Chinchilla, Queensland facts for kids
Quick facts for kidsChinchilla
Footpath on the main street of Chinchilla
|Population||5,487 (2011 census)|
|Time zone||AEST (No Daylight Saving) (UTC+10)|
|LGA(s)||Western Downs Region|
The town (approximately 300 kilometres (190 mi) west-northwest of Brisbane) was established in 1877. As the railway pushed west across the Darling Downs from Toowoomba and Dalby, a temporary construction camp was established on the banks of Charley's Creek which developed into a town.
Agriculture is the mainstay of the community, with beef and pork production, wool growing, and horticulture traditionally underwriting the local economy. However, with the recent resources boom, the Kogan Creek Power Station (and other coal and gas projects) have begun to inject welcome cash into the town and Chinchilla is experiencing mass growth and development. House prices in Chinchilla have boomed as a result of the need to house new workers.
Chinchilla is known as the 'Melon Capital of Australia', and plays host to a Melon Festival every second year in February – the next is to be held in 2019.
Chinchilla Post Office opened on 3 January 1878.
The Chinchilla War Memorial was originally located near the railway overpass and was unveiled on 30 January 1919 by the Queensland Governor, Hamilton Goold-Adams. In 1977 it was substantially refurbished and relocated to the Returned and Services League of Australia club and was unveiled on 17 March 1979.
Chinchilla has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:
- 57 Heeney Street: Chinchilla Digger Statue
The Chinchilla Grandfather Clock Campdraft is a major event held every October, where entrants compete for the Grandfather Clock prize. Chinchilla also hosts horse races four times a year.
Chinchilla Melon Festival
As Chinchilla produces 25% of Australia’s melons (including watermelon, rockmelon and honeydew), the first Chinchilla Melon Festival  was held in 1994 by local producers and businessmen, to lift the town’s spirits after the severe drought experienced in the early 1990s. Estimated numbers at the first Festival were approximately 2,500 which grew to an estimated that there were 10,000 visitors on the main day of the 2011 festival.
In 2009, the Melon Festival won the Queensland Regional Achievement and Community Award for Tourism Event.
The Festival features interactive and unique events, such as Melon Skiing, Melon Bungee, Melon Bullseye, Melon Ironman, Melon Chariot, a pip spitting competition, and melon eating races. A special event held in 2009 saw John Allwood secure the Guinness World Record of Melon Head Smashing - cracking open as many watermelons as possible using only the head. Currently his record is 47 melons in a minute.
Arts and entertainment
Chinchilla has a Cultural Centre, which includes a 700-seat auditorium, cinema and function room, outdoor patio, theatrette, plus bar and kitchen facilities. Also included in the complex are the White Gums Art Gallery and the Cypress Pines Library.
The Cultural Center also houses a cinema showing recently released movies.
Chinchilla White Gums Art Gallery houses a new display every month.
Tourism and recreation
Chinchilla is one of the towns located on the Warrego Highway, which is a main highway leading out west to Charleville, and a popular tourist route. The mainstays of Chinchilla's tourism industry are the Historical Museum, fishing and fossicking for petrified wood. 'Chinchilla Red' petrified wood is unique to the area, and known for its colour and quality. The Chinchilla White Gum (Eucalyptus argophloia) is also unique to the area, and can be seen on some of the tourist drives which are marked around the region.
An accredited Visitor Information Center is located on the Highway.
Chinchilla has a range of sports facilities and a variety of sports clubs. Chinchilla Aquatic Centre houses an indoor 25m heated pool, an outdoor 50m pool and a gymnasium. The Chinchilla Family Sports Centre provides facilities for many sports and clubs. There are also clubs and facilities for touch football, rugby league, cricket, tennis, squash, motocross, gymnastics, indoor netball, taekwondo, football and lawn bowls. A fishing club, Pony Club, and shooting range also operate in the area. In addition, there are Polocrosse grounds, a race track, and 9 hole golf course. A Multipurpose Sports Centre Stadium is currently being developed.
The Chinchilla rugby league team's John Gleeson went on to captain Queensland and play for the Australia national rugby league team in the 1960s.
Rebel FM 97.1 (formerly Sun FM) was Chinchilla's first commercial FM radio station. Rebel FM has a new rock & classic rock music format. Rebel FM's sister station, The Breeze broadcasts on 95.5 FM with an easy adult contemporary & classic hits format. Both stations are part of the Gold Coast-based Rebel Media Group which operates a radio network that reaches the Gold Coast and South Brisbane to many centres throughout regional and outback Queensland.
Chinchilla News and Murilla Advertiser is the local newspaper, published every Thursday.
Chinchilla is connected to Brisbane, Toowoomba and Roma by the Warrego Highway. Greyhound Australia operates 2-3 daily bus services between Brisbane and Mount Isa via Longreach and Charleville, and three buses a week between Toowoomba and Rockhampton, along the Dawson Highway. The Westlander train also comes through Chinchilla twice a week, on its way between Brisbane and Charleville. As it is a small town, there is no public transport (besides a taxi), although many coal and gas companies run contracted buses out to their sites.
- Film producer George Miller.
- Australian folk/country singer Pete Murray grew up in Chinchilla.
- Rugby League player Ben Ross.
- Singer/Performer Dean Ray
- Cricketer Nathan Reardon
Chinchilla, Queensland Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.