fuller were owners of Chinchilla News from 1979 - 1987 and remained managers until early 1999.

Chinchilla News general manager from 1999 - 2014, David Richardson. hundred and ten years ago, One on December 14 , 1907, the th

first edition of Chinchilla News was released, “just in time for the Christmas “rush” of advertising, according to Footsteps Through Time, a twovolume hard cover publication by Dr Tony Matthews Ph.D., Chinchilla Shire Council.

The Chinchilla News and Murilla Advertiser, was first released by owner and founder John Hay Braddock. The first edition comprised of eight pages and the newspaper was sold for four pence per copy. Of the eight pages, four were typeset at the newspaper office and the other four were typeset in Brisbane. The newspaper’s motto was: “For the cause that lacks assistance; For the wrongs that need resistance; For the future in the distance; And the good that we can do.”

Eric Platz, seen here relaxing at his news desk in 1996, was with Chinchilla News from 1944 - 1996.

was described as being a competent individual, who over the years became deeply involved in community affairs, reporting on rural life, that, according to Footsteps Through Time, “are reports that form one of the most vital and colourful elements we have of the history of those times and the people who then lived in the area.” He laid the foundations for family control of the newspaper that lasted 78 years and management that lasted 90 years. Thomas Birkett died in 1952 aged 84, and his wife, Charlotte, died in 1955 aged 89. They were buried together, at the Chinchilla Cemetery. The couples’ daughter, Frances, died in 1959.

Braddock knew exactly what he was doing, timing the release of the first publication while Chinchilla was experiencing considerable growth. Prosperity had strengthened, with many new buildings, the rail link and inexpensive land. The recent rail line brought increasing numbers of selectors taking up farms, despite the overlying threat of prickly pear – which later drove many of them away from their land.

Mr Birkett’s grandsons, Frank and Harvey Fuller, became owners of the newspaper business in 1943 and ran the newspaper until 1979. During that time the business growth was strong, and revenue was good. In April 1957 a new typesetting machine – the C4 Intertype, was installed, which included many labour-saving devices and increased the output of the printing room. It was also in 1957 the owners constructed a modern stationery shop, a new block of offices and a separate printing room. The floor of the new building had been constructed higher, to minimise flood damage – slightly higher than the flood level of 1942.

Thomas Birkett purchased the business from Mr Braddock in 1909. Mr Birkett

At the end of 1979, aware of the need to change printing technology,

the brothers sold the business to Frank’s son and daughter-inlaw, David and Dorothy Fuller. The printing processes changed as the newspaper was printed offset on the presses of Toowoomba’s Chronicle from February 21st, 1980, however typesetting and pasting up were still done in Chinchilla. David and Dorothy sold the business to Provincial Newspaper Qld (APN) in 1987 but remained managers of the newspaper until March 1999. No history of Chinchilla News would be complete without mentioning journalist Eric Platz, whose record of service on the newspaper stretched over 52 years, until his retirement in 1996. Mr Platz was honoured with honorary membership of the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance in recognition of his long commitment to provincial journalism and membership of the Australian Journalists’ Association. Mr. Platz said he saw many changes in newspaper production during his long association with Chinchilla News, especially with newspapers having undergone great technological changes. “The introduction of computers and modern printing processes have streamlined production, making work today much easier than it was in the days of hot metal and linotypes and hand-fed flatbed printing presses.”

Mr Platz died in 2013, aged 83. David Richardson started at the paper in 1977 and became general manager of Chinchilla News in 1999. Although Mr Richardson left Chinchilla News late 2014, he said what changed the most was the quality and production of the newspaper over the years. “We started in the early 90s going to colour with front pages, but it wasn’t until the late 90s that the newspaper was printed in full colour,” he said. Mr Richardson said it was great to work with a lot of good people that took pride in the Chinchilla newspaper and their work. “Good local people that were skilled in their writing and had a real interest in the business. “I wish Chinchilla News another 110 years.” Erika Brayshaw transferred to the Chinchilla News office, from the Toowoomba Chronicle, in August 2013. Ms. Brayshaw was the special publications manager before becoming the general manager of Chinchilla News and Surat Basin in November 2014. In early December 2016, News Corp bought all APN regional Queensland newspapers, adding the Chinchilla News & Murilla Advertiser masthead and corresponding websites to the News Corp portfolio of successful publications. Chinchilla News, to this day, is still a thriving news office with an optimistic outlook for readership in regional south west Queensland.

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Chinchilla News building changes of time

The Chinchilla News Building 1917

In 1957 the Chinchilla News office underwent a major upgrade to building and office space

The Chinchilla News Building today in 2018

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The Chinchilla News Building in 2009

A peek into the past

Front cover of the Chinchilla News October 1914

Front cover of the Chinchilla News July 1915


Sydney Blanchard operates one of the machines involved in the early days of print at the Chinchilla News, in the early 1930’s.

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110 Years Of Chinchilla News 19


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1931 6901630ac

Main Roads Commission revealed their monthly data for December in the Chinchilla News on January 30, 1931. Revenue gathered by the Main Roads Commission was almost £50,000, with 960 new vehicle registrations in December.

Part of a photo collection inherited by Vaughn Becker. The adults in this photo are Edward & Susan Kurtz and it's dated in the late 1930s or 1940s Chinchilla News, January 30, 1931 – In this edition the Maranoa federal electorate grows as part of a redistribution, we explore the £187,782 spent on the construction of roads, and almost 1000 new vehicles were registered in the region.

Ernie Crook, Willie Neighbour, Harry Crook and Ray Crook in Ernie's Dodge, April 1938

The Maranoa federal electorate was declared “a safe seat at last”. The boundaries had been changed to better match where people were moving. Maranoa was to contain the existing division, with the exception of Blackall, parts of Isisford and Tambo subdivisions, and parts of Adavale. New sections such as parts of Pittsworth were included, as well as Gayndah, Nanango, and Wondai that had been part of the Wide Bay division. The new area added several thousand votes, but Mr J.A.J Hunter noted it was an increasingly expensive place to work, with little of his salary left after the growing travel costs. He said the redistribution should not have taken place until after the census in two years, when Queensland would have another new seat, bringing the total to 11. The ten electorates at the time were Brisbane, Capricornia, Darling Downs, Herbert, Kennedy, Lilley, Maranoa, Moreton, Oxley and Wide Bay. The Main Roads Commission revealed their monthly data for December, with £187,782 spent on works programs that employed about 3120 people, about a third of those hired under an unemployment relief scheme. 18 roads and a bridge with an estimated cost of almost £41,000 were before the local authorities to be approved in the future. In December, twenty-two schemes in 15 local authority areas had been approved. A further six proposals for main, developmental and tourist road works were approved for the unemployment relief scheme. Revenue gathered by the Main Roads Commission was almost £50,000. There were 960 new vehicle registrations in December, most of where were “pneumatic-tyred vehicles”, the rest motor cycles. At the end of 1930, there were 92,361 live registrations between cars, trucks and cycles and by the end of the year there were 6246 miles of main, and 96 miles of tourist roads gazetted.

Bill Elliot and a Chevrolet in front of the shed on Jack Gordon’s property

A local ad, David’s Spot Cash Drapery, in Chinchilla, states he has a new range of lady’s hats that have just arrived, and, they are all at city prices! You could even go in and listen to the latest Regal and Columbia records.

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Servicing Miles, Taroom, Wandoan, Theodore Areas

1932 6901630ad

January 8th, 1932, saw advertisements on the front page of Chinchilla News become more and more popular. Stand outs for this edition were two well-known businesses still operating today, Chas Sankey Fraser and Boy’s Grammar School Ipswich.

Charles Sankey Fraser, 1932

1932 Boys Grammar School Ipswich

Boy’s Grammar School Ipswich, taken in 1970

Chinchilla News, January 8, 1932 – In this edition, the front page displays advertising of the era, revealing the local industries and services in demand. Some of the best are highlighted below, with some famous names and businesses still in the region. Save your eye! Arrange to consult the Fraser Optometrist on his next visit here, and have your eyes scientifically examined. – The Optical House of Chas. Sankey Fraser. Ipswich Boy’s Grammar School -The Oldest Established Secondary School in Queensland. Promoting a “Sound Education”. Commercial, Professional or University Matriculation. Good supervision, well organised sport, high standard of work, inspiring tradition. Fees to Board: £12/12/s. Every description of Aerated non-alcoholic drinks and cordials, carefully packed for transmission by rail, wagon or coach. - G. L. Castle Chinchilla cordial manufacturer, Colamba Street. Children’s hair needs careful attention. If your child is to have a beautiful head of hair when she grows up, the utmost care should be given it in her youth. We give special attention to the children’s bobs and shingles or hair treatment, and satisfaction is assured. – Dinnie Cunningham, Commercial Saloon, Chinchilla. For your toilet – We have all the well-known toilet preparations, powders, hair lotions, skin creams, toothpastes, soaps, shaving materials etc. – E. M. Holloway, chemist, Chinchilla. Supreme value in suitings. Order your suit for Christmas now. Suits from £5/£10 in Serges, Greys and Fancies. – Archie Dickson, Chinchilla Street, Chinchilla. Galvanised Iron-Orb Brand 26 Gauge, in 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 feet lengths. Fencing wires in black; soft quality, galvanised; soft quality and high tension tyeasy wire and barb wire. - Thomas Jack & Coy Limited, Merchants, Dalby. To the point! Tyres for all cars at the lowest current rates, also inner tubes. All well-known makes stocked. Gee! Mary! Doesn’t she run sweet since I had her greased and serviced. - Slessar’s Garage Chinchilla. G.W Evans – Newsagent & Stationer and General Fancy Goods, offered Compliments of the Season to all. Xmas toys and presents available together with a full range of electric ware and shades and lamps now in stock.

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110 Years Of Chinchilla News 19


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1933 & 1934 In the early 1930’s, John Mann oversaw the breeding of the Cactoblastis Cactorum. Bred to help cattle farmers and property owners irradicate the Prickly Pear invasion.

Chinchilla News, January 13, 1933 - In this edition, milk and butter production headed towards record levels at Dairy Co, while producers see best results with the Lister British-built separator. Month on month data was presented at the Downs Dairy Co board meeting in January, with attendees celebrating the region’s increased production. The report submitted by the General Manager showed that an additional 197 tons of butter was manufactured in December over the month of November. This was also within 7 tons of the record monthly output for the association, through Miles, Clifton, Dalby, and Crows Nest branches. The Goombungee factory’s engine room had been destroyed by fire, meaning it was only operational for nine days of the month. The total quantity of milk treated at the seven cheese factories during the month was 150,000 gallons. Downs Dairy Co took the opportunity to thank James Purcell for 27 years of service in his guiding roles as chairman and director. Great Britain is Australia’s largest export buyer of dairy products, in fact she is practically the only purchaser of them. Apart from the cows themselves, the most influential aid in earning power on a farm is the separator, the newspaper reported. Money is lost in production if the separator is not of a high quality, and for many years it was thought that foreign built separators were better to use than British made machines. The Lister British built separator changed that, with New Zealand Co-operative Dairy Co saying “Lister has no superior in regard to construction, durability and skimming efficiency”.


A group of students arriving at Nudley School. In the early 30's horses were a typical mode of transport for young and old.

Chinchilla News, February 2, 1934 – In this edition, a bank inspector falls from the second floor of a hotel, and a man was trampled after his horse float crashed near Roma. Queensland inspector for the Bank of New South Wales Arthur Hicks fell 14 feet from the window of his room on the second floor of the Royal Hotel, Warwick. He was taken to hospital with a fractured thigh and arm as well as head injuries. He may have been sitting on the luggage rack near the window when he fell asleep and rolled out. Fredrick Harms, 57, was lucky to escape with just two broken ribs and shock after being trampled by six horses from his float when it overturned 33 miles from Roma, headed to Eularuel station. He was driving 20 horses, six of which were newly broken in. He had swerved off the road and fell after he went around to the wagon to investigate. Mr Harms’ wife stayed with him while his son, 9, went to find help. Roma ambulance crews transported him to the Roma Hospital. Saddler R. Hando said on taking over the saddlery business in Chinchilla from the late B. H. Thornton, he wished to remind customers that the shop would continue to operate as usual, with all repair work carried out. The Warra vs Western Suburbs cricket match on the Chinchilla 2 oval resulted in another outright win for Warra, making their total points on the fixture equal to Transports, the former leading team.




Chinchilla Page 16

From 1933 to 2011, the Allan family provided quality service and merchandise to Chinchilla and surrounding areas. this tradition has been continued by mensland Chinchilla under the ownership of the mcmahon family.

Ph: 4662 7421

93 Heeney Street CHinCHilla

1935 & 1936

Chinchilla News, January 18, 1935 – In this edition the Chinchilla News reports on two weddings and a divorce. The marriage of Marjorie May Vowles of Dalby, and Noel Alfred Fielding of Brisbane, was held in St John’s Church of England, Dalby, by the Reverend Frank Knight. Marjorie was “gowned in silver embossed lame, made on classical lines with a court train of silverlace”, and was given away by her father. Jean Vowles and Beryl Nicholson were bridesmaids, while Alan Carvosso was best man, and Victor McPhie was groomsman. The reception was held at the Windsor Hotel before the newly-weds left for their honeymoon across the south coast. Daisy May, fourth daughter of Mr and Mrs Knight from Condamine, wed Robert Burns, the only son of Mr and Mrs Dunlop, from Chinchilla at a ceremony at St Andrews Church Toowoomba by reverend Roberts. Daisy carried a bouquet of shasta daisies, meadow sweet and heather, and entered the church arm in arm with her brother who gave her away. Mrs A French played the organ, and during the signing of the registrar Mrs Farish sang the solo My Prayer. The reception was held at the Alexandra Café. News from Los Angeles was that in just three minutes, Mary Pickford was granted a divorce from Douglas Fairbanks, on an undefended charge of mental cruelty, indifference and neglect. Mary gave her evidence in whispers and was nearly in tears throughout. The couple’s married life had often been quoted as Hollywood’s outstanding real life romance. Both had been previously married.


Generationns of Caring 4662 2 7608

An advertisement appeared on the front page of the Chinchilla News for T.J Smyth Saddler & Harness Maker -”Pull you Beauties - Pull”. Horses were the main mode of farming and physical labour during this era.

Chinchilla News, January 31, 1936 – In this edition, the results from Taroom Shire Council’s monthly meeting and Taroom CWA branch share their successes across the year ahead of a dance at the shire hall until after midnight.

Enquiries across the shire were heard at the council meeting. James Mundell was looking to build a fence across the lane between his property and Harry Kehl’s paddock near Gunnouries, but more information was requested. Main Roads forwarded a permit to build a cattle grid, and the Railway Department gave permission for cattle wagons to be moved by people other than railway employees. E Williams was given £20 by the council to pay for fuel for the clearing of galvanised burr on 60 acres of the Springsure stock route. This payment was on condition that Williams maintained the clearing for a year. The Taroom CWA branch’s annual meeting re-elected president Mrs R Phipps. Mrs A Cook was appointed secretary-treasurer as Mrs A. Carter was planning to leave the district and vacated her position. The eleventh annual report showed the group “had a wonderfully happy and successful year, all our meetings being very pleasant and jolly ones”. The 1935 objective had been to help the Taroom Hospital. The group also decided to send some of the children from the shire to the seaside for a holiday. Twelve children asked to go, twice what the group had planned for, but after assessing their financial position, the CWA decided to take all 12 on the December 6-21 trip. CWA membership grew from 83 to 87, even as seven members left the district.

Since 1938 the Keating family have supported countless families in their time of need. For many years Tim and Hazel Keating, who were assisted by brothers George and Barney were recognised as the first point of call at the loss of a loved one. George’s son, Phillip Keating, conducted his first funeral at the age of 23 in 1967. Upon Tim’s passing Phillip and Helen Keating assumed ownership building the business and offering the care and services that Keating Funerals is renowned for. Phillip and Helen’s son, Anthony Keating, following in the footsteps of the great men who had gone before him, joined the family business at 21 years of age. Today, Anthony and Maria Keating continue the time honoured tradition of our family caring for yours.


St Andrews Church Toowoomba (pictured), the place of marriage for Daisy May and Robert Burns of Chinchilla in 1935.

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110 Years Of Chinchilla News 19


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1937 & 1938 Vintage milk truck - similar to the cream truck used between Dalby & Brigalow.

Chinchilla News, February 9, 1937 – On this day it was announced that the U.S.A had approved the first standard motor car engine, the Ford V8, for use in aeroplanes. It was also reported that a new phone line was to be built from Brigalow and that it would total nine miles in length. The first standard motor car engine to receive the United States Department of Commerce approval for use in aeroplanes was announced on Friday, February 19, 1937. The Ford V8 was given the tick of approval and it was reported that The Arrow Aircraft Corporation, Lincoln, Nebraska, U.S.A, were planning production of a low-winged monoplane using the Ford V-8 power plant. While Ford Motor Company have no financial or other connection with the Company, the use of a standard Ford V.8 engine makes available to purchasers, the service and replacement facilities, that are so well and favourably known in all parts of the world. In other news, it was reported that the road transport cream truck was now operating between Dalby and Brigalow and that the whole cream supplied to the Dalby factory was now being carried by road. A new telephone line also made a splash on the front page, with the Chinchilla News stating that the new line would be built from Brigalow and total nine miles in length.

The Brigalow Public Hall was the “entertainment” center of the town, with many social events hosted here.

Chinchilla News, January 21st, 1938 - In this edition, we saw the front cover advertise school wear, news and events in “Country News” and the possibility of an “Empire Boat Service”. Looking over the advertisement from T.W. Reid, a General Merchant in Chinchilla, we see, and quote, “nothing pleases children more than the satisfaction of being well dressed”. The variety offered of frocks, tunics and trimmed bonnet pedal straw hats through to coloured crepe bloomers for just 1/6 a pair! Note the phone number at the bottom of the ad – “Phone 24” – a two-digit phone number, my how times have changed. In the Country News, Brigalow Vigoro Club held a morning tea in the public hall, in honour of Miss Polly Stewart, with dance music provided by Mrs. Wallis on the accordion and Mrs. Jean and Marjory McIntyre on piano. Miss Polly Stewart was soon to be married to Mr. Holt and Mr. E. Buchanan presented a table of gifts, while Mr. A. McIntyre spoke on behalf of the public to wish the future couple health and prosperity. Assistant General Manager of Imperial Airways, Mr. S. A. Dismore, arrived in Brisbane from London, by air on Thursday, 20th January 1938. He hoped that within six months, there would be a regular flying boat service between England and Australia. This was all dependant on the whole staff being trained and experienced before the machines could possibly fly night and day and the progress made with Australian air bases. They currently flew an hour or two before dawn and continued only until an hour or two after dark. Mr. Dismore was in Australia to discuss with officials, the details of the flying boat service, staying a few days in Brisbane before going to Sydney.

