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Jericho, QLD

Quiet rural service town on the Capricorn Highway

Jericho is a tiny rural service centre in a predominantly cattle-growing area. In 1993 there were 157,000 head of cattle in the district. Today it services the surrounding large land holdings. 

Location

Jericho is located on the Capricorn Highway 224 km west of Emerald, 90 km east of Barcaldine and 1054 km, via Toowoomba and Emerald, from Brisbane.

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Origin of Name

It is most likely that Jericho is a rather elaborate outback joke. One of the early settlers, in the 1850s, was a man named Harry Jordan after whom a local river - the Jordan River - was named. Some wit, noticing that a settlement was developing on the banks of the Jordan River, decided it should be named Jericho.

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Things to See and Do

Crystal Trumpeters
The town has a remarkable ability to exploit its very dubious religious connections. In 1988 as a Bicentennial Project, the town decided to construct the 'Crystal Trumpeters' in memory of the Biblical story where the Israelites marched around the walls of Jericho for six days then blew their trumpets on the seventh day and watched as the city walls collapsed. The crystals (the connection of the Biblical story with the town is, to put it mildly, rather tenuous) symbolise various moments in the Old Testament including the slavery in Egypt, the parting of the Red Sea, the receiving of the Ten Commandments, the crossing of the River Jordan and the arrival in the Promised Land. The monument is located on the Capricorn Highway over the road from the Town Hall.

Town Murals
With a sense of outback fun there is a mural in Darwin Street of two goannas having a beer.

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Other Attractions in the Area

Black's Palace now known as 'The Palace'
The Black's Palace sites, located on Marston Station (it became part of Tumbar in 2016) some 60 km south of Jericho, are the largest complex of art sites known to exist in Central Queensland. The paintings are set on the sandstone cliff faces of a gorge which is about 500-600 metres long and about 200 metres wide. Anthropologists have recorded some 9,471 figures in the area ranging from stencils of hands, feet, boomerangs and axes as well as drawings of spears, clubs, shields, snakes and lizards. There are a large number of abstract patterns as well. It is well worth a visit although the road to the site is dirt and far from perfect. Tragically the site is now closed to the public. It is sad that such an important site is not open to those who wish to inspect this remarkable piece of Australian culture. 
In 2014 the ABC reported: "Traditional owners in Queensland's west say they have got widespread support to open up an internationally significant site for tourists. The Bidjara people say the site, known as Black's Palace, dates back around 4,000 years and contains about 10,000 rock art stencils. It is located on private property between Jericho and Tambo, south-east of Longreach. Elder Leann Thompson says "the Palace" is also a burial and a women's site. She says traditional owners are eager to see it open for tourists within a few years.
"I would like to think in about two years," she said. "One of the challenges and an opportunity that we have to get over is ownership of the site, because at the moment the state owns the site. It is a significant international site - it is a burial site and it is also a women's site."
She said at one time there were about 40 burials.
"The site is also about birthing and it has about 10,000 stencils at the site as well, or artwork," she said. "It is only a reasonably young site, so it only goes back about 4,000 years." The Bidjara people have met local councils and other authorities as part of ongoing negotiations. For detailed information and access check out Blackall Visitor Information Centre, Ram Park, 145a Shamrock Street, tel: (07) 4657 4637 or the Tambo Visitor Information Centre, Historic Court House, tel: (07) 4654 6408.

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History

* Prior to the arrival of Europeans the area around Jericho was occupied by the Bidjara Aboriginal people.

* The first Europeans in the area were a party led by Major Thomas Mitchell who passed through the area in 1846. 

* By the 1850s settlers had reached the area. 

* In 1914 the local Jericho Shire was formed.

* A branch railway line from Jericho to Blackall was built in 1908.

* In 1933 'The Palace' was declared a Scientific and Recreational Reserve.

* In 1950 the town was hit by a devastating flood.

* In 1970 'The Palace' was gazetted as a permanent Aboriginal site.

* By 1971 the owner of Marston Station was appointed as the honorary warden of the site.

* In 1989 The Palace can under the control of he Department of Environment and Heritage.

* In 2008 Jericho became part of the Barcaldine Regional Council.

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Visitor Information

Blackall Visitor Information Centre, Ram Park, 145a Shamrock Street, tel: (07) 4657 4637. Open 9.00 am - 5.00 pm Monday to Friday. See http://www.blackalltambotourism.com.au/blackall4 for weekend times.

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Useful Websites

There is no dedicated Jericho website but https://www.outbackqueensland.com.au/town/jericho has useful information about the town.

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