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95-101Alfred AlfredStreet Street 95-101 CharlevilleQQ4470 4470 Charleville è07 074656 46568355 8355 è ä @ h ld ä ceo@murweh.qld.gov.au

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SPECIAL THANKS TO: State Library Queensland - Susan Felix - Jeff Brown Murweh Shire Council - Carly Everitt Charleville Museum & Historic House - Shannon Hardy - Greg Latta The Queenslander - The Queensland Times - The Courier Mail One Hundred Years of Charleville - QldPics - Trove - Google Wikipedia - Stephen Anastasi

Publisher’s indemnity: 150 Years of Charleville, was published by News Corp Australia in conjunction with the Murweh Shire Council. 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 above mentioned 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 images, they may appear blurry or distorted. The publication content is provided with the understanding that it may conflict with other records and errors may occur as the source of the material has been lost and therefore cannot be verified.

General Manager: Erika Brayshaw Email: erika.brayshaw@chinchillanews.com.au Printed in Australia by the Charleville Western Times through APN Print, Warwick, Queensland

94A Alfred Street, Charleville Qld 4470 Ph: 07 4593 2302


95 - 101 Alfred Street, Charleville, Qld 4470 Ph: 07 4656 8355

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Welcome to our 150 Years of Charleville book. We hope you enjoy reading about our past, the people and the development of the region over the years. We are so proud to have called Charleville our home for many decades and have witnessed some extraordinary events in our time with council, from floods to crippling drought, major infrastructure changes in the region and the everchanging face of farming and commerce within the shire. The passion, resilience and accommodating values that our region and people portray are remarkable and we are very proud and humbled to be a part of it. We are lucky to work, live and play, in what we consider one of the best areas in the country. One of the most rewarding aspects of our roles with Murweh Shire is getting to know the people in the community, working with a great team at council and being part of a team that has presided over some outstanding achievements in recent years – like the new Airport Terminal, new Rail Loading Bay in Morven, free Wifi in the streets, the beginnings of the new Industrial Park in Charleville, new Cosmos Planetarium, Augathella Aged Care Residence upgrade, the Graham Andrews QLd Park of the year, new Showground floodlights and the list goes on. Here’s to another 150 years! And like our forefathers before us we as a town and community will continue to grow and prosper. Enjoy reading 150 years of Charleville! Regards Annie Liston, Mayor & Neil Polglase (Poly), CEO

cOnTEnTS SETTLERS South West Qld Early Explorers Landsborough Tree

Pages 7 – 10

HISTORY The Township Railway & 1St Bore Cobb & Co RfdS Gowrie Station Skywatch Aerodrome Riding on the Sheeps Back Shearers Strike Hospital Schooling Hotels REcEnT HISTORY Mulga Vegetation Western Meat Exporters Exclusion fencing

Pages 11 – 30

MILITARY US Airforce Base WWII War Years Vimy Bomber Aircraft EVEnTS Etched into Memory Royal Visitors floods Bilby festival

Pages 35 – 40

Pages 31 - 34

Pages 41 – 53

MURWEH SHIRE cOUncIL 1911 – Current Graham Andrews Park Cosmos Centre cLUBS & ASSOcIATIOnS RSL Girl Guides Healthy Ageing CWA SES Rotary / Lions

Pages 54 – 63

Page 64 – 71

IDEnTITIES Bilby Brothers dr Ariotti Harry Corones fran Harding

Page 72 – 77

BUSInESSES/BUILDInGS Times Of Old – Assorted images Churches Heritage Listings

Page 78 – 90

SPORT from a Bygone Era Something for Everyone Gun Club Central Warrego Race Club

Page 91 – 96

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7 days a week, there to help when you really need us

Darrel and Lyn Capewell and the team of Leslie, Boots, Steven and Riley are proud to be part of our great town’s history. With over 78 years of combined experience nobody knows more about local roads and which tyre is best for you. Whether you come into our store or we come out to your farm or business, you can be sure that you will get the best in old fashioned service and the very latest in tyre technology and fitment. And should something go wrong and you really gg y need some help p we offer 24-7 Roadside Assistance.





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71 Wills St, Charleville (07) 4654 1359

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The strongest and most well-equipped expedition team for its time, led by Sir Thomas Livingstone Mitchell, were the first explorers to the south west region of Queensland in the late 1840’s. Travelling an overland route to the Gulf of Carpentaria, Mitchell passed through the area that would later become Charleville. It was during this expedition he discovered and named the “Victoria” river. Assistant Surveyor of New South Wales, Edmund Kennedy, was sent out in 1847, to follow the “Victoria” river, to prove his theory that it flowed through to the gulf. During his journey, Kennedy found his theory to be incorrect, the river ran south west. (The Victoria was renamed the Barcoo – supplied by the local aborigines.)

Explorer Ludwig Leichhardt. Disappeared in the Darling Downs 1848, aged 34.

This adventure too, took Kennedy through “fine pastoral country”, that would come In 1858, Queensland Surveyor-General to be named the Charleville District. Augustus Charles Gregory was sent The next party to travel through the area to look for Leichhardt. He followed in 1848, was led by Dr. Leichhardt and the previous route set by Mitchell and details are scarce as he was never heard Kennedy and found a tree marked with an of again and there are no records of his “L” near the Barcoo River but no further traces were discovered. journey.

A commemorative stamp for Sir Thomas Mitchell’s centenary of exploration 7013228ah

Memorial for Edmund Kennedy 100 years after his expedition

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Throughout Landsborough’s expedition, he blazed several Coolabah trees with carved inscriptions to mark camp sites used along the way. One particular tree marked May 10th 1862, depicting camp number 67, is located at the Mitchell Highway, Charleville, providing proof the explorers did indeed pass through the Charleville district, then unnamed. The coolabah tree site remains to this day and was State Heritage listed in 2009.

Surveyor-General Augustus Charles Gregory. Born 1819 - Died 1905. Gregory was unable to find missing explorer Leichhardt, in 1858.


William Landsborough. Born 1825 - Died 1886. His blazed coolabah tree can still be seen near Charleville today.

three days later. News had been received on the fate of Burke and Wills in September 1861, but the expeditions had left before the information could reach them.


Explorers Burke and Wills also went missing in June 1861, after leaving Melbourne to cross the continent inland from south to north. Later that year, Queensland Surveyor-General Augustus Charles Gregory, recommended that a Brisbane expedition to find missing explorers Burke and Wills, be led by William Landsborough. (There were also 3 other search parties formed, one from each of Adelaide, Melbourne and Rockhampton). The search party set off in late August 1861 in the brig Firefly. The Firefly was wrecked not long afterwards off the “Sir Charles Hardy Islands” (east of Cape Grenville) and the party was rescued by Commander-in-Chief, Norman,

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Surviving blazes of Eucalyptus Coolabah trees associated with this expedition remain important makers of a major event in Queensland history, which brought on a rush for pastoral land in western and north-western Queensland in the early 1860s. One well documented surviving example, is the blazed tree from the 1862 Landsborough expedition in the Charleville district, at Camp 67. The lettering on the blaze remains extremely well preserved. The blazed tree at Landsborough’s Camp 67 just south of Charleville was marked on 10 May 1862 and is important for its association with the first official crossing of the Australian continent from north to south. Between February and May 1862 explorer William Landsborough left a trail of blazed trees from the Albert River in the Gulf of Carpentaria to the Warrego River near later Cunnamulla, demonstrating a practical route for driving livestock overland to north-western Queensland.

It is hard to know how many of the blazes survived, either having grown over or been destroyed through past clearing practices, fire, flood, termites or harsh environmental conditions. The blaze at Camp 67, which remains highly visible, is rare tangible evidence of a remarkable feat by Landsborough and his party as the first exploration expedition to cross the continent from north to south, in the process opening much of western and north-western Queensland to pastoral settlement. Landsborough’s Camp 67 blazed tree, is located on a levee in a small local creek that feeds into the Warrego River system, on private freehold about 10km south of Charleville, off the Mitchell Highway. The girth of the tree measures 3.7m at 1m above ground level, and the canopy extends to 13.5m from the trunk. The blaze is on the southern side of the trunk and is now close to ground level, the result of sedimentation deposited over nearly 150 years of seasonal flooding. The chiselled lettering is broad and has been painted to increase visibility. It reads: +Q EXPN. L. C. 67 MAY 10 1862

Photo shoot at the Landsborough Tree c.a 1912

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William Landsborough, the son of a Scottish clergyman, was an experienced bushman, explorer and part owner of Bowen Downs station in northern Queensland. In the mid1850s he was in partnership in a station on the Kolan River in the Burnett district and from 1856 had undertaken much private exploration in search of new pastoral land. In 1861 he was recommended to lead the unsuccessful Brisbane expedition in search of Burke and Wills by the Queensland Surveyor-General, AC Gregory.

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The early history of Charleville is a challenge to piece together in factual detail due to the lack of written records. And as the true locals of a bygone era pass on, so too does the depth of knowledge of the evolution of this now thriving region. However, there is a lot we do know, so please enjoy these snippets of both written and photographic history. The drought of 1866 in the Roma region, saw a settlement spring up at Gowrie Crossing, later to be named Charleville. The township had a store and a hotel owned by Louis Gantzke, whose first child, a daughter, was the first white child born there. William Alcock Tully, an Irish Surveyor, laid out the streets of Charleville, which was erected at a permanent waterhole on the Warrego River and became the centre of the Warrego. Gowrie Crossing and Miller’s Crossing formed an intersection for transport routes and the bullock drivers found it easier to use than the Mangalore township route, which was established around the same era.

Ted King’s bullock team 1910

The Bidjara Aboriginal people are the traditional owners of the land around the townships of Charleville, Augathella and Morven which are located in the Murweh Shire. The Bidjara People have a long and established cultural & spiritual connection with the land in the region dating back thousands of years. In the 1920’s, the council administered the Bidjara people reserve land on the fringe of town. The locals referred to the area as the Sandhills, also known as the Charleville Yumba. Bidjara families and many other Aboriginal families from throughout South West QLD and New South Wales set up homes there made from corrugated iron and timber, there was no running water or electricity. It was only recently that this parcel of land has been handed back to the Bidjara Traditional Owners.


Aboriginal camp. 1920’s

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Western Rural Services 1992

Western Rural Services 2019

WRS offers a wide range of products with the belief that as a business, it is small enough to care and large enough for the inventory to have the diverse range of tools, produce, fertilisers, steel, tanks, pumps, chemicals and many other items that are used in homes and properties by both town and country people alike.

“Believers in the bush servicing the bush” Shop Hours:


Monday to Friday 8:00am – 5:00pm Saturday 8:00am – 12:00pm (You will often also catch us there at 6:30am or 7:30am Monday – Friday) Phone: 07 4654 1179 | Fax: 07 4654 3207 81 King Street, Charleville QLD 4470

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The Dalby to Charleville railway line began construction in 1883 and was officially opened on the 1st March 1888.

Charleville Railway Station in the late 1890s

A bore reserve was proclaimed in 1888 by William Woodley, a Canadian, on behalf of the Railway Department and the bore was completed in 1890. It had a flow of 3 million gallons a day, was 1,371 feet deep and at the bore head it was 106 degrees Fahrenheit. The Municipal Council took control of the bore in 1895, with the agreement to provide free and permanent water to the Railway Department.


Hot water bore that Council took control over in 1895

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from Bathurst, Bourke and many other regions and some of these extended families still live in Charleville until this day.


Cobb & Co were founded in Victoria in 1853 and through to the mid 1880’s, went from strength to strength, expanding into New South Wales and then Queensland, including Charleville. The coaches serviced the south-west, handling passengers and mail traffic. Changing hands a number of times and delving into many varied business ventures, Cobb & Co had a turbulent financial history.

