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Barcaldine, Queensland facts for kids

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QLD Town of Barcaldine in June 1962.jpg
Barcaldine, 1962
Barcaldine is located in Queensland
Location in Queensland
Population 1,422 (2016 census)
 • Density 1.9069/km2 (4.939/sq mi)
Established 1885
Postcode(s) 4725
Elevation 266.9 m (876 ft)
Area 745.7 km2 (287.9 sq mi)
Time zone AEST (UTC+10:00)
LGA(s) Barcaldine Region
County Rodney
State electorate(s) Gregory
Federal Division(s) Maranoa
Mean max temp Mean min temp Annual rainfall
30.0 °C
86 °F
16.2 °C
61 °F
497.7 mm
19.6 in
Localities around Barcaldine:
Ilfracombe Aramac Jericho
Ilfracombe Barcaldine Jericho
Ilfracombe Blackall Blackall

Barcaldine is a rural town and locality in the Barcaldine Region in Queensland, Australia. In the 2016 census, Barcaldine had a population of 1,422 people. This is the administrative centre of the Barcaldine Region. Barcaldine played a major role in the Australian labour movement.


Barcaldine is approximately 520 kilometres (320 mi) by road west of the city of Rockhampton. The town is situated on Lagoon Creek, which flows into the Alice River approximately five kilometres south of the Barcaldine. This is the administrative centre of the Barcaldine Region. Major industries are sheep and beef cattle rearing.

The streets in Barcaldine are named after different types of trees.


The town takes its name from a sheep station called Barcaldine Downs, which was established in 1863 by Donald Cameron, whose family property in Ayrshire, Scotland, which was named for Barcaldine, Argyll and Bute, Scotland.

Tree of Knowledge marker in Barcaldine

Barcaldine Post Office opened on 13 November 1886.

Barcaldine State School opened on 4 July 1887.

Labour movement

Barcaldine played a significant role in the Australian labour movement and the birth of the Australian Labor Party. In 1891, it was one of the focal points of the 1891 Australian shearers' strike, with the Eureka Flag flying over the strike camp. The landmark Tree of Knowledge, under which the strikers met, stood outside the railway station. In 2006, persons unknown poisoned the tree with the herbicide Roundup, which led to its demise.

One of the first May day marches in the world took place during the strike on 1 May 1891 in Barcaldine. The Sydney Morning Herald reported that of the 1,340 men that took part, 618 were mounted on horses. Banners carried included those of the Australian Labor Federation, the Shearers' and Carriers' Unions, and one inscribed 'Young Australia'. The leaders wore blue sashes and the Eureka Flag was carried. The Labor Bulletin reported that cheers were given for "the Union", "the Eight-hour day", "the Strike Committee" and "the boys in gaol". It reported the march:

In the procession every civilised country was represented doing duty for the Russian, Swede, French, Dane etc., who are germane to him in other climes, showing that Labor's cause is one the world over, foreshadowing the time when the swords shall be turned into ploughshares and Liberty, Peace and Friendship will knit together the nations of the earth.

Local government

StateLibQld 2 253773 Soldier's Memorial on the corner of Ash and Beech Streets, Barcaldine, ca. 1928
Barcaldine War Memorial, 1928

In 1892, the local government area of Barcaldine Division was established, by separating it from the Kargoolnah Division which had its headquarters in Blackall. Since then, Barcaldine has been the headquarters of local government in the area, commencing with the Barcaldine Divisional Board, which became the Barcaldine Shire Council in 1903, and then the Barcaldine Regional Council in 2008. The initial local government meetings were held in a building in Oak Street, which burned down in 1896. A shire hall was then constructed in 1898 on the south-east corner of Ash and Beech Streets, which eventually became too small. In February 1912 a new larger shire hall was opened and that building (somewhat modified and extended) is still in use today and is heritage-listed.


The artesian water at Barcaldine is full of minerals. A bore had been constructed in 1887, but was unsuitable for the water needs of the steam locomotives and so the water was let run to waste. By 1891, a local doctor observed that water contained soda and potash which he believed would have health benefits. In 1907, a swimming pool using the artesian water was built by the Barcaldine Shire Council, along with baths and showers for therapeutic use. Although Barcaldine was being promoted as a spa town into the mid 1930s, interest in "taking the waters" declined after that period as medical opinion became increasingly doubtful of the benefits of mineral waters, favouring drugs and physiotherapy as better treatments.

War memorial

The Barcaldine War Memorial was unveiled by Queensland Governor, Matthew Nathan, on 21 May 1924.


At the 2006 census, Barcaldine had a population of 1,337.


Climate data for Barcaldine
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 35.6
Average low °C (°F) 23.1
Average rainfall mm (inches) 86.5
Average rainy days (≥ 1mm) 6.0 5.5 4.2 2.5 2.2 2.2 1.9 1.6 1.9 3.1 4.0 5.3 40.4
Source: Bureau of Meteorology


Tree of knowledge 1
The Tree of Knowledge, 1997

Barcaldine has a public library, bowls, tennis clubs, a combined racecourse and showground near the golf course, a historical and folk museum, swimming pool and visitor information centre.

Heritage listings

StateLibQld 1 253765 Town Hall at Barcaldine, ca. 1920
Shire Hall at Barcaldine, circa 1920
Barcaldine-St Peters CoE
St Peter's Anglican Church, 2010

Barcaldine has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:


Barcaldine Prep-12 State School is a government primary and secondary (Early Childhood-12) school for boys and girls at Gidyea Street (23°33′32″S 145°17′38″E / 23.5588°S 145.2940°E / -23.5588; 145.2940 (Barcaldine Prep-12 State School)). In 2017, the school had an enrolment of 284 students with 29 teachers (27 full-time equivalent) and 22 non-teaching staff (16 full-time equivalent). It includes a special education program.

St Joseph's Catholic Primary School is a Catholic primary (Prep-6) school for boys and girls at 23 Willow Street (23°33′22″S 145°17′10″E / 23.5562°S 145.2862°E / -23.5562; 145.2862 (St Joseph's Catholic Primary School)). In 2017, the school had an enrolment of 26 students with 5 teachers (4 full-time equivalent) and 3 non-teaching staff (2 full-time equivalent).

Wanpa-rda Matilda Outback Education Centre is an Outdoor and Environmental Education Centre at the corner of Ash & Willow Streets (23°33′13″S 145°17′13″E / 23.5535°S 145.2870°E / -23.5535; 145.2870 (Wanpa-rda Matilda Outback Education Centre)).

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