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91 Heeney St, Chinchilla Ph: 4662 7475 • Fax: 4669 1275


1939 & 1940 This Fire Cabin, at Turkey Mountain, was used as a lookout in safeguarding surrounding properties.

Chinchilla News, February 17th, 1939 - In this edition, we saw the front cover full of local ads and then news and results of the Pioneers Association cricket team. That’s it, no general news!

Chinchilla News, January 19th, 1940 - In this edition, we saw the front cover with a promotion for a new aero oil vaporator, newlyweds introduced and minutes from the Dulacca R.S.S.I.L.A annual meeting.

T.W Reid dominated the front page with a huge advertisement for a “cash only” mid-summer sale, to last only ten days.

Introduced as an amazing new Australian invention, the Aero Oil Vaporator has been declared a success, after enabling up to ten more miles to the gallon on all makes and models of cars. It’s stated to do so, by taking the oil and petrol fumes from the crank case (normally wasted) and forcing them “back to work”. The new invention is said to be easily fitted in a few minutes and anyone with a spanner could fit it! The Aero Oil Vaporator was sold complete with full fitting instructions and a money back guarantee, for just 25/- each and it could be posted anywhere in Queensland.

Hunters Pty Ltd, announce their annual stock taking sale, for cash only, offering 15% discount, “3s in the pound”, for “drapery, millinery and fancy goods”, and with 20% discount, “4/ in the pound” for “All lines boots and shoes”. Other smaller advertisements see a Brisbane firm, W. E. Allen stating they have “ample funds available for advance as first mortgage on approved farming and grazing land security. Lowest current rates of interest”. The only way to enquire further for funding or receive an application, was by what we now refer to as “snail mail” – at 739 Queens Street Brisbane. Cricket is a big feature, with the Pioneer Association Team announced to be meeting up with a representative Chinchilla team at the showgrounds wicket, on Sunday February 26th, promising to be an interesting match as both teams had “solid combinations”. In the Pioneers Association competition, Five Miles played at home against Canaga and won by 110 runs in the first innings and Burncluith played at home against Pelican, resulting in a three-point win for Pelican.

Wedding. Described as a “very pretty wedding”, the recent marriage of Miss Ivy Josephine Townsend and Mr. James Barber, was officiated by Rev. Cowan at St. Luke’s Church of England. The couple later honeymooned in Brisbane and their future home was also to be in Cleveland, Brisbane. Saturday 13th January 1940, saw the annual general meeting of the Dulacca R.S.S.I.L.A, held at the President, Mr. T. W. Hair’s home. There was a good attendance of Diggers and the election of officers for the ensuing year were elected. The meeting then reverted to an ordinary meeting and general business saw one war pension application come under notice and one case of relief rations was issued. Smokes and light refreshments brought the meeting to a close.









Chinchilla Street, becoming “busier” as car owners take advantage of more miles to the gallon with the new “Aero Oil Vaporator”.

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1941 & 1942 The Scotch Grey Mosquito caused great problems for stock during recent rains in 1941. Land owners were forced to light logs in paddocks to allow some degree of comfort for their animals.

Chinchilla News, January 3, 1941 – In this edition, we brought focus to the inundation of the “Scotch Grey” mosquito, which was proving quite the annoyance to cattle, the inaugural Plain and Fancy Dress Ball in aid of Pelican Red Cross with the event deemed a resounding success. Recent rains and so much dampness had welcomed unwanted visitors in the form of “Scotch Grey” mosquitoes. The particular breed was rather vicious and large in numbers, causing a great annoyance to stock, with owners having to resort to lighting logs in the paddocks to allow the animals some degree of comfort. In other news, A Plain and Fancy Dress Ball was held in aid of the Pelican Red Cross Branch, with a good attendance reported. The function netted 13 pounds, which was deemed a resounding success for the inaugural ball. H.D Johnston asks us in an ad, if we need extra tanks? “You should take advantage of every fall of rain in the district. Don’t be satisfied with a scanty water supply lot, ensure having plenty for household purposes by installing extra tanks. We supply the best in all sizes and all tank materials.”

12 hours a day, 7 days a week, with fully trained, experienced staff

The flood of 1942 broke records and caused damage estimated at £100,000

Chinchilla News, June 12, 1942 – In this edition, we hear how Russia was prepared for Hitler’s armies, an ad for loans directed at investing in war equipment and we saw where to get the best in saddlery. As stated, when Hitler directed his army to head eastwards last year, many people, even the Nazi’s themselves, were surprised at the degree of military preparedness in Russia. In an unpleasant shock to the Germans’, Russia was a well-equipped division, with armoured trains and masses of huge bombers and speedy fighter planes. The surprise was heightened by the Russian ability to improve on known means of warfare and to devise new ones. 2nd Liberty Loans, with an image of the big hand and coins flowing, entices us to invest in war equipment. Subscribing to bonds became a symbol of patriotic duty as it supported the allied cause in World War 1. This “liberty loan” introduced the idea of financial security to many citizens for the first time. There is only one true to name genuine Wieneke that is Jack Wieneke, “himself”. Mr. Wieneke acclaimed he was the “bona fide inventor of the famous saddlery”. Based out of Brisbane, Wieneke displays his original trademark within the advertisement and advisors it is your protective guide against imitations. Mr. Wieneke also states that “this important work is now almost a lost art”.

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1944 & 1945 Brisbane Mater Hospital, captured here in 1905 - where injured horseman, Don Versace was taken to recover.

Chinchilla News, February 4, 1944 – In this edition, we have stories detailing a bad fall from a horse of a local man and the unprecedented success of the Boonarga Campdraft. On Friday January 28, 1944 Gurulmundi local, Donn Versace was thrown from his horse whilst undertaking a dingo drive. Mr Versace sustained injuries to his spine as a result of the fall and had to be brought into Miles via ambulance. The following morning Mr Versace was taken to Brisbane for further treatment and Mrs Versace has since reported that he is recovering in the Private Mater Hospital and his condition is improving. Also in this edition, the successful maiden Boonarga Campdraft was featured, with weather coming close to spoiling the event. The evening prior to the most anticipated inaugural event, a heavy storm hit Boonarga, yielding an inch of rain however, the morning sun saved the day, with the grounds eventually proving perfect for drafting. The competition attracted twenty-two nominations, with Jumbo and rider Lloyd Archer, taking out the main title at the event. Lloyd Archer was noted as being in his early twenties at the time and a relative newcomer to the camp drafting scene. The maiden draft also proved financially successful for the event organiser, with proceeds exceeding 100 pounds, which would be shared between the Boonarga Hall Committee and the Chinchilla Sub Branch for the R.S.S.A.I.L.A.

The Star Theatre was constructed in Heeney Street in 1945.

Chinchilla News, March 23, 1945 – In this edition, we reported on the anxious wait for a local family after their son was declared missing after an air operation and also on this day, journalists covered a story on a Fox-Moth air ambulance crash, which took place at Dulacca Station. A local Chinchilla family, faced a terrible period of waiting after Air Force Authorities advised Mr and Mrs A. C. Teague that their son Jack William Teague was missing as a result of air operations on March 16th, 1945. Known details at the time of print were that Jack was a member of the crew of a Lancaster aircraft detailed to attack enemy targets at Nuremberg, Germany, which failed to return to base, presumably due to enemy action. It was reported that Jack was very well known in Chinchilla, having been educated at Chinchilla State School before going on to complete further education at Brisbane Grammar School. The Chinchilla community were supporting the family as they awaited more hopeful news. Meanwhile, in Dulacca, a Fox-Moth air ambulance travelling from Charleville to Brisbane crashed at about noon on Tuesday, March 20, 1945 and made an emergency landing in a paddock at the Dulacca Station. The pilot believed a wing defect was developing and so had already decided upon the emergency landing, when the tail of the aeroplane fouled a telephone line and the machine somersaulted. Thankfully there was only one passenger with a non-life threatening hand injury.

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1946 & 1947 Looking south over the cream depot, 1910 circa. In 1946, tenders were called for the sale of surplus plant.

The Chinchilla Sale yards. A total of 1,968 head yarded, with the highest price for a fat bullock reaching £15.

Chinchilla News, January 18th, 1946 - In this edition, the front cover, although somewhat blurry here, made mention of discussions held in both the Executive Meeting of the Western Downs Q.D.O and the Chinchilla Dairy Association Meeting.

Chinchilla News, February 21st, 1947 - In this edition, the front cover included stories such as the good prices at the Chinchilla cattle sale, an application from the hospital, together with a few general news articles.

At the Western Downs Q.D.O meeting, Mr. Skerman referred to the Government’s soldier settlement scheme, saying that while it was understood that the scheme provided for water, stock and equipment for the blocks, little more information was available. Therefore, it was decided that the State Executive be asked to support the scheme for returned soldiers and also requested that any further information be made available at the earliest opportunity.

Good prices prevailed at the recent Messrs Slessar & Co’s Chinchilla Cattle Sale, which had a total of 1,968 head yarded. The good prices were a reflection of the beneficial rains experienced throughout the district. The sale was the first from this firm since the breaking of the drought and the market was brisk during the sale and good prices were obtained for all classes of fat and tinner cattle. The highest price for a fat bullock was £15.

The Bell branch Q.D.O submitted a resolution that all petrol, dieseline and lighting power kerosene, be sold at a uniform price throughout Queensland. A similar resolution was submitted by Guluguba previously. The chairman said that the Organisation had been working on this matter for the past twelve months. It was decided to submit the resolution to the State Executive of the Q.D.O with the District Executive’s support.

At a Chinchilla Hospital Board meeting, action was taken to apply for electricity to be supplied from Chinchilla Co-operative Dairy Association, to the hospital, in the event of a break-down in the Dalby power line, which provided power for Chinchilla.

Tenders are to be called by the Chinchilla Dairy Association, for the sale of all surplus plant, with delivery to be given after December 31st, 1946. The plant to be offered for disposal, will include a portion of the generating plant at presently used to generate electrical energy for the town of Chinchilla. This decision was reached at the meeting of directors of the Chinchilla Co-operative Dairy Association held the Tuesday before.




An application for the proposal of new nurses’ quarters, submitted by the hospital boards architects, Messrs. Hall and Phillips, were approved by the board. The plans were to then be forwarded on to the Department of Health and Home Affairs to advise the Chinchilla Hospital board, in regard to the calling of tenders for construction. Miles A. and P. Associations were meeting to discuss if the Miles show was to go ahead this year. The general feeling was bright, as beneficial rains were experienced throughout the district. If the show is to be held, the dates would be on April 8 & 9th, 1947 and schedules would be available at an early date.


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1947 & 1950 Cassie Castle raised a young Cod in his dam in 1950 similar to this one caught in the Condamine River by Matt Stephenson

The Miles Show today holds traditions from 1947 including Miss Teen Show Girl and Miss Show Girl. Chinchilla News, April 24th, 1947 - In this edition, the front cover included stories such as the search for an aerodrome site in Chinchilla, Miles set to benefit from a subsidy-loan program and a touch of politics. The Best’s property was deemed unsuitable for passenger aircraft by Civil Aviation officer, Mr. Smyth, after an inspection last week. The Chinchilla Chamber of Commerce President, Mr. G. D’Anglade, announced the news at their recent monthly meeting. However, the property could be used for private planes and emergency cases. Another property behind the racecourse was inspected and it was considered reasonably suited, however a lot of clearing would be required. The last site inspected was the property of Mr. H. Hellyer and was situated about 1.5 miles from town. Mr. Smythe considered the last property to be an ideal site, with ample room each way for runways and was well cleared. Mr. Smythe also stated that all towns should develop aerodromes in the next few years, as the expansion of air transport was expected to be very considerable. A three-year program of subsidy-loan works was drawn up by Murilla Shire Council and was expected to inject £15,000 in to the town of Miles over the 3 years. All the monies would be used for road maintenance and road construction. An upcoming election on May 3rd has attracted some fierce push for the Country Party candidates. With an advertisement on the front-page slamming Labour for communism and lawlessness. Labour candidate in Dalby, Mr. G. D Wilkes, was on the defence as he addressed a Chinchilla audience in opposition to the Country Party. Mr. Wilkes stated all the benefits Dalby had received were thanks to Labour, including the great advantages of the Labour Governments hospital schemes, particularly apparent in Chinchilla, where a fine new hospital existed, together with the new nurses’ quarters to be erected. Wilkes also referred to the free hospital treatment and Dalby, Jandowae and Miles soon to have new hospitals. The speaker also referred to subsidising electrical supplies to the extent of 50% around the region, with a £75,000 undertaking.

Chinchilla News, April 17th, 1950 - In this edition, the front cover included some very interesting tales in its “Roundabout” column, including facts on how long it takes a cod to mature to full size! Well, how long does It take the cod to grow from infancy to a mature sized cod? Cassie Castle took this question as a challenge and although he didn’t have it down to the exact time frame in days, he knew part of the answer. Cassie walked in to the newspaper office this week with a full-sized cod – and the story behind it is quite amusing. This particular cod was from his own dam, where he had been transferring small edible fish caught in the Condamine River by way of a 44-gallon drum. After time, which has not been disclosed, Cassie fished the dam and caught several mature cod, including the 10lb 4oz cod he presented at the paper. Another tale from a local “Chinchilla-ite”, told the story of how in the hey-days of the prickly pear infestation, he was offered a property of several thousand acres for only £20 and how he “missed out” by a few hours. The property had since been sold again for something like £19,000. The same can be said for practically all the former “pear lands” in the Chinchilla district. Floods on Easter Monday didn’t stop some Chinchilla locals from negotiating high water levels to get home – with some cars having waterlines up to 3 feet up the side of the doors. The paper states everyone they met made their way home, passing hundreds of motorists on the way and not stopping. “A truly mighty race these Chinchilla-ites”. Tara visitors to Brisbane and Toowoomba were not so fortunate. Most of them had to garage their cars in Dalby and use the “slow but trusty “iron horse”.

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1951 & 1952 1951 Committee members of the Dulacca-Jackson Graziers Association expressed ongoing concerns with the increased rabbit numbers north of the rabbit fence

Advertisements for free immunisation for Diptheria ran on the front page of Chinchilla News in 1952.

Chinchilla News, January 19th, 1951- In this edition, the front cover told of the increasing rabbit population, highlights of the Chinchilla Aero Pageant and an advert announces a famous hypnotist will visit.

Chinchilla News, January 18th, 1952- In this edition, the front cover looked at a cream delivery reduction, drought relief update and an obituary for a local identity.

Committee members of the Dulacca-Jackson Graziers Association expressed ongoing concerns with the increased rabbit numbers north of the rabbit fence. The members want action taken against offenders who leave the gates open and carried a resolution asking that, in view of the long delays occurring in the provision of grids on the rabbit fence for use of motor traffic, that the Leichhardt Rabbit Board be asked to more rigidly enforce the closure of gates by appointing officers with the special duty of gaining evidence of these offences.

Cream deliveries to the Chinchilla Co-operative Dairy Associations’ factory was reduced to three deliveries per week as from January 21st, 1952. The manager, Mr. V. Newell reported to the recent meeting of the Board of Directors that the supply was only at winter levels, however, weather conditions were playing havoc with the grades and the only way to overcome this was a reduction of deliveries.

A successful day was declared after the aero pageant held at Best’s landing ground in Chinchilla on Sunday afternoon. A main highlight was the aerobatics display by a glider, piloted by Neil Hart. Pilot Hart was stationed with an English squadron during the 2nd World War. The glider, reputed as the smallest sailplane, was towed from Toowoomba behind a Tiger Moth machine by the secretary of the Toowoomba Aero Club, Mr. Bob Dias and was towed up to 3,000 feet high before being released over the landing field. Keen interest was shown in the glider, which is owned by the Toowoomba Gliding Club, and the amazing aerobatic display lasted nearly half an hour, managing to keep the Chinchilla crowd intensely interested as it soared and looped in effortless flight. After a long stint overseas and interstate, including visits to the British Isles and New Zealand, Van Loewe, The Eminent hypnotist and mentalist, is scheduled to visit Chinchillas’ Star Theatre on January 29th & 30th 1951.

Included in the correspondence of the January 1952 meeting of the Chinchilla Co-operative Dairy Association, was a letter from the manager of the Agricultural Bank in connection with the drought relief scheme. The letter read as follows: “As you are aware, no dairy farmer shall be eligible for an advance under the Drought Relief to Primary Producers’ Act for fodder relief unless he has no fodder and is unable to pay cash or to borrow money or to obtain credit for the purpose of providing fodder and, furnishes a declaration to that effect. This precaution of ensuring that applicants are eligible in terms of the Act has been made in view of the fact that there was evidence of abuse in respect of the Drought Relief Scheme in 1946”. The death of Mr. Thomas Birkett on Sunday 13th January 1952, at the Chinchilla Hospital, removed a man who had, prior to his retirement in 1938, guided the destinies of this newspaper for almost thirty years. In total, Mr. Birkett followed the “inky way” for about 60 years.


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1953 & 1954 An advertisement for the Austin A40 Similar to this, appeared on the front page of the Chinchilla News in 1953. The sales pitch was “Sensationally different! In appearance performance and comfort”.

Chinchilla News, January 9, 1953 - In this edition, questions were raised over the water supply from Charley’s Creek and local farmers were fined for traffic breaches. Charley’s Creek being weird below its junction with Rocky Creek, started tongues wagging on whether the decision is short sighted or not. A large public sector claims the Condamine River should be weird and although it may be a costlier exercise, it would guarantee the water supply. Protagonists of the Condamine scheme point to its greater value for irrigation purposes and claim that sufficient water would be impounded by a weir of reasonable height to totally eliminate any risks of water shortage, whilst also providing sufficient water for the purpose of farm irrigation. The second school of thought, takes the view that the extra expenditure involved to weir the Condamine River, would lift the already swollen cost of the water scheme to a prohibitive figure. The argument advanced that it is better to have the water twenty years sooner – leaving the question of an additional supply to be dealt with when the problem eventually arises. Three Chinchilla farmers who committed breaches of the Traffic Regulations in relation to the carriage of goods, were fined in the Court of Petty Sessions in Dalby. They were charged with having conveyed their own livestock to the Dalby saleyards, without having obtained the necessary permits. They were each fined £5, with 6/ - costs.

Chinchilla Street during the 1954 floods

Chinchilla News, February 19th, 1954 - In this edition, the front cover stories include an article of the inundation of flood waters in Chinchilla businesses and the start of diesel engine operations in the region. In the face of the threat of flood waters, with the memory of the 1942 flood still fresh in their minds, at least a dozen business houses took the precaution to move stock and furniture. The water actually entered the business premises of Mr. R. A Young, Chinchilla, to a depth of several feet and also reached a height of about 18 inches in the tractor service shop, conducted by Mr. Albert Parker (Chinchilla Farmer Service). Both businesses had taken the precaution of removing all stocks and materials likely to be damaged by the flood waters. Diesel engines commenced operations on the Toowoomba to Roma train run this week. The diesel engines will draw good trains between the towns and return three times weekly. The departures are scheduled for 10.45pm Monday, Wednesday and Thursday each week, arriving at Chinchilla at 3.26am on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Leaving Chinchilla at 4.20am the diesels will arrive at Roma at 9.35am. The diesels make the trip from Toowoomba to Roma and return – a distance of approximately 436 miles – in 24 hours and 10 minutes. The actual running time would be reduced considerably by stops of 54 minutes and 61 minutes respectively, at Chinchilla and 85 minutes at Roma, as well as stops at several other stations both ways.

