An attractive country town situated in the Capricorn Highlands, which services the surrounding rural area and operates as a gateway to Carnarvon National Park.

Location: 66 km south of Emerald; 975 km north of Brisbane (via Rockhampton).

The area is noted for its commercial sapphire fields and Aboriginal rock art galleries.

Blackdown Tableland National Park

Rising abruptly above the surrounding dry plains, Blackdown Tableland protects spectacular sandstone scenery with gorges and waterfalls at the north-eastern edge of the central Queensland sandstone belt. The tableland the traditional home of the Ghungalu people who have visited this place for thousands of years and left behind rock art, vivid reminders of their special culture.

Carnarvon National Park

(71 km south): Carnarvon Gorge is an oasis in the semi-arid heart of Queensland. Here, towering white sandstone cliffs form a spectacular steep-sided gorge with narrow, vibrantly coloured and lush side gorges. Boulder-strewn Carnarvon Creek winds through the gorge. Remnant rainforest flourishes in the sheltered side gorges while endemic Livistona nitida cabbage tree palms, ancient cycads, ferns, flowering shrubs and gums trees line the meandering main gorge. Grassy open forest grows on the cliff-tops.

Other places of interest: Capricorn Highlands; Mt. Zamia Environmental Park; Virgin Rock, Minerva Hills; Comet River; Pattern Comet Windmill (1935); township of Rolleston; Old Rainworth Fort (1856); Old Rainworth Station (includes Cairdbeign School 1896) and Cairdbeign Homestead (1870s); Fly'n Horse Shoe Museum; Historical Association Museum.

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Brief history

Ludwig Leichhardt was the first European through the area on his 1844-45 journey through central Queensland. His glowing reports of the area around the Comet River prompted many graziers to move into the area. Resistance to the encroachment of Europeans on their land was particularly strong by the Aborigines of this region. One group of Kairi warriors killed 19 people at Cullin-la-ringo in the largest recorded massacre of whites in Australian history. It is likely that the massacre was prompted by a combination of frustration at the loss of their hunting grounds and as revenge against both the whites and the native police who stole tribal women. The mass grave in which the victims were buried still exists on Mount Helmut station.

Origin of name: recalls an early station which was thus named as it had an all-year fresh water spring.

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