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Winton, QLD

Town famous for 'Banjo' Paterson writing Waltzing Matilda now known as the 'Dinosaur Capital of Australia'.

The Winton Shire covers 53,935 square kilometres and has a population of just 1,600 people. It is the centre of an important cattle and sheep raising region of predominantly flat grassland known as the Channel Country. The area around the town is technically described as "hot, semi-arid." The town has two very legitimate claims to fame: it was where that alternative national anthem, Waltzing Matilda, was written and first performed and it has some of the best dinosaur fossil remains in the world. Oh, yes, and it was where QANTAS started. In fact there are an excess of interesting and unusual attractions: the Musical Fence, the Truck Museum, the memorabilia inside the North Gregory Hotel; the Australian Age of Dinosaurs exhibits and tours. It would be very easy to spend two or three days just exploring the attractions around this genuinely fascinating town.


Winton is located 1,357 km north-west of Brisbane via Toowoomba and Longreach. It is 186 m above sea level and 865 km west of Rockhampton. 


Origin of Name

Winton was originally known as Pelican Waterhole. In 1875 Robert Allen became the local postmaster. It is said that Allen got tired of writing the long 'Pelican Waterhole' on letters and so he renamed the town after the suburb in Bournemouth, England where he was born. The town of Winton was formally gazetted in 1879.


Things to See and Do

A Walk down Elderslie Street (Winton's Main Street) is a reminder of the rich heritage, and commitment to tourism, of this unique outback town. The numbers relate to the Winton Town Map which is available at the Waltzing Matilda Centre.

Pelican Waterhole in Elderslie Street
Known correctly as the Waltzing Matilda Centenary Street Display the "billabong with its sculptured pelicans", which is located opposite Tattersalls Hotel, is a reminder that the town started life as Pelican Creek. Keep walking along Winton's main street and you will come across the A.B. 'Banjo' Paterson statue in front of the Waltzing Matilda Centre and the "Jolly Swagman" sculpture which dates from 1959.

4. Royal Open Air Theatre & Opal Walk
Located in Elderslie Street next to the North Gregory Hotel, the Royal Open Air Theatre, is one of only two remaining open air picture theatres left in Australia. The famous Sun Theatre in Broome and the Royal Theatre in Winton. Built in 1918 and purchased by the Evert family in 1938, the Royal Theatre is now combination of museum and picture theatre. The Theatre Museum is open during the day and includes the Opal Walk which offers an insight into the local opal industry. It also has exhibits which cover the history of the Theatre. 
Every Wednesday from April to September, the Royal Open Air Theatre has a Nostalgia Night which features ‘memories of yester-year’ with the old time slides and black and white film shorts. Patrons sit in old canvas seats, under the stars. 

5. North Gregory Hotel
What more can anyone ask for? A hotel full of history. A celebration of Waltzing Matilda. An excellent restaurant which serves both breakfast and evening meal. And a charming, outback elegance. The importance of the hotel is tied up with Waltzing Matilda which received its first public performance in the hotel in 1895. The current hotel is the fourth North Gregory (the other three either burned down or were destroyed) but it is still on the location of the original pub. From photographs the original North Gregory was a modest building with little more than bark walls and a corrugated iron roof. The current hotel has an art deco ambience (admire the art deco lighting in the main lounge); has a piano located at the exact spot where Waltzing Matilda was first played; and in the Daphne Mayo Dining Room (which is open for dinner daily) there is a fascinating collection of historic photographs. 

North Gregory Chook Race
Every night at 5.15 the North Gregory Hotel has Chicken Racing in which a group of chickens, all coloured differently so they will be easy to recognise, are raced. There are cash prizes and the money raised goes to local clubs and charities.

