If you have ever dreamt of visiting Australia's heartland, there are
few places in Australia that can offer everything you are looking for
like Longreach. The birthplace of Australia's airline, Qantas, it is
the biggest town in Queensland's far west and has much to offer the
visitor or traveller seeking a taste of outback Australia, without
straying too far from the creature comforts associated with home.
Where is it?: Queensland: Outback. Longreach is 689 by rail west of
Rockhampton, on the Thomson River. By road, Lomgreach is 1,177 km from
Brisbane via Warrego Highway and Landsborough. Longreach is
approximately 700 km from the coast, west of Rockhampton. The town lies
on the Tropic of Capricorn.
Events: July: Australian Stockmans Hall of Fame Horse Expo
Things to see and do
Taking a sunset river cruise on the Thomsor River complete with
either a three-course dinner or camp oven dinner, or ride aboard a Cobb
and Co. Stage Coach.
Australian Stockman's Hall of Fame
Australian Stockman's Hall of Fame is a tribute to Australia's
Outback heroes includes a variety of traditional artefacts, electronic
displays, photographs, films and stories of bush life.
School of Distance Education
School of Distance Education is one of the largest classrooms in the
world. Tours of the centre include a walk through the school with an
explanation of the process of the delivery, as well as observing a
Qantas Founders Museum
Qantas Founders Museum commemorates the founders of this great
Australian company that grew to become internationally recognised as a
leader in world aviation. Join a tour of the de-commissioned 747 'City
of Bunbury'. Also on display are a fully restored Boeing 707, VH-XBA,
the very first passenger jet owned by Qantas and registered in
Australia and 1948 Qantas Empire Airways DC-3 aircraft, VH-EAP.
Gallop along an outback dirt track in a fully-laden Cobb and Co
Stage Coach on the multi-award-winning Kinnon & Co. Experience at
longreach. Retrace the steps of Cobb & Co. by travelling on the
original mail route between Longreach and Windorah enjoying the unique
history of Cobb & Co and Longreach. Ph (07) 4658 1776.
Longreach Powerhouse Museum
Longreach Powerhouse Museum is one of Longreach's best kept secrets.
Unearth the local history with exhibits that include the powerhouse
generating equipment, displays of social and commercial history,
agricultural and road building machinery and the 1921 swimming baths.
View Larger Map
In 1895, A.B. (Banjo) Paterson composed the famoys song Waltzing
Matila at Combo Waterhole, a few kilometres from Winton (177 km north
west). The The Waltzing Matilda Centre and the Jolly Swagman statue
salute the event. Qantas was founded at Winton in 1920, but moved to
Longreach, becvause it was more centrally located, before vthe first
service was begun.
How to get there
Up until not too long ago, the only way to get to Longreach from
Brisbane was via a 13 hour journey by road along the Warrego Highway.
These days you can travel by rail in air conditioned comfort aboard the
Spirit Of The Outback via Bundaberg, Rockhampton and Gladstone. From
the comfort of a sleeper or seat, passengers can take in the
ever-changing landscape as the train moves from the coast into the
heart of the Outback with its rugged mountains, wide-open plains and
historic towns. The train makes the 24-hour journey twice a week in
both directions. A motorail service allows passenger to bring a car
Below: Spirit Of The Outback
Being the birthplace of Australia's national airline, Qantas, it is
not surprising that Longreach is one of Australia's outback
destinations still serviced by Qantas. Longreach is linked by air to
Brisbane, with aircraft arriving and departing daily. Greyhound
Australia coaches arrive from Brisbane at 11am daily and from Mt Isa at
Prior to 1860, the land around what is now the Shire of Longreach
was peopled by the Iningai, Malintji and Kunngkari. In 1860, William
Landsborough and Nat Buchanan, searching for new grazing land, came
upon this area and saw in it a potential not appreciated by former
In 1863 a pastoral lease was granted to the partnership of the
Scottish Australia Company, William Landsborough, Nat Buchanan and
Edward Cornish. This lease, named 'Bowen Downs', covered an area of
approximately 2000 square miles and was eventually stocked with about
350,000 sheep and 35,000 cattle. In 1886 the railways were surveying
for the rail line west of Rockhampton and found the present site of
Longreach to be suitable for the terminus of the rail line.
In November 1887, the township of Longreach was gazetted. The name
'Longreach' had been used prior to the establishment of the town by an
outstation of 'Mt. Cornish', which was located in the vicinity of the
present day 'Nogo'. This outstation, like the town, may have derived
its' name from the 'long reach' of the Thomson River. In December 1887,
the first sale of Longreach town allotments was held at Barcaldine. The
first sale was to the Queensland National Bank for 107 pounds. A block
of land opposite was purchased by Mr J. M. Savage for 103 pounds, this
site is presently occupied by the Video 2000 franchise.
Following the completion of the rail link in 1892, the growth of
Longreach accelerated, soon boasting a post office, court house, police
station and lockup, a state school, churches, businesses and residences.