Winton

An outback Queensland town made famous because the song 'Waltzing Matilda' was written there. A centre of an important cattle and sheep raising region, it has been a vital transportation point since early white settlement.

Where is it?: 849 km west of Rockhampton; 1,400 km north west of Brisbane; 186 m above sea level.

Things to see and do

Winton was the birthplace of Australia's national airline, Qantas. On 16th November 1920 the Queensland and Northern Territory Air Service was registered as a company with its headquarters in the town.

The hottest bore in Australia is located on Castle Hill Station 100 km west of Winton. There, the water temperature registers 99 degrees Celsius as it comes to the surface.

Arno's Wall

A modern wonder of art and architecture, Arno Grotjahn's wall contains almost every household item you can imagine and more. The walls reach two metres high and extend for at least 70 metres. They are constructed of concrete and rock brought from Arno's opal mine at Opalton and studded with rusted lawnmower parts, boat propellers, vintage typewriters and sewing machines and even a couple of complete motorbikes.


Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum of Natural History

this excellemnt museum is home to the world’s largest collection of Australian dinosaur fossils, including some of our most famous such as Australovenator (Banjo) and Diamantinasaurus (Matilda). Not surprisingly, it’s also the site of Australia’s largest fossil preparation laboratory. It is located on top of a huge mesa plateau near Winton called The Jump-Up, featuring huge rocky outcrops, cliffs, canyons and spectacular distance views.


Winton Musical Fence

Winton is home to the world's first permanent musical fence installation in the world. Accompanied by a junkyard band, the Musical Fence is free and available for everyone to use. The Musical Fence, designed by percussionist and composer Graeme Leak, is a wire fence that can be played as a musical instrument.


Bladensburg National Park

7km from Winton township, the park was once Bladensburg station, one of the original grazing properties established in Winton in the late 19th Century. The property now offers the public a snapshot of station history at the old Homestead and surrounding buildings and Shearing Shed. Visitors are welcome to camp at Bough Shed Hole, a popular swimming spot, or stop off for a picnic lunch at Engine Hole.


Lark Quarry dinosaur tracks

The Dinosaur Trackways at Lark Quarry are believed to be unique in the world in that they represent the most concentrated site and only definitive record of dinosaur stampede behaviour. The Trackways are also believed to date back to the Cretaceous Period, 95 million years ago. Approximately 3,300 fossilised dinosaur tracks can be viewed


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Lilleyvale Hills

Lilleyvale Hills are set on the edge of Winton Shire and Boulia Shire on the Kennedy Developmental Road. Cawnpore Lookout is approximately 51 km west of Middleton. Spectacular panoramic views of the surrounding Hills can be seen from the lookout atop of Cawnpore mesa.


Opalton

Opalton (124km south) is home to the Queensland boulder opal - a rare and beautiful gemstone; a kaleidoscope of colours variously dubbed an "earth-bound rainbow", a "river of illusion" or "the gem of the Never Never". The Opalton field is one of the largest opal deposits in Queensland and is the hub of fossicking in the Winton district. Many visitors camp at the Opalton diggings over the winter months, enjoying the isolation, wildlife and the frontier atmosphere.


Combo Waterhole

Combo Waterhole, near Kynuna, is believed by some to be the setting for the story of Waltzing Matilda, or at least part of the inspiration. 'Banjo' Paterson visited the site in 1895 while staying at Dagworth Station and later wrote the words to a song that captured the spirit of Australia – ‘Waltzing Matilda’. The story of Australia's most famous song is told at the Waltzing Matilda Centre, Winton's visitor information centre.

The Billabong Theatrette at the Waltzing Matilda Centre tells the story of the song and explains the different meanings behind the words, along with the original words by A.B. (Banjo) Paterson in comparison to the words of the song we sing today.


Brief history

Winton was originally known as Pelican Waterhole. In 1875 Robert Allen arrived in the area and became the postmaster. It is said that he got tired of writing the long 'Pelican Waterhole' on letters and so he renamed the town after the suburb in Bournemouth, England where he was born. The town of Winton was duly gazetted in 1879.

Winton owes its existence to the abortive Burke and Wills expedition and the subsequent expeditions which scoured central Queensland looking for the missing explorers. During the early 1860s explorers Frederick Walker, John McKinley and William Landsborough all passed through the area and it was as a result of their reports that the area was first settled in the mid 1860s. Although there is no formal record of land leases until 1873. Winton's greatest claim to fame is its association with 'Banjo' Paterson and particularly with the writing, and first performance of 'Waltzing Matilda'. Paterson was staying at Dagworth Station (ruins, 100 km north west of Winton) in 1895 when Christina Macpherson played the tune 'Craiglea' for the guests. Paterson liked the tune and inquired about the words. Macpherson explained that she did not know of any words. Paterson obliged with words of his own.

Winton is also the birthplace of Australia's national airline, Qantas. On 16th November 1920 the Queensland and Northern Territory Air Service was registered as a company with its headquarters in the town. The first official meeting of Qantas took place at the Winton Club on 10th February 1921.

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