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1955 & 1956 Visitors attending the 75th anniversary of Chinchilla State School in 1958. In 1955 the school explored expanding into a secondary school also.

Plans were put on hold to prepare work for drawings for a major extension to the Chinchilla District Hospital in early 1956, after it was revealed the Department of Health and Home Affairs were under financial strain.

Chinchilla News, April 29, 1955 - In this edition, Chinchilla Shire Council voted to accept unstamped election ballots, the state school revealed lofty plans to add a senior campus and two men charged with drink driving.

Chinchilla News, January 6, 1956 – In this edition, the Chinchilla Hospitals’ Board fights to get extension grants to begin the build, and the town fondly farewells their stationmaster John Dinnis.

Chinchilla Shire Council voted to redeem all ballot papers that were collected as part of the triannual council elections that were posted at the Chinchilla Post Office but not stamped. Instructions as part of the ballot papers showed they would not be accepted if they weren’t stamped, but the motion to redeem them was carried.

Plans to prepare working drawings and specifications for a major extension at the Chinchilla District Hospital were put on hold after the Department of Health and Home Affairs revealed it was under financial strain. The department advised the hospital it was “loth to undertake further major building works which would be in competition with those already in progress for available monies” and offered to review the situation in three months’ time. The Chinchilla Hospitals Board said a loan of £5000 pounds had already been approved by the Governor-in-Council, and they were eager to begin work before the end of the 1955-1956 financial year. They claimed the health department had previously approved the extensions with a new admin bock and outpatients area, as well as a male general ward with eight public beds for adults, a two-bed intermediate ward for four children in public beds, and six private rooms. The build cost was estimated to be £60,000.

Chinchilla State School headmaster Mr Daniel said before he would approach the government to lobby for a high school campus, there would need to be an enrolment guarantee of at least 100 students. He also needed assurances from 10 families that their children would go onto the high school if it was built. A 21-year-old Condamine man was charged with drink driving in the Court of Petty Sessions in Chinchilla. Sergeant Bormann said Mr Keys drove over the embankment on the approach to the railway overhead bridge in Heeney Street, forcing another vehicle to balance on the opposite side of the embankment. The vehicle plummeted 33 feet over the embankment. He was convicted and fined £50 in default 3 months in prison and his license was suspended for 3 months. Another drink driving case had Barry Rayner, 19, found guilty and fined £40 in default two months’ imprisonment, with a 3-month suspended license. The council’s Chinchilla-Boonarga Road bitumen works were at risk of delay after a shortage of screenings, after its plan to secure screenings from Wambo Shire Council’s plant was unsuccessful.

The Chinchilla News published a notice of the death of well-liked John Dinnis, who was Stationmaster in Chinchilla from 1932-1937 “and a very good citizen of the town during that time”. He retired in Bowen and died in the hospital there. Before his retirement he had moved to Gladstone to take up the post as their Stationmaster. He was employed by the Railway Department for most of his working life and had a passion for cricket and bowls.

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1957 & 1958 In 1957 the Chinchilla News office extended to include a modern stationery shop and a new office block.

Two men cool off eating refreshing watermelon, during a prolonged heat wave in 1958.

Chinchilla News, March 8, 1957 – In this edition the town of Miles mourns the drowning death of a teenager, Chinchilla remains without a bailiff and the hospital is set to get air-conditioning in the operating theatre.

Chinchilla News, January 2, 1958 - In this edition a Main Roads employee almost drowned in a workplace accident and drought across the region caused Chinchilla Shire Council to consider action.

“A deep gloom was cast over the town of Miles when it was learned of the tragic death of Valerie Kiely in a drowning accident at Palm Beach on March 1” read the obituary for the popular sporting figure in the town for her tennis, vigoro and basketball skills. The 19-year-old was born and raised in Miles and worked for Weldons butchery and Miles Mercantile Store before moving to Toowoomba to work at Beresford’s as a saleswoman.

A Main Roads employee was lucky to survive a workplace accident that had him pinned between the door and cabin of a five-ton water truck that had capsized into a lagoon. The accident happened at the lagoon of Dick Drabsch near Branch Creek about 10 miles from Chinchilla. Eric Wedrat, 34, almost drowned when the truck capsized at the water’s edge leaving him pinned. He was later transported to Brisbane General Hospital for further treatment of his internal injuries.

Chinchilla Chamber of Commerce’s advice that a bailiff be appointed at the town revealed that efforts had been unsuccessfully made for the past two years to find a suitable candidate for the part-time role. A summons was able to be served in the Chinchilla, Miles and Jandowae districts by officers at police stations in these locations.

Chinchilla Shire Council were poised to direct residents to turn off their water sprinklers after a prolonged period of dry weather and overuse. Between the heavy consumption of water and evaporation, water levels at the weir were dropping by approximately a foot a month, with this drop picking up speed as the weir levels sunk. At capacity the weir held 15 feet of water but was currently at 11 feet. Councillor Dorney said the council had reason to believe some Chinchilla residents were running their sprinklers overnight with 20,000 gallons emptied from the reservoir after 11pm some nights.

Dulacca’s main street was finally sealed with bitumen, however with the hot dry weather being experienced, rain was needed to stop the dust in the side streets. Nurses and surgeons were pleased to hear the Chinchilla Hospitals Board was approved to borrow £2000 from the bank to install air-conditioning in the operating theatre. Tara Boy Scouts and the Red Cross were the recipients of £250 raised by the Tara Swimming Carnival at the Lagoon. The carnival was followed by a ball in the show pavilion that night with music by Wal Tilston’s Band.

Farmers were starting 1958 with anxiety after a prolonged searing heat wave, regarded by many as one of the worst they’d experienced, coupled with the lack of rain. This resulted in cattle and sheep losses “on a heavy scale” with Pelican district being one of the most impacted. It was reported that without drought-breaking rain, “calamitous” stock losses across Queensland were expected.

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1960 & 1961 Chinchilla District Hospital staff delivered 18 boys in a row, between February 20 and March 23rd, 1960

A fire at the Commercial Hotel caused devastation and claimed 3 lives on December 27th, 1960

Chinchilla News, March 24, 1960 – In this edition the Chinchilla Aero Club builds the airstrip it needs to begin training and the Rotary Club step in to help fund the War Memorial Swimming Pool.

Chinchilla New, January 5, 1961 – In this edition the Chinchilla News covers the drought, a pub fire that killed three people, watermelon thefts, and car crashes.

The not-yet officially formed Chinchilla Aero Club has taken on the task of constructing an airstrip for training purposes, with the help of two businessmen and a prominent grazier. The 2000-foot-long and 300-foot-wide strip needed mowing, harrowing and its holes filled in, as well as a cross strip built before the Civil Aviation Department will lease the landing ground for training. Mr A Slessar leant a tractor, mower and mower man, while Albert Parker loaned a tractor. Grazier Vic Black also lent his mower to the club for a week. The generosity of these men sped up the club’s launch. Darling Downs Aero Club chief instructor Kevin Dollory tested out the airstrip, and later told the club that if they could be ready in two weeks, he would send aircraft to Chinchilla to begin training.

Commercial Hotel licensee Stan Griffin and his daughter suffered burns, cuts and shock in the pub fire that killed three people and destroyed the venue in December. A temporary bar was erected on the site of the old Commercial Hotel, with owner Mr Hickey planning to build a new hotel at the same location. Mr Griffin asked residents who had recently paid him cheques to kindly reissue them, as the payments were lost in the ashes.

The War Memorial Swimming Pool fund had exceeded £900, with the committee also collecting on £2000 in promised donations. The Rotary Club donated £100 and offered to construct the gardens and lawns at the pool, as well as host a talent quest at the Chinchilla Show to raise money for the project. Doctors and nurses were left wondering what was in the water, after Chinchilla District Hospital staff delivered 18 boys in a row, between February 20 and March 23rd, 1960.

Crashes in the region included a single-vehicle crash at Macalister where a car overturned. No one was hurt in the Pease family who were in the car, after a return trip to Melbourne. Peter Flynn, 19, of Rywung hit a guide post in his ute on Jandowae-Chinchilla Road near the Boonarga railway level crossing. Three people were fined £5 and ordered to make restitution after pleading guilty in Chinchilla Court of Petty Sessions to charges of stealing watermelons from Arthur Horswood. Widespread rains drenched large parts of Queensland but left the Western Downs high and dry. Dulacca and Chinchilla received a small amount of rain. Farmers were hoping for heavy rains in January and February, after a dry season in the year prior. The Chinchilla News reported that dairy production in the region had yet to recover from the 1957 drought, with the dairy association’s factory producing about 15 tons a week and saying increases unlikely without a downpour.

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1962 & 1963 The Chinchilla Hospital pictured here circa 1926, was set for upgrades with tenders called for the £70,000 extensions in April 1962.

In 1963 Tara may see a second hotel-motel established should the Licensing Commission approve the application by the Bardens of Hannaford.

Chinchilla News, April 12, 1962 – In this edition Chinchilla looks to the future, with expansion plans for the District Hospital, a new police station, the 18-hole golf course opening, and the Commercial Hotel to be rebuilt. After a deadly fire at the Commercial Hotel in December 1960, work was ready to begin to rebuild the pub where it stood. The new building would have twelve bedrooms, many with their own separate balcony. Chinchilla District Hospital was set for upgrades with tenders called for the £70,000 extensions to begin in May or June. The extensions included 19 more beds, a new administrative block and additions to the maternity and nurses’ quarters. The plans were approved by the Department of Health and Home Affairs, who also gave permission for the hospital to install air-conditioning in the labour wards and nursery, at a cost of £3000. It was no April fool – on Sunday the first, Chinchilla Golf Club’s new 18-hole course was used for the first time with a mixed foursome and an 18-hole stableford with 56 players joining the competition. Before the session began, the club president called on Jack Stockwell who designed the course to hit the first ball of the first tee. With approval recently given to fund a fifth police officer to serve Chinchilla, the need for a new police station to have better accommodation and facilities was highlighted in a visit by the Minister for Local Government. Premier Frank Nicklin was headed to Taroom to officially open the show, before meeting with members of the Taroom Shire Council and their wives at a town hall reception. It was believed to be the first time a Premier of Queensland had visited Taroom.

Chinchilla News, January 13, 1963 – In this edition the Licensing Commission was looking at an application for a second hotel-motel in Tara, Taroom residents were lobbying for a swimming pool for the town and a grazier rolls his tractor. The town of Tara could see a second hotel-motel should the Licensing Commission approve the application by the Bardens, of Hannaford. Were it to go ahead, the Chinchilla News reported that Tara “should have one of the most modern country hotel-motels in Queensland by the year’s end”. The cost to build the premises was estimated at £80,000. The design also included a drive-through bottle shop, a beer garden and parking for more than 200 vehicles. A section of the second floor of the building would host the owners three-bedroom, 1200 square foot flat. It was decided at a public meeting in Taroom to form a committee that could approach the Shire Council to gauge their interest in the development of a swimming pool for the town. The committee of seven would research the costs to finance, construct and maintain the facility and report back to the council. There was some concern that not all ratepayers were interested in a community pool, after ratepayers had turned down a sewage scheme proposal in the past. A Condamine grazier suffered a compound fracture in his right leg and back injuries after the tractor he was operating up an embankment rolled on top of him, pinning him to the ground. Myles Rayner, 33 was taken to Miles District Hospital, with a doctor meeting the ambulance on the way to administer pain-killers.


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110 Years Of Chinchilla News 19



1964 & 1965 Sam Irwin skiing on the Chinchilla Weir today - some 50 odd years after the Chinchilla Shire Council voted unanimously for it’s construction in 1964.

Chinchilla News, February 24, 1964 – In this edition, the wider Western Downs region continues to grow and develop infrastructure for its towns, with Miles residents looking to raise £50,000 for a swimming pool. One year earlier Taroom had formed a committee to investigate the costs of opening a swimming pool, so it was not surprising that the town of Miles also look to cool off in the summer heat. Taroom continued to develop, with Main Roads undertaking work in the town and changes to the electricity supply. Chinchilla Shire Council voted unanimously at their latest meeting for the Department of Local Government to prepare plans for a weir on the Condamine River, about 8km south east of the town. Nine years after the council began investigating if they could construct the weir, it was opened in 1973. Other stories in this edition of the Chinchilla News included an elderly man found dead, a record-breaking outbreak of hepatitis and a push for immunisations at Tara. An official opening was set to be held on February 29 to open Chinchilla’s new Civic Centre, with the shire council inviting readers to join the event, that also included an inspection of the new Council Chambers and hall. Other developments ahead for Chinchilla included the shire council asking the Chamber of Commerce to help in finding a new site to relocate the Chinchilla Rifle Range. In sad news, a forestry employee was killed. This was not the first report over the years of government employees being killed on the job.

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Chinchilla Dairy Co-operative won six prizes in five sections in the butter competition at the Toowoomba Show in March 1965.

Chinchilla News, April 1, 1965 – In this edition, drought conditions were worsening in Chinchilla and surrounds, with water restrictions and complete hosing bans imposed. In other news, a group of young men in Chinchilla were keen to form a Citizens’ Military Forces platoon in Chinchilla and were working to gather further support. About 25 citizens, including a big proportion of interested young men in the 17 to 35 age group attended a meeting at Chinchilla on Monday, March 29th, 1965, convened for the purpose of giving consideration to the formation of a unit of the Citizens’ Military Forces at Chinchilla. Major Carl Thompson of the permanent Army and Colonel M. Just of the Citizens’ Military Forces attended the meeting to give information and guidance. It was noted that before a start could be made on formation of a platoon in Chinchilla, it would be necessary for at least 50 eligible young men to sign the application for C.M.F. enlistment. The meeting was a successful one, informing and guiding all present, with plans to look to making further recruits in order to establish a platoon. Also making news on April 1, 1965 was the worsening drought, with dams on properties dry and complete hosing bans imposed in Taroom. It was reported that difficulties were further accentuated by a lack of wind to keep windmills operating and the necessity for utilising and keeping watch on mill engine equipment. The water supply in town’s like Dulacca and Taroom was very serious, with early heavy rain deemed an absolute necessity at the time to avert a complete water supply failure for the region.


1966 & 1967 The first state school in Chinchilla was opened in 1883, the new school in this picture was opened by Hon A.R Slessar in 1941. In 1967 a tender was approved for a manual training block.

Miss Marjorie Pegler flew a glider similar to this in 1966, making an emergency landing in Boonarga.

Chinchilla News, January 6, 1966 – In this edition, we see a forced landing of a glider pilot in Boongara, and a local man Gordon Lever rolled his car near Goonalah Railway and lay unconscious for over an hour before being discovered by a passing train crew.

Chinchilla News, January 19, 1967 – In this edition, we have

A man lay unconscious near his damaged sedan car for over an hour at the Goonalah railway crossing in the early hours of New Year’s Day 1966 before being found by a passing train crew.

The Chinchilla State High School was set to re-open for the new

The accident victim, Gordon Lever (37), a railway engine driver of Roma, suffered suspected fractured ribs, general bruising to the body and shock when the vehicle he was driving overturned at the crossing near miles, shortly after midnight. The vehicle was extensively damaged and came to rest on its hood. Mr Lever released himself by kicking a door out and some time later, shortly after 1am, the crew of a train travelling from Roma noticed the over-turned car at the crossing. Mr Lever was found unconscious on the ground in front of the car and in the path of his still-burning headlights. In other news, a glider piloted by Miss Marjorie Pegler, “Cornwall” Quilpie, made a forced landing in a ploughed field on Mr. Roy Alexander’s property, “Lake View,” Boonarga at 2:15pm, Wednesday January 5, 1966. Miss Pegler was attempting a flight of 300 kilometres from Oakey to Roma to qualify for her “Gold C” Certificate, which is the second highest gliding award to be obtained. Only one woman in Australia hold the “Gold C”. Thanks to Miss Pegler’s extensive experience, the landing was routine as she selected her landing point from 2000ft. The forced landing was made due to the clouds disappearing and as a result, the thermal current was not sufficient to keep her glider from losing altitude.

the story of a tender approval for Chinchilla State High School, along with a story on a serious traffic incident which left local man, Ronald Ryan in a serious condition. school year, with an expectant enrolment of 350 pupils, with 125 new pupils set to enter Grade 8. The school was also set to benefit from a $38,767 tender for the erection of a manual training block. Executive Council approved the tender from J. M. Kelly Pty. Ltd. for the project. The Minister for Works and Housing (Mr J. Bjelke-Petersen) confirmed the news. The work was to comprise the erection of a new block to provide a metalwork room, woodwork room, drawing room, staff room and timber store. In other news on the day, a man was seriously injured when the vehicle he was a passenger in failed to take a bend and overturned several times on the North Dulacca Road at 3:30am Saturday, January 14, 1967. Ronald Ryan was a labourer at Lonsey Hair’s Sawmill and received severe fractures and dislocations to the spine, minor abrasion and shock. Mr Ryan was initially transported to Miles District Hospital before being taken to Toowoomba General Hospital in a serious condition.


“great It’s a feeling

to be able to help your neighbour

Your community”

Proud to be part of the Chinchilla Community since 1965 Page 59

110 Years Of Chinchilla News 19


110 Years Of Chinchilla News 19


110 Years Of Chinchilla News 19


110 Years Of Chinchilla News 19



1968 & 1969 How times have changed - 2017 Big Melon Weigh saw a massive 27kg watermelon, from the Sturgess Family - a bit heavier than the 12.5kg from 1969.

The new year of 1968 saw the start of the rebuild, after the Condamine sawmill suffered significant fire damages when it caught fire late December 1967

Chinchilla News, January 4, 1968 – In this edition the Chinchilla News covered the fire that broke out at the Condamine Sawmill and its catastrophic damage bill, along with the inaugural meeting of the Chinchilla Development Association.

Chinchilla News, January 9, 1969 – In this edition, the Chinchilla News covered the story of a man who broke out of jail in Chinchilla, before undertaking a crime-spree and eventually turning himself in.

1968 marked a time to rebuild for the Condamine sawmill after a fire broke out on Sunday, December 31, 1967. Extensive damage to the electrical equipment and machinery in the logging section was caused, with an estimated cost to the company of $7000 to $8000. The fire was ablaze when Miles Fire Brigade arrived on the scene, water was pumped from the Condamine River through over 1000 feet of hose, which ultimately kept it under control and prevented it spreading further.

