Jundah

The administration centre of the Barcoo Shire.

Location: 1,273 km west of Brisbane; 867 km from Mt. Isa; 305 km from Blackall.

Barcoo Shire, an area of 61,974 sq km with a population of 360 people, is midway between Charleville and Birdsville, generally 1000 km west of Maryborough. Its south-west boundary is Haddon Corner, on the border between South Australia and Queensland.

The shire's eastern part is drained by the Barcoo River, a watercourse charted by the New South Wales Surveyor General, Sir Thomas Mitchell, in 1846. He named it the Victoria, and supposed that it flowed to the Gulf of Carpentaria. The Barcoo is a northern tributary of Cooper Creek, joining the creek near Windorah, the administrative centre of Barcoo Shire until 1939. The explorer Edmund Kennedy named the Cooper's upper tributary Barcoo in 1848, a name given to him by Aborigines. Kennedy also named another tributary, the Thomson, which joins the Cooper near Windorah.

The Cooper and its associated waterways are inland deltas known as the Channel Country. Flood times produce rich feed for fattening cattle. In 1993 the shire's livestock comprised 370,000 sheep and lambs and 148,000 cattle.

Places of interest: Thomson River; Welford National Park (124,000 ha.); Historical Museum


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Brief history: The district was originally settled by the Durack and Costello pioneering families in 1880. For twenty years or so it was a thriving opal mining area, but lack of water caused work on the mines to cease. With the introduction of heavy machinery, the opal mines once again attracted interest. Sheep and cattle are the main supporting industries in and around Jundah.

Origin of name: of Aboriginal origin, the word, originally spelt 'joonda', is said to mean 'woman'. The tribal origins of the name is not known.

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