In the 2011 census, the town of Barcaldine had a population of 1,316 people, while the locality had a population of 1,655 people.
Major industries include sheep and cattle rearing. Barcaldine played a major role in the Australian labour movement. The famous and heritage listed Tree of Knowledge is the tree that shearers met under to create the first industrial action in Australia.
Ilfracombe calls itself ‘The Hub of the West’. In the 2011 census, Ilfracombe had a population of 348 people living in a region which covers 6,500 square kilometres.
Ilfracombe was founded in 1891 as a transport hub for Wellshot Station which, at the time, held the largest number of sheep on any station in the world. The town’s main industry is sheep rearing, mainly for wool.
Transport was once the lifeblood of the area. Long before the railway reached as far as Ilfracombe, wagons drawn by up to 30 horses took three months to carry the wool to the nearest port, Rockhampton, 650 kilometres away.
Prolonged drought means residents and businesses can no longer rely on surface water from dams as they once did. However, the Ilfracombe Bore Water Supply Project being largely funded through the Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk Government’s Building our Regions program supports targeted infrastructure projects across regional Queensland. Construction of the new Ilfracombe bore is due to be completed around the middle of this year which will improve water security for the western Queensland township of Ilfracombe.
Longreach is named after the “long reach” of the Thomson River on which it is situated. The town was gazetted in 1887 and the main industries of the area are cattle, sheep, and, more recently, tourism. At the 2011 Australian Census Longreach recorded a population of 3,137.
A number of Queensland towns have their streets named to a theme named after species of birds, with the streets running east-west named after water birds and those running north-south after land birds. Longreach is the home of the Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame, which was officially opened in 1988 by Queen Elizabeth II. The purpose of the centre is to showcase the history and the culture of life in rural Australia. Longreach was also one of the founding centres for Qantas, the Australian domestic and international airline.
The town is home to the Australian Agricultural College’s Longreach Campus, which prepares students for work in the agricultural and pastoral industries. It was known previously as the Longreach Pastoral College opened in 1967.
The Longreach Regional Council acknowledges the Iningai, Malintji and Kuunkari peoples as Traditional Owners of the land and pay respect to Elders past, present and future and value of the traditions, cultures and aspirations of the First Australians of this land.