Bruce Michael Thompson (19), of Chinchilla, who was in custody on remand on a number of charges, broke out of jail at Chinchilla early on Wednesday morning. Thompson subsequently gave himself up to the police at 7:30 the same morning however, had further charges laid. Chinchilla Police said Thompson broke out of the cell at 2am on Wednesday morning by removing the boards from the inner and outer walls, and then forcing the wire on the veranda. Police alleged that he then broke into the Police Office at Chinchilla and stole a revolver, and also took the keys to the police vehicle, following which he is stated to have broken into the police garage and storeroom, stealing petrol and a vehicle. The story goes on to state that Thompson then broke into Mr. Bruce Moore’s music shop and stole three rifles, a quantity of ammunition, knives, batteries, cigarettes, tobacco and matches. Thompson was then alleged to have attempted an armed hold up on a farm house thee miles from Chinchilla. He later called at another farm house, where the occupants talked to him. After he left, the occupants notified police. At roughly 7:20am, Thompson returned to Chinchilla, where he gave himself up to the police. Thompson was then remanded until January 14, 1969.

In 1968, the Chinchilla Development Association had just begun and at its first meeting, the group discussed a letter which was received from a firm of chartered accountants in Brisbane advising that it had clients interested in starting two industries in Chinchilla. The interested clients requested information to enable a feasibility survey to be undertaken, which was agreed to by all parties in the association. Other important points discussed at the meeting focussed around a lack of commercial services and tourist attractions, with a museum of pioneering relics put forward to the association and a first-class camping and caravanning establishment.



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1970 & 1971 The Commercial Hotel picture here in 1916, was still a social hub in the 1970’s offering Cabaret entertainment on Saturday nights.

Chinchilla News, January 22, 1970 – In this edition, the Chinchilla News informed readers of council’s approval of the caravan park project and announced local voting was now to take place at ballot boxes, as opposed to the previous postal system. On this day in 1970, the Chinchilla News reported that the plans and specifications for the Chinchilla Caravan Park, as prepared by then Health and Building Inspector (Mr. P. N. Stevenson) had been approved by Chinchilla Shire Council. The estimated cost of the caravan park was noted to be $10,000. The article stated that the project consists of public conveniences and ablution block, gravelled roadways and bitumen sealing of 20 sites, installation of water supply and sewerage extensions. The Polling booth system for voting is to be introduced for the first time for the triennial Local Authority elections in Chinchilla in 1970. A decision to discard the postal form of ballot in favour of the ordinary system was made by the Chinchilla Shire Council. The system was brought in as a means to overcome the informal votes which had been evident in previous elections. It was anticipated that polling booths were to be located at the normal places as used in the State and Federal elections.

1971 The Governor and Lady Mansfield were set to appear in Chinchilla in March 1971 for the official opening of the Chinchilla Museum.

Chinchilla News, January 14, 1971 – In this edition, Chinchilla was abuzz mid-January of 1971 with news the Governor and his wife, Lady Mansfield were set to appear in Chinchilla in March for the official opening of the Chinchilla Museum. In other news, Chinchilla was preparing to welcome members of the State Conference of the Association of Civilian Widows (QLD division). On this day, the official opening of Chinchilla Museum was making news, with the Secretary of Chinchilla and District Historical Society (Mr. S. A. Blanchard) receiving further information concerning the Governor’s proposed visit on March 13 of that year. The Governor was confirmed to officially open the Chinchilla Museum, with his private secretary advising that he and his wife, Lady Mansfield would arrive into Chinchilla by train via Miles on the am of Saturday, March 13 and leave for Brisbane by train that evening after the ball. The town was abuzz with this news, with plans for the Governor and Lady Mansfield to meet members of Murilla Shire Council and their wives as well as citizens and children of the town. In other news, Chinchilla was set to welcome an influx of visitors for the 13th State Conference of the Association of Civilian Widows (QLD Division). A Civic reception was to be given to the visitors, with the Shire Deputy-Chairman of Chinchilla set to welcome them. Federal Member for Maranoa Mr. J. Corbett was set to officially open the conference, with a conference day and special dinner set out for the evening. 170 guests were expected to attend.

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110 Years Of Chinchilla News 19


110 Years Of Chinchilla News 19


110 Years Of Chinchilla News 19


110 Years Of Chinchilla News 19



1972 & 1973 There were reports of mice infestation in Sorghum crops similar to this in Dalby and Chinchilla during 1972.

Chinchilla News, January 20, 1972 – In this edition, we had the good news of two special lots of funding for the region; a $13,800 unemployment grant and a funding programme for the “missing link” on the Chinchilla-Wondai Road. Unemployment in the Chinchilla area was a key focus of local government in 1972, who were successful in securing a grant of $13,800 to relieve unemployment in the region. Chinchilla Shire Council was awarded a direct grant of $5,000 to carry out local authority work to provide jobs for the unemployed, as well as $8,800 which was to be spent in Chinchilla District forestry work. This money was earmarked to help employ an extra five men by the forestry department to undertake general forestry work including treatment of native cypress stands. Along with this much-needed funding for unemployment, Chinchilla was also set to benefit from a special allocation of funds for a “missing link” on the Chinchilla-Wondai Road. The Minister for Mines and Main Road at the time (Mr. Camm) had advised the Minister for Lands and Member for Condamine (Mr. Sullivan) that “it had been possible to make a special allocation of funds to enable the programming of the first three-mile section of the ‘missing link’ to be advanced to the 1971-72 financial year.” Mr Camm further stated that action was to be taken to have the scheme completed for release as soon as possible.

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Banana Bridge Brigalow, rebuilt in 1973, was named after it began to bend when debris washed against it during flooding.

Chinchilla News, January 4, 1973 – In this edition, we see the acquisition of two additional sawmills by Emmerson Bros. Pty. Ltd. and the announcement of Chinchilla’s first arcade development. Also, in this edition, it was made public that the Chinchilla News would increase to 10c an edition or $6.40 for an annual posted subscription. On the week of January 4, 1972 Emmerson Bros. Pty Ltd, of Chinchilla, announced the acquisition of two additional sawmills in an expansion programme which had maintained significant momentum since the company first opened its doors in Chinchilla in 1936. The company purchased Western Timbers, a Brett & Co. mill at Fairyland and the White & Macfarlane mill at Wandoan which they had originally built. Confidence for economic expansion in Chinchilla was sky-high in 1973, with Sean and Molly Dorney and the Odd-fellow Lodge coming together to provide Chinchilla with its first arcade development. The Dorney’s erected two modern shops on the old, “Reuschle” bake-house site, leaving 5ft for their part of the arcade, whilst the Odd-fellows Lodge completely modernised their two shops, and contributed 5 ft of space to make a 10-foot-wide arcade. Plans were set for future development, with Oddfellows’ Lodge having their lodge room on top of the two shopfronts, with new shops extending through to Theatre Street and facing onto the arcade, whilst on Dorney’s side, further shops and offices were earmarked to be built back into Theatre street.


1974 & 1976 The first reports of a locusts infestation on a Brigalow property was reported to the DPI office in Chinchilla during 1974.

Chinchilla News, January 17, 1974 – In this edition, the Chinchilla News reported on spur-throated locusts which had infested a sorghum crop near brigalow, the halting of traffic in Taroom thanks to the flooded Dawson River and the difficulties faced by crop and grain growers as a result of recent weather events. Spur-throated locusts were the news of the day on January 17, 1974 with an infestation reported on Leo Hayden’s 650-acre sorghum crop near the Banana Bridge at Brigalow. Thankfully the locusts had attacked only a relatively small area of the crop, 35 to 40 acres, and any damage had been confined to the eating of the green leaves. The council planned to discuss the matter at its first meeting, set to be held the following day, with plans to be drawn up to help discern the best methods of combating any future damage as a result of such incidents. Residents of Taroom had battled wild weather, with traffic held up in the township for a period of two days by the flooded Dawson River. At its maximum height, the water was 5ft. Over the bridge, with the river approximately half a mile wide at this point. And while Hopeland wasn’t experiencing flooding, the weather was wreaking havoc on crop harvesting. The continuing cloudy weather, with intermittent sunshine, and an occasional light shower of rain, was causing problems for sorghum, sunflower and other grain growers. Some sorghum growers in the Hopeland District had taken off up to two tons of sorghum per acre on limited areas of land, but the weather was causing a high moisture content, and as a result, prevented an all-out harvesting effort. On the upside, the weather events were music to the ears of graziers, with a bumper season thanks to the conditions and an abundance of lush feed available in January of 1974.

Congratulations to Chinchilla News on your 110 Year Anniversary

Remains of the old Chinchilla Sawmill today on Auburn road. The mill ceased using their steam engine in 1976.

Chinchilla News, January 22, 1976 – In this edition, the Chinchilla News reported on the cessation of the steam engine at Hyne & Son’s Chinchilla sawmill and the rapid growth in building permits for the upcoming year. The end of an era was being celebrated, with the steam operation at Hyne & Son’s Chinchilla sawmill drawing to a close. The steam engine which operated the hardwood milling section was lifted out of place by Hiway Engineering of Toowoomba with the aid of a 20-ton mobile crane. The chimney stack, another landmark of the sawmill, was also removed in two stages. Although the paper noted that steam had been an efficient medium of power in the past, the modern approach to sawmilling Hyne and Son had adopted called for a complete conversion to electrical power. Along with these industrial advancements, housing growth in Chinchilla was also particularly evident in 1976, with the Chinchilla News reporting that building permits totalled $671,300 for the year, a huge increase on previous years. Included in the figure were 11 dwellings at an estimated cost of $211,500 and an additional flat unit at an estimated cost of $6,000. The new residences were noted as being an excellent class of building, many of which were brick and of superior construction. $90,800 was estimated as the cost of additions and improvements to existing dwellings, including carports, patios and the like. $363,000 was estimated as the cost of new business ventures or work on existing structures, and this included an estimated $50,000 for a 10-unit motel and $267,000 for “Illoura”, the Chinchilla home for the aged.

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110 Years Of Chinchilla News 19


110 Years Of Chinchilla News 19


110 Years Of Chinchilla News 19


110 Years Of Chinchilla News 19



1977 & 1978 The Boonarga Cactoblastis Hall built in 1936, was still used for dances in 1977, the Dulacca Wonderers provided music on the 8th of January.

Chinchilla News, January 6, 1977 – In this edition, the Chinchilla News spoke with local firefighter who stated they wouldn’t resign over income tax queries and wished an iconic local figure, Mr. Des O’Connell all the best as he and his wife Peg retired to the Gold Coast.

1977 saw the querying of income tax payments for firemen in the Central Highlands and Western Downs regions. Volunteer fireman were of the belief that if C.M.F members were not eligible for tax when on training, that they should also not have to pay income tax on drill and fire pay. The issue struck a cord particularly with a number of Emerald volunteer firemen who resigned over the issue however, the Chinchilla Brigade stated they had no intention of resigning however, wanted further discussion and negotiations on the matter. Emerald volunteer firefighters had written to the Chinchilla Brigade seeking their allegiance on this industrial issue. While their Chinchilla counterparts said they would support their aim, they were unwilling to take any action which could possibly lead to the loss of life or property. In other news, after more than 40 years of association with livestock firms in Victoria and Queensland, principally as a stock buyer, Mr. Des O’Connell of Chinchilla retired on December 31, 1977. Many farewell celebrations were held to commemorate his contribution to the industry, particularly as the local representative for the Riverstone Meat Company (a subsidiary of the Vestey Group). In their five years in Chinchilla the O’Connells were associated with the Chinchilla Golf Club and also the Chinchilla and District Amateur Race Club and raced horses in the area. It was noted in this edition that Mr O’Connell and his wife Peg relocated to the Gold Coast upon their retirement to enjoy a quiet, coastal lifestyle.

Miles Dogwood Creek traffic bridge, under construction in 1914. There were requests to raise the weir on Dogwood creek in 1978.

Chinchilla News, January 5, 1978 – In this edition, we farewelled Wandoan stalwart John Henderson and spoke with landholders who were looking to council for help to mitigate the worsening drought. Many friends and mourners from far and wide gathered to pay tribute to Mr. John Henderson, one of Wandoan’s best-known personalities, on Wednesday, January 4. The funeral cortege was the largest ever seen in Wandoan at the time, with Mr Henderson remembered as a man of great personal integrity, sound common sense and with a practical business head and knowledge of the stock and real estate business. John Henderson was a household name in Wandoan and an instrumental personality in Queensland as a whole, for many years. January of 1978 saw an already drastic drought worsen, with landholders in Chinchilla and surrounds applying for permits to graze stock on roads, with the heat and dry conditions razing grazing lands of almost all edible stock fodder. With half the average rainfall recoded the previous year and a well below average rainfall in 1976, landholders had resorted to droving stock on many stock routes in Queensland and New South Wales in a last-ditch effort to keep them alive. The story was the same elsewhere, with parts of New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia also experiencing a tough season. The Northern Coastal section of Queensland was the only area to experience above average rainfall throughout 1977. The drought of 1978 was quoted as being “probably as serious as at any time this century”, with many graziers suffering serious cattle losses, particularly in the case of breeders.

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1979 & 1980 The Jandowae Golf Club today - in 1979 they celebrated their 25th anniversary. Image courtesy of Jandowae Golf Club.

Chinchilla News, January 4, 1979 – In this edition, Murilla Shire Council had submitted a loan of $330,000 for the construction of a low-level weir on Dogwood Creek. It was also reported that locals were determined to fight the decision to move the historical May Day Picnic race meeting in Chinchilla to the last weekend of April. Murilla Shire Council, in its 1979-80 loan programme which was to be submitted to the Co-ordinator-General’s Department for approval, sought a $330,000 loan for the construction of a low-level weir on Dogwood Creek to augment the Miles water supply. Discussions for the low-level weir arose when Miles was flagged by an investor as a potential site for an abattoir, sparking a councillor at the time, Cr. Keys to consider the viability of such a project in the future. The focus then shifted to the amount of water required for an abattoir and the amount of water available with the construction of a low-level weir and the construction of a high-level weir. Cr. Keys further mentioned that in the report from the Department, it stated that the low-level weir could be raised in the future and felt an addition of $120,000 for crossings and $70,000 for a clay blanket should be added to the cost of the weir. In other news on this day, the staging of the Chinchilla annual picnic race meeting in 1979 was in doubt. This was due to the fact that Chinchilla and District Amateur Picnic Race Club had lost its regular picnic racing date on the Saturday of the May Day holiday weekend. The Downs and South Western District Racing Association had allocated Saturday, April 28 to Chinchilla for the Picnic Races, clashing with the Warwick Picnics and a professional meeting in Dalby. Chinchilla and District Amateur Picnic Race Club were determined to fight the allocation, citing 18 years of history behind the May Day event.

Southern Cross Care QLD, Illoura facility Chinchilla today. In 1980 stage 2 development for Illoura was under consideration.

Chinchilla News, March 6, 1980 – In this edition, it was reported that Stage 2 of Illoura was under consideration, and in other news, only one tender had been presented for the construction of the Dogwood Creek Weir. The Construction of stage 2 of Illoura – Chinchilla’s home for the aged – was under consideration, with the Department of Social Security stating that funds could be available during the 198081 financial year to undertake the construction. The Chinchilla Committee of the Ageing, who administered Illoura, was advised of certain departmental requirements that would need to be met in order for stage 2 to proceed. Funding of $179,190 would be needed to construct the proposed nine additional units, with Illoura needing to contribute at least $59,730 to receive the full subsidy grant of $119,460. Development was definitely the flavour of the times, with this edition also reporting that tenders for the Dogwood Creek Weir had closed on Monday, March 3, 1980, with only one company, Moggill Constructions Pty. Ltd. of Brisbane, throwing their hat in the ring to complete the construction. The tender was set for examination by the Department of Local Government, with a recommendation then set to be put to the Murilla Shire Council. Local government were extremely optimistic about the project, with expectations that the new weir would significantly increase the supply of water for Miles. This development, along with the water treatment plant, which was also completed in 1980, looked to double the amount of water treated in Miles, taking it to about 500,000 gallons.

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110 Years Of Chinchilla News 19


110 Years Of Chinchilla News 19


110 Years Of Chinchilla News 19


110 Years Of Chinchilla News 19



1981 & 1982 The interior of the Bank of New South Wales at Miles Historical Village. In 1981 Mr Bruce Johnson was appointed as the manager for the Miles Branch.

Chinchilla News, January 8, 1981 – In this edition, Chinchilla takes shape with $1 million spent on homes and new buildings in the CBD, while the town says goodbye to iconic breeder Jack Cross with a funeral in Wandoan. Housing and construction in Chinchilla went through the roof in 1980 as building inspector Mr Stevenson announced a record $1 million would be spent on 122 buildings approved by then Chinchilla Shire Council. Council signed off on 18 new homes worth $427,000, while a duplex set its owner back $53,000. Five new shops in Chinchilla Street were approved to be built, transforming the commercial stretch of the Warrego highway for about $100,000. A $190,000 extension to retirement village Illoura added eight hostel units and a staff unit to the site thanks to builder John McKnight. The Chinchilla Ambulance welcomed the new superintendentsecretary Mr Kinnett who transferred from the Dalby Ambulance service to take over the post after Mr Cash resigned with 31 years in the job. The death of well-known cattleman Jack Cross, 75, was commemorated, after he died in his sleep in the early hours of Christmas morning. In the week prior to his death he was said to have been in good health, mustering and branding cattle. Mr Cross left school to take up droving at 14-years-old. His reputation as a reliable and knowledgeable drover grew from that young age. A land ballot allowed him to take ownership of Wallangra, turning it into a well-known cattle stud in 1961. A legend in breeding, and award winner at the Brisbane Royal Show, Mr Cross was a supporter of the Oakey Angus Show and Sale each year. Angus breeders from across Queensland formed a guard of honour at his funeral in Wandoan on December 27, 1980. His wife Joyce continued to run the Wallangra Angus Stud after his death.


The picturesque chinchilla weir today. It was a different scene back in 1982 when a boat caught on fire ruining New Year’s plans.

Chinchilla News, January 7, 1982 – In this edition, we covered the Chinchilla Weir boat fire which ruined New Year’s plans and locals object to huge increases of land values by up to 1460 per cent. Jandowae’s Geoffrey Davison’s plans to herald in the New Year in 1982 on his boat on the Chinchilla Weir went up in flames when the engine backfired and caught alight at about noon. The uninsured $3000 Haines Hunter 4.5 metre ski craft was burnt to the waterline. Two firefighters on the scene discovered the anchor rope had been burnt through, causing the boat to drift out of reach of the fire truck and crew. Chinchilla residents were preparing to lodge their objections to land valuations, after some properties values increased by more than 1400 per cent. Objectors had until February 19 to lodge their claim after the Valuer-General Department released the new figures in January. The rateable value of the shire had increased on average more than 400% from $9.36 million to $47.5 million in the 1974 assessment. Land valuations are used to determine payable council rates on a property. Properties of five hectares and under had increased from $8350 to $130,400, a 1460 per cent increase. Urban areas of the shire including Chinchilla, Brigalow, Kogan and Baking Board had their valuations increased from about $1 million to almost $9 million. Valuation Minister at the time, Bill Hewitt, said the department would give fair and impartial consideration to all objections lodged against the new land valuations. In comparison, the 1974 revaluation of Chinchilla shire increased just 16 per cent, from about $8 million to $9.36 million. That, comparatively modest increase, was met with 51 objections.