6. Corfield & Fitzmaurice
The Corfield & Fitzmaurice Store in the main street was built in 1916. William Henry Corfield arrived in the area in the late 1870s and established a general store. The original store was replaced in 1916 and the current building, now listed by the National Trust, is one of the most perfectly preserved old-style general stores in Australia. It is listed on the Queensland Heritage Register as "a large, timber framed building which is square in plan. The sides and rear of the building are clad with corrugated iron, as is the saw tooth roof. There are windows running along the sides high in the wall to supply good natural light to the interior. The street elevation of the building is more decorative and prestigious in appearance, being of timber and featuring a large expanse of display windows separated into two main sections by deeply recessed entrances ... The shop front is shaded by a bull-nosed awning clad in corrugated iron and is supported by pairs of timber posts set in concrete blocks, probably an adaptation as the bases of the posts decayed. A decorative cast iron valance runs between the posts. The deep parapet above the awning is galvanised iron and features a pair of triangular pediments with the dates 1878 and 1916 above a deep entablature that carries the inscription "Corfield and Fitzmaurice Merchants". A stepped parapet completes the striking effect. At the rear of the building is an attached cold room clad in corrugated iron. Internally the store appears to be largely intact and retains such features as early, long timber counters and timber storage shelving attached to the walls. A cash railway, known as a "flying fox", for transporting cash and receipts between the counter and a central timber office raised to mezzanine level still survives. The store is currently used for displays of local crafts, gemstones and minerals and a dinosaur diorama." It points out that the store's significance is that "The Corfield and Fitzmaurice store is rare for the intactness of its interior space complete with many fittings such as shelves, display cabinets and counters for a traditional range of merchandise organised into departments. In particular the cash railway, or flying fox dispenser, is a rare example in situ of money handling technology of the early twentieth century." Check out https://environment.ehp.qld.gov.au/heritage-register/detail/?id=600965.

7. The Jolly Swagman
The swagman was sculpted in 1959 by Daphne Mayo and is located over the road from the Waltzing Matilda Centre. The statue sits near a very healthy looking coolibah tree. A symbol of the town's most potent tourist attractions.

8. Arno's Wall
Arno’s Wall is located in Arno’s Park on Vindex Street. The wall is two metres high and stretches along one side of the park for over seventy metres. It is constructed from concrete and rock brought in from Arno’s opal mine at Opalton and is studded with old lawnmower parts, boat propellers,  vintage typewriters, plaster figures, copper pots, sewing machines and a complete early model Holden. Arno arrived in Australia from Germany with his wife in the 1960s after he had an adventurous life in the French Foreign Legion, as a merchant seaman and working in the Vatican. He has said of the wall: "This wall contains every engine from the start of mankind up to now. The whole history of machines."

1. The Waltzing Matilda Centre
Completed in 1998 at a cost of $3.1 million the Waltzing Matilda Centre combined Winton's existing Qantilda Museum with an impressive range of new attractions many constructed around the story of the swagman as told in 'Banjo' Paterson's 'Waltzing Matilda'. The centre burnt down in June, 2015 and by 2017 a new centre was under construction. It was completed in 2018. For more information and a video of the fire, and progress with the rebuilding, check out http://www.matildacentre.com.au. The centre includes The Tuckerbox Cafe, a museum dedicated to the famous song, an exhibition space and art gallery and the Qantilda Museum. It is open from 9.00 am - 5.00 pm seven days a week. Contact tel: (07) 4657 1466.

9. Winton Club
The Winton Club stands on the corner of Oondooroo and Vindex streets one block north of the town's main street. It was in the club, on 10 February 1921, that the first official board meeting of QANTAS was held. On 16 November 1920 the Queensland and Northern Territory Air Service was registered as a company with its headquarters in the town. A sign outside the Club notes: "In the period when QANTAS expanded from a dream to a reality however shake, Winton people showed their faith in its future. Many assisted with cash, bought shares in the company or gave their services for nothing, in a unique gesture for those times, the Winton Shire Council agreed to support a federal government initiative to provide a landing strip for QANTAS ... it is now the oldest airline in the English speaking world and second oldest airline operating today. The bar and restaurant contain many items of interesting QANTAS memorabilia and visitors are always welcome."

