Gregory Downs
Collage of Gregory Downs.

If you hadn't guessed Gregory Downs takes its name from the adjacent cattle station which in turn was named for the Gregory River upon which it sits.

It's the end of the line as far as the bitumen goes but keep heading north and you strike Burketown at the base of the Gulf of Carpentaria. To the west lies Boodjamulla or Lawn Hill and the stunning Adels Grove.

The Wills Developmental Road runs right through the tiny settlement of Gregory Downs which has about 40 residents at any one time. Being on the main road to Burketown means that when the wet season arrives the dirt section into Burketown turns to soup and it's not uncommon to see lines of road trains, tourists and locals stuck at Gregory until the road dries out. The Wills Developmental Road is named for William John Wills of Burke and Wills fame.

19 Year old twins, Harry and Sidney Watson and their younger brother Greg drove 900 head of cattle to Gregory Downs in 1876. The found the Gregory River which is fed from springs and runs year round and settled to build a station here in the Gulf Country of North Queensland.

Within a year they had built 2 log huts and a stockyard. The present site of the Gregory Downs Hotel is the location of one of the original log huts. The original site of the stockyards hasn't changed and still serves the same purpose. Supplies had to be brought in from Normanton as the population at Burketown had been decimated by a mysterious epidemic known as 'Gulf Fever'. Most of the population were ill or had died and the Police Magistrate, William Landsborough, ordered the evacuation of the town.

The Watson boys seized the opportunity and opened a store and a hotel which became a stopover for the Burketown coach once it had overcome the Gulf Fever epidemic.

The Gregory River runs through savannah grasslands and its banks are adorned with lush vegetation such as the Livistonia Palm, Leichhardt and Tea trees. River Barramundi are the recreational fish of choice.


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