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1983 & 1984 Flood waters inundate Chinchilla Street, Chinchilla in May, 1983.

Chinchilla News, January 6, 1983 – In this edition, a widespread storm dumped 12 inches of rain in one weekend, increasing hopes of strong future crops for farmers but it wasn’t all good news as the storm also destroyed a hay shed at Redmarley homestead. Residents across Chinchilla and the Western Downs gave new meaning to the old saying “when it rains, it pours” as Hopeland farmer Bill Mann’s told The Chinchilla News “I have never seen rain like it in my lifetime”. He was describing the seven inches (176mm) his Apsley Meadow property was drenched with in two hours. Similarly, the last time Fairymeadow ‘Bottle Tree’ property owner Vic Black remembered this much rain falling was during the 1942 flood. Across the weekend 212mm fell at Bottle Tree, with similar readings from Dalby to Miles of between 65mm to 300mm (up to 12 inches). In just five days, Chinchilla recorded its highest January rainfall since 1974. The rain brought a much-needed lift for the region after the previous year’s poor wheat harvest. A grain grower said while not drought-breaking, the rain “made it possible for 1983 to be a year of good crops and cash returns”. As a major sorghum planting time, it was predicted up to 50,000 hectares could be sown in about a week. Neville Knight’s ‘Kroombit’ property dam was broken, with cultivation crops ruined at the Downfall Creek area. Gordon Mundell’s ‘Redmarley’ Shorthorn Stud at Condamine was hit by the “fiercest storm in living memory”, with six inches falling in less than an hour. Redmarley is the oldest inhabited residence in the Murilla shire, and withstood eight direct lightning strikes, destroying a radio and sending sparks flying around the living room walls. The storm destroyed their hayshed, carrying it across the property and dumping it in the cattle yards.

1984 saw the unveiling of the Bertie Barden clock as part of the Australia Day celebrations.

Chinchilla News, January 5, 1984 – In this edition, Chinchilla rail union workers fear losing their jobs as the operations base moves to Toowoomba, the Barden clock is unveiled in Tara, and John Thompson receives an OBE award. Director of Local Government Harold Jacobs was set to unveil the Bertie Barden clock on Australia Day, followed by a dinner in the memorial hall with officials and councillors. Mr Barden had a 33-year association with Tara shire council serving 10 terms (30 years) as shire chairman before his defeat in the 1982 elections. The four-sided Barden clock is located at the corner of Day and Fry Streets. Polocrosse leader John Thompson received an Order of the British Empire in the New Year’s Honours List for his service to the sport. His interest began in 1959 where he became a regular member of the Chinchilla team, serving as president. The grazier and farmer promoted the sport across the country. He was the president of the Queensland Polocrosse Association for 10 years and a member of the executive for two decades, as well as an executive member of Polocrosse Australia since 1969. Members of the Chinchilla branch of the Australian Federated Union of Locomotive Enginemen (Queensland Division) feared they would lose jobs as the rail line they worked from Chinchilla to Roma and back were to be taken by a crew that started and finished in Toowoomba. It was reported the move would mean the Chinchilla depot would lose 12 shifts a fortnight, with the change planned to save operating costs. Meeting with the industrial relations manager in Brisbane, the union objected to the change. They said the distance worked would be more than 350km which was not considered safe, jobs would be lost in Chinchilla and crews would have to work up to nine hours without a meal. The Toowoomba branch of the union also objected to the change on similar grounds. The union was later advised that the Chinchilla branch would lose a driver and a guard.

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1985 & 1986 A petrified wood mantelpiece clock from Chinchilla, similar to this, went on display at Toowoomba’s gem fest in January 1985.

The Club Hotel Chinchilla, pictured here in 1907, was offering BBQ dinner on Friday and Saturday nights in 1986.

Chinchilla News, January 4, 1985 – In this edition, Chinchilla shire council approve 38 new dwellings worth $1.8 million and introduce a driveway subsidy scheme. A locally made petrified wood mantelpiece clock goes on display at Toowoomba’s gem fest.

Chinchilla News, January 3, 1986 – In this edition, a Chinchilla man was hit by car, the Queensland Premier was headed to Tara to open the show, and Jim Corbett received a Member of the Order of the British Empire award.

In seven years, the Chinchilla shire council has led a home building boom in the town, with 156 new dwellings approved, with the addition of 1984’s record 38 new dwellings worth more than $1.8 million. Data shows the cost of each home that was constructed increased steadily, from an average cost of $33,320 for the 15 homes in 1981, to $35,685 for the 21 new homes in 1983 and finally at $47,385 in 1984.

Chinchilla man Claude Griffith, 68, was hit by a car in Chinchilla Street at about 5.30pm on December 20. He suffered a fractured right leg and cuts and was taken to Chinchilla Hospital before being transferred to Toowoomba Hospital for further treatment.

As the town’s growth continued, council also introduced a 25% subsidy on the costs of constructing full-width driveways to support a Community Employment Program. This was at the suggestion of councillor Cunnington, with $10,000 allocated for the project that included kerbing and channelling.

Then Queensland Premier, Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen, was coming to Tara to officially open the show, on March 7 and 8. With the official opening ceremony held on Friday 7th March, at 3.00pm.

Chinchilla lapidary and gemstone club member Ossie Rutherford displayed a mantelpiece clock he crafted from petrified wood collected in the area. The clock is made from his petrified collection that spans two decades, with the octagonal/hexagonal-shaped clock using 72 pieces. Even the 28 roman numerals were created from white petrified wood. The clock was made in just three weeks, and was not to be sold when on display at the Toowoomba gem fest. Mr Rutherford said he and his wife Dell made the perfect team, with Ossie cutting and polishing and Dell adding the creative flair and design.

Well-known and highly-respected Miles resident Jim Corbett, was honoured with an MBE award for his service to the community. He was the federal member for Maranoa from 1966-1980, and was noted for his “dignified and gentlemanly conduct” in his electorate and in parliament. Mr Corbett won Country Party (now National Party) endorsement for the seat in 1965, defeating Sir William Gunn in a plebiscite. The farmer and grazier were elected National Party Whip in 1976 and held the position until his retirement. Mr Corbett was a Murilla shire councillor from 1958-1967 and he did not seek re-election. A newly constructed bridge over Nine Mile Creek on the Miles-Wandoan section of the Leichhardt Highway was named after him in 1985 to honour his service to the Murilla shire.

Chinchilla’s Blue Nursing Service Committee awarded Rev Arthur Lane and Allan Family its highest award – the Certificate of Appreciation. Rev Lane was the founding director of the BNS, which thrived under his guidance since it began in 1979. The service provided medical care in the home, without cost to the patient with the help of fundraising initiatives.

Holiday time! Margaret Hammermeister spent the day at the Chinchilla Weir with cousin Linda Pope and their families on Boxing Day, joining other families at the popular watering hole to cool off from the Summer heat. Ms Hammermeister moved from Beaudesert to Wandoan to start her teaching career at the state primary school at the end of January.


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1987 & 1988 Ex Chinchilla Shire Chairman Ivan Middleton, pictured far right, comments on a difficult past year and cannot foresee any improvements for 1987.

Wayne Mutch and Scott Smith, school friends from Chinchilla, secured work in 1988, with Australia’s Cattle King Peter Sherwin (pictured) in the NT.

Chinchilla News, January 8, 1987 – In this edition, a tomato farmer loses his crop to storms, a young girl is flown to Brisbane Hospital after a car crash on the Warrego Highway, and Chinchilla Shire Chairman shares his new year message.

Chinchilla News, January 7, 1988 – In this edition, we read the story of two teens who faced the tough conditions at an NT cattle property, where two others died in 1987 and Councillor Middleton looks forward to what he hopes will be a successful year.

Chinchilla’s Merv Evans, lost thousands of dollars and 11,000 tomato plants, after two hail storms battered his crop on Christmas day. Tanya Cook, 8, was fighting for her life after she was involved in a car crash on the Warrego Highway. Chinchilla police, ambulance and fire brigade rushed to the scene. Suffering head injuries and in a critical condition, paramedics transported her to the local hospital. She was later flown by a government rescue helicopter to the Royal Brisbane Children’s Hospital for specialist attention. Her mother, Carol Ann, 28, was driving the four-wheel drive when it rolled 10 kilometres east of Chinchilla. Her father Trevor and 10-year-old brother Michael were both in the car when it crashed and were admitted to the local hospital along with Carol. All three-escaped serious injury. Chinchilla shire chairman Ivan Middleton shared his New Year’s message with residents, happy to see the end of an unfavourable 1986 behind him, but with a bleak outlook for the year ahead. He said he could not “foresee any early improvement in economic conditions for shires such as ours” and that it appeared that rural industries, businesses servicing them and communities that rely on them were “required to accept a far greater reduction in their very average standard of living than the majority of Australians in the larger cities”. Despite this, he said there had been a sign of hope, with new businesses establish themselves in the region.

Chinchilla teenagers Wayne Mutch and Scott Smith shared their story of hardship while working on the same property in the searing heat of the desert that claimed the lives of two teens, James Annetts and Simon Amos. They were not surprised to hear that two people had died while working for Australian cattle baron Peter Sherwin in the Northern Territory. They, like James and Simon had been asked to “patrol lonely and desolate areas in substandard vehicles and had inadequate supplies of food and water”. The duo had always wanted to be stockmen, but after their brief time spent on the property, they agreed they’d never seek work on a Sherwin-owned site again. It had been one of the toughest years for Chinchilla according to shire chairman Ivan Middleton, but he didn’t let that overshadow his New Year’s message to residents, saying there were some highlights worth focussing on. The council had celebrated 75 years, and the old railway overhead bridge was finally replaced with a $1million Eric Stewart Overpass, with residents happy to have the construction finished in October. Brian Littleproud had been the first in the region to be given a state cabinet position – as the Minister for Education, Youth and Sport, with Cr Middleton saying this gave him confidence of positive working relationships with the state government. With 1988 as the country’s bicentennial year, he again hoped for a better year in the region saying, “this is the third time I wished you better seasonal and economic conditions and hopefully the third time will be lucky – the two previous occasions certainly were not”. He anticipated the year would bring renewed focus on where the country would head, with the help of Expo 88. 1988 was also a local government election year.

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1989 & 1990 Boxing legend Joe Bugner, pictured here with Muhammed Ali, visited residents at Illoura in 1989.

Chinchilla State School, pictured here in the 1950’s, received the tick of approval for a $153,965 upgrade in 1990.

Chinchilla News, January 7, 1989 – In this edition, councillor Middleton shares major successes and concerns to overcome in the region as well as his disappointment at the increase in council property vandalism across Chinchilla. Chinchilla shire chairman Ivan Middleton finally had good news for his constituents in his annual New Year’s message. The first was the economic improvement four years in the making that saw strong results in rural industries of livestock, wool and grain. Second, was the bicentenary and Expo 88 that brought joy across the country. During the celebrations, local musicians released a 12 track cassette recording called “Chinchilla – My Home”. However, Cr Middleton said, with so many residents visiting the event, the town had experienced a drop in business. Parking became a problem towards the end of the year. He said while he was optimistic for the year ahead, there were concerns around the new shire valuations, saying “the council has used the value as assessed, regardless of the amount of objections”. The five-year phase in of the new prices was also scrapped. He said the Australian economy broadly was also of concern, with the rising Aussie dollar and increasing interest rates dampening the outlook of rural and exporting shires like Chinchilla. Vandals racked up a $20,000 bill for Chinchilla council across 1988, with the cost of replacing damaged road and public signs. Despite being just one week into the New Year, vandals had mutilated mature Jacaranda trees in Middle Street and damaged street signs. Guide posts were also uprooted, as part of a New Year weekend crime spree. Cr Middleton reminded readers that ratepayers bore the cost to fix damaged council property and hoped people with information would come forward. “It’s a sad indictment of today’s society that it is regarded as un-Australian to ‘dob’ anyone in and a change in this attitude would see many vandals quickly apprehended and brought before the court,” he said.

Chinchilla News, January 4, 1990 – In this edition, Chinchilla’s four-legged chicken dies, Chinchilla state school expands, late night Christmas shopping fun and Cr Middleton reflects on the tough decade of the 80s. No-one expected Chinchilla’s four-legged friend to be a chicken, but when she hatched with four legs instead of two the town knew they had something special. The Sussex hen died from injuries sustained when defending her young from a dog that broke into the coop. Initially thought to be a rooster until she began to lay, she was the favourite pet of young Anthony Davis, 8, of Evans Street, Chinchilla. The chicken had attracted wide media interest. Chinchilla police officer-in-charge sergeant Mick Wallace said a complaint had been made, but no charges were able to be laid as the dog hadn’t been identified. Chinchilla state school was set to receive $153,965 from the state and federal government to build a multi-purpose covered area. The facility will have a stage area, and provide shelter for students’ recreation activities. A concrete slab floor and columns would support a steel-framed decking. Landscaping, concrete paths will also form part of the build to be finished by April 1990. F K Gardner and Sons won the contract. Chinchilla shire chairman, Ivan Middleton, reflected on a decade of tough economic and weather conditions in the region. He said the region had shown resilience and determination against the conditions and hoped the next decade would see improvements to rural and export shires, including Chinchilla. He said he had “no doubt the centrally-controlled ‘economic restructuring’ which has occurred during the 80s has very adversely affected our district”. Cr Middleton also hoped that the 90s, which was dubbed “the decade of land care”, would focus on soil and water conservation, as well as how to manage resources in a long-term sustainable way.

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1991 & 1992 The wheels of the restored horse-drawn buggy were rebuilt by a wheelwright at the Jondaryan Woolshed (pictured) back in 1991.

The Heeney & Middle Street roundabout today, after proposals of its construction were initially knocked back by council in 1992.

Chinchilla News, January 4, 1991 – In this edition, Chinchilla’s high school students refurbish a horse-drawn buggy, half a million dollars is spent on a new medical centre, and police experience a crash free holiday period on the roads. Chinchilla state high school manual arts students have put their lessons to good use with a huge project to restore and refurbish the horse-drawn buggy for the Chinchilla historical society museum. Led by teacher Alan King, the project began about 2 and half years ago, with a planned finish date in the first term of this year. The local Apex and Rotary clubs as well as the historical society provided funds for the materials needed. Silky oak and spotted gum timber was used, with the wheels rebuilt by a wheelwright at the Jondaryan Woolshed, before being cleaned and varnished by the students. A $500,000 medical centre, the building of four new dwellings ($462,998) and other building approvals, led to Chinchilla shire council approving more than $1 million in construction permits in December 1990. This was despite a general downturn in the economy in Chinchilla. John Blake of Weipa was appointed to Chinchilla as Clerk of Court. The magistrate’s court had been serviced by relieving clerks for some time following the sick leave, and the subsequent retirement, of long-standing clerk, Ron Cook. Chinchilla police thanked residents for an incident free Christmas period on the roads, saying methods the police were using to keep drivers attentive would continue until after Australia Day. Officer-in-charge, sergeant Mick Wallace, said noone was caught drink-driving despite a high number of random breath tests being carried out. He said 24 people were caught speeding, a low number considering how busy it was on the roads in the school holiday period. Sgt Wallace said police were also pulling over drivers who began to show signs of inattention on the roads, with the idea that flagging down a driver and speaking with them would be enough to enable them to continue on their journey with full attention.

Chinchilla News, July 2, 1992 – In this edition, a family of four appear before the courts after their Miles property was raided, Murilla Shire Council met with the minister over the poor state of the water in Miles and new roundabout for Chinchilla rejected and replaced with a give-way sign. A father, 50, and son 26, were in custody while the mother, 41, and daughter, 23, were out on bail after police raided the Miles property, finding about 200 cannabis plants, 620 Buddha sticks, drug-growing paraphernalia and the remnants of a plantation grown earlier. All four members of the family appeared in various courts and were remanded to appear at a later date. The operation involved police from Dalby, Miles, Meandarra, Charleville, Roma and Brisbane Dog Squad. The father appeared in Dalby Magistrate’s court, while the wife and son were found in St George and appeared in the Magistrate’s court there, while the daughter who was found on the Miles property and appeared in the Miles Magistrate’s Court. Murilla shire council delegation met in Toowoomba with the Minister for Primary Industries Ed Casey to discuss problems with the Miles water supply. The minister was reportedly “very receptive to strong representations concerning the poor quality of the water from the town bore which was constructed on the recommendation of the Water Resources Commission”. The water is high in sodium and provides limited benefit to the town. Councillors were pleased with the outcome – a request for an options paper to be prepared within two months and for Mr Casey to visit Miles for discussions with the council in September. Chinchilla shire council decided not to proceed with the construction of a roundabout on the Heeney-Middle Street intersection due to the loss of car parking spaces in Heeney Street and Middle Street. Council instead approved an installation of a give way sign in Middle Street on the eastern approach to Heeney Street.

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1993 & 1994 Chinchilla Student Hostel, Leichhardt House, (pictured here) opened it’s doors for the first time on January 27th 1994.

The Evergreen cemetery in the Toowoomba region where Mr Lyle Kirstenfeldt was buried in 1993.

Chinchilla News, January 7, 1993 – In this edition, Chinchilla shire chairman hopes for rain, the late George Makin’s poetry is published, and Lyle Kirstenfeldt is farewelled. Chinchilla Shire Chairman, Ivan Middleton, said in his annual address to residents, that a general wet season was desperately required, and that with such long periods of well below average rainfall, a soaking was due to arrive. With the federal election in the first half of 1993 planned, he said it was unlikely Chinchilla would see any benefits of the “pork barrelling and pump priming” promises handed out. Dorothy Makin discovered her late husband George’s poetry on Easter Monday in 1972, the day after his death. Dorothy wanted to honour her husband by publishing a book of his works, and over the years had sourced a number of publishers she hoped would be interested, but no offers came. Finally, with the help of her niece, Janet Barham, they published “George’s Book”, with 72 copies. The copies were sent to places like the Longreach Hall of Fame and other organisations. Born in Miles in 1914, George lived at the family property in Columboola, called Royston, and enlisted when World War II started. He was one of the Rats of Tobruk and returned to the dairy farm after the war. Well-known district resident Lyle Kirstenfeldt, died at Toowoomba Hospital on New Year’s Day. The Guluguba-Downfall Creek area was saddened to hear of the 49-year-old man’s death. From 1972 – 1988, Mr Kirstenfeldt operated the Palm Grove grazing property in Downfall Creek, before selling the property and living with his wife Glenys and family on a Giligulgul property, ‘Etloe’. He was also a shearer and worked in the Wandoan district. He was buried at Evergreen cemetery.