13. Musical Fence
A hugely enjoyable and unique instrument which will keep musicians and kids entertained for hours. The Musical Fence is basically a series of instruments, mostly percussive, in the open air off Manuka Street. It was designed by percussionist and composer Graeme Leak and formally "opened" in 2003. It is reputedly the first musical fence in the world. Designed to be enjoyed it is quite impossible to visit without wanting to try it out.

14. Winton’s Diamantina Heritage Truck & Machinery Museum
Winton’s Diamantina Heritage Truck and Machinery Museum on Manuka Street is a volunteer-managed organisation dedicated to the preservation and presentation of Australia’s unique road transport heritage. It has an impressive array of old trucks in a huge paddock. Highlights of the collection include the M A N truck originally driven by egendary lady truckie Toots Holzheimer ; an 1899 Winton Pheaton; an 1890 Ruston Stationary Steam Engine; a 1934 Dodge Fargo, Leyland International, Mack and Chevrolet trucks. The museum is open from 8.00 am - 5.00 pm daily, tel: 0429 806 140 (or check out http://www.wintontruckmuseum.com.

15. Willie Mar Heritage Site
Located on the far side of the Matilda Highway a block away from the centre of town is a market garden which is possibly  the last working Chinese market garden in Queensland. It was established in 1923 by Willie Mar Snr, to provide fresh fruit and vegetables to local residents. It continued to operate until until a flood devastated the garden in 2000. It is possible to see remnants of the traditional pond watering system, and the collection of homemade rooster cages and garden tools.


Other Attractions in the Area

Australian Dinosaur Trail
There is an excellent brochure which outlines the Australian Dinosaur Trail which includes the Flinders Discovery Centre at Hughenden, the outstanding Kronosaurus Korner at Richmond and three locations around Winton: the Australian Age of Dinosaurs, the Lark Quarry Conservation Park and the Waltzing Matilda Centre. All are worth visiting and, if you purchase a ticket for all four major attractions you will develop a sound understanding not only of the vast inland sea which covered the area around 100 million years ago, but also a deep understanding of how fossils are found and how they are carefully exposed from the rock in which they are embedded. Each experience on the trail offers something different - Age of Dinosaurs is excellent for observing the way palaeontologists expose dinosaur bones as well as having an excellent "Collection Room" where the bones of the largest dinosaur ever discovered in Australia are on display; Richmond has a superb display of marine fossils at Kronosaurus Korner (as far as I am concerned it is the best display on the trail) and Hughenden, which can claim to be first dinosaur display in the area, has the superb skeleton of Muttaburrasaurus.

Australian Age of Dinosaurs
The setting is spectacular. Located 25 km south of Winton (13 km on the Landsborough Highway and then 12 km on an unsealed road), the Age of Dinosaurs is perched on top of an ancient mesa with dramatic views of the surrounding countryside. It is a total "dinosaur" experience with tours involving three specific experiences: (a) a visit to the fossil preparation laboratories where palaeontologists carefully expose the fossilised bones (b) a talk in the Collection Room where the bones of famous Australian dinosaurs including ‘Banjo’ (Australovenator wintonensis), the most complete Australian carnivorous dinosaur ever discovered, and many giant plant-eating Sauropods are described by a well-informed guide and (c) a visit to Dinosaur Canyon - a dinosaur dig where bones are currently being found. The centre is proud of the fact that it is the home of the world’s largest collection of Australian dinosaur fossils and the most productive fossil preparation laboratory in the Southern hemisphere. Guided tours of the dinosaur collection and fossil preparation laboratory run hourly from 9.00 am with the last laboratory tour at 3.00 pm and the last collection tour at 4.00 pm. The centre also has a dinosaur-themed gift shop,a  café and there are two walking tracks. The last full tour starts at 2.00 pm and the total experience takes three hours. Site open from 8.30 am to 5.00 pm daily from April to September; closed Sundays from October to March, Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Tel: (07) 4657 0078 or check out http://www.australianageofdinosaurs.com.

