The town of Longreach was settled in the 1870s and is now the largest town in the region. The old town from its humble beginnings in the 1870s as a stock route junction on the 'long reach' of the Thomson River is now fully serviced by road, rail and air.
Longreach is famous for its role with Qantas having the original hangar that housed Australia
’s first six aircraft which were built between 1922 and 1934. This airline which began life in Queensland
's Outback, subsequently grew into our first international carrier. Longreach also has the Australian Stockman’s Hall Of Fame, which is a memorial to the explorers
, overlanders, pioneers and settlers of remote Australia
. It was in 1974, that Hugh Sawrey, a well known stockman and outback artist, enlisted supporters for his dream for this 12.5 million dollar memorial.
The Landsbourough Highway continues in a south-easterly direction out of Winton
towards Longreach on the Thomson River. This is western Queensland
's second largest town and gives ample dedication to the pioneers, explorers
, stockmen, shearers, pastoralists and everyday folk who helped open up outback Australia
. The Stockman's Hall of Fame is the most well-known attraction in Longreach although there is the Qantas Founders' Outback Museum too.
For those who like to bush camp
, there are 2 riverside sites just a few kilometres north of town. Closest to town is the Thomson and there is camping on both sides of the river with good fishing. Further out of town, the next river has more varied and secluded camping with shallower banks, better for fishing and catching yabbies. All the dirt tracks in this region are black soil and are therefore dry-weather tracks only.
The Matilda Highway
continues past Longreach where wide open plains surround the road to Barcaldine
was the first town in Australia
to discover the underground artesian basin in 1887 and today still enjoys fresh supplies of water nourishing orchards of citrus fruits. Established in 1886, Barcaldine
gained a place in Australian history when it became the headquarters of the historic shearers' strike during which over 1000 men camped in town. That confrontation began what is now known as the Australian Labour Party. The Tree of KnowledgeMemorial in the main street is the celebrated position of the meetings during this time of historic upheaval.