History: Charleville – Outback Queensland

I am staying in the town of Charleville. Here is a history courtesy of Wikipedia.


Charleville (pronounced /ˈtʃɑrlɛvɪl/) is a town in south western Queensland, Australia, 758 kilometres by road west of Brisbane (the Queensland capital). It is the largest town and administrative centre of the Murweh Shire, which covers an area of 43,905 square kilometres. Charleville is situated on the banks of the Warrego River, and is the terminus for the Warrego Highway.


The first European exploration of the area was conducted by Edmund Kennedy in 1847. A hotel was built in 1865, and a town began to grow to service the region. It was situated near Gowrie’s Crossing, a permanent waterhole, now on the outskirts of the modern town. Gowrie Station had been established around the crossing along a natural stock route, for the grazing of sheep and cattle. The town was gazetted in 1868 with very wide streets to enable bullock teams of up to 14 pairs to turn with their wagons.[2] Members of the Roma based Skinner family established a store in the town in 1872 that became known as the Warrego Stores.[3]

Cobb and Co, the legendary Australian stagecoach company, established a coach building business in the town in 1886, however, the railway arrived in 1888, beginning the long demise of coach transport in the area.

In 1902 Charleville was the location of an unsuccessful attempt by Clement Lindley Wragge to fire cannons into the clouds in order to break a drought. The cannons used remain on display in Charleville today.

In 1922, Qantas established an airmail service between Charleville and Cloncurry. At the same time, this was Qantas’s first regularly scheduled route and the second scheduled air route in Australia.

Charleville was also one of the compulsory stop over/check points during the London to Melbourne MacRobertson Air Race in 1934. The winners of the great race were Tom Campbell Black and C. W. A. Scott. Their triumph was reported in Time Magazine as:

“Scott and Black, keeping up their sensational pace, flashed into Charleville, refueled, sped toward the finish where waiting thousands cheered their progress, reported over loudspeakers. With one motor dead, with only two hours sleep since leaving England, the Britons triumphantly set their scarlet torpedo down in Melbourne at 3:34 p.m. In 71 hr. 1 min. 3 sec. – Just under three days – they had flown halfway around the world.”[4]


Proximity to the Warrego River was problematic. In April 1990, major floods hit western Queensland, with Charleville being badly affected. Floodwaters peaked at 8.54 metres, over 1,000 homes were inundated, and almost 3,000 persons evacuated. More recently, the district suffered flooding again in 1997, 2008 and March 2010.[5][6]

There is a children’s book called “The Flood Grungies” it is written by Michelle Sheehan and illustrated by Donna Reynolds. It is about the notorious Charleville floods and features the Cosmos centre, the water tower and other famous landmarks.[citation needed]


Charleville has several tourist attractions, including a museum of the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia, a historical museum,[7] wildlife sanctuary (including a bilby reserve), and the Cosmos Centre.[8] It was also enshrined in music by Slim Dusty in his country music song “Charleville.”


Aviation is served by the Charleville Airport. The Westlander rail passenger service links the town to Brisbane.

Charleville would have been the southern end of the stillborn land grant Transcontinental railway to Point Parker on the Gulf of Carpentaria.


The mulga country of Queensland’s outback is rich in history, flora and fauna. The Charleville Heritage Trail guides visitors through the history of the town and its heritage buildings. The stars almost touch the end of your nose at the Cosmos Centre and Observatory where clear nights and a low horizon combine to give visitors a great night time experience. Kangaroos, emus, birds of prey and a wondrous variety of Australian native wildlife can be seen whilst travelling this area. Visit the National Parks Research Station, home of the Save the Bilby Fund. Seasonal ‘meet the bilbies’ tours are held at the station.

Mohandas Gandhi

“Only as high as I reach can I grow, only as far as I seek can I go, only as deep as I look can I see, only as much as I dream can I be.”