Through the 1890’s and 1900’s, drought struck and the cost of feed for the firm’s thousands of horses cost them half of the earnings in the same period. What with the droughts and the coming of the railway and introduction of motor vehicles, it was only a matter of time before Cobb & Co were not the preferred option for mail or passenger transport.

A coach works was established in 1893 in Charleville, building all kinds of wheeled vehicles for sale throughout the west. The skill set required for the manufacturing Cobb & Co.’s Mail Service No. 177 couldn’t be sourced locally so skilled workers completed the last coach trip between Yuleba and Surat in Queensland in 1924. and their families were brought by coach

Cobb & Co coach factory, Charleville c.a 1911

Arthur Richardson, a blacksmith and wheelwright for Cobb & Co. c.a 1912

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FOUNDED BY THE REVEREND JOHN FLYNN Clifford Peel wrote an inspirational letter to Flynn in 1917, suggesting the use of aviation to bring medical aid to the Outback. Having died in 1918 at the young age of 24, Peel never came to know his letter became the blueprint in the formation of the Flying Doctor Service. After a ten-year campaign from Flynn for an aerial medical service, it became a reality. As part of the campaign, Flynn bought a generator from Alfred Traeger in 1925 and in 1926 he asked Traeger to join him in his radio experiments to enable people on outback properties to contact the flying doctor. Traeger devised a generator using bicycle pedals to provide the power, so their hands were free to send Morse code messages. In 1927 a founder of QANTAS, Hudson Fysh, and Flynn, signed an agreement to operate an aerial ambulance from Cloncurry. In May 1928, long-time supporter, H.V. McKay, left a large bequest for “an aerial experiment” enabling Flynn to open the “Australian Inland Mission Aerial Medical Service” (later to be renamed The Royal Flying Doctor Service). In 1931 Traeger designed and built a basic radiotelephony set which allowed remote property owners to communicate using voice.

Mrs. Rothery using pedal power to transmit the 1st Morse Code message to the RFDS 1929.

DE Haviland Dragons, used by the RFDS 1930’s - 1950’s. 7013228ap

Rev. Flynn, founder of the "Australian Inland Mission Aerial Medical Service". Later to be renamed The Royal Flying Doctor Service.

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Although the RFDS began in Queensland, it was not registered in its own right until 1939 and the Charleville Base commenced operations in 1943. The 1st aircraft, DE Havilland Dragon, were used up until the 1950’s, today the RFDS use Pilatus PC-12 and PC-24 in WA & NT/SA and the King Air B350C and B200 C in Qld, NSW and Tasmania. Every plane undergoes an extensive fit-out, so they have all the necessary medical equipment required. The RFDS now have 71 aircraft operating from 23 bases across the country and are the 3rd largest airline and have over 350,000 patient cases per year. Today, the Charleville Base services approximately 622,000 square kilometres of southwest Queensland, providing remote medical consultations, medical chests, aeromedical retrievals and primary health care clinics incorporating general practice, child and family health, health promotion and field days.

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RFDS warmly welcomed to a remote property.


RFDS awaits the transfer of a patient from a 4WD ambulance. Page 17

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Gowrie was originally owned by De Satge in partnership with Ernest de St. Jean and in 1866, George King joined them, buying a full half share. King then bought out his two partners and formed a company with his three sons and a few years later the property was sold to the Hon. Edward Flood, of the Blackall Stores, Sydney. Until 1868 the history of Charleville is really the history of Gowrie Station. Now owned by Flood, the station soon became the calling point along a natural stock route leading from New South Wales to Western Queensland. The property grazed both cattle and sheep and the

original homestead also became a Boy’s Hostel for a period. The first homestead was where the Cattle Camp Hotel is now situated. Gowrie was 3000 square miles and stretched on both sides of the Warrego, from Wyandra to Augathella. The homestead was shifted to its present site before the turn of the century. The property was whittled away over the years and is now 80,000 acres. Gowrie Pastoral Company purchased Gowrie in 1981, establishing a stud in 1983 using quality Simmental bulls over quality high grade Brahman cows. The stud now run Simbrah & Simmental females.

Gowrie Station as seen in 1919

Boys’ Hostel at Gowrie Station 1940’s

Gowrie Pastoral Co. yarding Simmental bullocks, 2011


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New to town in 1991, Stephen saw that Charleville, wrapped in drought, sorely needed to harness the power of tourism. Studying physics by distance education, one of his first subjects was astronomy. So, looking out at the clarity of night skies over Charleville, and the fantastic uninterrupted viewing the West offered, Stephen had an idea: a public observatory with night viewing that ensured people must stay overnight, would help Charleville prosper. Mentioning the idea to his wife, she told him there was a tourist association meeting that very night, exactly to source ideas to boost tourism. The idea was well-received; the start of something big! Stephen presented a report and a sketch of an observatory drawn by his architect brother-in-law, to Council, who had set aside $40,000 for such a project, separated into $20,000 parcels, with monies offered on a dollar-for-dollar basis with monies contributed by the people of the town. The ball was rolling! An astronomy club, the Charleville Astronomers, formed by Stephen and a few local cosmology enthusiasts were keen to see it proceed. Driven by the Tourism Officer, businesses were soon on board, perhaps enthused by the presence of a team of scientists from the University of Tasmania, visiting Charleville in early 1992 to conduct an experiment using huge astronomy balloons that go to the edge of Earth’s atmosphere, looking for changes in the cosmic microwave background. This experiment attracted media attention from all over the world and to Charleville’s advantage, it also generated a lot of interest and awareness in astronomy. Humble beginnings: three poles set into concrete to support three 8-inch telescopes purchased for $10,000, a couple of light boxes, lots of hot chocolate against the cold, and a man wearing a Drizabone coat, saw the newly named “Skywatch” up and running in late 1992. Six Stephen Anastasi, founder of the Skywatch observatory visitors per night became twelve, twelve became in 1992. Pictured here in 2016. sixteen, and soon enough expansion was needed.

Nowadays it is a whole different story! Supported all the way by the Murweh Shire Council, the now named, “Cosmos Centre”, recently received millions of dollars funding and the centre has huge 14-inch telescopes, an observatory with an enormous roll off roof, a planetarium, café and souvenir shop. Charleville is well and truly on the map with this huge tourist attraction. What a great idea Stephen!


It all started with an idea and a fascination in astronomy.

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From the very early aviation days Charleville airstrip was often used by aviators for refuelling and maintenance, being a central regional district along the inland flight path from south to north. With just a dirt airstrip, Charleville had the first recorded plane landing in 1919. Ross and Keith Smith landed their Vickers Vimy for refuelling on their way to Darwin in the Great Air Race. Local dignitaries with the 1st plane in Charleville December 1919.

Charleville airport has close historic ties with the birth of commercial aviation in Australia. In 1920, two World War I pilots, Hudson Fysh and Paul McGinness, registered the Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services Limited (QANTAS) with the objective of establishing an aerial passenger and mail service between the railhead townships of outback Queensland and the Northern Territory. Early in 1922 Qantas successfully tendered for a new government mail contract between Charleville and Cloncurry and over the following months landing grounds were established at points along the route. During this period Qantas contracted the erection of aircraft hangars at Charleville, Longreach and Cloncurry. Qantas started its first regular flights between Charleville and Cloncurry via Longreach and Winton, on 2 November 1922.


One of the original QANTAS hangars.

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when the US 45th Air Base Group took control. The aerodrome was the top-secret base for training bombardiers in the use of the Norden bomb sight. A concrete vault was built to guard the sight each time it was removed from the Flying Fortress after training. A fifth hangar was completed by January 1943. However, by then US maintenance operations at Charleville were scaling down. In August 1943 four hangars were dismantled and removed to Eagle Farm aerodrome, Brisbane, for use by the US Air Service Command. The historic Qantas hangar-which was also used by the Americans-survived the war and was later used by Trans-Australia Airlines. The site also became a base for the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

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The work of enlarging the existing civil aerodrome at Charleville was requested by the Department of Civil Aviation in November 1941. The work was undertaken by the Main Roads Commission. Early in 1942, after the Japanese invasion of the Pacific, Charleville aerodrome became the terminal for the Pacific ferry route over which heavy bomber aircraft were flown from the US to the South-West Pacific Area. The remote airfield provided a safe haven for storage of valuable aircraft, the dry climate helping to minimise corrosion. Reception, storage and maintenance of US aircraft was the intended wartime role for Charleville aerodrome. The first B-17 bombers began arriving during April 1942. Construction of new runways, dispersal taxiways and four large hangars were completed by July,

Airshow held at the Charleville Airstrip, 1947

In 2015, after a steady increase in demand partly due to Fly in Fly out workers, the government funded a $2.3M upgrade on the runway. This allowed Qantas Link to

provide regular air services to Quilpie, Roma, Toowoomba and Brisbane. Charleville is now considered one of the biggest and best aerodromes in the west.


QANTAS Link in action on the upgraded runway at Charleville.

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Charleville’s history wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the fact the town “rode on the sheeps back” for many decades and from as early as the first settlers.

on the green” as the wool was laid out on tarpaulins on the sand, they were folded at night and opened to the sun the next day. The scour operated until 1940.

Sheep are a labour-intensive stock, therefor, when a lot of properties run sheep, towns prosper from the extra people required to get the final products of wool, meat and tallow (the fat produced for making candles and soap).

The challenges out west, namely, drought, duststorms, strike action, floods and then feral dogs, would eventually take its toll on the number of properties continuing to run sheep. With a reduced number of properties and sheds, it also It was said “wool, tallow and hides are the great became more difficult to source the workers as staple products of our colony”. It was also noted they were mostly itinerant shearers working on that the wealth of an area was directly related to contract rates and moving from shed to shed during the shearing season. the “princely properties on which this produce is raised”. Nowadays, the older generation are concerned at the lack of young people wanting to learn The Artesian water guaranteed prosperity, and this accounted for the Government’s Intelligence shearing, this in itself, offers a challenge and shearing may well be a dying trade. and Tourist Bureau of 1913, to declare that we were the “greatest cattle-raising country in the Wool wagons unloading at the Charleville railhead, 1890’s Commonwealth of Australia”. Droving became a little easier as the stock routes converged onto railheads and stock could be loaded for transport to the nearest abattoirs. Armstrong’s Boiling Down Factory of 1898 (where the tallow was rendered from the carcasses) was later set up as the first Wool Scour in Charleville in the early 1900’s. Scouring is the process of washing grease wool. Shakers remove the dirt before the wool is plunged into soapy tubs of water. The final process, drying, was referred to as “drying


Drying wool at Armstrong & Carters wool scour shed c.a1902

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Shearers Strike in Charleville, May 1891


H The Shearers Strike of 1891 saw over 500 shearers set up camp on a sandhill, ist or with several arrests and allegedly some shearers chained themselves to a log. y The dispute arose from the inability of the United Graziers’ Association and h the Shearers’ Union, to reach an agreement on open or closed sheds. One of the outcomes to been forced from 1893 was that local shearers only shore in their own district. Another direct result of this strike was the formation of the Labour Party.

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In 1884 the Queensland Government called for tenders to build the first hospital in Charleville. In March 1885 Richards and King were the successful candidates with a quote of ÂŁ2,265.10s. To celebrate the opening, a hospital ball was held in the new hospital building in November 1885. There have been quite a few changes over the years!

Hospital architectural proposal 1/16th scale, dated 1884.


The first Charleville Hospital, 1911. Built in 1885.

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“An epidemic of any kind would probably fill it, and though the nursing staff may not be large enough as it now is, we have in our midst two other good doctors – Drs. J.A. Shanasy and A.C Roper, to assist the medical officer (Dr. A.W. Fox).”

