Charleville lies in what is colloquially known as ‘the Heart of Mulga Country’ 747km west of Brisbane - Queensland’s capital.
Mulga is a long living Acacia shrub (Acacia aneura) and its occurrence is directly related to rainfall and Charleville - with yearly average falls of around 500mm, fits in the prescribed range.
The semi-arid climate has pleasant average temperatures – highs of 28 and lows of 13 degrees Celsius, making for an ideal Mulga growing environment.
Edmund Kennedy, as assistant surveyor of New South Wales, made the first recorded European exploration of the area in 1847. Kennedy later died of wounds from an Aboriginal spear near Cape York.
Gowries Crossing, a permanent water hole, began attracting drovers and stock to the region and in 1865 a hotel was built with the town being gazetted in 1868.
Charleville was named by W.A. Tully - another government surveyor, in honour of an Irish town.
The town sits on the banks of the Warrego River and by 1872 Warrego Stores had been established.
The building of the town so close to the Warrego River has proven to be imprudent as the area is prone to flooding and the Warrego’s banks have recently and dramatically overflowed in 1990, 1997, 2008 and 2010.
Charleville’s streets are typical of many Queensland towns with a pastoral heritage - being very widely constructed to allow up to 14 pairs of bullocks and a wagon to make a turn.
Charleville also has a foot planted firmly in the history of Australian pioneering transport with Cobb and Co. - the famous coach company, establishing Australia’s largest coach manufacturing plant in the town and Qantas’s first commercial passenger flight departing from here for Cloncurry.
By 1888 rail had arrived and coach transport began to decline but Charleville’s population of around 3300 is still serviced by a direct rail link to Brisbane.
Today Charleville makes the most of its opportunities and provides multiple attractions for the curious visitor - including the Historic House, Royal Flying Doctor Service Museum, the School of Distance Education and various displays and tours.
The Bilby is a small endangered marsupial and a conservation fund and breeding centre have been established in Charleville with seasonal night tours being offered.
Night time in Charleville is also when the towns largest attraction comes to life – The Cosmos Interactive Centre, a multi-million dollar observatory with three Meade telescopes all making the most of the crystal clear Charleville skies.
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