History of Longreach and District
The Iningai tribes people are thought to have occupied the Longreach area before European settlement. Other tribes within the area were the Malintji and the Kuungkari. In 1860 two men – William Landsborough and Nat Buchanan explored the country around the Thomson River, searching for suitable grazing land. In 1863 a lease was granted to the Landsborough River Company for what became “Bowen Downs”. The lease, which included 26 separate runs covered an area of 5180 sq km stretching from North of Aramac to Muttaburra and south along the Thomson River to Ernestina Creek – 20 km south of Longreach. While the northern portion was under surveillance, the southern pastures could be subjected to cattle “duffing”. The situation allowed men like Harry Redford (Captain Starlight) to steal many hundreds of head of stock. The resumption of the pastoral holding “Bowen Downs” saw sections drawn and some descendants of the original selector families such as Avery, Coxon, Coade, Atkins, Edkins, Hayward and Blum can still be found in the district.
In November 1887 the township of Longreach was gazetted. 1892 saw the completion of the rail link and growth of Longreach accelerated. The Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Service, after being founded at Winton, became operational in Longreach in 1922. From this beginning grew one of the great world air services of today QANTAS.
A replica of QANTAS’s first booking office which stood in Duck street Longreach can now be seen in the QANTAS Park on Eagle street. The original hangar still stands and provides a vivid reminder of this important phase of aviation history. Longreach rates as one of the busiest inland airports in Queensland.
About our Town
The town of Longreach is located 1205km northwest of Brisbane on the Landsborough Highway (also referred to as the Matilda Highway) and 689km west of Rockhampton on the Tropic of Capricorn.
Longreach is a regional administrative, pastoral and tourism centre. The growth of the outback tourism industry has contributed significantly to the economy of the area. The Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame and Outback Heritage Centre is leading the way in regard with a number of other increasingly popular attractions such as the QANTAS Founders Outback Museum and the Powerhouse Museum.
Educational facilities are provided via two primary schools with Prep Classes(Government and Catholic) a State High school and Agricultural college, Learning Network Australia, a School of Distance Education (School of the Air), Special Education Units and Kindergarten.
Health needs are covered with a variety of facilities including a Regional Health Centre, Base Hospital, Flying Surgeon Service, private medical and dental clinics, Community Health Centre, Child Care Centre, RSL Care Pioneer Community Retirement Home and Home and Community Care (HACC) Services. The Longreach District is also serviced by the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS).
Public transportation to and from Longreach is adequately covered with a daily aircraft service to Brisbane, twice weekly service to Townsville, daily bus service to Brisbane and Mt Isa and twice weekly to Rockhampton.
Queensland rail provides a twice weekly passenger service from Brisbane. The Longreach Railway station is the western terminus for the “Spirit of the Outback” passenger rail service with a bus connection to Winton. There are regular rail freight and road freight services.
If you have any further enquiries please contact the Longreach Regional Council on 07 4658 4111.