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The Richards and King built hospital served the community for over five decades. Construction on a new Charleville Hospital, a two-storey masonry building that is still in use today, was started in 1939 and wasn’t finished until 1943, due to delays in WWII. The new building was set basically across the road from the original. As for the original structure, the operating theatre is still standing today on a private residence. The Charleville hospital was designed to act as a base hospital for the surrounding areas in western South West Queensland. The Charleville Times wrote a piece about the new hospital in their April 23, 1943 edition stating that “‘Distance lends enchantment to the view’ is a very old adage, but this does not apply to our new hospital”. “The first impression when one sees it at a distance is that it is a nice building, but as we get closer to it one is struck by the beauty and massiveness of the structure,” the article continues. “It has been said that it is 10 to 15 years ahead of local times, maybe so, but it will be there when wanted.

The hospital included a nurses’ quarters, maternity section, and an operating theatre. There were also two public wards with 24 beds, 12 private wards and a children’s ward with three beds. Over the years the Charleville hospital has undergone various refurbishments and additions. In 1984 the first refurbishment included the construction of additional buildings on the hospital grounds. In recent years the hospital has been refurbished again. First with a $8.69 million program funded by the State Government which was completed in August 2015. Then in 2017 the bathrooms received further attention at a cost of $413,000. A new patient and family accommodation complex were also added in 2017.


Construction of the new hospital during 1939.

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Army camp set up in the hospital grounds, 1944.


Charleville Hospital 1955.

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Original Catholic School, c.a 1913.


The development of a more efficient postal system made it possible to deliver educational materials to children all over Queensland via the post. The Primary Correspondence School was established in 1922. Another service saw Domestic Science and Manual Arts education delivered from travelling railway cars. This


The Department of Education implemented an itinerant teacher scheme in the early part of the twentieth century. These dedicated, hard core teachers, travelled through the outback, often on horseback. They visited families with children and provided schooling, if only for a brief time and rarely more than three times a year.


In the early days, living in regions far from the scheme ran from 1923 to 1967. There must cities on remote properties had its challenges have been great excitement when those trains for education. came to town.

From the 1960s and 70s isolated children also had access to lessons via School of the Air, using HF radio to interact with their teachers and classmates. As of 2005, Schools of Distance Education delivered regular scheduled lessons via telephone, representing one of the most significant changes to the delivery of distance education in the last 30 years. The dramatically improved audio quality of telephone provided clearer reception and more reliable and consistent transmission. The Queensland Government committed over one million dollars to fulfil their ongoing commitment to the equitable provision of ICTs to all students. Charleville State Primary School, 1933.


School of Air, the option for those living remotely, c.a 1960’s.

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Country towns throughout Queensland have always centred around a local meeting place. These places were often businesses of some kind that served more than one purpose. From 1874 to 1876 the Charleville Hotel also served as the court house and the police residence, but the history of local watering holes starts a little earlier than that. Earliest records of hotels in Charleville start in 1865 when multiple advertisements were placed in the Darling Downs Gazette and General Advertiser by parties intending to apply for publican’s licences for Charleville.

events. In 1866 there was a celebration of Charleville’s first mass in the parlour and meetings for the Warrego Jockey Club were also reported here. In 1867 a correspondent for the Dalby Herald and Western Advertiser reported that a new public house was to open shortly and that the property of Messrs. Zieman, Lewin and co. “will add a little more life to our usually dull town”. This second hotel was named the Charleville Hotel. A notice in The Queenslander on Saturday June 9, 1866 stated that “Charleville has been declared a place where spirits, wine, beer or liquors made from sugar cane, the produce of the Colony, may be sold in quantities not less than two gallons at one time”.

The Victoria was the first hotel to be built with construction happening in 1865. It was built for publican Robert Cooper by Louis Janetzky. The following year Janetzky himself brought the hotel having received his publican’s licence in August that year. Mrs Janetzky reportedly ran the Almost a year after this notice, both Lewis hotel and the shop next door while Mr Janetzky Zieman of the Charleville Hotel and Lewis continued doing building work. Janetzky of Cooper’s Hotel applied for Publican’s Licences for the sale of fermented The Victoria was demolished in in the early and spiritous liquors. 1890s and by 1960 the fourth building had be re-erected on the same site. In the Darling Downs Gazette and General Over the years the Victoria (also called Cooper’s Advertiser on Tuesday Jun 23, 1868, it was reported that the Charleville Hotel was close Hotel, Janetzky Cooper’s Hotel and Charleville after its owners had left town. Hotel in various accounts) hosted many local


Victoria Hotel, Charleville, c.a 1883.

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By 1869 Cooper’s Hotel had changed its name and ownership. Now known as the Warrego (and in some reports the Royal Warrego), the hotel’s new owner was Edward Bradley. In 1870 a notice to apply for a liquor licence and correspondence to the Queensland Times confirmed that the Charleville Hotel had reopened its doors under the lead of John McKenzie.

The Warrego/Victoria and the Charleville hotels changed hands a few more times throughout the late 19th century. There were three hotels in Charleville by 1878, the Charleville, the Warrego and the Royal, owned by a Mr Hennessey. Another hotel, the Metropolitan, was built by William Marks in 1874 but this establishment did not have along life and was destroyed by fire in 1893. The Telegraph Hotel opened on Alfred Street across the road from the post and telegraph office in 1882. It was reported in the Toowoomba Chronicle and Darling Downs General Advertiser to have burnt down in August of 1897 along with Hawkins’ Store and an adjoining office. It was rebuilt by January 1989. Another hotel that underwent multiple name changes wat the Dalton. Named the Royal early on, the hotel then became the Union Hotel in the late 1890s before reverting to the Royal in the 1900s and then on to the Dalton Hotel. As the start of the 20th century approach, Charleville had multiple hotels. The Victoria (or Warrego), and the Charleville Hotel, as well as the Royal, the Telegraph, the School of Arts Hotel, Carrier Arm’s Hotel, Norman Hotel, the Union and the Railway Hotel all received mentions in newspapers and other records from the time. Over the years, Charleville’s hotels gradually changed owner ship, closed and reopened, or burnt down to never be rebuilt. Currently, there are two hotels operating in Charleville. Hotel Corones was constructed between 1924 and 1929. The Corones had hosted many esteemed guests during its time including the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and Gough Whitlam. The other hotel is the Cattle Camp Hotel. Originally called Rivette Hotel, it was renamed the Cattle Camp Hotel in 1993 because of the stockmen who would meet there after bedding their cattle down for the night. While the Charleville Hotel is still standing, the building is not used.


Union Hotel Charleville, c.a 1898.

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Hotel Charleville before and after the fire of 1914.


Dalton’s Hotel, Charleville, c.a 1920.

Hotel Corones has the LONGEST BAR in the Southern Hemisphere (when built) a must see experience.


Greek immigrant Harry Corones arrived in Australia penniless. His hard work built an empire that put Charleville on the map.

Take a tour: April to September, bookings essential Page 30

room and restock your supplies in Charleville’s largest bottle shop. Open 7 days. Stay at Hotel Corones and experience 1920’s ambience combined with today’s comforts. The Hotel/Motel has 50 rooms with a variety of choices, all air conditioned. Book direct and receive a complimentary refreshment on arrival.

33 wills street, charleville w: hotelcorones.com.au t: 07 4654 1022 •



Enjoy excellent meals featuring local produce at the on-site dining

MULGA VEGETATION MANAGEMENT M Life on the land is not always an easy way to live. For livestock producers in the Charleville region, drought is a frequent obstruction to their livelihoods when feed for animal becomes scarce and expensive. Fodder harvesting has been an option used by producers to supplement feed in the drier seasons. Situated in the heart of mulga country, Charleville graziers utilise mulga in times of drought to supplement feed their stock. In addition to feed for stock, the mulga tree, or acacia aneura, and the native vegetation that grow with it, are good for storing carbon. The Queensland Government’s mulga management guide states that the above ground parts of woody plants in mulga vegetation can store between 30 to 150 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per hectare. This number does depend on an average annual rainfall of 400mm. Risks to mulga vegetation include fire, drought, and grazing by livestock and native wildlife such as kangaroos and wallabies. With management, however, mulga vegetation can be effectively used for feed and restored to be used for carbon storage. In a country with rich natural heritage and a reliance on agricultural industries, it is important to find a balance between maintaining native flora and taking care of primary industries. Unfortunately, in recent years farmers have started to feel left behind as changes were made to the 1999 Vegetation Management Act.


After the proposed changes were announced in ern H early 2018, things moved quickly. Rallies and ist or protests were organised, where producers strived to y make their voices heard. On May 1, the rallies were brought to Brisbane with a congregation of green clad farmers and other members of the agricultural industry gathering outside Parliament House. On May 4 it became apparent that the words of those gathered at Parliament House had fallen on deaf ears as farmers awoke to news that the laws had been passed overnight. The Queensland Government Long Paddock report was reviewed on April 1, 2019 and showed that within the state 30 council and five partcouncil areas were drought declared. That number represents 65.2 per cent of the state. These numbers left little surprise when it came to the 2019 federal election with agriculture heavy Queensland electorates choosing to vote Liberal. Liberal National Party Queensland vice-president Cameron O’Neil said Labor’s “archaic” vegetation laws were causing undue pressure on people who were already doing it tough. “The commentary coming out of the federal Labor party in the lead up to the election was that they were going to universally introduce vegetation management laws right across Australia based on Queensland legislation. “It wasn’t a good message to rural producers outside of Queensland, let alone inside of Queensland, that these archaic laws could put their businesses – businesses I believe they sustain manageably – and livelihoods, in doubt.”


The biggest challenge during a drought is sourcing fodder.

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The Green Shirt Movement When the new laws were passed in early May 2018 the movement did not disappear. Instead it continued to grow and was organised into what we now know as the Green Shirt Movement.

National coordinator of the Movement Martin Bella said Charleville was the nest that a lot of the movement sprung from. “That was where the people who are currently leading the way met,” Mr Bella said. A group and landholders had come together for a property rights conference and many of them were already fighting the vegetation management laws on an individual basis. It was at this conference that Mr Bella met Charleville graziers and rural advocates Scott and Adma Sargood. The Western Times spoke to Mr Sargood in February 2018 about the upcoming parliamentary sittings where it was expected that the state Labor government would be strengthening their vegetation management laws. Mr Sargood said restrictions on the muse of mulga vegetation would mean tens of thousands of stock in the mulga lands would be affected. “That’s like saying to someone, ‘Okay there won’t be any dinner tomorrow night and you won’t be getting any ever again’,” Mr Sargood said. “You’re putting tens of thousands of people’s stock in that situation. You just can’t turn a food supply off like that in the middle of a drought - it’s not humane and it’s not right.” Sadly Mr Sargood was killed in a gyrocopter accident on April 9, 2019, while mustering on his family property, but his legacy lives on through each and every producer in the Charleville area and indeed Queensland as they don their green shirts and continue to fight for fairer laws.


Rural advocate Scott Sargood, a forerunner for the Green Shirt Movement.

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WESTERN MEAT EXPORTERS M opened as a goat processing abattoir by Premier Mr Rob Borbidge during his visit to Charleville in October 1996. Fire destroyed the original building in January 1997, 65 employees were employed at the plant at the time. The plant was rebuilt and opened again in September the same year. In 1999 an upgraded refrigeration system was installed at the cost of $100,000. The business became one of the first employers in south west Queensland to sponsor skilled overseas workers into Australia, with its first group of 457 employees arriving at the plant in November 2005. A number of these remain employed at the plant, one presently as the Senior Production Supervisor. To allow for increased goat processing numbers, the plant had a multimillion-dollar upgrade to its refrigeration in 2006. The McPhee family took over the business in 2010 and the trading name was changed to Western Meat Exporters Pty Ltd and they also purchased their own transport business. In

Moving with the times and success, in 2016 the business purchased 2 prototypes automated dehairers, another multimillion-dollar project.





