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Central West Queensland
Qld region map 2.PNG
Regions of Queensland
Population 12,387 (2010)
 • Density 0.0312290/km2 (0.080883/sq mi)
Area 396,650.2 km2 (153,147.5 sq mi)
LGA(s) Shire of Barcoo, Shire of Diamantina, Shire of Boulia, Shire of Winton, Longreach Region, Blackall-Tambo Region, Barcaldine Region
State electorate(s) Gregory
Federal Division(s) Maranoa, Kennedy

Central West Queensland is a remote region in the Australian state of Queensland which covers 396 650.2 km2. The region lies to the north of South West Queensland and south of the Gulf Country. It has a population of approximately 12,387 people.


The first exploration by Europeans was by Major Thomas Mitchell who passed through the area in 1846. Mitchell was near Isisford on the Barcoo River when his party was lacking supplies and threatened by Aboriginals. He then decided to return to Sydney, completing a successful expedition which had explored a large area of unknown country.


Farming equipment, Ilfracombe, Queensland
Farming equipment along the Landsborough Highway at Ilfracombe, 2011
Scrammy Gorge Winton
Scrammy Gorge near Winton, 2011

The eastern extent of the Simpson Desert lies within the region. Haddon Corner and Poeppel Corner on the Queensland border are also located here. Bioregions in the area include the Channel Country.

Part of the Cooper Basin is located in the region. The basin contains the most significant on-shore petroleum and natural gas deposits in Australia.

At the federal level the region partly falls in the Division of Maranoa and the Division of Kennedy. Local government areas included in the region are Shire of Barcoo, Shire of Diamantina, Shire of Boulia, Shire of Winton, Longreach Region, Blackall-Tambo Region and Barcaldine Region.


The Diamantina River’s hook-shaped upper reaches have drawn scientific attention. In March 2015, Geoscience Australia reported that the river’s course at and near its headwaters flows along the edge of a roughly circular crustal anomaly that might well be an impact structure. It is 130 km in diameter and lies some 60 km west of Winton; Middleton and Dagworth Station lie right in it. The asteroid impact, if indeed this is the explanation for the anomaly, would have happened roughly 300 million years ago.


Major towns of Central West Queensland include Longreach, Winton, Blackall and Barcaldine. Barcaldine was the location for the 1891 Australian shearers' strike, one of Australia's earliest and most important industrial disputes. The Australian Stockman's Hall of Fame is a museum located in Longreach which pays tribute to pioneers of the Australian outback. The building was completed in 1987 and opened by Queen Elizabeth II on 29 April 1988.

Smaller towns in the region include Bedourie, Birdsville, Boulia, Urandangi, Ilfracombe, Isisford, Yaraka, Jundah, Stonehenge, Windorah, Alpha, Aramac, Jericho, Tambo and Muttaburra. The ghost town of Betoota has been designated as Australia's smallest town.


Waterways coursing through Central West Queensland include the Barcoo River, Georgina River, Diamantina River, Thomson River, Burke River, Hamilton River and Cooper Creek.

Protected areas

A number of national parks have been declared in the region, including Simpson Desert National Park, Cudmore National Park, Diamantina National Park, Astrebla Downs National Park, Welford National Park, Goneaway National Park, Lochern National Park and Bladensburg National Park.


Major roads in the region include the Capricorn Highway and the Landsborough Highway. In the north of the region, the Kennedy Highway leads from Boulia to Cairns on the eastern coast of Australia. The Central railway line reached Longreach in 1892. Today, the Spirit of the Outback is a long-distance passenger rail service operating from Brisbane to Longreach. The region is serviced by six airports, including Longreach Airport, Winton Airport, Windorah Airport, Barcaldine Airport, Aramac Airport and Blackall Airport.

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