Lark Quarry Conservation Park and the Dinosaur Stampede National Monument
Located 110 km from Winton the Lark Quarry Conservation Park with its internationally famous Dinosaur Stampede is a unique insight into life in western Queensland some ninety five million years ago. This is the largest group of footprints of running dinosaurs uncovered anywhere in the world. First discovered in the early 1960s it was completely excavated in 1976-77. Three species of dinosaur made the 1200 tracks - a large flesh eating carnosaur and many small coelurosaurs and ornithopods. 
At the time Western Queensland was an inland sea edged by marshy, heavily vegetated plains teeming with dinosaurs of all shapes and sizes. 
We know this because the fossilised remains found in places as far apart as Richmond, Hughenden and Winton offer a unique insight into a land more like a scene from Jurassic Park than from Crocodile Dundee.
About 95 million years ago, give or take a few hundred thousand years, a herd of about 150 small dinosaurs were grazing on the grasslands and drinking from a stream or lake some 120 km west of the present day site of Winton in Western Queensland.
The herd comprised Coelurosaurs and Ornithopods. These were not creatures of T-Rex dimensions. They were, in the case of the Coelurosaurs, no bigger than the average chicken and they lived on a diet of insects, frogs and lizards. 
Nearby were a herd of herbivorous Ornithopods, known appropriately as Wintonopus, who could grow to the size of a modern day emu. They lived on ferns and low-lying palm trees.
Into this peaceful scene lumbered a single Theropod predator, a Tyrannosauropus. This was no match of equals. The average Coelurosaur stood about 20 cm high. The Tyrannosauropus was about 8-9 metres long and its head was about 3.5 metres above the ground.
Not surprisingly the Coelurosaurs and Ornithopods scattered. They stampeded in all directions across the muddy floodplain. They were running for their lives. The Tyrannosauropus, with its sharp pointed teeth and its huge knife-sharp claws, walked - although it could run when it needed to.
Did the Tyrannosauropus get to eat that day? We simply do not know. All that is left are the marks of its back feet – marks which are over half a metre long and characterised by three toes and a sharp claw – and some 3300 separate footprints from the 150 Coelurosaurs and Ornithopods as they rushed to escape from the predator.
At Lark Quarry, 110 km on a dirt road south-west of Winton, this remarkable story has been preserved in the sedimentary layers that are now known as the Winton Formation. This is not just another interesting fossil. This site is the only known record of a dinosaur stampede anywhere on the planet. It was first discovered in the 1960s by a local station manager, Glen Seymour, and in 1976-77 a team of palaeontologists moved in and over 60 tonnes of rock were excavated from the site. Today it is protected by a Conservation Building that keeps this unique site protected from the searing temperature, the rain and the dust which is such a natural part of modern-day western Queensland. For more detailed information, times of tours and the cost of tours check out http://www.dinosaurtrackways.com.au. Tel: (07) 4657 0078 for more information.
Lark Quarry can be incorporated in a 380 km day long round trip to the south of Winton which includes the opal fields at Opalton, the Lark Quarry site and the spectacular sights at Carisbrooke Station on the Cork Mail Road.

