Julia Creek
Collage of Julia Creek.

The Julia Creek region denotes the first European settlement in North Queensland with Donald McIntyre taking up land at Dalgonally waterhole. It was 1862 and Burke and Wills had passed to the north west only a year earlier. The small settlement was originally called Hilton but the arrival of the railway in 1907 saw it renamed Julia Creek after McIntyre's niece.

Up until 1908 Julia Creek was an exchange station for Cobb & Co who had set up their operation at a shanty hotel east of the cemetery. For Julia Creek the expansion of the railway signalled the demise of the stagecoach era but renewed development for the town. A telegraph office was opened, later becoming the Post Office which was originally located at the railway station.

In 1911 a one room schoolhouse was cobbled together from corrugated iron for the nine enrolled pupils whose numbers steadily grew. Julia Creek would eventually get a high school which remained open until the 1990's.

By the 1930's the town had all the modern services of a progressive rural settlement. Three banks had opened branches in the main street while four general stores, 2 hotels, an ice works, a butcher and a cordial factory supplied sustenance. Bitumen had been laid in the main street and the fact that there were 3 motor garages compared to 1 blacksmith indicates the influence of the motor vehicle. Entertainment was handled by an open air theatre and dance hall while a Japanese laundry happily took care of your 'Sunday Best'. Despite the modern conveniences Julia Creek wasn't connected to the electrical grid until 1952 and the telephone exchange still employed an operator up until the 1980's.

The town has it's own native mascot - the endangered Julia Creek Dunnart, a small but feisty marsupial whose habitat encompasses a small area throughout the shire. Another point of interest in the shire is Kynuna located 117km south of Julia Creek. Kynuna is home to the 'Combo Waterhole' reputedly the billabong in Banjo Patterson's ode - Waltzing Matilda. The Walkabout Creek Hotel is located at McKinlay, another shire township made famous for it's role in the Crocodile Dundee movie.

Julia Creek has established a small tourist information centre, the McIntyre Museum which displays some memorabilia from the region. The museum sits on The Barkly Highway which doubles as the main street of town and ensures a steady flow of passing trade. Today Julia Creek is home to under 400 people although at it's peak the place only ever boasted 900 residents. It's a clean and pretty little town with a quiet disposition and never ending views across the brown savannah grasslands.


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