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Laura, Queensland facts for kids

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StateLibQld 1 270213 Laura Railway Station, Queensland, 1896.jpg
Laura Railway Station, 1896
Laura is located in Queensland
Location in Queensland
Population 228 (2016 census)
 • Density 0.02939/km2 (0.0761/sq mi)
Postcode(s) 4871
Area 7,757.7 km2 (2,995.3 sq mi)
Time zone AEST (UTC+10:00)
LGA(s) Shire of Cook
State electorate(s) Cook
Federal Division(s) Leichhardt
Localities around Laura:
Yarraden Lakefield Cooktown
Dixie Laura Lakeland
Palmer Palmer Lakeland
Judges' stand. aura Dance Festival, June, 2009
Judges' stand. 1st Laura Dance Festival, June, 2009

Laura is a rural town and locality in the Shire of Cook, Queensland, Australia. In the 2016 census the locality of Laura had a population of 228 people.

It is the centre for the largest collection of prehistoric rock art in the world, including Quinkan Country which is on the Australian National Heritage List.


Aboriginal people have made their home in the Laura River valley for at least 50,000 years. In the wet season, they would camp under rock shelters on the high ground. This is where their rock art can be found.

Some of the earliest pastoral leases on Cape York Peninsula were taken up in the Laura district. However, the town of Laura did not develop until the discovery of gold on the Palmer River.

In 1873 gold was discovered on the Palmer River. Travellers coming from Cooktown to the Palmer Goldfields would cross the Laura River at Laura. This was a very violent period, as local aboriginal clans waged a war of resistance. A Native Mounted Police camp was established near the Lower Laura crossing to protect travellers.

During the gold boom a railway line was planned between Cooktown and the Palmer gold fields. By 1888 the line had been built to Laura.

Laura Post Office opened on 8 October 1888.

An impressive bridge over the Laura River was opened, to great fanfare, in 1891. However, since the Palmer gold fields were in decline, a new Queensland government decided to abandon the project. Only one train ever crossed the bridge - the train that ran on the day that it opened.

The rail line contributed to the growth of Laura. It was used by miners and by peninsula cattle properties. The Cooktown to Laura Railway finally closed in 1961.

It was during the 1960s that Quinkan rock art galleries were reported by Percy Trezise, an airline pilot who surveyed the area from the air for likely sites and later walked in to rediscover them.

At the 2006 census, Laura and the surrounding area had a population of 225.

Laura State School opened in March 1889 and currently caters for students from Prep to Year six.

Heritage listings

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

  • Trezise, P.J. 1969. Quinkan Country: Adventures in Search of Aboriginal Cave Paintings in Cape York. A.H. & A.W. Reed, Sydney.
  • Trezise, P.J. 1993. Dream Road: A Journey of Discovery. Allen & Unwin, St. Leonards, Sydney.
  • Wynter, Jo and Hill, John. 1991. Cape York Peninsula: Pathways to Community Economic Development. The Final Report of The Community Economic Development Projects Cook Shire. Cook Shire Council.
  • Laura: A shared history of a river and a town. Cook Shire pamphlet.


Laura State School is a government primary (Early Childhood-6) school for boys and girls at Terminus Street (15°33′27″S 144°26′49″E / 15.5575°S 144.4469°E / -15.5575; 144.4469 (Laura State School)). In 2018, the school had an enrolment of 7 students with 2 teachers and 6 non-teaching staff (2 full-time equivalent).

There is no secondary school in Laura. The nearest secondary school is Cooktown State School (to Year 12) in neighbouring Cooktown to the east. However, only some parts of the locality are sufficiently close to enable students to commute to school in Cooktown; distance education and boarding schools would be alternatives.

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