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Cherbourg, Queensland facts for kids

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George of Saxby Downs with his wife at Barambah Aboriginal Settlement 1909.tiff
George of Saxby Downs with his wife at Barambah Aboriginal Settlement, 1909
Cherbourg is located in Queensland
Location in Queensland
Population 1,269 (2016 census locality)
 • Density 39.91/km2 (103.4/sq mi)
Established 1900
Postcode(s) 4605
Elevation 310 m (1,017 ft)
Area 31.8 km2 (12.3 sq mi)
Time zone AEST (UTC+10:00)
Location 6 km (4 mi) E of Murgon
LGA(s) Aboriginal Shire of Cherbourg
State electorate(s) Nanango
Federal Division(s) Wide Bay
Localities around Cherbourg:
Ficks Crossing Murgon Murgon
Wondai Cherbourg Murgon
Wondai Charlestown Moffatdale

Cherbourg, formerly known as Barambah, Barambah Aboriginal Settlement and Cherbourg Aboriginal Settlement, is a rural town and locality in the Aboriginal Shire of Cherbourg, Queensland, Australia.

In the 2016 census, the locality of Cherbourg had a population of 1,269 people, of whom 98.7% identified as Indigenous Australians.


In 1900, the Salvation Army negotiated for the establishment of the Barambah Aboriginal Reserve, which was gazetted over 7,000 acres (2,800 ha) on 23 February 1901. It was initially populated with a few local Aborigines, but others from the Esk region were soon sent to the reserve. Many were forcibly removed from their homes and "settled" at Barambah which was later renamed 'Cherbourg'. Sometimes they were sent there as punishment for refusing to work. People from 109 different areas were mixed together and they were not allowed to speak their own languages.

The reserve was administered by the Aboriginal Protection Society, Ipswich, until February 1905, when control passed to the Government of Queensland and a Superintendent was appointed, who reported to the Chief Protector of Aborigines. On 8 December 1931 the settlement was renamed Cherbourg. From 1905 until 1939, in total 1587 Indigenous people were removed to the settlement from all across the state.

The settlement housed a reformatory school and training farm, a home training centre for girls, a hospital, dormitories in which the women and children lived, and churches of various denominations. Training was provided in a variety of agricultural, industrial and domestic fields. People were hired out as cheap labour and at one stage they were not allowed to leave the reserve. In fact, until the referendum in 1967, the indigenous people at Cherbourg were not even counted in the census.

Cherbourg Post Office opened on 15 November 1965 and closed in 1986.

The effect of mixing these different groups of people together and forcing them to learn to speak a foreign language (English) has been an almost total loss of their cultural heritage. Many of the languages are considered to be extinct, surviving only in notes and recordings stored at the University of Queensland.


Cherbourg has a population of around 1241 people, making it Queensland's third largest Aboriginal community. The town is located on traditional lands that belong to the 'Wakka Wakka' (Waka Waka), people, but many different clan groups are also represented, including 'Gubbi Gubbi' (Kabi Kabi) people. A sign on entry to the town reads "Many Tribes, One Community". In 2006, median individual income for residents of Cherbourg was $227 per week, less than half the national median. 98.8% of housing in the town is stand-alone houses.

At the 2006 census, Cherbourg had a population of 1,128.

In the 2016 census the locality of Cherbourg had a population of 1,269 people.


The community participates in Work for the Dole scheme. Unemployment in the town is high as there is very little genuine work to be found in the town or in nearby Murgon. Results from 2006 census survey reported 31.4% of the workforce was employed full-time while 49.5% worked part-time and 5.8% were unemployed.


Cherbourg State School is a government primary (Early Childhood-6) school for boys and girls at Fisher Street (26°17′34″S 151°57′18″E / 26.2929°S 151.9551°E / -26.2929; 151.9551 (Cherbourg State School)). In 2018, the school had an enrolment of 130 students with 17 teachers and 40 non-teaching staff (25 full-time equivalent). It includes a special education program.

Cherbourg is home to the Nurunderi (meaning taught by Great Spirit) campus of TAFE Queensland South West (26°17′42″S 151°57′23″E / 26.2951°S 151.9565°E / -26.2951; 151.9565 (Nurunderi technical college)). It offers general courses of study as well as ones specific to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. All people are welcome to study at this campus.

Notable residents

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Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Cherbourg (Australia) para niños

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