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Oakey, Queensland facts for kids

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Campbell Street Oakey.jpg
Campbell Street, 2014
Population 4,529 (2011 census)
Postcode(s) 4401
Elevation 406 m (1,332 ft)
LGA(s) Toowoomba Region
State electorate(s) Condamine
Federal Division(s) Groom
Mean max temp Mean min temp Annual rainfall
25.4 °C
78 °F
10.9 °C
52 °F
628.3 mm
24.7 in

Oakey /ˈki/ is a rural town situated in the Darling Downs region of Queensland, Australia. It is situated 160 kilometres (100 mi) west of the state capital, Brisbane, and 29 kilometres (18 mi) west of the regional city of Toowoomba. At the 2011 census, Oakey recorded a population of 4,529.


StateLibQld 1 290087 Queensland National Bank in Oakey, 1916
The National Bank in Oakey in 1916

Oakey and the creek around which the town is located, were named for the river oaks that dominate the banks of the creek. The town was surveyed in 1868, with the first sale being 28 June 1870. Originally named Oaky, the spelling of Oakey was officially adopted in August 1940. The area was first settled in the early 1840s when pastoralists moved into the area and found the land to be suitable for grazing. The building of the Western railway line through the area prompted the growth of a township to service the pastoral community. Growth of the town was slow, however featured some enterprising ventures, including a short-lived meatworks near the town, which planned to tin and export kangaroo and wallaby under the marketing name 'Australian Game'. The enterprise was unsuccessful and closed down in 1876.

In 1859, the Jondaryan Woolshed was built to the west of the town to service the rapidly growing wool industry. The first shearing took place in 1861. The railway reached Oakey and Jondaryan in 1867. Oakey Creek Post Office opened on 1 June 1869. It was renamed Oakey by 1878. The Jondaryan pastoral station dominated the area, encompassing over 400,000 acres (1,600 km2). The Woolshed was responsible for over 200,000 head of sheep and could cater for in excess of 50 shearers working simultaneously. Following World War I, the homestead landholding was reduced and separated to allow for soldier re-settlement programs.

The Oakey primary school opened in August 1874 with much celebration reported.

"A grand picnic and ball was held here on the 3rd instant in honor of the opening of the above school. The school-house is a neat weatherboard building, shingled, and with a verandah on each side, and capable of accommodating between sixty and seventy children, and will amply supply the requirements of tbe district for years to come. The teacher's residence is a smart little four roomed cottage, but I should think rather small. The appointment of Mr. Tait as teacher is sure to give satisfaction."

As early as 1916 there was community interest in the establishment of a high school in Oakey, with the disadvantage of "scholars having to reside in Dalby, Warwick, or Toowoomba, after passing the examination" acting as a deterrent to many parents from pursuing higher education for their children. It was not until 1964 that a high school opened in the town.

The racehorse Bernborough was foaled at Rosalie Plains in 1939. He became well-known on the tracks around Toowoomba. Eventually the horse was sold to a businessman in Sydney and raced in three states, winning 15 consecutive races between 22 December 1945 and 19 October 1946.

The Country Women's Association opened a branch in Oakey in 1924, which was noted to be 'thriving' in 1925, and celebrated 90 years of activity in 2014.

During World War II the requirement for aircraft maintenance and construction exceeded the capabilities of Brisbane-based facilities. To expand the capability, a 934-acre (378 ha) site at Oakey was purchased to facilitate the raising of Number 6 Aircraft Depot (6AD). An airbase was sited approximately 2 miles (3 km) north of the town, and runways were built. With a full complement of RAAF personnel, the base housed almost 2,000 troops. The Depot serviced, assembled and conducted test flights of Bristol Beaufort, P-51 Mustang, Norsemen, CAC Wirraway and Supermarine Spitfire aircraft. This airfield became an Army Aviation Training Centre in the 1970s, now Swartz Barracks, a major helicopter pilot and maintenance training facility for the Defense forces.

In 1975, Jondaryan Woolshed Historical Museum and Park was established to present the history of Jondaryan Station and its role in the development of pastoralism on the Darling Downs. The woolshed has been in continuous operation since it was built.

The Cooyar railway line serviced the areas to the north of Oakey between 1913 and 1968. Between 1914 and 1984 the area to the southwest was serviced by the Cecil Plains railway line.

The Oakey Power Station is a 332 MW dual liquid/gas-fired plant and was commissioned in December 1999.

