Clermont

A quiet and attractive town on gentle slopes near the volcanic Peak Range. After gold was found in 1861, the area was inundated with prospectors and the township that sprang up became the first inland white settlement north of the Tropic of Capricorn.

The town has managed to survive by servicing the local pastoral industry, but has also suffered the brutal force of nature on a number of occasions. Over the years, cyclonic floods have destroyed property, washed homes away and taken the lives of many townspeople.

Location: 106 km north of Emerald on the Gregory Highway; 760 km north of Brisbane.

Places of Interest: Epping Forest National Park; Mazeppa National Park; Willandspey Environmental Park; St Mary's Roman Catholic Church (1890); Carinya homestead '(1912); mining ruins of Copperfield (4 km south) and Miclere (31 km north)

Clermont piano in the tree

The Piano in the Tree, in Capricorn Street, is a quirky reminder of the height of the floodwaters. The Clermont Museum has historical artefacts and is home to many machinery displays, it's located off the Peak Downs Highway just outside Clermont. The original piano, wedged there in a 9 metre flood in 1916, has been replaced by a steel replica.

Clermont Museum: displays approximately 8000 historical artefacts and working displays. Items on display include a power shovel from Blair Athol, an old train, the old Masonic Lodge, an old steam engines which was used to shift the town after the flood, a shearing shed and fire engine – to name but a few.

Blair Athol mining shovelBlair Athol Coal Mine Tour: On the two and a half hour coal mine tour, visitors will learn about the mine and how it is Australia's largest exporter of thermal coal. Coal was discovered on Blair Athol grazing property in 1864, but it was not until May 1984 that the first commercial shipments were dispatched.

Wolfang Peak: at 572m, this volcanic plug is the most visited peak of The Peak Range and the walk takes approximately an hour to summit. Climbers will discover a colony of bats in a small cave as well as giant St. Andrews spiders near the summit. Once there you will experience a 360° view of the surrounding farmland and National Park offering some of the most unique panoramas in Queensland. This peak is under grazing lease; access is by walkin only from the Peak Downs Highway.


View Larger Map


Brief history

The first European through the area was Ludwig Leichhardt who, in 1845, sighted the mountain tops of the Peak Range, naming them after members of his expedition. Nine years later, Charles and Wiliam Archer explored the area in detail, recognised its potential as grazing land and made a land claim in 1856. Meantime Jeremiah Rolfe had become the first white settler. Some shepherds found gold at Hoods Lagoon in 1861. It was inundated with prospectors and the township that sprang up became the first inland white settlement north of the Tropic of Capricorn.

A year later, copper was found to the south of the settlement. Both the copper and gold had run out by the 1890s but not before ugly racial riots between Chinese and European miners led to the Chinese being removed from the fields in 1888. In 1891, a Shearer's Strike spilled over into Clermont and 400 troops had to be called in to protect non-union labourers from striking shearers.

The town has managed to survive by servicing the local pastoral industry, but has also suffered the brutal force of nature on a number of occasions. Over the years, cyclonic floods have destroyed property, washed homes away and taken the lives of many townspeople.

Following the most damaging and tragic flood in 1916, the decision was made to relocate the town. Many of the wooden buildings, including the hotel, were moved by steam traction engines to higher ground.

Origin of name: named by surveyor Charles Frederick Gregory (1825-1870) in December 1863, as Oscar de Satge (1836-1906) pastoralist and politician, was at that time the lessee of the Wolfang pastoral run here. De Satge's family was associated with the town of Clermont-L'Herault in France.

Design by W3Layouts | Content © 2013 Phoenix Group Co. | Sales: phone 1300 753 517, email: sales@pleasureholidays.com.au