The plant has worked closely with the local schools and employment agencies for Youth Investment Programs, Work Experience and traineeships. Western Meat Exporters also invest in the region, providing annual donations and sponsorship of between $60,000 and $80,000 to local and surrounding communities. Late in 2017 a million-dollar solar system was installed to assist with reducing the massive electricity costs. Processing has increased from 1200 goats per day in 1997, to between 2800 – 3300 goats and sheep per day. Moving back into processing sheep in 2017, Western Meat Exporters P/L is currently the only small stock export abattoir operating in Queensland. Western Meat Exporters Pty Ltd export Halal goat and sheep meat to all Export Markets, including the US, European Union, Asia and the Middle East. Awards • 2001 Agribusiness Export Award • 2003 Small to Medium Manufacturing Award • 2004 National Meat Industry Health and Safety Innovation Award

2013 the transport business changed its name to Charleville

• 2006 Finalist in Food and Agribusiness Award

Transport Services.

• 2013 Finalist in Regional Exporter Award

Managing Director Campbell McPhee, pictured here with goats outside Western Meat Exporters, 2014.

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Aerial view of the Western Meat Exporters Pty Ltd.


Western Exporters Pty Ltd was officially


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Feral animals continue to be a huge issue faced by many Australian farmers. Rabbits, feral pigs and feral goats compete with livestock for feed, reducing a property’s carrying capacity, as well as cause damage to crops and sometimes infrastructure like fences and gates. Foxes and wild dogs spread disease and cause livestock death with foxes commonly killing lambs while wild dogs can be responsible for the death of much larger animals. For an agricultural community like Charleville, these animals can pose a huge risk to the livelihoods of individuals and in turn the wider community. In a 2004 publication by Ross McLeod from the Cooperative Research Centre for Pest Animal Control it was estimated that wild dogs cost Australian farmers more that $65million annually. The wild dogs generally found in the southern parts of Australia are either traditionally domestic breeds that have gone feral or domestic dingo cross breeds. In their 2013-14 report, the Centre for Invasive Species Solutions found that 72 per cent of Queensland landholders reported wild dog problems with 51 per cent of those being reports of severe problems. Exclusion fencing has been used to control pest animal populations in central and western Queensland. The first of these fences was a rabbit proof fence that started construction in 1886. Unfortunately, the rabbit population spread faster than the fence could be erected. In 1997 the Darling Downs -Moreton Rabbit Board was extended by 24km north to link with the Wild Dog Barrier Fence.

A 1975 proposal to upgrade the entire fence to a dog-proof standard at a cost of $915, 000 was rejected in favour of a shortened fence length of 2125km to be reconstructed and maintained. In 1982 the Queensland Government made the decision to start a program to upgrade and realign parts of the fence. As of 2007 the fence spanned 2500km and maintenance was completed by the Queensland Government’s Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries as well as the landholders on whose property sections of the fence crosses. Expansions and upgrades to wild dog exclusion fencing are continuing to happen today. In January of 2018, wool producer Donald Truss spoke to the Western Times about 100km of exclusion fencing he had installed on his property to manage the wild dog population. Continued funding grants from the government have seen more land owners installing exclusion fencing and they have seen returns rise from around 20 percent to 80 percent. Donald Truss, standing along side his exclusion fencing.


Chair of South West Natural Resource Management Inc., Mark O’Brien, designer and developer of “cluster fencing”.

The Dingo Barrier Fence scheme had first been proposed in 1948. Landholders who had the fence running on their property were given contributions to maintain the fence to a certain standard. Six inspectors were also tasked with overseeing the construction and maintenance of the project. By the 1970s the fence was still standing with some occurrences of landholders not maintaining sections for various reasons including flood and fire damage, change in land use away from sheep to cattle, and poor economic circumstances.

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Charleville played host as a Top-Secret US Air Force Base as part of their involvement with the Battle of the Coral Sea. The Battle of the Coral Sea, was a major naval battle between the Imperial Japanese Navy and naval and air forces from the US and Australia and was fought over just 4 days, from 4-8 May 1942, going down in history as the

The vault where the Norden bomb sight was housed.

first air-sea battle. Unbeknownst to the 3,500 US servicemen, from the 8th Materiel Squadron 45th Air Base Group, they were protecting the “Norden Bomb Sight”, a mechanical device that fitted to the Flying Fortresses to increase bombing accuracy and it was a prize piece of the American’s upper hand in battle. The Top Secret site was selected to test the sight, as it was far away from the enemy, no one knew where Charleville was and it was already a designated point on the Great Circle of Navigation.

A close up of the Norden bomb sight.

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Charleville’s role in the Second World War could have been lost forever, if not for a proposed industrial estate unwittingly uncovering the town’s mysterious history around 2009.



They poked the lower branches of mulga trees through chicken wire - stretched across big telegraph poles at the airfield - to make it look like the forest was still intact.

They made it high enough, and zig-zagged it across the runway, so they could just pull it back like a baby’s pram cover to enter and exit.


Charleville was far enough from the Japanese airfields that they couldn’t bomb the town and return home on a full tank of fuel, and the dry climate made it easier to test mechanical devices.

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The Air Force Base took over the Charleville airfields, filling 25sq km with over 100 purposebuilt buildings, 3 runways and 160 Boeing B-17 Flying fortresses. The Airmen lived in a multitude of canvas camps of approximately 300 per camp and some sites only had access to one ablution block.

About 15km to the east, they carved a dummy airfield out of the mulga, putting balsa wood and cardboard planes on it to fool the Japanese if they ever did fly over. The brave men stationed at the base were ever ready to be called out to war and endured incredible physical, emotional and situational stress. The servicemen and the tiny town were all sworn to secrecy. The number of soldiers that resided during the mission, increased the population of Charleville to around 5,000.

A Boeing B -17 Flying Fortress, similar to that used for the Norden bomb sight missions.

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Today, all that remains as evidence of the US Airforce occupation of the airfields, are four buildings and several concrete pads which were discovered during the pegging out of the proposed industrial estate.

& Museum in Alfred Street. You now also have the opportunity to visit the historical airfield grounds on a guided tour and learn the history yourself!

The Top-Secret WWII tour was created by the Charleville Visitor and Information Centre for However, other remnants of the camps are still the history to be known and kept alive and is a being uncovered as the town pieces together what fantastic and popular tourist attraction. happened there more than 70 years ago. There are many varied and interesting artifacts from this The tour departs from the Charleville Cosmos era on display at the Charleville Historic House Centre and you will require your own vehicle.

Step back in time and learn all about the secret mission.


One of the relics found at the site after the US mission.

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Army camp in the Charleville hospital grounds 1944. There were many camps set up around Australia and overseas to house both militia and AIF soldiers, providing food and shelter.

A parade in 1918 to celebrate the Armistice. Taken from the verandah of the Charleville Hotel.

A queue awaiting for their allocation of clothing coupons in 1942. During WW2, some foods and clothing were strictly regulated with the introduction of coupons.


A kerosene fuelled runway flare used by the US Air Force during WW2 - owned by Bill McConnell.


War photographer Frank Hurley captured a British aircraft and crew ready for departure after repairs at the Charleville airfields.

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Vimy was a British heavy bomber aircraft built in the latter stages of World War 1 by Vickers Limited and designed by Reginald Kirshaw “Rex” Pierson, Vickers chief designer. Just four months after WW1, the Australian government offered a £10,000 prize for the first successful flight from England to Australia and Vimy G-EAOU won the race. The winning team of The Great Air Race were pilot brothers Ross and Keith Smith and mechanics James Bennett and Wally Shiers. The registration lettering of “G-EAOU” was affectionately referred to as “God - Elp All Of Us”. Being a central regional airstrip, Charleville was often used by aircrafts for refuelling, rest breaks and mechanical maintenance.

Vimy on the edge of the Charleville tarmac after some routine repairs.


C Brooks General Carriers Pty Ltd

CHARLEVILLE LIVESTOCK & GENERAL CARRIERS C Brooks General Carriers have been around for a long time. Originally run by Clive’s father and named ‘Brooks Bros Transport.’ After his passing the business re-branded to the company they are today. C Brooks General Transport assists businesses with their livestock transport along with hay and general freight. Travelling all over, this small yet large, home grown Charleville Company can assure your transport and carrier needs will be completed on time and to the highest standard.

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35 Hilda Street, Charleville brookscarriers@gmail.com All enquiries call Clive 0428 541 825

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Charleville has had many varied memorable events, celebrations, visitors, weather phenomena’s and even a World Record to put it on the world map! Having had an intriguing history, with highs and lows, we reflect on just some of Charleville’s most news worthy occasions. Enjoy! The 1902 severe drought brought about the Stiger Vortex “rain making” guns experiment - it failed!

Maude Rose “Lores” Bonney in Charleville. c.a 1933. Lores was the 1st lady aviator to fly solo from Australia to England.


Amy Johnson’s stop over in Charleville, 1930’s. Amy was the 1st lady to fly from England to Australia in 1930.

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Du Moulin - Preston wedding in 1909, photo at Pine Wood Cottage.

The Armistice Parade in November 1918, taken from the verandah of the Charleville Hotel.

A large attendance at a CWA conference held in the Corones Hall in 1927.

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Aftermath of the Charleville Hotel fire, 1931.

Flooded streets in the Charleville CBD, 1934.


The introduction of electric shears, seen here in the 1930’s made life a little easier for the shearers.

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Alfred Street covered in hail after a storm in 1947.



1947 street procession celebrating 100 years of progress of Charleville.

Our business is locally owned and operated, with 30 years experience in the Food Service Industry. We distribute all Food Service Products which include, Ice and Milk Supplies. We proudly service Charleville, Quilpie, Mitchell, Cunnamulla, Longreach and all towns between and beyond twice weekly. Congratulations to Charleville 150 years young. We look forward to continuing our support throughout all these districts. Stretch Castles

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s Train derailment Charleville, late 1950’s.

The Coronation Ball, RSL Hall, Charleville 1953.

Cobb & Co coach no. 100, on a fundraiser journey for the Royal Flying Doctor Service, in 1963. The coach completed the world’s longest coach trip from Port Douglas Queensland to Melbourne, Victoria, raising £26,000.

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Poster for the 1966 outstanding attraction the Slim Dusty Show.

Johnny Cash, pictured here in Charleville during his 1972 tour.


Borbidge Government visit to Charleville Newmarket Room at the Racecourse in the late 1990’s.

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ts At 75 metres long, Charleville won the World’s largest damper in 1994.

The last day of operation for the Power Station in Charleville, Ron Russell, 2009. The Power Station replaced the original powerhouse which was in service from 1924 - 1952.


A beautifully restored steam train used for a celebrative trip from Brisbane to Charleville to commemorate 150 years of rail in 2015.

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Charleville has been fortunate enough to be the draw card for royal visitors on two occasions. The first royal visit was in 1946, when the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester’s Australian itinerary included the presentation of service medals in Charleville. Princess Alexandra of Kent visited in 1959, as a representative for Queen Elizabeth II for part of the celebrations of the centenary of Queensland. School children at Charleville for the Royal Visit, 1946.

