One of the largest towns on our one hundred list of outback gems, Winton just qualifies with a population of around 950. The Winton Shire council makes some big claims about the place including being the home of Banjo Paterson's epic - 'Waltzing Matilda'. The town is rich in pastoral history, playing a major role in the 'Great Shearers Strike' of 1891 and also being an important settlement for pioneering graziers and drovers. Winton also played a pivotal role in the formation of QANTAS, the national airline, with one of Australia's first airports being constructed here and the airline being registered as a company in the town. Opal makes an appearance on the tourism landscape with mining activities around Winton producing some quality 'Boulder' opal.
Of course these days it's dinosaurs that make the big impact, or rather thousands of big impacts, evidenced by 3300 dinosaur footprints discovered in 1962. A 'Sauropad' was discovered here in 1999. Weighing in at around 25 ton there's been more discoveries from this 'Titanosaurus' sub group.
All this history means there's plenty on offer for the inquisitive tourist and a host of local events flesh out the Winton social calendar. The 'Outback Festival' is held every second year while numerous photography competitions and art shows all help develop Winton's image as a classic outback destination. No self-respecting Queensland town can pass up the chance to hold the obligatory campdraft, rodeo and annual race meeting and Winton is no slouch. Throw in the yearly 'Camel Races', an Opal Expo and the agricultural show and there's plenty on offer all year round.
If you're tired of museums, dinosaur displays and tourist brochures then there are plenty of little waterholes, lookouts and bush nooks to locate and enjoy a bit of natural peace and solitude. If Winton starts to get a bit big and commercial then it's the forgotten settlements in the Winton Shire that hold the real outback magic. Opalton, Corfield and Middleton have populations of 25, 3 and 3 respectively and are testaments to the heritage and environment of the region.
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