Small rural service town halfway between Brisbane and Rockhampton.
Gin Gin is a rural service town surrounded by fields of sugar cane, citrus orchards, grazing beef cattle and small specialist crops. The town has survived and flourished because it is located on the main road from Brisbane to Cairns and is almost exactly halfway between Brisbane and Rockhampton. It is an ideal place to take a break.
Gin Gin is located 349 km north of Brisbane and 50 km west of Bundaberg.^ TOP
Origin of Name
No one is sure what Gin Gin means or where the term comes from. There is an argument that it is the same as Gingin in Western Australia. Alternatively it may be a Gubbi Gubbi word meaning "thick scrub". Certainly it was adopted as a name for a property in the area which was subsequently owned by Sir Thomas McIlwraith (three times Premier of Queensland between 1879-93).^ TOP
Things to See and Do
The original Courthouse was built in 1882 and it is now located at the rear of the present Courthouse. It was known as a Small Claims Court and in 1922 it became a Magistrates Court. In 1935 the original building was sold for £45 and moved. The present Courthouse was built in 1935 on its present site and used as a Court until it was closed in December 1990. It was also the Police Station until the new Station was built beside it. Apart from local art the building still has the Prisoners Dock which dates from the 1880s and the Magistrate's Desk which dates from the 1930s. There is also an interesting historic display which recounts local history and tells the story of James Alpin McPherson, known as the 'Wild Scotsman', Queensland's only bushranger.
Murals and the Central Median Strip
There are a number of murals around the town which tell the story of the town. They include a depiction of he capture of the Wild Scotsman and even images of cafes from the 1950s. The central median strip has interesting signage about the local area and a depiction of the "Wild Scotchman" by artist Paul Stumkat.
Gin Gin Museum
The Gin Gin Museum at 85 Mulgrave Street is a series of historic buildings including an old slab barn called 'Euston Barn', the local railway station and a building which houses local memorabilia and is called 'The Residence'. It was actually the police sergeant's residence and, at various times, had to serve as the local lockup and casualty centre. It has been moved from its original location to become the centrepiece of the Museum. There is also "a blacksmiths shop, butchery, saddlery and an area dedicated to machinery dating from the late 1800’s. The slab-constructed barn has been retained in its original state with huge slabs of hardwood forming the walls; monster hinges on the doors and a corrugated iron roof and is now home to hundreds of yesteryear artefacts." There are also a collection of horse-drawn vehicles including a covered wagon. The Museum is open Monday to Friday 9.00 am - 2.30 pm and Saturday 7.00 am - noon. The Wild Scotchman Country Markets are held in the grounds every Saturday, Tel: (07) 4157 3099.
Other Attractions in the Area
One of the most interesting experiences in the area is walking or driving through the Boolboonda Tunnel which is located between Gin Gin and Mount Perry. The tunnel, which is unlined and unsupported, cuts through hard granite and is 192 metres long. It is reputed to be the longest unsupported tunnel in the Southern Hemisphere. It was constructed between 1883 and 1884 as part of the railway line from North Bundaberg to Mount Perry with the objective of opening up the mineral and agricultural resources of the area. The miners cut through from both ends and met up in the middle.
If the tunnel is approached from Gin Gin (it is Tunnel Road and is off the Gin Gin-Mount Perry Road 33 km from Gin Gin) it is clearly signposted. The gravel road passes through the long, dark tunnel which is only the width of one vehicle. Apart from the uniqueness of the tunnel - it is memorable and has recently been inhabited by bats - the drive through the countryside between the two towns is worth the effort.
Located 24 km north of Gin Gin, Lake Monduran is known for its exceptional barramundi fishing. The Gin Gin brochure explains "The waterway travels over 30 kms upstream from the dam wall. An open basin with weed fringes greets you, and as you travel up-stream the landscape changes to a maze of flooded forests and submerged timber. Barramundi by nature are structure-orientated fish and it’s these flooded forests that many huge Barramundi call home." The lake is also stocked with Australian Bass, Golden Perch, Saratoga and Silver Perch.
* Prior to the arrival of Europeans the area was occupied by people from the Gubbi Gubbi Aboriginal language group.
* The first settlers arrived in 1847 when Gregory Blaxland (he was famous for crossing the Blue Mountains with Wentworth and Lawson) and his son-in-law, William Forster, moved into the area.
* The town's one brush with notoriety occurred on 30 March 1866 when one of Queensland's few bushrangers, James Alpin McPherson, known as the 'Wild Scotsman', was captured on Monduran Station 13 km north of the town. Each year, in the third week of March, the 'Wild Scotsman' Festival is held.
* In 1874 the government named the local telegraph office, Gin Gin.
* The local post office was opened in 1875.
* By 1879 Gin Gin was the headquarters of the local Kolan government division.
* By 1881 the town had a population of 35.
* A primary school and the local Court House were opened in 1882.
* By 1882 3045 tons of timber and 197 tons of agricultural produce were shipped through the Gin Gin Railway Station.
* The Catholic Church and Oddfellows Hall were both opened in 1889.
* The Government central mill, which cost £50,000, started crushing sugar cane in 1896.
* A local hospital was opened in 1915.
* The local government sugar mill was taken over by a local cooperative in 1927.
* Electricity arrived in the town as late as 1952.
* Sewerage was connected throughout the town in 1967.
* In 2011 Gin Gin underwent a very thorough beautification program.^ TOP
Gin Gin Visitor Information Centre, Mulgrave & Milden Street, tel: 1300 722 099. Open Monday-Friday 9.00 am - 4.00 pm, Saturday and Sunday - 9.00 am - 1.00 pm.^ TOP
There is a useful historical site which covers the district's history in great detail. Check out http://queenslandplaces.com.au/gin-gin. There is also a downloadable guide to the town. Check out http://www.ginginqld.org.au/pages/uploads/docs/infoguide.pdf.^ TOP