“This event must have been a rival welcome to the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester by St. Mary’s Convent. The Charleville State School had a similar welcome - under the low-beamed Grade 5 room in the central section of the school that housed old Baldy Kirk’s office. Mrs Kirk, a diminutive woman and a great pianist, was in charge of the programme. The choir sang, ‘Beautiful Dreamer’ and ‘Christopher Robin is Saying His Prayers’. The Duchess was presented with a posy of oleander flowers set within a silver paper “holder” for which the call had gone out to all and sundry in the school to bring in silver paper from cigarette packets so that the ‘holder’ could be fashioned. It seemed wonderful at the time that such a fine silver ‘holder’ could be created for the Duchess - but the tobacco pong must have been somewhat overpowering. The State School at that time was adorned with many oleander bushes, said to be poisonous but were never removed, since, as old Baldy used to say, “Not even the goats are stupid enough to eat them”. Hence, they posed no risk to Charleville SS students.” 7019347ai

Image and wording contributed by Queensland State Library.

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School children greet Princess Alexandra outside Charleville Town Hall, 1959.

Princess Alexandra shaking hands with Inspector D. Cantwell at the civic reception, Charleville,1959.


Welcome crowd gathered at the Corones Hotel, awaiting the arrival of Princess Alexandra, 1959.

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An article from The Western Star on January 31, 1934, stated that Charleville had received 470 points in a storm.


Australian newspapers have also shared records and accounts of Charleville’s floods over the years.

“Water was rushing down the gutters and water courses in raging torrents.”


We live in a land of drought and flooding rains, and, built on the Warrego River floodplain, Charleville is a prime example of both extremes. No doubt, many, if not all Charleville residents have seen the Warrego River rise at some point or another. Reports from the Bureau of Meteorology show the Warrego’s annual peaks at Charleville from the early 1900s through to 2018.

The article closed by stating that “such rain has never been witnessed in Charleville. The water surrounds several houses”. The month before this storm and flooding waters, the Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate had also run a brief on another round of flooding in Charleville. The December 4, 1933, edition stated that “flood conditions prevail in Charleville, in the southwestern portion of the State”. “The rivers throughout the district are in high flood, and are holding up train, as well as other, transport.”

“A hotel and several business premises in Charleville were flooded to-day when nearly five inches of rain fell in an hour and a half, and Again, Bradley’s Gully was the cause of the Bradley’s Gully overflowed in the town,” the article flooding and several houses had been waterlogged. states. The School of Arts Hotel also gained another “There was 9ft. of water in the cellar and diningmention with its dining room and other rooms room of the School of Arts Hotel, and the fire being flooded as well. engine was still pumping at 11 o’clock to remove “Over 5 ½ inches of rain fell in Charleville in the water.” November, this being the highest recorded for that The article goes on to discuss stock damage experienced buy businesses in Alfred Street and how police had told families whose homes were on the banks of the gully to vacate.

“At sundown a terrific storm worked up from the south-west, accompanied by thunder and lightning and lasted an hour and a half.”

month since 1880,” the brief concluded.

To date, the largest recorded flood for Charleville was in 1990 when waters reached a disastrous high of 8.54 metres. There were fears that the flooding in 2018 would match or exceed the 1990 measurement but that year the waters peaked just below the eight-metre mark.


Charleville received nearly 5 inches of rain in one and a half hours, causing Bradley’s Gully to overflow into town, 1934.

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CHARLEVILLE FLOODS There is anecdotal evidence that a flood in 1890 or 1893 reached similar extremes to that of 1990 but official BOM recordings of Charleville’s flood peaks did not start until 1910. With the Warrego River and Bradley’s Gully both sources of flooding in the town, the proposal of the Charleville Levee after the 1990 and 1997 floods was a welcome moment. Unfortunately, in March 2010, the main flooding threat hadn’t come from the Warrego, instead it was Bradley’s Gully that flooded meaning that the waters were behind the levee and reached the township. In May of 2010 the Murweh Shire Council hired a consulting agency to complete an Initial Flood Mitigation Study. Part of the evaluation included community submissions and technical considerations towards how to fix the Bradley’s Gully flooding problem. The submissions were categorised in six sections, the first two being a Bradley’s Gully diversion or other flood mitigation. Other submissions included suggested changes to the Charleville Levee, clearing parts of the Warrego River’s channels or removal of “The Island”, or other flood mitigation or action plans.

Rather than move the town, funding was secured from the Queensland Government to implement two additional flood mitigation projects. A second levee was constructed to handle flooding that came from Bradley’s Gully instead of from the Warrego River. The funding also covered a project for flood and fire response planning. 2012 flood levels peaked at the crest of the Charleville Levee and the township was saved from experiencing yet another devastating flood season. In addition to the Levees, the residents of Charleville also have the Warrego ALERT system in place to help them when the river floods next. Installed in 2013, the system was a cooperative project between Murweh Shire Council and the Bureau of Meteorology that consists of a series of 14 rainfall and river height flied stations. These stations report every millimetre of rainfall and every 50 millimetre rise in river height back to base station computers in Charleville via UHF. From there, the information then goes back to BOM’s Flood Warning Centre where hydrologic models are used to make river height predictions.

During flood events, BOM issues regular flood warnings and river height updates to local One submission was also recorded under ‘general’ councils, emergency services, and the media in an effort to keep the public up to date. which suggested moving the town.


These levee works in 2012, redirected the Bradley’s Gully overflow to save the town from inundation.

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THE BILBY FESTIVAL The event is held at the Bilby Experience at the Charleville Railway Station/Information Centre and is a full weekend of entertainment, tours and a “Fur Ball” on the Saturday night.


The Charleville Bilby Experience is a must see for visitors attending the Bilby Festival.

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The inaugural Bilby Festival held in 2016 was such a hit it is now an annual event. Set on the second weekend of September, it coincides with National Bilby Day, which is held on the second Sunday of September. The National Bilby Day is the only day an Australian animal has its own gazetted special day.

The weekend also includes a street parade, markets, breakfast at the centre and is a great opportunity to spend time learning about this unique animal. You can’t miss this cute sign at the railway station on King Street.




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Explore the great attractions around town and settle in for the night with us at the Charleville Motel Page 53


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In 1879, The Divisional Boards Act became law in Queensland and in a proclamation under this Act, all of Queensland was divided into “Divisions”, becoming the forerunner of present “Shires”.



The Murweh Division was one of the 1st Divisions in Queensland, holding their 1st meeting of the Murweh Divisional Board in Charleville in 1880. In March 1894, under the Local Government Act 1878, Charleville proclaimed a separate municipality called Borough of Charleville. With the passage of the Land Act of 1902 came the abolition of Divisional Boards, and the Shire of Murweh was established. The Shire of Murweh includes the towns of Augathella, Morven & Cooladdi. The very 1st Murweh Council Chambers were built in the 1880’s but were destroyed by fire in the 1930’s. The new Murweh Shire Council Chambers were opened in Alfred Street in February 1938 by the Shire Chairman, William Herbert Corbett. The architects were Hall and Phillips and the contractor was T.E Woollon of Brisbane. Current Council - taken 2016. Back L-R: Deputy Mayor Red Alexander, Cr Robert Eckel, Cr Lyn Capewell, Cr Zoro Radnedge. Front: CEO Neil Polglase and Mayor Annie Liston.


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Mayor & Councillors inspecting the first bore on the hill in Parry Street in the early 1900’s


J.W.S Gildea Esq. was honored for being the Chairman from 1911 - 1934, during which period he attended every meeting.

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Alexander Michael Deutscher. Honored as “deceased colleague�, sat from 16 Aug 1911 until passing 16 Aug 1939, with the exception of one term, serving exactly 28 years.

Arthur Carruthers Little. Member 1918 - 1946 and Chairman 1946 - 1955.


William Herbert Corbett. Member 1924 - 1946 and Chairman from 1935 - 1946.

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Mr. F.O Elliott. Member from 1933 - 1936 & 1943 - 1958. Elected Chairman 1958 - 1965.

Clement Edmund Francis O.B.E. Member from 1936 - 1965 and Chairman 1965 - 1976.


Reginald Bowen Lynch. Member from 1939 - 1959 and Chairman 1955 - 1958.

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Stanley Reginald Macklin. Clerk from 1942 until passing in 1954.

John Albert Aiken. Member and Chairman from 1975 - 1978.


Frances Muriel Hayden. Member and Chair from 1978 - 1982.

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Graham Frank Andrews. Member 1978 - 2004 and Mayor 1985 - 2001.


Michael Phillip Gordon. Member and Chairman 1982 - 1985.


Specialising in Quality Spray Painting and Panel Beating

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Wendy Choice-Brooks. Member and Mayor 2001 - 2004.

Mark Arthur O’Brien. Mayor 2004 - 2012. (Re-elected 2008)


Denis Michael Cook. Member 1991 - 2005, Deputy Mayor 2005 - 2012 and Mayor 2012 - 2016.

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Graham Frank Andrews, member of the Murweh Shire Council from 1978 – 2004 and Mayor from 1985 – 2001, had an extensive recreational parkland named after him, when a park in Sturt Street opened after the floods in 1990. Since its inception, the park has been revitalised to meet the ongoing needs of an evolving community. With new pathways, revegetation, seating and fencing and plenty of shade areas, the

parklands are a local and visitor favourite. Features now include: An Outback Native Timber Walk The history of the Steigers Vortex Guns from 1902 A Working windmill Watercourse Adventure playground Picnic shelters and free bbq


The Graham Andrews Park, 2019 Queensland Park of the Year Award winner.

Charleville Healthy Ageing is about Choice. Our Motto is Blame Softly, Praise Loudly, and Think from your heart. We aim to provide facilities and activities to suit all abilities, capabilities and interests. Healthy Ageing aims to keep you active and engaged mentally, physically and socially to ensure an independent future. The venue is great for rest and relaxation, but also activities and classes. You can play games (cards, billiards, putt-putt, scrabble) use our exercise equipment, read, do tai chi, have a cuppa, join our twice-weekly walk and more. We also host special events and have produced books with clients stories called ‘Why I Live Where I Live’. Healthy Ageing has been operating in Charleville since 1996, initiallty from Waroona. In 2000 we moved to our new facility at 112 Alfred St and became a part of the South West Healthy Communities with the Healthy Ageing Programs incorporating Murweh, Paroo, Thargomindah and Quilpie shires. In 2002 the Charleville office expanded and the 8 hole putt-putt course was completed at the back of the centre. In 2005, Healthy Ageing Centre created a fundraising calendar where members boosted their confidence, as they posed ‘gracefully’ without their shirts! These days we are part of South West Hospital and Health Service and you will see us about on our trips, soap-making, at art workshops, fishing and at arts festivals but our goals remain the same - Ageing With Vitality!

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HEALTHY AGEING CHARLEVILLE Contact Us: (07) 4654 7950 www.health.qld.gov.au/healthyageing Our Building at 112 Alfred St, Charleville

South West Hospital and Health Service

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“Skywatch” began in 1992 with the full support of the Murweh Shire Council. Built from one man’s dream, Stephen Anastasi, the simple set up of a few telescopes was later to be transformed into a fantastic tourist attraction and certainly helped put Charleville on the map for visitors not only from Australia but overseas. Fortunate enough to gain government funding, the progress from its humble conception are simply incredible! At the Charleville Cosmos Centre and Observatory, experienced guides aim laser torches at the skies to point out galaxies and particular stars that may be thousands of light years away, then visitors take turns looking at them “close up” through the 14-inch telescopes. Using “plain English”, visitors can enjoy a great experience, learn some amazing facts - and have fun.

The council received state funding of $500,000 through the “Remote and Indigenous Communities Fund” early in 2016 to upgrade the Cosmos centre and these monies were used to build the “Planetarium”.


The Outback is a great place for star-gazing and Charleville is no exception. In fact, the night skies have been described as the best in the country for viewing the universe.