Combo Waterhole Conservation Park
The sign at the car park explains: "Share the passion felt by Banjo Paterson for the outback when he visited this area in 1895. The walking track crosses overshots that hold water in the channels of the Diamantina River to form Combo Waterhole."
The walk is delightful and the experience, so deeply rooted in Australian mythology, is unforgettable.
The Combo Waterhole is 132 km north west of Winton and 5 km off the Landsborough Highway on an unsealed road which can be dangerous and slippery after rain. Historically it was part of Dagworth Station but in recent times 49 ha of the station have been declared a conservation area. The walk to the waterhole is 2.6 km return (quite hard on a very hot day) and the flat track crosses a series of anabranches of the Diamantina River on seven flagstone overshots which are easy to traverse. The overshots (simple rock dams across the waterways) were built by Chinese labour to help the Cobb & Co coaches that serviced the region, and the shady picnicking spots were popular with stagecoach passengers and Dagworth residents.
Part of the joy of the experience is that when you get to Combo Waterhole, and stand under the coolibah trees, you can really feel that if you were a swagman who had walked through this dry flat land you would want to settle down beside the cool, beautiful waterhole. Be warned: the mud at the side of the waterhole is slippery and very porous. You can end up, up to your waist in mud.
From 1899 to 1915 Combo Waterhole was used by Cobb & Co to water their horses and Old Dagworth Station, which is 30 km from the waterhole, because a mail exchange hotel and Cobb & Co.'s overnight stopover between Kynuna and Winton.
There are a number of memorials on the banks of Combo Waterhole but the one that resonates is the simple invitation to "Sit for a whole, flick flies away and listen to the ghosts of those who sat here before you. As they did, hear the birdcalls  - raucous and sweet - the chatter of family and friends, the buzz of flies and imagine the added sound of a jingling harness or a horse snorting away a fly." The true Waltzing Matilda experience.

The Complex  Story of Waltzing Matilda
No one knows exactly what prompted ‘Banjo’ Paterson to write his poem/song of the swaggie who, rather than surrender to the police, decided to commit suicide by jumping into a billabong. However the blurry pieces of the puzzle are intriguing.
On 4 September 1894 the Brisbane Courier reported: "Information has been received at Winton that a man named Hoffmeister, a prominent unionist, was found dead about two miles from Kynuna. The local impression is that he was one of the attacking mob at Dagworth Station and was wounded there. There were seven unionists with Hoffmeister when he died. These assert that he committed suicide."
It is now widely believed that this story was the inspiration for the song although the Winton town history, which was published in 1975, offered a more romantic version.
It claimed Paterson was staying at Dagworth Station (the ruins are located approximately 100 km north west of Winton) in 1895 when Christina Macpherson played the tune 'Craiglea' for the guests. Paterson liked the tune and inquired about the words. Macpherson explained that she did not know of any words. This was enough to inspire Paterson. 
The lyrics which he wrote were an intermingling of a series of events which occurred while he was staying at Dagworth Station. 
During his stay Paterson saw a sheep which appeared to have died but on closer examination it had been killed, presumably by a swagman, and portions of it carefully removed to give the impression of natural death. This was possibly the inspiration for 'the crime'.
A second strand to the story focuses on Combo Waterhole. This waterhole on Belfast Station 145 km north west of Winton is clearly the setting for the poem. 
It is argued that Paterson used the setting after he had been told the story of Hoffmeister at Combo Waterhole by Robert Macpherson. There has been some suggestion that the story Paterson heard was not about Hoffmeister but about an unknown swagman and a stockman named Harry Wood. Wood had beaten an Aboriginal boy named Charlie to death and the Winton police, while trying to locate him, happened upon the swagman sitting by the billabong.
It is also claimed that the expression 'Waltzing Matilda' was first mentioned to Paterson at Dagworth Station by a jackeroo named Jack Carter.
In a letter to The Australian in 1995, at the time of the centenary celebrations of 'Waltzing Matilda', Dr Ross Fitzgerald, at the time Associate Professor of History and Politics at Griffith University in Queensland, stated quite categorically: “The song was written by Banjo Paterson in January 1895 just 14 weeks after an armed battle at Dagworth woolshed in September 1894 between striking shearers and the station owners, the Macphersons. 
“In the 'Battle of Dagworth' 140 lambs were burnt to death, while one of the sixteen striking insurrectionists, Samuel 'French' Hoffmeister died, supposedly by committing suicide, beside a billabong near Macpherson's Dagworth Station.
“Banjo visited the homestead shortly after the battle. While the site of old Dagworth Station where Banjo stayed is now a heap of rubble, thanks to Richard Magoffin's brilliant detective work Samuel Hoffmeister's grave at Kynuna Station, on the southern side of the Diamantina River, has been discovered, and a stone cairn placed beside the billabong. 
“The three policemen involved have been revealed to be Senior Constables Austin Cafferty (number 420), Michael Daly, (89), and Robert Dyer (175).
“It is clear that Miss Christina Macpherson, who had heard the Scottish tune Craigilee played by a band at the annual Steeplechase race meeting at Warrnambool Victoria in April 1884, met Paterson when he visited her brother, Bob Macpherson, at Dagworth. 
“There being no piano at the homestead, the tune that Christina had memorised she played to him on an autoharp, which is like a zither. To this tune, as Magoffin and Clement Semmler demonstrate, Banjo added the words to the song Waltzing Matilda, just 14 weeks after the Battle at Dagworth Station.
“It is important to note that in the original verses the swagman was camped in, not by, the billabong and that there were three policemen, not - as one theory has it - one fictitious trooper 'number 123'... Contrary to the sanitised version of the so-called 'jolly swagman', which did not exist in Paterson's original version, Waltzing Matilda is actually a powerful political allegory based on the 1894 Shearers' Strike.”
So, which version is the correct one. I am inclined towards Ross Fitzgerald’s simply because it appeals to my sense that this song deserves to be subversive.

