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)
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.