The completion of this project enabled an extension to the tourist and events season and it provided an alternative attraction for those cloudy sky days when the Cosmos Centre cancelled its show. Daylight sessions, naturally, are completely different - but no less fascinating. They are conducted inside the observatory and include two short films shown hourly between 10am and 5pm. The Cosmos Centre and Observatory is 3 kilometres from the centre of town along the Mitchell Highway. A top tourist attraction and must see, the Charleville Cosmos Centre and Observatory should not be missed. Be sure to book to avoid disappointment. For more information go to: www.cosmoscentre.com

FROM LITTLE THINGS, BIG THINGS GROW Mayor Annie Liston & MP David Littleproud re-open the Cosmos Centre after upgrades in 2017.


Star gazing through a telescope at the Cosmos Observatory.

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In the early 2000’s Charleville Healthy Ageing became part of South West Healthy Communities, with

the Healthy Ageing Program incorporating Murweh, Paroo, Thargomindah and Quilpie Shires. Old time dancing, mah jong, table tennis, glass painting, monthly euchre tournaments for charity and folk art joined the regular calendar of events at that time.

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Healthy Ageing has been operating a Charleville drop in centre since its inception in approximately 1996. It has a comfortable drop-in venue for rest and relaxation, together with an information centre and venue for activities, classes etc. You can play games (eg. cards, billiards, putt-putt, scrabble) use our exercise equipment, read, watch TV or much, much more. The program was initially based at Waroona but relocated to a new facility at 112 Alfred Street.

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Charleville Healthy Ageing is about choice. We aim to provide facilities and activities to suit all abilities, capabilities and interests. The organisation has been operating for Charleville’s 60’s and over residents for more than 20 years. Healthy Ageing aims to keep you active and engaged mentally, physically and socially to ensure an independent future.

Annie Liston joined the team as coordinator in 2001. The Charleville office expanded in 2002 and the 8-hole putt-putt course was completed at the back of the centre. Our motto is “blame softly, praise loudly and think from your heart”. In 2005 the centre engaged in the compilation of a calendar raising funds and their self-confidence, as they posed “gracefully’ without their shirts! These days you will also see us out on trips, soap making, at art workshops, fishing and at the Arts Festival but our goals remain the same – ageing with vitality!

Participants at the Healthy Ageing centre enjoying some calming exercises, 2012.


Cancer Council CEO Professor Jeff Dunn visited the Healthy Ageing centre in 2013.

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c’s o s As Girl Guides provides a non-formal education program that is a dynamic, flexible and values-based training in life skills, decision-making and leadership. It is supported by trained volunteer Leaders who are committed to Girl Guides Australia’s mission statement: To empower girls and young women to grow into confident, self-respecting, responsible community members. At Guides, girls aged between 5 and 17 have fantastic opportunities to develop new skills, try cool activities, gain confidence, to think and act for themselves, make new friends, acquire a greater respect for the environment and experience a sense of community while having fun. Guides also presents opportunities to attend state, national and international camps and events. Charleville Girl Guides first began on 15 August 1949 when the Charleville Local Association was formed. 1st Charleville Girl Guides first registered on 14 August 1953 and is still in operation today. 1st Charleville Girl Guides has about 25 girls ranging from 5 to 17 years. We have five patrols (four 5–12 year old groups and one 13 – 17 year old group).

Quote 1: “Girl Guides is fantastic! You get to make lots of new friends, earn badges, learn to tie knots and have fun! The leaders are really nice and the skills you learn could help you in the future” Quote 2: “I love Girl Guides because it is fun and I get to have lots of friends.” 3rd Charleville Brownies of the Air (based at Charleville School of Distance Education) opened March 1982, may have been renamed Charleville Guides on the Air for 1999 & 2000, re-opened as 2nd Charleville (Lone) Guides in 2012. 2nd Charleville (Lone) Guides is a unique unit, based at Charleville School of Distance Education, as it caters for girls who live too remotely to attend a regular unit. We currently have about 10 girls, all students of the School of Distance Education, enrolled in Guides. For more information about our current unit or our history visit our website at http://cooinda.weebly.com/

All Saints Chapel in 1933. Sold to the Girl Guides in the 1980’s.


Girl Guides annual Jamboree online at a camp over, 2013.

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In January 1997, while some maintenance work was being performed at the Club, a fire broke out and completely destroyed the Club. While the reconstruction process took place, a temporary club was established in Watson Street where Western Wholesalers now stands. The new Club building was completed in September 1998 and recently has undergone more renovations to the outside area, reception area and office. The more recent major internal refurbishment was completed in June 2014, at a cost of approximately $950,000. This included a new Gaming Room with 37 Gaming Machines, new foyer and administration area, relocation of the TAB to be next to the new bar and the opening up of the whole area to become more of an open floor plan.


The Charleville Returned and Services League Branch was formed in 1919. During World War II, an air-time igloo situated near the current Charleville Airport, became a thriving dance hall where the Salvation Army and Red Cross coordinated dances for both Australian and American servicemen. In the late 1940’s this dance hall was relocated to the corner of Watson and River Streets Charleville, which is the current site of the Charleville RSL Club. The building became known as the Charleville Memorial Hall and a section of this dance hall was partitioned off to facilitate a bar where servicemen and exservicemen could come and enjoy an alcoholic beverage. Women were also allowed, although they were in another partitioned off section.

RSL Hall decorations for the Victory Day celebrations, c.a 1946

Manager Damon Moody outside the new look RSL December 2018.


In 2014, RSL sub branch and local work camp began supplying concrete flower holders for the graves of returned and ex-servicemen.

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Association (QCWA) on 11th August 1922 had a rapid spiralling effect.

Despite the lack of communication, education and poor roads it was amazing how quickly branches were formed On the 9th October 1924 (95 years ago) Charleville Branch members of the Queensland Country Women’s Association (QCWA) set out on a path very sure of the direction in which it intended to proceed. That was to improve the welfare and conditions of life for women

and children, especially those living in country areas. This vision for the future had the potential to change the isolation, loneliness, poor communication and lack of support, especially for women. There was a wide range of issues and projects established from the beginning. Rest rooms were built in Galatea Street providing a meeting room, hostel accommodation for school children and birthing mothers.

The building in Galatea Street has changed over time and is currently rental accommodation.

Activities such as Handcraft, Knitting and Crochet, Cookery and Floral Art formed an important component of activities but represent only a few and annual competitions are open to the public. This list also includes Public Speaking, Essay Writing, Poetry, Photography, social issues, Hospital and Nursing Home visiting, Country Kitchens Program, Training workshops, Education (country of study, product of the year), Public Rural Crisis Fund, Drought Assistance Fund, Welfare and International Work. It is evident from resolutions on the State Conference Agenda and in accepting

resolutions that members are aware and wish to take part improving living conditions for all Queenslanders. We thank the Ministers of Government Departments, State and Federal, to whom many resolutions are sent for their prompt action. Issues covered include Rural and Remote Health Services, Birthing Services in Rural areas, Discipline in Schools, Unemployment, high cost Electricity, Patient Assisted Travel Scheme, Youth Unemployment, Road Safety, Gun Laws, Abstudy / Austudy, DV Funding, Mental Health Services, Telecommunications and many more.



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QCWA opens many doors, offers many opportunities for fellowship, and self-improvement service skills. These activities are utilised for the benefit of others. There is too often a focus on only the catering aspect when people refer to QCWA. However, what this organisation has accomplished with catering proceeds is nothing short of miraculous. We have reason to be proud of our efforts and achievement and celebrate Scone Day on 11th August.

Meetings are held at 10am. On the first Saturday of the month at the Charleville Community Centre (Blue Care) Everyone is welcome.

Attendees of one of the many hobby groups held at the CWA.


Ladies cooked up a storm at their inaugural cooking demonstration day, 2014.


The association is a wonderful network which lub s& brings women of all ages together in friendship A ss and support in times of adversity. Despite the oc ’s decline in people willing to serve as volunteers, our ongoing work is so important in our community may we never lose sight of our caring and sharing and long may we survive.


The Charleville Returned and Services League Branch was formed in 1919. In the late 1940’s the current site of the Charleville RSL Club was used as a dance hall where the Salvation Army and Red Cross coordinated dances for both Australian and American servicemen. The building became known as the Charleville Memorial Hall and a section of this dance hall was partitioned off to facilitate a bar where servicemen and ex-servicemen could come and enjoy an alcoholic beverage. Women were also allowed, although they were in another partitioned off section. In January 1997 while some maintenance work was being performed at the Club, a fire broke out and completely destroyed the Club. While the reconstruction process took place, a temporary club was established in Watson Street where Western Wholesalers now stands. The new Club building was completed in September 1998 and recently has undergone some renovations to the outside area, reception area and office. New Major Refurbishment was completed in June 2014, at a cost of approx $950,000. This included a New Gaming Room with 37 Gaming Machines, new Foyer and Admin area, an open floor plan and relocation of the TAB next to the Bar.




Charleville RSL 37-39 Watson Street

37 GAMING MACHINES Ph: 4654 1449 | www.charlevillersl.com.au Page 69

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“So we only worked the top end of Charleville; we thought there was 35 missing and we didn’t know until later that a lot of the elderly people that were missing climbed up onto cupboards or busted out their ceiling and roof and climbed up onto the roof.” The work for the Charleville SES does not stop after a disaster is over. After the 1990 flood, and many others, the SES come together with the rest of their community for the clean up effort. SES South West regional manager Robert Bundy said the SES is important in smaller town like Charleville. One particular task he spoke about the Charleville SES fulfilling was the aftermath of a truck explosion outside of Charleville. “They did a land search there for forensic evidence and they spent two or three day searching for pieces of metal,” Mr Bundy said. “They had to GPS mark and put little flags on pieces of metal they found in a very extensive radius which in red dirt and, after they’d been there for a while, metal that turned red to find in red dirt was an amazing job.” Mr Bundy spoke highly of the Charleville SES volunteers. “I’ve done a number of flood boat operations in Charleville over the years and I’ve seen them putting their flood boats in the Warrego there,” Mr Bundy said. “I’m a flood boat operator myself, I’ve looked at some of the conditions they get out and put that boat in. “They’re very hazardous and dangerous conditions yet they get in there and they just get the job done. “The volunteers are an amazing group of professional emergency service workers and they deserve a lot of credit.”

SES Charleville team receiving their Regional Operational Response of the Year Award, 2015.

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With floods not an uncommon occurrence in Charleville, the emergency services are a very important part of the community. The volunteers of the Charleville SES group have stepped up to the plate time and again when their community is in need. Charleville SES group was formed in 1975 to support their local community and surrounds, as well as to provide support for other SES groups in the South West region and occasionally wider Australia. John Wallace has been with the SES for almost 30 years and is now the local controller in Charleville. He spoke about the multitude of tasks the Charleville SES have carried out over the years. “Obviously the floods, we’ve done a lot of food and medical drops, we looked after the rescue 500 helicopter during the ’97 floods and coordinated the medical resupplies and evacuations off some of the properties within the shire,” Mr Wallace said. The Charleville SES have also been involved in land searches including a search for some people who had gone missing from a drilling rig near Eromanga. George Donohue was the first local controller for the Charleville SES. Mr Donohue said one of the biggest tasks the Charleville SES has faced over the years was probably the lead up to the 1990 floods. “On the first night of the flood peaking, we had, that we knew of, 35 people missing,” Mr Donohue said. “We only had the one boat, couldn’t get to the other end of town. The waves were that big and current that strong that it was pushing our boat in the main street, hitting the bitumen and buggering the prop.

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Lions believe in the power of ordinary Australians to create strong, caring and compassionate communities, by working together. Lions help those with a disability, back up our emergency services, and are 100% committed to solving community problems. There are Lions Clubs in 1400 towns and cities around Australia, that find creative and innovative ways to do something to help those most in need and Charleville is one of these such towns. From sausage sizzles, raffle tickets, Lions Christmas Cakes sales and many more fund raisers, the Lions have contributed back to the community over and over again. The Charleville “Den” is located in Hilda Street and always welcomes new members. For meeting times and more information please email: Charleville@lionsq3.org.au

Lions Club participating in the Anzac Parade, 2012.