StateLibQld 2 296107 Methodist Church, Oakey, ca 1912
Oakey Methodist Church ca. 1912

In 2014, The Department of Defense investigated a contamination caused by fire-fighting foams used at the Army Aviation Training Centre and warned residents not to drink bore water. The chemicals have been identified as perfluorooctane sulphonate and perfluorooctanoic acid. The chemicals were used from 1970 until 2008. A lack of testing of these chemicals means no conclusive impact on human health has been proven.


Oakey Creek at Oakey
Oakey Creek, 2014

The town is situated towards the middle of the Darling Downs and the Toowoomba Region local government area. Oakey Creek, a tributary of the Condamine River, passes through the town. In January 2011 the Oakey Creek flooded, impacting 120 homes and businesses. In 2014 a Flood Early Warning System was installed upstream. It is surrounded by farms, and an open cut coal mine is located at Acland, 10 km north of the town. Oakey is one of the towns contained in the Queensland State Electoral district of Condamine and at the federal level it lies within the Division of Groom. The Oakey Army Aviation Centre located at the airport, also includes the Museum of Australian Army Flying, which displays aircraft and memorabilia dating from World War I to the present.


The town is bypassed by the Warrego Highway (National A2), and is also on the main rail link connecting Brisbane and Toowoomba with south-western Queensland. Oakey is connected to Toowoomba and Brisbane by bus. The town is serviced by the Oakey railway station on the Western railway line. The airport, which primarily functions as the Oakey Army Aviation Centre is located on the site of the original World War 2 airbase. It was serviced by Macair Airlines commercial air services originating in Brisbane, however the failure of Macair saw services commenced by Skytrans Airlines being routed via Toowoomba. The establishment of the Wellcamp airport south of the town, servicing Toowoomba, saw Skytrans being replaced by Qantaslink and REX airlines, and the reduction of airspace for the Army Aviation Centre.


Oakeys climate varies through the year, ranging from hot, humid and stormy summers to cool, dry and sunny winters. Oakey frequently records temperatures below 0 °C, often approaching −5 °C in winter and above 35 °C in summer, occasionally rising to above 40 °C. Its lowest recorded temperature is −7.5 °C (18.5 °F) and its highest recorded temperature is 41.8 °C (107.2 °F).

Climate data for Oakey (Oakey Aero 1970–2014)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 41.8
Average high °C (°F) 30.8
Average low °C (°F) 17.8
Record low °C (°F) 9.2
Rainfall mm (inches) 80.7
Avg. rainy days (≥ 0.2mm) 8.6 7.4 6.6 5.2 5.9 5.8 5.9 4.8 5.3 7.1 8.3 8.6 79.5
Source: Bureau of Meteorology

Facilities and attractions

StateLibQld 2 67323 Machine shearing at Jondaryan on the Darling Downs, Southern Queensland
Machine shearing at Jondaryan on the Darling Downs

The township has many amenities, including an Olympic-sized swimming pool and golf course. The golf course is located at the Cnr Warrego Hwy & Mt Tyson Rd. There are several motels and hotels in town providing accommodation, as well as a caravan park catering for tourists. The local RSL (Returned Services League) Club provides convention style facilities, and is the hub of the war remembrance activities for the local area on Anzac Day and Remembrance Day. The town has well established daycare and pre-school centres. Oakey has a local hospital providing emergency services and inpatient care as well as a large co-located nursing home facility known as the EAF McDonald nursing home. There are two private GP practices in the town. The Oakey Library is located in the Oakey Civic Precinct at 60 Campbell Street between the swimming pool and the Community Centre. It boasts a 500-seat capacity Cultural Centre, and two multi-purpose sports halls at the two primary schools. Nearby attractions include the Jondaryan Woolshed and the Museum of Army Aviation. There is a War Memorial in Campbell Street, erected after the First World War, and at that time, made "of Rockhampton marble on a pedestal of sandstone, with a polished granite centre piece, on which are inscribed in gold letters the names of no fewer than 332 soldiers of the Oakey district who took part in the Great War." The memorial was unveiled on 28 August 1922 by the Governor of Queensland, Sir Matthew Nathan.

Cultural references

Oakey has been regularly mentioned on the Australian soap opera, Neighbours, with characters both originating from the town and moving to the town. A storyline which aired in July 2009 saw the Parker family going on a road trip to Oakey, however the car crashed before it reached its destination, resulting in the tragic death of a family member. As a result, the rest of the family decided to leave Erinsborough and move back to Oakey.

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