Chinchilla News, January 7, 1994 – In this edition, a man is tied to a tree as thieves steal his car and trailer, the date is set for Kogan Creek mine objection hearings and student hostel opens. Dalby and Chinchilla police were hunting for four men armed with rifles who tied up a Kogan man at his Montrose Road property, before stealing his car and trailer. Police say the men went to the property and demanded fuel. When none was found the assailants tied him up and stole his vehicle. The Kogan man later was able to untie himself and alert police. The Warden’s Court in Chinchilla was preparing to hear the objections over nine days to the proposed Kogan Creek coal mine project, south of Brigalow. Mining warden Frank Windridge would rule on the objections. At an initial hearing the previous July, 12 of the 16 objections were deemed invalid, most based on environmental grounds. Allied Queensland Coal had signed an agreement with China National Coal Import and Export Corporation to jointly produce two million tonnes of coal a year, over a minimum 20-year period. Chinchilla student hostel Leichhardt House opened a year ahead of schedule with house parents Ross and Mary Smith moving in, on January 18, a week ahead of the first students. Six students were welcomed to the hostel, with room for another nine that year. The favourable design and quality of the building was commented on, with the cooking, storage and dormitory facilities also receiving praise. The next steps were already being planned to extend the hostel if demand increased, after it saw strong bookings for 1995, and as far ahead as 1998.

Leichhardt House Student Hostel Chinchilla Located close to Chinchilla State High School, Leichhardt House provides weekly boarding that allows students from the Western Downs region to attend Chinchilla schools. Leichhardt House managers’, Shaun and China Hall have an extensive background in residential education which has enabled them to have a well-developed understanding of many of the difficulties facing young people living away from home, some for the first time. Shaun and China see the value in developing and maintaining good systems and structures as the basis for this friendly and happy community. Features of the service at Leichhardt House include: all meals including fresh lunches made daily; formal study sessions with access to Maths and English teachers; uniform laundered daily; modern and secure facilities and accommodation; access to community actitivities such as swimming; music; sports; art.


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1995 & 1996 Ron Davis (far left), was pictured on the front page of the Chinchilla News on the 6th of January 1995, in relation to the Rotary exchange program.

Chinchilla News, January 6, 1995 – In this edition, Storm rains replenish water supplies, Graziers’ leader announced to open the Chinchilla Show & a local girl is off to Sweden as an exchange student. Recent rainfalls in the Kogan and Cameby areas have replenished the water supplies for the towns of Kogan, Brigalow and Chinchilla. A 150–200mm (six–eight inch) downpour saw the local reservoirs rise and the level of the Chinchilla Weir, on the Condamine River, increase from 2.62 metres to 4.6 metres. The Rocky Creek saw a flow on effect, raising the levels of the Charley Creek/Rocky Creek Weir, to half a metre off capacity. The welcomed rainfall relieved the raw water supply situation in all towns with-in the shire, resulting in the lifting of all water restrictions, with the exception of the normal summer time restriction of no sprinklers or irrigation systems between the hours of 9am – 4pm daily. The 1995 Chinchilla Show would be officially opened by Mrs Jan Joyce, president of the Graziers’ Association of South-Eastern Queensland. From the “Overflow”, Beaudesert, Mrs Joyce was elected in 1992, being the first woman president in any of the six District Associations in the United Graziers’ Association. The 1995 show was held on May 19 – 20, with the official opening on the Friday, 19th. Fiona Cameron, of “Rockwood” Chinchilla, completed Year 12 in 1994 at The Glennie School, Toowoomba. Fiona, (then 17), was leaving for Sweden mid-January 1995, as a Rotary youth exchange, for 12 months.

Early 1996 saw reconstruction begin of the new RSL after it was damaged by fire. Pictured - current Chinchilla RSL President, Peter Bellgrove.

Chinchilla News, January 5, 1996 – In this edition, Gutted RSL rebuilt after fire, trading boost from late-night shopping before Christmas and major flooding caused damage in Tara. The fire that destroyed the Chinchilla RSL Memorial Club in July 1995 was reported to have caused up to $2 million in damage and was believed to have been started by an electrical fault. The reconstruction and alterations were set to start in January and take about five months, with the work carried out by FK Gardner and Sons Pty Ltd. The RSL, a popular meeting place and functions hall, had only been open since November 1989. A trial of late night shopping in Chinchilla in the Christmas period that began three years prior, proved to be the difference in boosting retail trade figures as last-minute shoppers swarmed the stores. The final three nights of shopping turned into a buying spree with Chamber of Commerce president, Darryl Slatter, saying business owners were now feeling optimistic, a change after the slow start to the season’s trade. Floodwaters in Tara caused road damage, fences to be washed over, and homes and sheds inundated with rain, while the heavy falls resulted in severe scouring at the Tara airport that was forced to close until repairs could be carried out. The State Emergency Service used their flood boat to ferry people over Tara Lagoon Crossing which rose to .9metres and about 400metres wide. The 105mm to 187mm, or almost four to seven inches, of rain caused flooding along Undulla Creek, Jacks Creek, Humbug Creek and 26-Mile Creek. Floodwaters cut the Leichhardt Highway north of the Gums with water over the road.

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1997 & 1998 The railway, as pictured here in 1921, has always been an important part of the regions economy. A derailment in 1997 impacted the seasons harvest to it’s full extent.

A Jacaranda Tree similar to this, appeared on the front page of the Chinchilla News February 26 1998, to highlight an unusual time of year to bloom.

Chinchilla News, January 3, 1997 – In this edition, Chinchilla News helps first-time job seekers find work with free classifieds, and reports on extreme heat thought to derail a grain train near Wandoan.

Chinchilla News, February 26, 1998 – In this edition, we explore jobs and opportunities for producers as Chinchilla looks to irrigated cotton crops, and four power stations experience failures as residents face outages.

The Chinchilla News took up the call to help young and firsttime jobseekers match their skills with employers in a creative joint venture offering free classified advertisements for the future employee. This program addressed the need for young jobseekers to connect with employers, and provided space for 24 words or less. To avoid nuisance calls, Chinchilla News acted as the conduit, and provided contact details to legitimate enquiries.

Potential projects for irrigated cotton and other crops were investigated in the Chinchilla region after a study of contour levels suggested it was feasible to build a water supply channel along the high ground at Hopelands. There were as many as 10 farms interested in the irrigation scheme at the Chinchilla and District Water Users Association. Contour maps of the Brigalow flood plains also showed potential to extend a water supply channel across Chances Plain, from the Condamine River or from the junction of Charley’s Creek and Dead Man’s Gully. A proposal for allocating 40,000 megalitres of water for irrigation would see 500 jobs created.

Extreme heat causing the tracks on a rail line to buckle is one possibility behind the derailment of a grain train carrying wheat at Guluguba, south of Wandoan, at about 1pm on Sunday. Nine of the 36 wagons left the track, with one ripped apart by the force. Almost a week later, the Friday paper reported Queensland Rail and GrainCo were still working to clear the spur line between Miles and Wandoan. About 500 metres of damaged tracks were being repaired. Wandoan police were looking for information to solve a break and enter on Christmas Day at Jimmy Froot Fly, after thieves stole a carton of cigarettes, and vandalised the building, pouring molasses on the cash register and detergent on the floors.

Failures in the generating units at Tarong, Stanwell, Gladstone and Swanbank resulted in power outages across the state after a shortfall of over 1000MW amidst searing temperatures that drove up demand and the load on the system. Western Downs residents were spared from the bulk of the power cuts, with one Chinchilla businessman saying, “the city media and opposition would have you believe that the world was about the end”. On the Monday and Tuesday, the region experienced just three half-hour power outages. Powerlink chief executive Gordon Jardine said it was highly unusual to have four power stations break down at one time. He said as the weather cooled around the state it would ease the demand on the system.

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1999 & 2000 George Lattimore, pictured here with his 1953 Ford Customline 50th anniversary sedan, was also the previous owner of Lattimores’ Carey Ford Chinchilla. Their ad is seen on the front page, February 8th, 1999.

Gale Air Services proprietor Mr Scott Gale (pictured here in 2013) appeared on the front page of Chinchilla News on April 6, 2000, with his Rockwell Thrush Commander.

Chinchilla News, February 18, 1999 – In this edition, Chinchilla’s fourth signature Melon Festival was just around the corner, while residents called for a skate park and youth centre for the town.

Chinchilla News, April 6, 2000 – In this edition, Avgas contamination crisis hits Chinchilla farmer, while Tarong Power Station writes to Brigalow landholders on a proposed rail corridor. Financial ruin was edging closer for Chinchilla based Scott Gale, after his company, Gale Air Services, was grounded due to fuel contamination. Two planes, a Rockwell Thrush Commander and a Cessna plane were caught up in the Mobil Avgas (aviation gasoline) contamination in December, which hit the east coast of Australia. The aerial crop spraying business spent three months in limbo, causing losses of up to $100,000. Financially-strained, Mr Gale contemplated walking away from the business. With a 15-month-old son and recent business expansions, the timing could not have been worse for the young family. Mr Gale said the contamination caused thick sludge to form in the fuel line and carburettor of his planes. 5000 planes were caught up in the crisis. Discussions around a proposed Brigalow-Tarong Rail line project heated up as landowners called on the State Government to shut down the process. Tarong Energy had written to landholders along the proposed rail corridor to begin arranging meetings. Rail action group chairman Graham Wilson warned landholders they were not obliged to enter into discussions with Tarong Energy. He said he’d received advice that Tarong Energy were not accepted as a proponent of the Impact Assessment Study. The company said they had a 10 year agreement with Pacific Coal and needed transport infrastructure to progress. Member for Western Downs Brian Littleproud, father of now Agricultural Minister David Littleproud, called for answers, saying it was unfair for landholders to be subjected to an uncertain future regarding the line.

Organisers of the Chinchilla Melon festival, the town’s signature tourism event, were counting down the weeks until the February 1999 offering, and they’d kept many of the features of the festival from the previous two decades. Then organiser, Peter Saxelby, called on residents to take part in the Saturday morning street parade and join the floats, marchers, horses, vehicles, and six bands. Chinchilla News journalists worded it well, encouraging attendance with a passionate plea, “Get on your donkey, pinch your padre’s bike if you have to, tie some balloons to your wheelbarrow and put your mother-in-law in it with a big pair of melons… do whatever you have to do, but get into the parade”. Other features of the 1999 event included melon bowling, a melon golf tournament, tropical ball, and farm tours to showcase how Chinchilla pays homage to its agricultural producers and soil that’s made for melons. A state government Task Force on Crime Prevention asked parents “Do you know where your child is?” as a key strategy of the program, a Chinchilla forum heard. Sergeant Darryl Keys told the forum that efficient policing had led to Chinchilla’s crime rate decreasing during the past three years. Petty theft, minor assault and drugs were the main offences amongst youngsters, especially at night, with Sgt Keys saying a lack of supervision was a factor in the criminal activity. To address this, Youth Development Officer Penny Creamer told the forum a skate park and youth space was needed, and that young people and the community should be involved in the design and fundraising to make it happen.

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2001 & 2002 The Tara Show was a hit, regardless of the rain, and is seen featured on the front page of the Chinchilla News on the 15th of March 2001. The show today is still as popular as ever.

In 2002, Health Minister Wendy Edmond announced Chinchilla & Tara would receive additional funding of more than $32,000.

Chinchilla News, March 15, 2001 – In this edition, it was a busy week for the region with three stories making it on the front in one edition. First up was a development forum for Chinchilla, while over in Tara a local was committed to stand trial for murder and the Tara Show went off with a bang.

Chinchilla News, September 5, 2002 – In this edition, the sealing of Green Swamp and Fairy Meadow Roads were cause for celebration, while the shifting of responsibility for fire safety legislation from State Government to Local Government was cause for concern.

After a successful town development forum nearly 10 years previously, the Chinchilla Economic and Tourism Development Association invited residents to look to the future. The first Future Search workshop focussed on community development, while all signs pointed to residents being more concerned about business and economic development for the second one. Organisers were after ideas to help the town thrive and keep its young people from having to go elsewhere to look for work.

It’s not every day the sealing of a road is worth firing up the barbecue and reminiscing, but residents were so thrilled about bitumen sealing for Green Swamp and Fairy Meadow Roads back in 2002 that’s exactly what they did. Residents gathered with special guests including the town’s oldest former resident and oldest current resident to talk about the history of the two roads, remembering days when two buggies couldn’t pass each other, and one had to pull off into the prickly pear on the side of the road to allow the other to pass. Councillor Bill McCutcheon said the decision to seal the roads was based in part on the increase in industry in the area including Stanbroke Feedlot and the cotton industry. Back then, councillors used to do walk and talk tours around the place to hear residents’ road concerns and the area came up as a bit of a bugbear for locals.

Meanwhile, 51-year-old Wayne Matthew Pettigrew, was committed to stand trial in Dalby Magistrates Court, for the murder of Patrick Furey. The court heard from ballistics expert Sergeant Ian Bruce and witness Mervyn Leslie Abrahams, who maintained Pettigrew had confessed to the crime while drinking pots of beer, saying the murder had been carried out due to suspicion Furey was a paedophile. Defence counsel David Murray questioned Mr Abrahams’ account, which included things that weren’t in his official statement to police. And despite a rainy weekend, the 65th Tara Show was a hit for locals and visitors alike. Tara Show Society president Wendy Fawcett said numbers were up despite the weather and the feedback had been wonderful. She said the fireworks display was very popular and the rodeo was well attended. Competitive sections were also well patronised, with the horse sections the standout in terms of increased entries.

It was clearly a busy day of interviews for Cr McCutcheon, who also featured in the second front page story about the shifting of responsibility around fire safety legislation from State Government to Local Government. The changes came about largely in response to the horrifying Childers Backpacker Hostel fire and a spate of similar budget accommodation fires in Brisbane. There were fears that the change would mean an additional $20 million cost for local councils to cover public liability insurance over a 10-year period.






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2003 Saw the biggest property boom in 30 years. Although the market has stabilized today, blocks of land like this are still available for development in Chinchilla. Chinchilla News, October 2, 2003 – In this edition, during his 30 years of working in the real estate game, Peter Vowles had never seen demand for property as strong as it was in late 2003. Mr Vowles, of Peter Vowles Real Estate in Chinchilla and Miles, said he usually had plenty of listings on the books, but suddenly he was turning potential clients away due to a lack of stock. He said the norm was 50 to 60 homes listed in Miles at any given time and up to 120 in Chinchilla, but suddenly he was down to nine in Miles and 40 in Chinchilla, which was completely unprecedented in his three decades of business. He suspected low interest rates, the First Home Buyers Scheme and investors looking for stable growth were likely behind the surge in interest. The share market was seen as a less reliable investment at the time, so investors were heading out to the regions in droves with deposits in hand. The surge in demand for homes wasn’t just limited to the towns, with inquiries into rural properties also reaching unprecedented levels, which he felt may have been driven by a strong cattle market at the time. He may have been on the money there, but one prediction he cert rtainly rt tainly got wrong was thinking the market had peaked 15 years ago. Mr Vowles described the market surge as “the crest of a wave” and expected house prices in Miles would likely never get higher than $70,000. “Years ago, you could purchase a house for $30,000-$40,000 in Miles, now they start rtt at $70,000, however this most likely will be the most you will ever pay,” he was quoted as saying at the time. While you can still bag a bargain home in Miles today, the average home start rts t at well over $100,000.

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Member for Warrego in 2004, Howard Hobbs, was humbled and honoured by the support that Warrego residents showed at the polls.


2003 & 2004

Chinchilla News, February 12, 2004 – In this edition, it appears resistance was futile for local graziers concerned about the introduction of an electronic national livestock identification system. These days it’s just part of life, but in February of 2004 some growers were worried the introduction of the scheme would be little more than a waste of time and money. Others were happy the industry was doing something vital for future success in a competitive global market. Sheep and cattle producers headed to a forum in Miles designed to inform growers of how the scheme would work and foster debate about the pros and cons of the system. The aim of the scheme was to ensure there were electronic ear tags in every livestock animal across the country, so the animal could be tracked from its property of origin right through to its slaughter. Each tag would have a property code and animals were to be scanned on entering and leaving a property, with the information required to be uploaded to a national database within 24 hours. Forum organiser Lee McNicholl believed the existing system was highly credible and wanted detractors’ voices heard. More than 450 people attended the forum, with guest speakers on both sides outlining their views. At the end when the crowd was asked for a show of hands in support of the scheme, reportedly not a single person raised their hand. Meat and Livestock Australia representative Mick Prendergast defended the program and said it might not be perfect, but it was important to introduce for the good of the industry and teething troubles would soon be ironed out.

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Chinchilla News

Thursday November 27 2008 Price $1.00 inc GST

Covering the districts of Chinchilla, Miles, Tara and Taroom

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1400 JOBS GONE IN A SINGLE DAY because we’re taking time to get it right I apologise for that.” Mr Lucas said coal seam gas and other UCG projects would take up the slack left by Linc’s departure. “We’re on the cusp of a massive boom in the coal seam gas industry and there are still a number of UCG players there,” he said. “Meanwhile, we’ll work through the issues and we’re going to get it right.” Cr Brown said the State Government had failed the Surat Basin because the legal cloud over petroleum interests had not been dealt with fast enough. “The state needs to make their minds up; where these mining tenements are, where the petroleum tenements are and give a defined boundary,” he said. “They need to rule these up very quick otherwise we’re going to get an exodus of mining companies from our region because they’re not assured of what their resources are.” Linc chief executive Peter Bond said economies of scale and a lack of transport infrastructure also played a part in Linc’s decision to head to South Australia’s Arckaringa Basin. But the Chinchilla project does not appear totally dead and buried. On Friday, Mr Bond said:”it is important for our over 100 Queensland employees, our host community at Chinchilla and other stakeholders that our clear commitment to our assets and operations in Queensland is not in question.”

But British royalty brings a ray of light

is today,” he said. “You can imagine therefore they are steeped in the brand of QGC – they love this company – and they would be delighted we intend to put all BG’s businesses under the umbrella of QGC.” Over the next five years, BG Group hopes to spend $15 billion and employ 4500 people between its Surat Basin gas fields and a worldscale LNG plant in Gladstone. But before the coffers are opened, the gas must

It was a very Aussie farewell for a takeover that’s all British. Queensland Gas employees met their new boss over seafood, steak and beer at Berwyndale South last Thursday afternoon. BG Group chief executive Frank Chapman was visiting the region for the first time since the $5.2 billion friendly takeover of QGC. He took the opportunity to reconfirm BG Group’s commitment to QGC’s staff and brand. “These people created this company. These people are why QGC is what it

cont’d on page 6

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Hoses, sprinklers, irrigators and soaker hoses between 5pm to 9am on allowable days ! No watering allowed between 9am to 5pm ! One attended hand held hose per property at anytime

! Chinchilla Weir Level FULL Chinchilla - Brigalow watering days

BG Group chief executive Frank Chapman at Berwyndale South last Thursday with QGC managing director Richard Cottee to discuss the future with staff.


