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Alpha
Queensland
Alpha QLD.JPG
The main street of Alpha
Population 571 (2011 census)
Postcode(s) 4724
Location
LGA(s) Barcaldine Region
State electorate(s) Gregory
Federal Division(s) Flynn
Localities around Alpha:
Hobartville Surbiton Beaufort
Hobartville Alpha Beaufort
Drummondslope Sedgeford Sedgeford

Alpha is a rural town and locality in the Barcaldine Region in Central West Queensland, Australia. In the 2011 census, Alpha had a population of 571 people.

Geography

The Capricorn Highway passes through the town, which lies on Alpha Creek.

History

Alpha was initially established as a temporary terminus during construction of the Central Western railway line (then known as the Great Northern line, a name that would be subsequently assigned to the subsequent more northern line west of Townsville to Mount Isa). The railway, which was being built westwards from Rockhampton, was opened to Alpha on 22 September 1884. The construction camp continued moving west, but a township remained at the former terminus. Until the late 1990s, Queensland Rail maintained a locomotive depot in the town.

Alpha State School opened on 30 August 1886.

At the 2006 census, Alpha had a population of 402.

The town remains a service centre for the surrounding pastoral properties and travellers on the highway.

Mining

On 29 May 2012 the first mine proposed to be developed in the Galilee Basin, known as the Alpha Coal Project, was approved by the Government of Queensland. Wharatah Coal is planning on building a new mine close to the town called the China First Coal Project. This mine is to be built on the Bimblebox nature refuge which is home to the endangered black-throated finch.

Another two mines are planned. The mining expansion is expected to place a significant strain on local infrastructure. The primary concerns are a lack of available land and sewerage, water and power systems at close to capacity.

Bimblebox, a feature-length documentary directed by Michael C O'Connell (Mountaintop Removal) premiered at the 2012 Byron Bay International Film Festival. Bimblebox explores the "China First" mega mine project being developed by Waratah Coal close to the town of Alpha in the Galilee basin. The film also examines opposition to the China First mine from the owners of the Bimblebox nature refuge which stands in the path of the proposed project. In a 20 March 2012 press conference Waratah coal CEO Clive Palmer accused environmental groups and the films producers of being funded by the Central Intelligence Agency.

Facilities

Alpha has a public library, tourism information centre, golf course, art gallery, showground, parks, swimming pool, tennis courts, museum, hardware store, newsagents, bank, pub, grocery store, bakery, butcher, post office, BP, Caltex, craft shop, hairdresser, pharmacey, hospital, police station and fire station.

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