Roma

A major service centre to the west of the Darling Downs surrounded by a rich sheep and cattle grazing area.

Location: 479 km west of Brisbane; 300 m above sea level.

Places of interest: Mt. Abundance; Romavilla Winery; Roma Court House (one of the Roma Court's most interesting trials was that of Harry Redford who activities were the basis of novelist Rolf Boldrewood's famous novel Robbery Under Arms); School of Arts Hotel (1918); Meadowbank Museum (12 km west)

Brief history

Sir Thomas Mitchell passed through the area looking for a route from Sydney to the north coast of the continent in May 1846. Upon reading his report on the area, squatters moved in almost immediately. In 1848 Allan Macpherson claimed 162,000 hectares of land which he called Mt Abundance Station. Here Macpherson built a simple wooden hut from which Ludwig Leichhardt wrote his last letter in 1844. By 1862 the beginnings of a township had developed around the hut.


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Roma has the distinction of being the first town gazetted in the new colony of Queensland. It grew quickly and was proclaimed a municipality in 1867. The railway reached Roma in 1880. The development of Australia's oil and gas exploration industry began near Roma with the nation's first discovery of oil and gas in 1900.

Origin of name: when a town was laid out at Reid's Crossing in 1862, it was named Roma after Lady Roma Bowen, the wife of Sir George Ferguson Bowen, the Governor of Qld at the time. Before her marriage she had been known as Countess Diamantina Georgina Roma. The locals resisted the change of name and continued to call the settlement either The Bungil or Reid's Crossing for many years.

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