Elderslie Homestead
Located 60 km west of Winton on the Boulia Road, Elderslie Homestead is a heritage listed dwelling which was built between 1881 and 1912. The Queensland Heritage Register notes that "The complex comprises accommodation and working buildings. Three buildings constructed from Booka Booka sandstone remain. These are the main house, quarters and blacksmith's building. There is also a timber and metal meat house and visible sites of several other structures. The main house is constructed from squared rubble, with dressed faces. Door openings are picked out with finely tooled margins. This method of construction is more refined than that used for the other buildings which are of coursed rubble. The original 1881 section was essentially a one room deep rectangular structure with verandahs to all sides. An early wing was added to the north west side to form an L-shape and the verandah has been extended to encircle this addition. The construction techniques used for the addition are cruder, using random rubble stone, rendered and struck to imitate ashlar. The hipped roof is sheeted with corrugated iron. The rooms have concrete floors and rendered walls, most of which open out on to the verandahs but are not interconnecting. The main rooms are lined and ceiled with pressed metal panelling. Three of the rooms have fireplaces. The entire verandah is enclosed with flyscreens." When offered for sale in 1924 the property was 176,120 ha and was running 80,000 sheep. For more detailed information check out https://environment.ehp.qld.gov.au/heritage-register/detail/?id=600966.

Opalton Fields
The Opalton fields are located 109 km from Winton. Discovered by a stockman named George Cragg in 1888 they were not worked until 1893. By 1896 there were 500-600 men on the fields but the inevitable problem of water (which had to be carted over 20 km) ensured that when the price of opals dropped the field was abandoned. During its heyday the field yielded the largest piece of pipe opal - a piece that was 3 metres long and as thick as a man's arm. The township has vanished and all that is left are some ruins and the remains of mullock heaps where miners once fossicked for the precious opals. Today it still attracts fossickers. Check out http://www.experiencewinton.com.au/opalton for extra details. There is also excellent details on the Queensland Government site - https://www.qld.gov.au/recreation/activities/fossicking/western-opal/opalton.

Carisbrooke Station
Carisbrooke Station is a working sheep and cattle property and a wildlife sanctuary and, with its bora rings, Aboriginal rock paintings, and dramatic scenery is regarded by many of the Winton locals as a place which deserves to be ranked with some of Australia's most interesting outback reserves and experiences. It is currently a farmstay destination where tours of the surrounding area (including Lark Quarry) are part of the outback experience. Tel: (07) 4657 0084 or check out http://www.carisbrooketours.com.au.

Old Cork Station Historic Homestead
Old Cork Station is located 126 km south west of Winton on the banks of the Diamantina River. It is an historic sandstone homestead which now lies in ruins. There are interpretative panels which provide information about the history of the homestead and surrounding station. It is located near a permanent waterhole and is ideal for people wanting to get away from everyone by just bush camping, doing a little fishing, bird watching, swimming and picnicking. 

