Dalby

An important service centre on Myall Creek in the heart of the Darling Downs. The area's rich volcanic soil supports wheat, cotton, sunflowers, sorghum, millet and barley crops. Other forms of farming also abound, including stud cattle, sheep, pigs and angora goats.

Location: 216 km north-west of Brisbane; 342 m above sea-level.

Industry in Dalby includes large-scale engineering, coal mining, and fuels (ethanol). Dalby is the centre of a diverse and productive agricultural area with rich black soil allowing the production of crops such as wheat, cotton and sorghum. Livestock raising including pigs, cattle and sheep is also popular. Two cotton gins are situated within 10 km of the town. Dalby is to be the site of the first dry mill grain-to-ethanol plant constructed in Australia (the first plant built specifically for the production of ethanol for fuel since the Second World War).

Dalby and the surrounding Western Downs Shire is is at the centre of rich coal and natural gas reserves which underpin the power generation industry for SE Qld. In the mid-2000s the Kogan Creek coal mine and power station, a grain ethanol plant and a new drive-in shopping centre were opened. The Dalby region is a vibrant "go ahead" rural community with a town population of approximately 12,000 with a further 5,000 residing in the rural district. As well as large coal and gas fired power stations, it has the largest grain receival depot in Queensland, the largest one day livestock market in Australia. In the late 1980s and the 1990s dryland cotton growing increased around Dalby, and Queensland Cotton commissioned a processing gin.

Places of interest

Myall Creek; Bunya Mountains; Southwood National Park; St Joseph's Roman Catholic Church (1921); Thomas Jack Park; 'The Crossing'; 'Randwick' - a fine example of 'Queenslander' timber architecture; Pioneer Park Museum


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Brief history

The town's main historic attraction is 'The Crossing' where the camp of Henry Dennis was established in 1841 on what would eventually become the township of Dalby. Dennis was seeking out land on behalf of his wealthy employer Charles Coxen. The camp became a regular stopping place for squatters, stockmen, shearers, fencers and teamsters passed through. Dalby was declared a township in 1854 and became a municipality in 1863. The railway arrived in 1868 and the town became an important railhead. Unlike other parts of Queensland where closer settlement began in the 1860s, it wasn't until after 1945 as a result of soldier resettlement schemes that the land stranglehold by the pastoralists around Dalby was broken.

Origin of name: named after Dalby on the Isle of Man and reflects immigration from the Isle of Man in the mid nineteenth century. The name was apparently chosen by Deputy Surveyor General Captain Samuel Perry when he surveyed the settlement in 1853. In February of that year, the New South Wales government sent Captain Perry to the area to survey a township. In recent times, a disgruntled local alderman, tired of taking on the burden of the local citizens, decided the name should be an acronym for 'Do a little bit yourself!'

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