Taroom

A small service centre town for the local agricultural region.

Location: 485 km north west of Brisbane; 302 kilometres from Rockhampton; 341 kilometres from Toowoomba.

Places of Interest: Police Lagoons; Palm Tree Creek (with rare Livistona cycad palms); Isla Gorge National Park; Expedition National Park; Lake Murphy Conservation Park; Taroom Hotel; Glebe Weir; cairn to the memory of the whites on Hornet Bank station who were killed by the Yeeman; Taroom & District Historical Society; Ludwig Leichhardt Memorial

Brief history: the first European into the area was Ludwig Leichhardt who not only passed through but actually carved his initials in the old Coolibah tree which stands right in the middle of the main street. Not surprisingly the town sees the Leichhardt tree as one of its premier attractions. On this tree, on his dubious and ill-fated expedition from Jimbour to Port Essington, Leichhardt carved L L 44 (Ludwig Leichhardt 1844).

Unfortunately the bark began to grow over the marking and a worker was sent along to chip the bark away so that everyone could see the L L 44. The worker, so the local story goes, didn't quite understand his instructions, took to his job just a little too enthusiastically, and managed to chip the L L 44 off as well. Today all that is left is a very healthy, if unmarked, tree and a large photograph of the original tree (in its proper condition) on the wall of the Westpac Bank.

As early as November 1845 a station named Taroom was being leased. However with the news of the richness of the soils the area boomed.


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By the 1850s there was a popular camping site near the Dawson River which was known as Bonners Knob. This was the precursor of the town. In 1856, with the arrival of the post office, Bonners Knob was officially changed to Taroom. It was during the 1850s that the area around Taroom gained its reputation as one of the bloodiest killing fields in Australia. The local Aborigines, the Yeeman, fought for their land against the encroachment of European graziers. They fought with such determination that they were eventually wiped out. And in the process a man named Billy Fraser almost certainly killed over 100 members of the tribe making him the greatest mass murderer in Australian history.

Origin of name: an Aboriginal word probably meaning 'pomegranate'.

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