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Tambo, QLD

Small rural service centre on the Barcoo River

Tambo is a small regional service centre - police station, post office, health care centre, general store - the famous Barcoo River. It is a town which has been held in aspic with a couple of pubs, a disused picture theatre and a number of old buildings which date back to the 1870s and 1880s. Tambo proudly claims that it is the oldest town in Central Western Queensland. 


Tambo is located 200 km north of Charleville, 208 km south-east of Barcaldine and 862 km north-west of Brisbane via Roma. It is 398 metres above sea level.


Origin of Name

No one is certain of the origin of the town's name. Suggestions include "hidden place" and "resting place". It is taken from an Aboriginal word of unknown origin. There is also a Tambo in Victoria.


Things to See and Do

Tambo Heritage Trail
The Visitor Information Centre has a Heritage Trail brochure which includes 17 buildings (most of which are in the main street) and offers an image of a town which has changed little over the past century. The brochure features:
Post and Telegraph office building
Reginald Barry's Influenza Memorial
Survey Marker
Old Tambo Post Office (1876)
Courthouse (1888)
Tambo Shire Hall
Masonic Lodge
Old Powerhouse
Tambo State School
Windmill at Tambo Mill Motel
Primary Health Care
The Club Hotel
General Store
Royal Carrangarra Hotel
Tambo Teddies Workshop
Queensland National Bank

Of particular interest are:
Heritage Precinct and Tambo Museum
Located at the eastern entrance to the town (on the Landsborough Highway over the road from the Visitor Information Centre) is the town's Heritage Precinct which comprises the original Post and Telegraph Offices (1876) which has a DVD display where locals tell stories of the picture theatre, the town's telephone exchange and Qantas's only plane crash. Another building houses an extensive Post and Telegraph display.

Reginald Barry's Influenza Memorial
At the southern end of town is a grim reminder that even a place as remote as Tambo was affected by the deadly influenza epidemic of 1919. A memorial beside the road has the following dedication: "Reginald Sylvester Barry (late manager of Tambo Station) who died on 17 June 1919. He worked unceasingly to save those people in Tambo stricken with pneumonic influenza and at the end of the epidemic contracted the disease himself and died. Erected by the residents of Tambo and District in January 1920." Barry lost his wife and two of his three children to the epidemic and, in 1919 when it looked as though the epidemic was dying, he caught the disease and died.

Coolibah Walk
This is an ideal way to enjoy the countryside. The Coolibah Walk passes along both sides of the Barcoo River and is a pleasant walk designed so that visitors can experience the rich bird life (particularly in the early morning) and kangaroos. On the route is the famous crash site of a Qantas De Havilland DH9C. The plane crashed in 1927 killing all three passengers.

Tambo Teddies
Located at 17 Arthur Street is the Tambo Teddies Workshop where Teddy Bears, using the skins from local sheep are filled with wool. A brilliant idea to use local produce, the Tiny Teddies first started in 1992 and since then over 50,000 have been made. The company explains: "Each of the teddies created is numbered and all have there own individually name. They come in different styles from the "bickie" bear for the very littlies to the fully dressed stockmen with his stock whip and swag. Must this a ‘must see, however be prepared to lose your heart to one of these very cute and cuddly bears. There really is one there who would love to travel with you." Check out https://www.tamboteddies.com.au/ for more details.


Other Attractions in the Area

Tambo Dam
Located off the Landsborough Highway at the southern end of town, and sometimes referred to as Tambo Lake, is Tambo Dam which was built in 1880 and was the town's vital water supply (along with the Barcoo River) until 1895. That year bores were tapped into the Artesian Basin which still supplies the town with water. The dam has become a popular place for brolgas, swans and cygnets and locals enjoy skiing when the lake has a good supply of water. The shore offers both pleasant bushwalks around the foreshore and places for picnics. Check out http://www.blackalltambotourism.com.au/tambo-tambo-dam.

Tambo's Wilderness Way
A 320 km loop through countryside which includes deep gorges, dramatic vistas, low lying ranges with huge sandstone formations, the Salvator Rosa National Park and the Mitchell Springs. There is a detailed description of the route at https://www.outbackqueensland.com.au/drive/tambos-wilderness-way. The route is recommended for 4WD vehicles although, in good weather, it can be achieved in a 2WD.



* Prior to the arrival of Europeans the area was home to the Dharawala Aboriginal people.

* The first European to pass through the area was Sir Thomas Mitchell in September, 1846 who described the region as "downs and plains extending westward beyond the reach of vision". 

* A townsite was surveyed and gazetted in the early 1860s

* Settlement of the area began in 1863. This makes it the oldest township in western Queensland.

* By 1864 it was an important stopping place for drovers and a blacksmith's shop was established.

* By 1865 there was a pub for the travellers from Charleville to Longreach.

* In 1868 the settlement was named Tambo. It was previously known as Carrangarra.

* A branch of the Queensland National Bank was established in the town in 1875.

* The Tambo State School opened in 1876.

* The local Court House was completed in 1888.

* The local Masonic Lodge was opened in 1899.

* Tambo Shire was created in 1901.

* The Rivoli cinema was opened in the 1920s.

* On 24 March, 1927 a Qantas Airco DH9 crashed on the airstrip killing three passengers.

* Electricity reached the town in 1954.

* A new Shire Hall was built in 1957.

* In 1992 the Tambo Teddy Workshop, making teddy bears out of wool, was established.

* In 2008 the Shire of Tambo became the Blackall-Tambo Regional Council.

* In 2012 the town was cut off by floods fo eight days.


Visitor Information

Tambo Visitor Information Centre, 9 Arthur Street, tel: (07) 4654 6408. Open Monday to Friday 8.30 am - 4.45 pm.


Useful Websites

There is a dedicated local website. Check out http://www.blackalltambotourism.com.au.

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