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Fourteen hundred jobs walked out of Chinchilla last Wednesday. Linc Energy bailed out of its $1 billion liquids plant less than a year before 1000 workers were to arrive for four years of construction. Those jobs and another 400 permanent positions will instead be based in South Australia where Linc merged with SAPEX earlier this year. Dalby Regional mayor Ray Brown said the decision was a blow to the region. “You don’t like seeing this happening to anyone, especially someone who invests such a substantial amount of money and employment into the region” he said. Linc hoped to burn coal underground to feed gas into a liquids plant producing 20,000 barrels of diesel and aviation fuel a day by 2013. It had already spent $50 million on its trial 15km south-east of Chinchilla. But Queensland Gas Company was competing for the same coal and in August dispute over the shared resource entered the Supreme Court. In Queensland, petroleum licences issued to coal seam gas companies can overlap the mining licences governing underground coal gasification. Deputy Premier Paul Lucas admitted the complexity of overlapping tenements had delayed a decision from the State Government. “What we want to do is get it right,” he said. “Now if that doesn’t suit people


Linc Energy & Chinchilla RSL Memorial Club

Special Guests: The Silly Billies & Santa Music by: ‘Skin the Cat’ “CHINCHILLA NEWS” Thursday November 27 2008



2005 & 2006 Taroom’s Leichhardt Villa (pictured here in 2010) received funding of $765,000 to expand the facility in 2006.

Bob Kemp (pictured here in 2011) believed it was a case of mistaken identity when he was attacked in his home by a knife wielding bandit in 2005.

Chinchilla News, November 24, 2005 – In this edition, a near-deadly case of mistaken identity, Chinchilla’s Bob Kemp was attacked in his home by a knife-wielding bandit, but that was far from the end of his trouble. Mr Kemp said he was lucky to avoid “a gut full of knife” by throwing himself backwards when attacked by the man, who accused him of doing things he knew nothing about. He believed he was lucky to be alive after the incident, which left him with some slight nicks, but was struggling mentally in the aftermath. After being treated in hospital for high blood pressure and shock, Mr Kemp’s anxiety over the incident was so acute he had to take a week out of town. Things weren’t improved upon his return as he still feared his attacker would return. His fears were confirmed when he went out to check the post and found a bullet in his mail box. The plot thickened further when he noticed the initials “NK” inscribed on the bullet, which were, perhaps coincidentally, his brother Noel’s initials. Three weeks after the terrifying incident Mr Kemp contacted The Chinchilla News in the hopes of finally getting the message across to his attacker that they were barking up the wrong tree, as he feared things could get deadlier if left to escalate. He pleaded for the man to leave him alone. Chinchilla Police confirmed they were called to Mr Kemp’s home after both incidents and were investigating.

Chinchilla News, January 5, 2006 – In this edition, weevils might generally be thought of as pretty bad, at least for the flour in your pantry, but the humble little insect proved a lifesaver for the local ecosystem, while Taroom’s Leichhardt Villa received the good news about an additional nine beds for the aged care facility. In 2004 and 2005 things were looking pretty dire for Miles’ Chinaman’s Lagoon as salvinia weed threatened to choke the ecosystem and destroy the lagoon’s rare native water lily population. Murilla Shire Council sought a biological control agent from Brisbane City Council’s bio-control rearing program and interested parties held their breath hoping it would be enough to stop the spread of the weed, which had taken over 70 per cent of the lagoon. After a year of hard work, the humble salvinia weevils had made a massive improvement to the ecosystem that was easily obvious to locals and visitors to the shire. Visitors to the lagoon that January, were treated to a stunning display of pink native water lily blooms. Murilla Shire Mayor Roderick Gilmour said the salvinia outbreak was significantly limited and the spread of the noxious weed prevented from moving further downriver. Until the weevil came along, council was fighting a losing battle using spraying, which also affected the native blooms. It was also a time of celebration for Leichhardt Villa, in Taroom, as an additional nine beds and nearly $800,000 in funding was allocated to the facility. The beds and funding also meant more jobs for one of the region’s biggest employers at the time. A further 10 beds were also funded for Chinchilla’s Illoura Village, as part of the assistance package.

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2007 & 2008 Father and Son team, Bernie and Matt Davies, pictured with their record 87.5kg watermelon in 2014. The pair also took out the King of the Melon’s title in 2007! Chinchilla News, February 22, 2007 – In this edition, along with the humble Chinchilla News, CNN, Reuters and national media descended on Chinchilla for the biennial Chinchilla Melon Festival, which turned out to be quite the record breaker in its 13th year. Queensland Attorney General Kerry Shine officially launched proceedings with the words, “let the melons roll and the games begin”, but by then records had already been smashed like a festival melon. The nine-day festival culminated in about 6000 people packing into the school oval for the final day of melon festivities. By then, visitor numbers had already broken records and so had local melon growers Bernie and Matty Davis, who surprised themselves at the South Pacific Seeds Big Melon Weigh-in with a whopping 87kg melon, which broke not only the festival record, but also the Australian record for the biggest watermelon ever grown. The duo rightfully claimed the “King of the Melons” crown for their efforts. Unprecedented crowds thronged Heeney Street for the festival parade, markets and melon events, doubling Chinchilla’s population. The next record wasn’t just local or national. Local Chinchilla melon picker John Allwood, etched both his and Chinchilla’s name in the Guinness Book of World Records with his melon smashing prowess, beating the previous record by five melons and managing to destroy 40 of the delicious summer treats in just 60 seconds. Chinchilla Shire Mayor, councillor Bill McCutcheon couldn’t have been prouder of his town as the festival came to a close, congratulating organisers on their hard work and townspeople for putting out the welcome mat.

iled out Fourteen hundred jobs left Chinchilla when Linc Energy bailed out of its $1 billion liquids plant in 2008. Chinchilla News, December 18, 2008 – In this edition, Christmas in Chinchilla wouldn’t be complete without the festivity of the Black Toyota Chinchilla Cup meeting, so local ladies were putting the finishing touches on race-day outfits, while Surat Basin News editor John Farmer said things were looking pretty rosy for the region despite economic gloom and doom from some. Chinchilla Race Club secretary Dani Jones was set for Christmas to race into Chinchilla with a boost to winnings for the Chinchilla Cup on the back of a major milestone for sponsor Black Toyota. The company was celebrating 25 years in business and decided the perfect way to celebrate was to up the prize money to unprecedented levels for the main race. Caretaker Ken Wolski had the grounds in tip-top shape and local businesses and groups took advantage of the festivities as the perfect location for Christmas parties. Ms Jones said the Fashions on the Field would be hotly contested and the races had been the talk of the town for weeks. There was also plenty of excitement surrounding Queensland Racing’s announcement that the club would host an extra annual meeting from 2010. If you listened to a lot of the talk around 2008 regarding the economic position of the Surat Basin, many of us would have found somewhere else to live and work by now. Mining projects were moving out of the region and things were getting pretty tight in local businesses that relied on the mining and engineering projects to stay afloat and the Global Financial Crisis of 2007-08 gripped the world. Surat Basin News editor, of its Farmer, $1 billion plantoninthe 2008. John sawliquids the writing wall, however, predicting coal seam gas projects would continue to drive the region’s economy despite a slow-down. The trick, he said, would be achieving balance while moving forward to ensure a balance between agriculture, mining and lifestyle for the region’s residents.

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Connecting the Community

Let the camels race

Shepparton’s Peter Hodge talks tactics with his champion mount Old Regi Boy ahead of this weekend’s races. Opponents beware: Old Regi Boy is back and his form is showing no signs of wilting. The champion of the past two Tara Cups has brought his record of 42 wins from 45 races back to the Tara Festival of Culture and Camel Races for another tilt at glory. Owned by Shepparton’s Peter Hodge, Regi Boy has travelled 4500km over the past few weeks, dropping in to claim silverware at Boulia and Winton before arriving in Tara on Monday. Hodge bought the 11-year-old from

Tara’s showcase event starts this weekend Boulia when his attitude proved a bit too much for his past owner. However, the two have formed a strong bond and the only stamp of disharmony from Regi Boy comes when he is passed on the track. While other camel races across Australia carry more weight with the

circuit’s more serious contenders, Hodge said none offered the festivities and atmosphere of the Tara Festival of Culture of Camel Races. “Here it’s more about the entertainment,” he said. “There’s something for everyone. It’s a fantastic two days.”

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Cleaner, INSIDE greener Wandoan power Mayor Ray Brown believes the latest power station to be announced for the region could be the impetus for a new generation of Surat Basin projects. Global corporation GE Power has formed a consortium with Stanwell and Xstrata Coal to build a world-first 400 megawatt plant near Wandoan that would incorporate 90 per cent carbon capture and storage. It could be operational by as early as 2015. Cr Brown said the technology, which has been proposed for two Surat Basin projects announced in the past week, could truly see the region’s coal resources opened up. “This could be the green light for so many other projects across the Surat Basin,” he said. “We’ve been crying out for this technology and now that it’s here it’s great news for a 3800km2 area with an abundance of coal.” GE submitted a full project proposal to the Queensland and Australian governments as well as the Australian Coal Association earlier this year. The proposed Wandoan project would produce 400MW of power pre-carbon capture and would be capable of capturing 90% of the CO2 in the fuel stream for future storage. If the development phase moves forward this year, the plant is expected to be ready for commercial operation in late 2015 or early 2016. Steve Bolze, president of GE Energy Power & Water, said the project would address the future demand for electricity in Queensland. GE is working with Stanwell and Xstrata Coal to develop the project. Coal supply and long term CO2 storage solution are critical aspects, and Xstrata is working co-operatively with the consortium to identify and secure long term solutions that will serve the project.

Bulldogs end Devils season

Dogs to play Cities this weekend in knock out semi PAGE 29

QGC to work with locals

Company wants to solve issues with Tara operations PAGE 4

Senior proam back in town

New format promises biggest and best tournament yet PAGE 22

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Strategic cropping land views sought

Over she goes The Chinchilla Weir overflowed earlier this week, leaving the surrounding areas flooded.


The Condamine River is flowing and so is the water that spewed out of the Chinchilla Weir on Monday leaving the surrounding area under close to a metre of water. Now with the weir at 100 per cent capacity, residents can breathe a little easier knowing their water supply is no longer ‘drying’ up before their eyes. On February 11, weir levels had Chinchilla residents on tenterhooks sitting at about 35 per cent and dropping quickly. Three weeks later scattered rainfall had seen the level rise to about 60 per cent and water restrictions were lifted from level three to level two in Chinchilla.

Local rain received last week saw the water levels rise again with the weir officially full last Wednesday afternoon. Councillor Bill McCutcheon said good, upstream rainfall had caused the influx of water, with the Condamine River flowing nicely. “This good flow is expected to stay for a while,” he said. Despite weir levels now sitting comfortably at 100 per cent, water levels will remain at level two until the summer restrictions are over. “The minimum restrictions Chinchilla can have during summer restrictions (October to March) is level 2. “Level one restrictions are not applicable at the moment.” Meanwhile Charley’s

Haystack chair Jeff Bidstrup urges all to have their say


Butchers best in outback The picnic area next to the Chinchilla Weir went under on Monday with flow from the Condamine spilling out of the weir. Creek is also flowing strongly with water from the forestry and Fairyland areas contributing to the flow. “It’s the first time in many years that this has been seen from just one rain event. “It’s flowing from the head

waters through to the river.” Cr McCutcheon said the swelling creek would ensure the Charley’s Creek Weir, Chinchilla’s reserve water supply, would remain topped up. “It’s a good sign; it’s the

return of a good wet season,” he said. He said the recent rain event had filled water service facilities across the region with every town now with full water supplies.

Miles butcher Daryl Bein and Jandowae butcher Clint Nelson have wowed judges again.


Meandarra open for business Life is starting to return to normal for the residents of Meandarra after flood waters engulfed their township last week creating the worst flood in its history. A total of 15 houses were damaged in the flood while five business houses went under. These were Landmark, the Hotel, Grant Daniels and Long Agents, the Newsagency and Garden store and the back of Sara Street Cafe. The fire station was also flooded as well as the main building at Dylan Park – the town’s tennis and cricket club room. Meandarra was hosting the local

derby cricket grand final this weekend between Tara and Moonie, a commitment they are still hoping to keep. Close to 230mm of water came flooding into the town after the banks of the Brigalow Bridge burst early last week thanks to a monsoonal low that swept across the south west corner. Western Downs Regional Council Meandarra supervisor Bruce Fry said the damage is there, it was as severe as first thought. “Road wise in town we’re not too bad,” he said. “Out of town has been washed

out.” He said it was the cleanest flood he had ever seen and with waters now subsiding, the mud and sludge usually left by the murky water has not appeared. “It was a very clean flood. “We think the long grass that was next to the creek has filtered the water.” He said the council had been unable to mow the area due to the rain and is now grateful for their saving grace. “There is no sludge.” He said another small miracle was having the sewerage and water

supply remain operating throughout the entire ordeal, with the pump continuing to run despite being immerged in water. During the past week help has flooded into the town with council, Ergon Energy, the SES, Telstra, Lifeline, community services, social security and insurance inspectors all lending a hand. Mr Fry said Lifeline had handed out cheques of up to $200 to some residents to help them “keep going”. With the clean up nearly complete, it is now business as usual in Meandarra.

Bulldogs new captain New face to lead local team in 2010 PAGE 36

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The show must go on

Despite the wet Tara celebrated its 75th annual show in style BY GEOFF EGAN A little rain wasn’t going to stop Tara from celebrating their seventy fifth annual show on Saturday. Despite the showgrounds being flooded on Friday night, and the Tara Lagoon spilling over the road on Saturday, the show went on. People came from across the district to take part in the show that featured monster trucks and the ‘International Mini Bike Stunt Team’ as well as traditional exhibits and rides. Tara Show master of ceremonies Neil Stuart made the show his first port of call after flying in from Los Angeles overnight. “I stepped off a plane at

12.30 this morning from LA,” he said. “This is the twelfth straight Tara show I’ve been to, excluding the washout last year. “Even though we’ve had a lot of rain people’s spirits haven’t dampened.” However, Mr Stuart’s 12 years were dwarfed by show patron Frank McNamara who has been coming to the show since at least 1946. “It’s probably been even longer,” he said. “I would have been a real young fellow when I came to my first one.” Tara Show Society president Carissa Hallinan said she was very happy with how the show turned out. “It was absolutely fantastic,” she said. “Considering the wet weather, we had 80 to 100

millimetres overnight; the crowd that turned out was great.” Mrs Hallinan said the evening’s entertainment saw the crowd grow throughout the day. “The monster trucks were quite a draw card. “And with the showgirls being announced on the night the crowds kept on growing all day.” While a number of ring events were cancelled due to the rain the exhibits as well as dorper sheep and Angus cattle competitions ran as per schedule. The Angus cattle, the show’s feature event, was dominated by an Angus bull from the Raff Stud taking out five different categories including supreme Angus.

Ella Gunther makes the most of the wet weather at the Tara Show. Photo supplied.

keep the state moving by reconnecting communities and businesses as quickly as possible before long-term restoration works begin on the road network.” Despite the responsibility for the Warrego Highway falling to the State Department, the Department of Transport and Main Roads has subcontracted the repairs to the Western Downs Regional Council. Western Downs Regional Council councillor Ian Staines said while the Council was conducting the work

it was the Department’s plans they were working to. “We’re just the subcontractors,” he said. “Everything we’re doing at the moment is just putting bandaids on. “The scale of work we’ve got to do means all we can do is emergency repairs.” Cr Staines said many local roads remained affected by the floods, especially areas along the Warrego Highway. “There is moisture underneath the roads. “Nothing short of digging

‘Emergency’ road work washed out BY GEOFF EGAN The patchwork repairs done to many roads across the region was torn apart on the weekend after showers on Thursday and Friday. The work being done to repair local roads following the floods has only seen a thin layer of bitumen placed onto damaged roads. This layer failed to withstand the falls of late last week, leaving pot holes along the Warrego Highway as well as a number of other local roads.

The Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads said the work being done on the roads was emergency repairs and not designed to be long lasting. A department spokesperson said the further repairs were yet to be done. “Roads damaged as a result of flooding are being temporarily repaired to restore safe travel conditions at normal posted speeds, as quickly as possible,” he said. “Repairs carried out are temporary and designed to

it out and redoing it will fix that.” While Cr Staines said he is hopeful that the department will be able to supply the money for the repairs a department spokesperson said it will take a long time for work to be completed. “We are now focussed on the massive task of returning Queensland’s transport network and infrastructure to pre disaster condition,” he said. “It will take many years to do this, a task of post war proportions.”

“There is moisture underneath the roads. Nothing short of digging it out and redoing it will fix that.”

Western Downs Regional Council councillor Ian Staines.

110 Years Of Chinchilla News 20



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Huge amounts of locally grown watermelon has gone to waste this year because of defects that deem them unfit for market. Photo Liss Fenwick / Chinchilla News.

Bees not busy means melon fate dire BY HARRY CLARKE A GOOD season for native fauna in the region has contributed to probably the toughest season in recent memory for local watermelon growers. The fruit that put Chinchilla on the map is experiencing a major slump in its market this year, partly because

blossoming wildflowers have become more attractive to their natural pollinators than the melon vine. Local watermelon farmer Ian Beard says the bees have been a little too busy. “This year we did notice that we struggled to get the bees into the crop,” he said. “There’s so much good flower around that we strug-

gled to get the bees to actually work on the melons.” Low pollination activity has caused imperfections in the fruit, which has detracted from their aesthetic. “If it’s not pollinated properly the melon becomes hollow,” Mr Beard said. “We believe the competition from the native tree was huge, the freezing cold nights

in October and the change to a hot week in November was also a big worry.” The growth of the watermelon industry in other parts of Australia has flooded the market, lowering the price dramatically and a cold and wet summer in the cities has diminished appetite for watermelon.

“Low prices and low quality has been the problem – usually the price is 70 cents a kilo and at the moment its 40 to 50 cents, which is basically at the cost of production,” Mr Beard said. In the past 10 years the industry has become Australia-wide and melons are now cropping up from Bundaberg

to Melbourne. “We haven’t seen glamour melon from anywhere in the market this year but the southern melon has been a little better,” Mr Beard said. Nonetheless, he said the watermelon industry is subject to peaks and troughs and he maintains that the seasons will improve.


