Hughenden

An outback service and administrative centre for the surrounding Flinders Shire, which is one of the largest shires in Queensland. Hughenden is located at a point scientists consider to be the edge of Australia's ancient inland sea, consequently there have been a number of important fossils found in the area.

Where is it?: Queensland: Outback. Hughenden is 376 km west of Townsville and 1,400 kilometres north-west of Brisbane, on the Flinders Highway.

Events: The town is home to the Hughenden Dinosaur Festival, which attracts tourists and includes entertainment and other events. Other annual events include the Hughenden Show, held the first week end in June; the Hughenden Country Music Festival, held every Easter week end and the Bullride and Race Day which is held in September. The Matron's Ball is also a popular annual event. In August 2008, Hughenden will be hosting the first Arid Lands Festival and The Great Hughenden Camel Endurance Challenge.

Hughenden is located at a point scientists consider to be the edge of Australia's ancient inland sea, consequently there have been a number of important fossils found in the area. Undoubtedly the most important of these was the skeleton of a Muttaburrasaurus which is displayed prominently in a building in the centre of town. The skeleton was the first entire fossil to be found in Australia.

Flinders Discovery Centre

Flinders Discovery Centre gives an introduction to the town and the region, from its prehistoric finds to the glory days of sheep production and its subsequent demise in the 'Shearing Straggler' exhibit. A small entry fee applies.

White Mountains National Park

White Mountains National Park (80 km west-east) features spectaular white sandstone bluffs and gorges and many diverse plants and animals. Although the park features an arid landscape for most of the year, when the wet season comes the park is completely transformed when streams run full again thanks to the rain. Protecting a total of 14 different ecosystems, the park is ideal for bushwalking, birdwatching or just to enjoy a picnic.

Porcupine Gorge National Park

Porcupine Gorge National Park (45 km north) is often referred to as Australia's 'Little Grand Canyon'. The first lookout gives you and indication of the depth and magnitude of the gorge and is a 'must see' for all visitors. Camping grounds are located at the Pyramid Lookout; campers should take their own water and be full self-sufficient. Contact Parks and Wildlife for permits.


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Historic Coolabah tree

The Historic Coolabah tree (also known as the Walker/Landsborough tree) is situated off Gray Street, past the causeway on the right as you head to the Hughenden Showgrounds. Both the Frederick Walker and Landsborough search parties blazed the tree as they passed through this area in search for Burke and Wills. This spot is marked by two commemorative plaques.

Chudleigh Park Gemfields

Fossicking enthusiasts will love Chudleigh Park Gemfields. Peridot, rare sapphires and black spinel are generally found in this area. Whilst general permission for fossicking and camping has been given to holders of fossicking licences, please check at the Flinders Discovery Centre prior to arrival.

About Hughenden

Pioneer white settler Ernest Henry named his property Hughenden Station after Hughenden Manor in Buckinghamshire, the English home of his grandfather. When the town was surveyed in 1877 it was decided to name it after the station. White settlement of the area began in 1864 when Ernest Henry established his cattle property Hughenden.

In 1884 Edward Henry 'Breaker' Morant moved to Hughenden to work on the local newspaper. His stay was brief and he left after some trouble over a hotel bill. The railway arrived in 1905.

Torrens Creek near Hughenden is where the Americans stored explosives in World War II. The Americans didn't know of the dangerous bush fires out there. After they put out a fire they went back to camp thinking that the fire was out. However, the fire took hold again without them knowing. They then heard about twelve major explosions in succession; the explosions left craters twenty feet deep. Hot shrapnel covered a wide area and started more fires. In the townships, people said that buildings shook and windows broke, and some people were convinced that an air raid had occurred.

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