The little Queensland town of Alpha must have some artistic ability in it's DNA. After the 1991 floods, as a means to brighten the town and lift the drenched spirits of the townsfolk, a mural was painted on the Alpha Cultural Groups Workshop. It was so effective another 25 were commissioned and the settlement is now known as the 'Town of Murals'. Another Alpha art tale is that of Englishwoman (Harriet) Jane Neville-Rolfe who visited her family on the Alpha Station and created numerous sketches and watercolour paintings of outback and rural Queensland. A local gallery is named in her honour.
A visit by explorer Thomas Mitchell in 1846, and his subsequent positive report, saw an influx of pastoralists to the region. Alpha can be plagued by years of drought but the early days of settlement were bountiful and the town prospered with the construction of public and convent schools, two hotels and several sawmills.
Alpha was an important terminus during the construction of the Great Northern Railway and remained in service as a locomotive depot until the 1990's.
On January 1st 1928 a 'disastrous fire broke out and destroyed a dozen businesses in the main street. Alpha lost two Cafes, the Store & Newsagency, a Motor Garage, the Tobacconist, a Billiard Saloon, Drapery, the Picture Show, a Fancy Goods Store, a Millinery and, saddest of all, both the Criterion and Commercial Hotels. In short the town was decimated. The fire started in the newsagency but luckily 'a bucket brigade and a change in the wind saved C. Louey Yuk's store'. Some 50 years later another fire destroyed the local bakery and it was never replaced.
Alpha is part of the Jericho Shire in central west Queensland, a big beef producing district with large scale coal mining making an impact. Local attractions include the previously mentioned Jane Neville-Rolfe Gallery, Tivoli Theatre Museum, The Jumps Ups (a geological soil formation) and of course the Alpha Murals.
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