ROTARY CLUB Rotary is a worldwide organisation whose stated purpose is to bring together business and professional leaders in order to provide humanitarian service and to advocate goodwill and peace around the world. Rotary Clubs are non-political, non-religious and open to all cultures, races and creeds. Being part of the Rotary has been described as “richly rewarding” and provides for opportunity to “pay forward” to the community and have a positive impact on where ever a service is directed. Members of Rotary are said to achieve personal growth and build lifelong friendships, all the while developing projects and fund raising as a team to support their local communities. Charleville Rotarians fund raising efforts are used for many worthy causes, one of which is to help the droughtstricken farmers. Back in 2015 the club were involved in the District 9630’s combined clubs’ effort of fund raising over $50,000 for drought relief. Vouchers were distributed to those in need and it was stipulated that these vouchers be used locally to also help businesses stay afloat. The Rotary Club is always looking for members to join and meets most Tuesday evenings from 6.30pm at the Charleville RSL.


Rotary Club president Frank Jongkind with past president and district governor nominee Phillip Charles, 2013.

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There continues to be vital work carried out in Charleville by the Save the Bilby Fund team to ensure the bilbies survival, including the important national captive breeding program, which sees bilbies breed for release. The babies are released in to the fully fenced Currawinya National Park once they gain their independence. Peter McRae in Currawinya National Park.


Frank Manthey announced his retirement in 2014.


In 2007 bilby educational talks at the Charleville National Parks offices and breeding facilities began to lure tourists to the town. In 2016 the Charleville Bilby Experience was built at the historical Charleville train station to facilitate the bilby talks and was built through a combined effort and

hard work of namely, Colin Maher, Kevin Bradley, CEO of Save the Bilby Fund (and his team) and the Department of Corrections team. The centre was also well supported by town businesses, Murweh Shire Council and the Bilby Brothers, who shared their wealth of knowledge to guide in construction. Visitors to the Charleville Bilby Experience can now catch a glimpse or even cuddle this Australian endangered species.


Mr Peter McRae and his fellow ranger Frank Manthey were both National Parks and Wildlife rangers. The Currawinya National Park just outside of Charleville is a natural habitat of the endangered bilby species. The rangers, who were referred to as the Bilby Brothers, researched the bilby and developed Save the Bilby Fund to raise funds to create a 25 sqkm fence at Currawinya to keep feral animals out and give the bilbies a chance of survival while the problem of feral animals was addressed.

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en d Author, Frances Harding, owned and ran I

Hotel Corones in Charleville with her husband Gordon from 1985 to 2001. When Fran and her husband Gordon bought the run-down hotel, she had no idea of the extraordinary story that was hidden beneath the peeling wallpaper and outdated carpet and that the hotel was a mere shadow of its former magnificence. In its heyday, Harry Corones’ Hotel Corones - his Taj Mahal of Warrego – played host to royalty, rock stars and everyone in between. “During our time as owners of the hotel, the incredible tale of Harry and Jimmy’s (Corones) accidental arrival in Australia, and then Charleville and all that came after, got under my skin,” Frances said. “I have always been interested in stories of people’s lives and this one had everything, humour, pathos, drama”. Fran & Gordon Harding, former publicans of the Corones Hotel, 1985 - 2001.

As she and Gordon slowly repaired and restored Hotel Corones to its former glory, Fran felt herself connecting deeply with the rich history of its colourful past and began piecing together a book. Interviewing over 60 sources, including Corones family members, hotel staff and patrons, to recreate the vibrant stories within its pages. The book, The Accidental Australians, took nearly two decades to write. It is Fran’s love letter to Harry (Poppa) Corones and his jewel ‘The Raffles of The West’. The Accidental Australians Harry and Jimmy Corones was launched by Harry’s grandson Harry Corones, in September 2018 at the Hotel Corones. The Accidental Australians, commemorating the Hotel Corones and Corones brothers.


The restored Corones Hotel as it stands today.

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At the end of the war, he searched for a rural town where he could make best use of his love of surgery. Following a short stint in Bathurst he arrived in Charleville in 1947 after buying an established medical practice.


The morning after finishing his registrarship at St Vincent’s he enlisted in the 2nd AIF on 24 May 1943. He served in Borneo and New Guinea, establishing casualty posts on the front line where his newly acquired surgical skills were honed in the heat of battle.


He started his medical studies at Sydney University in 1934. During his first year, he met his future wife, Muriel Sallaway. They did not marry until he had finished his studies in 1941.

In order to provide the best possible surgical service to the people of the southwest, in 1955 he took his family, Muriel and seven children (he returned with eight children), to the UK while he studied for his Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons, Edinburgh.


Louis Charles Anthony Ariotti began life in poor and humble surroundings in Innisfail, north Queensland, and even as a child he had the conviction that he was the “guiding hand, with the Lord at the helm”.

After obtaining his fellowship he was offered a position at the Royal Edinburgh Infirmary. He declined this prestigious position in order to return to his beloved Charleville. Upon his return he expanded the number and scope of the staff in his consulting rooms. This allowed him to provide services equal to those found in large cities. He was made a Member of the British Empire in 1977 for his tireless work in the Queensland town of Charleville. For his “spirit of dedication and selfless service, and his outstanding and noble work has made him a legendary figure as one of the truly great men of the West”. Dr Louis Ariotti. 27.12.1915 - 30.10.2008

To work in such an isolated location, he needed courage as well as self-belief, both of which he had in abundance. He provided a medical and surgical service to the people of western Queensland that has set the benchmark for future practices. In the early years at Charleville he developed a reputation as an innovative and highly competent surgeon. He was the first to establish an operating theatre at his consulting rooms where he did major surgical procedures. What was particularly innovative was that he arranged for patients to be nursed and recover in their own homes.


He saw that this could be the way of the future and his approach was a forerunner of what has become known as day surgery.

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continued from previous page: He established his own pathology and radiography services; he travelled to China to study acupuncture to complement surgical procedures; he enlisted local mechanics to build specific equipment such an orthopaedic operating table for the safety and comfort of surgical patients; he attended the Radium Institute in Brisbane to learn how to administer radium treatment for cancer patients. All these improvisations meant that people no longer had to travel to Brisbane or Toowoomba for complex and lengthy treatment. His skill as a surgeon and physician and his total devotion to his patients was acknowledged and applauded in many ways. In addition to the MBE, The Courier-Mail in 1992 listed him as one of “Our Top 100”.

Anne, Kathleen, Fiona - and four boys Michael, Louis, John, James - as well as coping with the death of two other children, Carmel and Peter. He was devastated when Muriel died in 1984 following a long illness. A couple of years later he found great joy when he married Molly Collis (nee Gaven) with whom he shared 22 years of great love and affection. As he states in his autobiography: “I have been blessed, still further, in my wife Molly and her family - Marina, John, Julanne and Michaela - who have accepted me with genuine affection.” He retired in 1990 and moved to Toowoomba where he remained active in his much-loved St Thomas Moore’s parish. He was often seen in the High Street mall selling tickets for Legacy using his great sense of humour to attract people to the selling table.


The following year he was awarded the Order He played golf as many as four times a of Australia. He was one of the founders of the Rural Doctors Association of Queensland week up until he was 89 years of age. He also started writing his memoir. He selfand was appointed the first patron. The Toowoomba Hospital Foundation and the published The Guiding Hand with the Lord Cunningham Centre established the biennial at the Helm; memoirs of an outback GP and Louis Ariotti Award presented to rural health Surgeon about six months before his death. It gave him great joy in the last months of his practitioners for innovation in rural health. life to have his story in print. His surgical career was but one facet of this In addition to his two families and their extraordinary individual. He was devoted to spouses, he is survived by 22 grandchildren Muriel, his wife for 43 years. They brought up eight children, four girls - Elizabeth, and six great-grandchildren.

Principal Glenda Fill and the friendly team of the locally owned and operated Ray White office in Charleville, the largest town is South West Queensland, will make you feel very welcome when you visit. 75 Alfred Street Charleville QLD 4470

We are located in the centre of this great town and are ready to show you what we have to offer. If you are looking to purchase or sell a home or commercial property or if you are an investor and looking for the best people to manage your investment then look no further.

Charleville Phone: +61 (7) 4654 2455 Fax: +61 (7) 4654 2922 Page 76

Email: charleville.qld@raywhite.com




Born in Greece in 1883, Haralambos (Harry) Corones planning meetings were held in the upstairs lounge emigrated to Australia in 1907. of Hotel Charleville. Later, at the Hotel Corones, he catered for Qantas, supplying picnic hampers and After working in an oyster saloon in sit-down meals for transit passengers in a converted George Street Brisbane, Corones moved to hangar at the Charleville airport, which was Charleville in 1909 and took over a café. acknowledged by Sir Hudson Fysh. He has also been In 1911 he opened his own café, Paris Café, on credited with naming the airline’s first five aircraft – the corner of Wills and Galatea Streets and from Hermes, Atlanta, Apollo, Diana and Hippomenes – the rear of these premises Corones operated a silentdrawing on the classical mythology of his native picture cinema and staged vaudeville shows with Greece. performers brought in from Brisbane and Sydney. In 1924 Corones leased the Norman Hotel and then In 1912 he was given the lease of the Charleville purchased the freehold. He demolished the building Hotel, making him the first Greek in Australia to and built his own Corones Hotel, built in stages, hold a hotel licence. it was completed in 1929 at a cost of £50,000. Corones married Eftihia Phocas in Sydney in 1914, Charleville was now the centre of a booming wool one of six daughters of the first Greek priest industry and the hotel, with its jazz hall, embossed registered in New South Wales. plaster ceilings and ensuite bathrooms, was an oasis for graziers, wool-buyers and commercial travellers. During Harry and Eftihia’s honeymoon in 1913, the hotel was destroyed by fire, which delayed their Corones was a member of the Charleville Hospital return until plans were made for it to be rebuilt. Board from 1916 – 1969 and sometimes chaired Corones continued to run the hotel until the lease the works committee and he had the nurses’ expired in 1924. quarters named after him. Corones was also

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an original member of the ambulance committee (1919) and was involved until 1958. In addition, he served on Harry Corones with his wife Eftihia, and friends at the Hotel Charleville, c.a 1915. the local fire brigade board for over twenty years, he was a foundation member and major developer of the golf and bowling clubs and a foundation patron and life member (1966) of the All Whites Football Club and he was a Freemason. Apparently, Corones “perennial youthful exuberance and impishness” and Corones Hotel, 1959. the stories about his hotel gave him legendary status all down the eastern seaboard. In 1965 Corones was appointed M.B.E.

Corones bought 100 shares in Qantas in 1922, becoming one of the first shareholders. Lengthy


Corones died in March 1972 at Charleville and was survived by his wife, two daughters and two of his three sons. He was buried with Anglican rites in the local cemetery.

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Charleville Brewery, seen here in 1902. The venture was unsuccessful due to water quality.

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Charleville Meatworks, erected in 1897, seen here in c.a 1915.

Dalgety & Co and staff, 1927. The White Horse Whiskey statue in the image is now a collectors item!


Fitz-Walter & Co store, established 1872, seen here in 1898.

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Austin’s Ladies and Gents Outfitters, c.a 1938.

Charleville Times Office - year unknown. Pictured L - R: Mr. Walker, Con Murphy, JG McKechnie, Tibby Ryan & Bill Power.


Fidler Central Auction Mart, 1898.

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Bollon Motors, W.R McCoy, c.a 1930’s.

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W. Troup, Chemist & Stationer store, 1898.

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Espie Draper and General Storekeeper, c.a 1908.

