A small rural service town on the banks of the Balonne River in Queensland's Golden West.
Location: 75 km from Roma; 450 km west of Brisbane.
Places of interest: Balonne River; Surat Oil Field (80 km south); the
Window to the Balonne freshwater fish aquarium; winery, Shire Hall;
Cobb & Co Museum and Tourist Drive
Brief history: Sir Thomas Mitchell passed through the area in 1846
when, on his fourth expedition, he went looking for a route from Boree
to Port Essington in the NT. When Mitchell asked a local Aborigine what
the locality was called, as has often happened, the native
misunderstood the question and gave him the local name of the hatchet
he was holding at the time. Thus the Balonne River came to be named
after a hatchet. The town, surveyed in 1850, was appointed as a place
for holding Courts of Petty Sessions, and a Police building erected. In
1879 a Cobb & Co. coach run was started from St. George to Surat
and thence to Yuleba. The last coach run in Australia was from Surat to
Yuleba (75 km) on 14th August, 1924.
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Origin of name: The town was surveyed by James Burrowes in 1850. He
named it after his residence in Madras Province, India and named most
of the streets after members of his family; he gave the main street the
family name, Burrowes.