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2009 & 2010 A close encounter! Tara Festival of Culture and Camel Races are the perfect place to get up close and personal to an animal you may not otherwise meet.

The Chinchilla Weir flooded over in March 2010 with water from the Condamine River spilling out of the weir. A spectacular sight.

Chinchilla News, July 30, 2009 – In this edition, Tara Cup favourite, 11-year-old camel Old Regi Boy, was making his way up from Shepparton for the Tara Festival of Culture and Camel Races, while Western Downs Regional Council Mayor Ray Brown, was celebrating news of a cleaner, greener power station slated for Wandoan.

Chinchilla News, March 11, 2010 – In this edition, a classic case of understatement! A good wet season was predicted after the Chinchilla Weir overflowed in March of 2010 after one good fall of rain but by the end of the year, much of the region, not to mention the rest of the state, would be under water.

They might not be the most important races on the country’s growing camel racing circuit, but the Tara Camel Races were definitely among the most festive according to Shepparton’s Peter Hodge. Mr Hodge owned Old Regi Boy and said the Tara Cup was the culmination of some 4500km of travelling the country’s camel racing circuit. The fleet-footed dromedary claimed silverware at Boulia and Winton before taking on the competition at Tara. Mr Hodge said he and Regi shared a wonderful bond since he bought the 11-year-old from a Boulia rider, who found Regi’s feisty spirit a little too much to handle. He was looking forward to two days of fun in Tara and said the festival was a load of fun with something for everyone despite not being the most competitive on the circuit.

Residents at the time were rightfully concerned about water supply, with weir levels in February sitting at 35 per cent and dropping fast. All eyes were on the sky and residents breathed a sigh of relief as a few scattered rain events brought levels back up to 60 per cent, but it was only a matter of weeks later that some strong rainfall came through, topping the level to 100 per cent in water storage facilities across the region. The rainfall caused the weir to overflow, flooding the surrounding area, with some parts under a metre of water. Councillor Bill McCutcheon said Charley’s Creek was flowing strongly and it was the first time in years a single rainfall event had caused it to do so. “It’s a good sign; it’s the return of a good wet season,” he said at the time, a quote that was the very definition of understatement in hindsight of what was in store for Queensland by December and the following January.

In further good news for the region, mayor Ray Brown believed a new power station coming to Wandoan would be the impetus for a new generation of Surat Basin projects. GE Power formed a consortium with Stanwell and Xstrata Coal to build a world-first, 400-megawatt power station near Wandoan that would incorporate 90% carbon capture and storage. The consortium hoped the new plant could be up and running as early as 2015 and Cr Brown said it could see the region’s coal resources opened up.

Meanwhile life was just returning to normal in Meandarra in the wake of a flooding event that inundated 15 homes and five businesses. Close to 230mm of water came flooding into town after the banks of the Brigalow Bridge burst in the wake of a monsoonal low that swept across the region.


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Chinchilla News, March 10, 2011 – In this edition, one of the wettest years the region had ever seen, continued rainy weather played havoc on locals. Tara’s 75th annual show went on in spite of muddy, flooded conditions, while emergency repairs to roads across the Condamine region were again washed out in heavy rain. Luckily residents from across the region were tired of being cooped up thanks to the constant rain and turned out in droves for the Tara Show. While sartorial choices were largely limited to raincoats and gumboots, residents relished the chance to enjoy some fun. Crowds steadily grew as the day wore on, peaking for the monster truck exhibit and the show girl competition in the evening. A few events were cancelled thanks to a downpour of 80-100mm overnight that left the showgrounds flooded and the Tara Lagoon spilling over the road, but the show’s feature event, the angus cattle competition, as well as the dorper sheep competition, went ahead as planned. It wasn’t just the show struggling in the fresh downpours. Patchwork repairs to roads across the region in the wake of months of wet weather were feeling the strain, with the overnight downpour washing away much of the work. Many roads were given emergency repairs consisting of only a thin layer of bitumen, and it just wasn’t enough to stand up to the conditions. The Warrego Highway was riddled with potholes, along with many other local roads.The Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads sub-contracted the Western Downs Regional Council to carry out the work, but councillor Ian Staines said the sheer scale of the work to be completed meant applying “band-aid solutions” to keep traffic moving before serious repairs could be carried out. He said it was expected the work would take years to be fully completed thanks to the depth of the damage to the road surfaces.

2012 was not a good year for melon growers, due to lack of pollination as bee activity was attracted elsewhere.

Chinchilla News, February 9, 2012 – In this edition, we covered the plight of farmers abandoned by bees in the wake of a fantastic season for local flora, and an exciting new program for rural doctor training. Chinchilla watermelon farmer Ian Beard was lamenting a dire season for the region’s iconic fruit, watching his misshapen melons wither on the vines thanks to a lack of traditional pollinators. He said the region had experienced a wonderful year for native blossoms, meaning bees were too busy rolling in the pollen of native trees to do their traditional work on the melon crop. While unpollinated melon vines still produce fruit, it tends to lack the aesthetic that brings good prices and causes melons to become hollow. Added competition from new melon growing regions across the country also caused a hit to the bottom line for farmers. It was also a cold and wet summer for much of the country, dropping demand for the thirstquenching hot weather delicacy. Meanwhile SES volunteers were relieved their mission to find the body of flood victim Jane Sheahan, was called off, thanks to another crew finding her remains. Ms Sheahan’s car was washed off a causeway and swept downstream, with rescuers managing to save her young son Darcy before she was pulled under floodwaters. After two days of searching, local volunteers heard the news that the body had been found. Finally, the Tara community was set to benefit from a new training program called the Remote Vocational Training Scheme after local doctor Clifford Ganga was approved to join the Australian Government initiative. The scheme was designed so rural doctors would not have to leave their communities to receive top-end professional development.

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Page 125

110 Years Of Chinchilla News 20



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Connecting the Community

Flying feral vermin menace

Extreme pedalling granny

Eight seconds in Wandoan

➤ PAGE 5

➤ PAGE 7

➤ PAGE 28

Hop to it! Easter bunny pays a school visit

HAPPY EASTER! : Prep students at Chinchilla State School, while celebrating a pyjamas day, get excited for a visit from the Easter Bunny.


Health problems not linked to gas

THE State Government’s first report into the cumulative health effects on residents living in the Tara gasfields has revealed no links to CSG. However, some residents believe it is too early to call. ■ Read the full story on page 3.

Fatal fire cause probed THE identity of a man who died in a house fire near Kogan on Tuesday morning is yet to be confirmed. Emergency services were called to a rural property on the Kogan-Condamine Highway near the Montrose Rd turnoff, just after midnight. The alarm was raised by a passer-by who noticed the fire. Inspector Graham Cooke from the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service based in Dalby was joined by specialist scientific officers from the Queensland Police Service to investigate the incident. Inspector Cooke said a person travelling along the Kogan-Condamine Rd alerted emergency services after seeing the blaze though dense scrub. “Even thought it was only a very small driveway, the fire at that stage must have been burning quite well for them to actually see it through the heavy roadside vegetation,” Inspector Cooke said. The dwelling had been destroyed by the time fire crews from Chinchilla and Tara stations arrived at the property to contain the fire and preserve the scene for police. “There wasn’t much of the building left; there were no walls left standing,” Inspector Cooke said. “The destruction of the premises had been so complete by the fire itself that we don’t have a lot of debris to work on to determine the fire pattern and where the fire originated. “You can come up with a lot of theories but at this stage we haven’t narrowed it down to one and it is quite possible that the cause will remain undetermined.”

110 Years Of Chinchilla News 20

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Events bring in big bucks number of resource workers had recently left the Condamine area as the projects moved north. “We’ve lost a lot of people,” he said. “So events like these are really coming at a good time for us.” Mr Hickey said the town and hotel were packed last weekend, and he anticipated another big weekend coming. “It was so good to see so many people at the rodeo,” he said. “And with the campdraft, it’s a big thing in the campdrafting world, and it’s a big thing for the town.” ➤ Turn to pages 15 and 44 for all the rodeo action.

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A TRIFECTA of fast-paced rough stock events is set to provide a huge economic boon for the region. The triumphant return of the historic Condamine Bell Rodeo last weekend will be followed by the Condamine Campdraft this weekend, and finally the Chinchilla Campdraft the weekend after that. Conservative economic modelling suggests the three weekends could inject up to $1 million into the regional economy. For Condamine Hotel licensee Shane Hickey, the big events could not come at a more welcome time. Mr Hickey said a large


2013 6901999aa

Chinchilla News, on March 28th, reports have it that there is no link to health issues and the Tara gasfields. However, Tara residents claim that it is too early to call. In Chinchilla, locals express their concern over the bat migration and it’s problems.

A 75 year old German grandmother passed through the Western Downs, all saddled up on her trusty push bike, during her travels around Australia in 2013. Chinchilla News, March 28, 2013 – In this edition, we took a closer look at suspicions among Tara locals living near coal seam gas fields concerned that exposure to mining chemicals was making many sick. We spoke to fire investigators working to determine the cause of a fatal housefire near Kogan and we met a 75-year-old push bike rider from Germany. One of the many bats that had moved into Chinchilla in 2013.

Wandoan Rodeo 2013, this young man is giving it his best!

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A Queensland Health report dismissed claims that coal seam gas projects were making locals sick, but many were sceptical, believing it was too early to confirm there were no negative health effects. In 2012 it emerged that residents were heading to their GPs complaining of headaches, nausea, nosebleeds and rashes and there were fears the spate of ill health among townspeople had something to do with recent CSG expansions. The summary risk assessment report was commissioned to investigate the issue with the help of Brisbane doctor Keith Adam, who examined 15 people out of more than 50 complainants. He was unable to determine any link between the complainants and CSG activities. The report found there were a number of possible causes for illnesses, including emotional distress and there wasn’t enough data to establish any cumulative impacts on air quality in the area. It said low-level irritants and odours might have contributed to the issue, but there was no evidence of significant systemic toxicological exposure. Tara resident Debbi Orr remained unconvinced, saying she doubted the report’s independence. She maintained that much of the data the report was based on was supplied by CSG company QGC and continued to hold fears for the health of local children. She said it was important that residents knew exactly what they were breathing and felt it was too soon to determine no link between the burgeoning CSG industry and rising health issues. Her concerns were echoed by Lock the Gate spokesman Drew Hutton. Meanwhile, Queensland Fire and Rescue Services Inspector Graham Cooke said he was unsure if the cause of a fatal housefire near Kogan would ever be determined. QFRS was called to the rural property on the Kogan-Condamine Highway to find the home well alight after the alarm was raised by a passer-by just after midnight. Scientific officers from the Queensland Police Service were called in to help with the investigation, but Insp Cooke said there was so little left in the wake of the fierce blaze that they might never be able to find the cause. At the time they were still working to identify the man killed in the blaze.

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Page 128

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2014 6901999ab

Chinchilla News, on October 9th, saw crowds mass to the Condamine Bell Rodeo for a weekend of hooves, hats and dust. Rodeos and Campdrafts inject a healthy boost into the economy, with hotels packed and accommodation booked out. While locally, Magpies were causing us to duck for cover!

2014 it was that time of year again, october 2014, magpies were a little overprotective of their young. Chinchilla News, October 9, 2014 – The region was bracing for a huge economic injection brought on by a trifecta of rough stock events to be held in quick succession. The edition was jam-packed with all-things rodeo and campdraft. Meanwhile, keep your eyes to the skies – it’s Magpie season!

Long-time Condamine Rodeo fan Edith Henry (left), looks over old photos from the event with 2014, organiser Linda Crosby

Peter O’Neill wins the 2014 Condamine Bell Open Campdraft on Roy.

The series of events kicked off with the triumphant return of the historic Condamine Bell Rodeo, with residents and business owners gearing up for the Condamine Campdraft and the Chinchilla Campdraft, to be held over the following two weekends. Conservative modelling pointed to a possible $1 million for the region’s economy thanks to an influx of visitors complete with caravans, horses and floats, bulls and equipment, not to mention full wallets. Condamine Hotel licensee, Shane Hickey, said it was welcome relief after the exodus of many workers from the mining sector in the wake of projects moving north. He said the pub had lost many patrons and was feeling the pinch, so the events couldn’t have come at a better time. The pub was packed for the first time in a long time thanks to the rodeo and he was expecting another huge influx over the coming two weekends that would provide a welcome boost to the bottom line. Meanwhile, local campdraft royalty, 90-year-old Arthur McIntyre, shared the secret to winning the coveted Chinchilla Grandfather Clock, given to the winner of the Chinchilla Campdraft for almost half a century. “Learn how to ride a horse really, really well,” was his sage advice to hopefuls. Mr McIntyre was president of the Chinchilla Campdraft Association for two decades and was pivotal in the history of the annual event. Even at 90 years he still felt excited at campdraft time and loved the history-steeped event. His son Cameron went on to become vice-president of the Paradise Lagoon Campdraft Association and said the country’s most talented riders would travel from all over for a chance at winning the clock, considered one of the most iconic prizes in Australian campdrafting. He said the exemplary grounds meant each competitor had to be at their absolute best for a chance at the coveted clock, which they tried replacing with an armchair for a while but brought back due to popular demand. Proving the growing popularity of the event was a huge increase in nominations for the event, leading to an extra day of competition being added to the line-up. The competition was increased to 350 competitors all determined to see that clock on their mantelpieces. Chinchilla Campdraft Association vice-president Roger Boshammer said planning and organising had become a lot more difficult, but the results were worth the additional challenge. He said the event had gone from 1460 individual runs to more than 2000, so procuring all the cattle and getting the grounds in perfect shape would be a massive challenge. More than 2500 head of cattle had to be found and brought to the grounds to cater for the huge influx of competitors travelling from New South Wales, Victoria and even the Northern Territory. He said it was testament to the fast-growing popularity of campdrafting among rural and regional residents across the country.



Roger Boshammer "Glenoch" Chinchilla Justin Boshammer "Elgin" Condamine

0427 132 094 0427 655 128 Page 129

110 Years Of Chinchilla News 15

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2015 6901999ac

Chinchilla News, on February 12th, all we could talk about was Chinchilla’s wonderful, biennial, Watermelon Festival. The population of Chinchilla is set to saw again, even if it is just for the weekend, while every activity imaginable, all watermelon related, keeps everyone entertained in the 2015 event.

Melinda James mastering her technique during the Melon Skiing, 2015. Chinchilla News, February 12, 2015 – In this edition, Melon fever hit Chinchilla right on schedule, with possibly the cutest front page to ever grace the paper. “Oh baby, she’s one in a melon” the front-page headline exclaimed, referring to an adorable four-month-old Madeline Bird, perched in a hollowed-out watermelon and displaying her best Having a smashing time at the 2015 Watermelon Festival.

toothless grin. Inside was everything residents and visitors needed to know about the festival and even included a free melon festival paper hat, the height of sartorial splendour for festival goers hoping to win special prizes. The edition kicked off with an article on the economic boost expected as some 12,000 visitors rolled into town. Lyn McCullough said her business, The Bakery, was expecting to triple sales and make a good impression on new customers. She said she generally doubled her staff numbers for the festival and said everyone really looked forward to the festive atmosphere. It was something pretty much all business owners looked forward to. The weather report was a favourable one, so she was expecting a bumper weekend. Powered sites at the showgrounds and the polocrosse grounds were just about booked solid and moteliers were breathing a sigh of relief at the solid bookings after months of slow business due to worker bookings being reduced. Chinchilla was showcased as the perfect place to raise a family and the kind of place many visitors returned to for further holidays after experiencing the festival. While most residents were planning their melon costumes and getting excited about the festivities, a few talented people from across the region had an extra reason to look forward to the weekend. Dalby duo Melinda and Harry Wells and Chinchilla’s Lydia Cunnington and Jane Zerbst were busy tuning instruments and doing their vocal scales in preparation for one of the biggest gigs in their musical careers. Mum and son duo Melinda and Harry were expected to put on a great show after making a name for themselves across the region, while the multi-talented Lydia

Sam Asorus, Krissy Renwick, Jake Sams and Adele Renwick getting into the spirit of things at the 2015 Watermelon Festival.

Cunnington and Jane Zerbst were gearing up to put their entertaining skills to the test. And while the beloved melon skiing competition was expected to be the biggest drawcard on the activity schedule, there was growing excitement about the new Slip, Dip and Pull event.

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2016 6901999ad

Chinchilla News, on July 21st, covered the huge milestone step of 100 years for the Burra Burri State School, which is still providing education for local residents after all these years. This edition also sees Chinchilla on the increasing list of areas hit by the Pokemon Go craze.

Stan, Tom and Michelle Davis at the Burra Burri State School centenary celebrations, in July 2016. Chinchilla News, January 13, 1933 - In this edition, milk and butter production headed towards record levels at Dairy Co, while producers see best results with the Lister British-built separator.

2016, was the centenary year of the Burra Burri School and as seen here, the school is still a happy place to learn.

Month on month data was presented at the Downs Dairy Co board meeting in January, with attendees celebrating the region’s increased production. The report submitted by the General Manager showed that an additional 197 tons of butter was manufactured in December over the month of November. This was also within 7 tons of the record monthly output for the association, through Miles, Clifton, Dalby, and Crows Nest branches. The Goombungee factory’s engine room had been destroyed by fire, meaning it was only operational for nine days of the month. The total quantity of milk treated at the seven cheese factories during the month was 150,000 gallons. Downs Dairy Co took the opportunity to thank James Purcell for 27 years of service in his guiding roles as chairman and director. Great Britain is Australia’s largest export buyer of dairy products, in fact she is practically the only purchaser of them. Apart from the cows themselves, the most influential aid in earning power on a farm is the separator, the newspaper reported. Money is lost in production if the separator is not of a high quality, and for many years it was thought that foreign built separators were better to use than British made machines. The Lister British built separator changed that, with New Zealand Co-operative Dairy Co saying “Lister has no superior in regard to construction, durability and skimming efficiency”.

2016 sees the Pokomon Go craze encouraging the most couch-potato or computer game geeks to leave the house.

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110 Years Of Chinchilla News 17



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RUNNING WILD: Brigalow knows how to draw a crowd and almost 60 years after it first began, this year’s annual Bush Bash was the biggest yet. Story, page 4. PHOTO: JULIA BAKER


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GemLife offers luxury resort-style living with world-class lifestyle facilities on your doorstep. uilt with active over 50s in mind, it really is the place to live in HighJelds.

T H E GE M LI F E PROM I SE No entry or exit fees Friendly community Pets welcome Gated neighbourhood Extensive Jve star facilities SALES OFFICE







Affordable luxury homes Caravan and boat storage* Retain your capital gain No stamp duty Ageing in place



*Conditions apply.

The Inaugural Chinchilla News Front Cover December 14th 1907

Page 138




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Profile for NRM Custom Publishing

110 Years of Chinchilla News  

110 Years of Chinchilla News