Loco’s Cafe, c.a 1956.


Nielson’s residence and store, 1893.

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Old Country Motors (formerly Cobb & Co Factory) taken over by George Herrimann, taken late 1920’s.

Penneys store in Wills Street, c.a 1955.

Travelling salesmen demonstrate the Singer sewing machine, 1900 - 1910.


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Deignan’s Butchery, c.a 1950. Pictured L - R: Stanley Stein, Joyce Phelan and Albert Matthias.

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Pie cart drawn by goats, c.a 1909.

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Fred Ruhle & friend carting water by camel during the drought of 1922/23.

Horse drawn water carrier c.a 1890’s.


Horse drawn carriage and driver awaiting his passenger, c.a 1906.

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Palmer’s Royal Mail coach outside the post office, c.a 1928.

Early days of the Charleville Court House, year unknown. (Tom Adrain’s collection.)

Ambulance at Charleville, c.a 1921.


Ambulance Station, 1933.

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Bu Fire Station, c.a 1940.



Charleville State Primary School, 1933.

Charleville Railway Station, 1928.


School of Arts building, 1898.


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The first Commonwealth Bank building in Charleville, 1921.


National Bank building (1915), which later became the Museum and Historic House.


Watchmaker store and the 1st Commercial Bank. c.a 1889.

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A small timber house, c.a 1895.


House removal using bullock wagons, c.a 1920.






GO L CAL that's beT TA!



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CHURCHES s ng i ild St. Joseph’s, the first Catholic Church in Charleville, c.a 1895. u Built in 1887. B

All Saints Church of England, 1906. Sold to the Girl Guides in the 1980’s.

St James Presbyterian Church. Established in 1960.

St. Mary’s Catholic Church c.a 1925. Came under the wing of the Catholic Diocese of Toowoomba, after it was established in 1929.

St. Mary’s Catholic Church Presbytery, c.a 1933.

St. Mary’s Catholic Church, seen here in 1991.


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Governor of Queensland, Sir Matthew Nathan andd specifically records the names of the 310 local residents who served, including the forty fallen.


Standing at more than seven metres in height, the Charleville monument is one of the larger memorials of its type in Queensland. It is made predominantly of Italian marble, with a large pillar as the main feature, standing on a base step, the top of which is laid with light and dark tiles in a chequered pattern. The pillar bears the leaded names of those who served in the First World War, including those who gave their lives, for whom the front plaque is reserved. At the top of each face are carved shields bearing the stylised AIF insignia.

The park, in Wills Street, in which the memorial stands, now has an ornamental fence and gate, believed to have been added between 1925 & 1933. Corner plaques denoting all war zones were added in 1993 and four granite ‘digger’ statues, representing a Catafalque party, together with eight dividing granite bollards were added to the memorial for ANZAC Day, April 2010.

It is believed that the memorial was designed by the Nowadays, there is a path leading up to the prominent Ipswich architect, George Brockwell Gill monument, together with a flagstaff and two ‘war at a cost of around £1,000. trophies’, which provide memorable surrounds. It was unveiled on 9th October 1924 by the then

1939, neat presentation of the recent ornamental fencing and gates.

The Charleville War Memorial as it stood in 2015. 7025166ai

1925, before the ornamental fence and gate were built.

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s g n i ild Charleville has a number of heritage listed sites. u B The former Queensland National Bank in Alfred Street is now the Museum and Historic House. Heritage listed in 1992, the building was designed by Francis Drummond Greville Stanley and built in 1888 by A. Anderson.

Charleville railway station in King Street was built in 1888 and was heritage listed in 2005. The Landsborough’s Blazed Tree (Camp 67) on the Mitchell Highway, was marked by William Landsborough in 1862 and heritage listed in 2009.

Hotel Corones in Wills Street was designed by The Charleville War Memorial was heritage listed William Hodgen junior and built from 1924 – 1929 in 1992, designed by George Brockwell Gill and by day labour. Also known as the Corones Hotel built in 1924 by R.C Ziegler and Son. Norman, the building was heritage listed in 1997. Today, the Museum and Historic House, formerly the Qld National Bank.

The War Memorial as it stands today.

The current day look of the Charleville railway station.

Seen here in 1912, today the Landsborough Tree blazing, although still visible, is a lot lower due to environmental change.


The Corones Hotel and Hall, still standing proud.

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Ladies Baseball team - taken by Steve Kennedy. Date unknown.

Junior Rugby side after playing Roma, 1911.

Group of tennis players at the Rivers Tennis Club, c.a 1912.

Bantry netball team from Charleville, 1928.


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Under 12 cricketer Jeremy Mazo in action, 2014.


Charleville still prides itself on participating in a variety of sporting teams and events, even though


Times have changed, rules have changed and the uniforms have certainly changed but the sporting spirit hasn’t.

they often need to travel many kilometres to compete in any competitions. The determination and dedication rings true country spirit, with teams sometimes playing in extreme heat and dry conditions.


Charleville has a very long history in sports. As seen on the previous page, both men and women were keen team players and sporting teams were formed not long after the township itself!

Still including Rugby, netball, baseball and tennis, other Charleville sports to become popular over the years also include golf, archery, swimming, soccer, shooting, bowls, hockey, squash, basketball, cricket and motocross and they also have a gym. John Gilbert lining up his putt, 2013.


Happy swimming champions of 2015

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Basketball tournament at the PCYC 2013.

Charleville Motorcross members after a late night display, 2012.

Tennis Hot Shots Program is a hit with the kids, 2017.

Squash Club sponsors provided new signs for the club, 2013.


Softball practice session in the 1980’s.

Charleville Bowls Club Members competition, 2014.

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During the WW2 years the club was inactive as there were no targets or ammunition available.

*Tom Akers – Australian Team (known as the Mackintosh Team) 1952 & 1963 *John Raleigh – Australian Team 1963 *Allan and Margaret Doyle – multiple Australian Team members *Don Turnbull – Queensland Team *Dr. Lou Ariotti & Frank Doyle


Diggers Gun Club was established around 1935, starting out at the Diggers Racecourse, known as McGregor Park.

The club started to boom in 1947 under the In the early 2000’s, the club struggled with leadership of Ossie Smith and Reg Akers and by the early 1950’s membership had increased the hardships of drought and a down turn to over 100 shooters and was known as one of in the economy but has now clawed its way the best clubs in Queensland. back under a new committee, President Nic Reynolds, Vice President Pat Saunders and In the late 1950’s the club moved to its Secretary Angie Saunders. current location on the Adavale Road and in the 80’s the club was renamed the Charleville In recent years the membership has tripled, Gun Club. and the club has had a number of competition champions. The club holds a monthly shoot and everyone is welcome.

Over the years the club has had many persons of note as members:

Doug Smith presenting Tom Akers his Life Membership, 1976.


Charleville team members: Doug Smith, Newton Thomas, Tom Akers, John Raleigh and Pud Burgess. Southport 1963.





Congratulations on 150 years Charleville! Authorised by the Hon David Littleproud MP, Liberal National Party, Dalby Qld

Ph: 07 4622 7166 (Roma) |



www.davidlittleproud.com.au Page 95

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An excerpt from the 1982 Race Book gives a special glance into the first days of the Central Warrego Race Club.

cost four shillings. The feature race for the day held prize money of seven pounds, five to the winner and two for second place.

“On the above autumn date (April 6, 1882) a group of gentlemen graced the Qld National Bank to keep their appointment with the establishments Principal and on opening the Central Warrego Racing Club’s Bank Account were assigned number 89 in the signature book.”

Gate prices have increased over the years with today’s major race days $15 a person. Prize money has also increased since the 1920s. In 2001 the highest prized race was the Matilda Highway Open with a total prize pool of $14,000 between the first five place holders, certainly a jump from seven pounds.

From that day the Central Warrego Race Club continued to grow into the club it is today. Due to a fire at the H.J. Carter & Co Stock and Station Agents’ premises in 1926 all of the club’s early records have been destroyed. The club’s first race in 1882 was held about 6km north east of the town of Charleville along Wellwater Road at a recently acquired group of selections owned by John Armstrong. This property would eventually come to be called “Raceview”.

The club’s infrastructure has also grown over the years with a complex and horse stalls built in 1988 with funding from the Queensland Government with the help of then Racing Minister, Mr Russ Hinze and the Murweh Shire Council. Horse racing has been popular for the Charleville area for a long time and the Central Warrego Race Club days generally well attended, as an excerpt from the Brisbane Courier on Wednesday January 8, 1900 shows.

The Charleville Cup, held on the first Tuesday in Thanks to a black soil surface on most of the track that became sand on the turn into the straight the 1200m track November, is a huge draw card for locals and visitors alike to get dressed up and see a great day of racing. proved to be very testing by most accounts. Instead of the standard aluminium railing seen at many tracks today, the Raceview track had a brush running rail that was grown to about 30 inches high around the track. This was also used as a holding paddock for the landlord between race meets.

View from the judges box at the Charleville racetrack, 1949.

The training track was a 1000m rough track cut into the bush at what was then known as “Robbery Park”. This was situated where the Charleville Rifle Range now is. The Central Warrego Race Club left its home of “Raceview” in 1919 to its new and current home at the Charleville Racecourse Complex of Partridge Street.


In 1926 a gentleman could gain admission to the inner circle for eight shillings. Admission to the outer circle, where officially there were no bookmakers operating,



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Experience the wonders of the outback sky at the

Charleville Cosmos Centre & Observatory

Something for everyone Night Telescope Observatory Sessions Small & Personalised Night Telescope Observatory Sessions Astronomy by Day Sun Viewing through a Telescope Solar System Package Deal Astronomers Package Deal Galaxy Package Deal See the Space Tunnel Visit the Cosmos Theatre See in store for Astronomical Souvenirs, Local and handmade items.

Cosmos Centre Opening times April to September: 7 days. 12pm – 9pm Please inquire for off season operational hours.

General Observatory - Bookings essential April to September: Nightly From 7:30pm Please inquire for off season operational hours.

Astronomy By Day - Bookings essential April to September: 7 days 12pm – 9pm Please inquire for off season operational hours.

Please note: Bookings are essential. All observatory sessions are subject to favourable weather conditions. Prices and times are subject to change without notice, please check when booking. Additional observatory sessions operate when required.

For more information, Contact the Charleville Cosmos Centre & Observatory www.experiencecharleville.com.au Email: enquiries@cosmoscentre.com Phone: 07 4654 7771

Book online at www.experiencecharleville.com.au

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1 Milky Way Rd (off the Matilda Hwy) PO Box 681 CHARLEVILLE QLD 4470

Top Secret WWII Tour Step inside the world of the ‘Top Secret Precinct – Charleville’ and discover what 1942 marked the arrival of...

The USAAF arrived in Charleville during WWII. They set up camp here for four years and would spend around $1.4m (1940’s currency) constructing 101 buildings on the site. It was a Top Secret base throughout WWII and even if the enemy knew they were here, they couldn’t get to Charleville and return to their base as Charleville was too far inland. This USAAF base would cover an area of approximately 25 square kilometres south of Charleville and station up to 3500 (Charleville’s population today) personnel on site.

So just how do you keep something that large a secret? Book the Top Secret WWII Tour today to discover what the top secret actually was and listen to the story behind it all ... it’s fascinating - you won’t be disappointed.

Follow your local guide in your own vehicle around what once was a USAAF Top Secret Base inside today’s Top Secret Precinct. The journey is 4 kilometres on some dirt and tar roads just around the Airport area. ‘Brisbane Line’ coming soon!



To book go to www.experiencecharleville.com.au or call 07 4654 7771 Download the Charleville App for further tour details and updates!



Profile for NRM Custom Publishing

Celebrating 150 Years of Charleville  

Celebrating 150 Years of Charleville