Cawnpore Lookout & Lilleyvale Hills
The Lilleyvale Hills are set on the edge of Winton Shire and Boulia Shire on the Kennedy Developmental Road. The Lookout is approximately 51 kilometres west of Middleton on the Kennedy Developmental Road. The lookout offers spectacular panoramic views of the surrounding Hills. The view of the Lilleyvale Hills from Cawnpore Lookout is the high point on the drive between Winton to Boulia, already one of the most spectacular scenic drives in Queensland. The road winds its way through Jump Up and Channel Country and Mitchell Grass Downs, which highlights the diversity of landscapes in western Queensland.



* Prior to the arrival of Europeans the area was inhabited by people from the Guwa Aboriginal language group.

* It is possible that Ludwig Leichhardt passed near the present site of the town in 1848.

* Winton, originally known as Pelican Waterhole, owes its existence to the Burke and Wills expedition and the subsequent search parties which scoured central Queensland looking for the missing explorers. During the early 1860s  Frederick Walker, John McKinley and William Landsborough all passed through the area. 

* It was as a result of their reports that the area was first settled in the mid 1860s although 

* There is no formal record of land leases until 1873.

* In 1875 Robert Allen arrived in the area and became the postmaster at Pelican Waterhole. 

* TIn 1876  the waterhole flooded and Allen was forced to move to higher ground. It is said that he got tired of writing the long 'Pelican Waterhole' on letters and so he renamed the town after the suburb in Bournemouth, England where he was born. 

* The first North Gregory Hotel opened in 1878.

* The town of Winton was formally gazetted in 1879. A chemist set up business in the town and the North Gregory Hotel was built in that year.

* By 1880 Winton had a police station, a bank, a police magistrate and a regular service from Cobb & Co.

* In 1881 Thomas McIlwraith, the Premier of Queensland, passed through the town.

* By 1882 the town had a hospital.

* By 1883 the town had four hotels.

* The Winton Herald was first published in 1884.

* In 1885 a primary school was opened.

* The Opalton opal fields were discovered in 1888 but were not exploited until 1893.

* By 1889 regular water was reaching the town from the first artesian bore in the area.

* The town was one of the many centres for the Great Shearer's Strike of 1891. The woolshed on Elderslie Station was burn down on 8 October.

* On 4 September 1894 the Brisbane Courier reported: 'Information has been received * In 1895 Christina Macpherson played the tune 'Craiglea' for the guests at the North Gregory Hotel. 'Banjo' Paterson heard the performance and inquired about the words. Macpherson explained that she did not know of any words. 

*Waltzing Matilda was written by Paterson in January 1895 just 14 weeks after an armed battle at Dagworth woolshed in September 1894 between striking shearers and the station owners, the Macphersons. 

* By 1896 there were 500-600 men on the Opalton Fields.

* The railway reached Winton in 1899. That year the North Gregory Hotel burnt down.

* St Paul's Church was consecrated in 1900.

* By 1902 approximately 3 million litres of water were being piped to the town from the artesian basin.

* By 1903 the town had ten hotels and three banks.

* The whole area around the town was flooded in 1906.

* By 1909 the telephone reached the town.

* A Catholic school was built in 1911.

* A picture theatre was opened in 1913.

* The town's first shire hall was opened in 1914.

* In 1918 an outdoor cinema was established in the town.

* In 1920 the Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services Limited (QANTAS) was established in Winton.

* In 1928 Winton was connected by rail to Longreach.

* The current North Gregory Hotel was built in 1955, after the previous three had burnt down.

* The first official dinosaur find occurred on Cork Station in 1962.

* In 2009 dinosaurs from the genera Australovenator, Wintonotitan and Diamantinasaurus were found in the area.

* The Koa Aboriginal people lodged a claim under native title to the land around the town in 2015.


Visitor Information

Winton Visitor Information Centre, 73 Elderslie Street, tel: (07) 4657 1466.


Useful Websites

There is a useful local website. Check out http://www.experiencewinton.com.au.

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