The Birdsville Hotel, adjacent to the apron of Birdsville Airport.
|Elevation||46.5 m (153 ft)|
|State electorate(s)||Mount Isa|
Birdsville is a small town located in the Channel Country of Central West Queensland, Australia. It is 1590 kilometres west of the state capital, Brisbane, and 720 kilometres south of the city of Mount Isa. Birdsville is on the edge of the Simpson Desert, and the climate is very arid. At the 2011 census, Birdsville had a population of 295.
Birdsville was known as Diamantina Crossing from 1881. Later the name Birdsville was adopted believing to be on account of the prolific bird life in the district. Proclaimed a town in 1887, Birdsville was located at the border of South Australia and Queensland to collect tolls from the droves of cattle being moved interstate.
Many of Australia's pioneering European explorers travelled through the Birdsville district well before the town was gazetted. Monuments to acknowledge the feats of Captain Charles Sturt, Burke & Wills, Cecil Madigan and others are located throughout the town.
Birdsville had a population of over 300 at the turn of the twentieth century. It had three hotels, a cordial factory, blacksmith store, market gardens, police and customs facilities but after Federation in 1901, the tolls were abolished and the town fell into decline  to about 50 people throughout the 1950s. Livestock trade kept the region alive and in recent times tourism has joined cattle as the major industry in the area.
Birdsville has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:
- Adelaide Street: Australian Inland Mission Hospital (former)
- Adelaide Street: Birdsville Courthouse
- Adelaide Street: Royal Hotel/Australian Inland Mission Hospital (former)
- Burt Street: Birdsville Hotel
- Eyre Developmental Road: Carcory Homestead Ruin
- Glengyle Station: Kidman's Tree of Knowledge
Birdsville is located by the Diamantina River in the Diamantina Shire, which has a population of 326 persons (Census 2001). The Birdsville Track extends 514 kilometres from Marree in South Australia through the Strzelecki Desert before ending at Birdsville.
When proclaimed the town had three hotels, two stores, a customs house for interstate trade, a police station and a large collection of commercial buildings but in 2007 there was just one hotel serving canned or bottled beer, library, visitor information centre, museum and a hospital. Today Birdsville is a popular tourist destination with many people using it as a stopping point across the Simpson Desert. In recent years a number of companies have started operating scenic flights round Lake Eyre departing from Birdsville, such as Birdsville Air Charters and Central Eagle Aviation. It is also known for the annual Birdsville Races, which are held in September each year in aid of the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia. The tiny town population is augmented by many thousands for the two-day event, and hundreds of aircraft fill the town's 1,700 metres (1,859 yd) airstrip. In 2010 the races were cancelled for the first time in the event's history due to rain.
Birdsville also has an 80 kW geothermal power station, the only one of its type in Australia. Water is extracted from an 80-year-old bore on the Great Artesian Basin at 98 °C and is used to heat the operating fluid isopentane in a Rankine Cycle engine. The geothermal plant produces around one third of the town's electricity. The water (once cooled) is also the source of the town's drinking water.
The town is situated near a billabong on which a pontoon was built to facilitate swimming and non-powered boating activities, and which has recently become home to a stray Freshwater Crocodile.
The median annual rainfall at Birdsville is 133 mm. The actual amount of rain which falls is highly variable, for example, in 1914 just 14 mm was recorded while 659 mm fell in 1917. Dust storms are most likely during periods of strong wind which typically occur in spring. Birdsville recorded the hottest confirmed temperature in the state of Queensland, with 49.5 °C (121.1 °F) having been recorded on more than one occasion.
|Climate data for Birdsville Police Station|
|Record high °C (°F)||49.5||45.9||45.0||41.7||37.8||32.4||33.4||36.2||42.4||45.1||48.7||49.5||49.5
|Average high °C (°F)||40.2||38.0||35.1||30.3||24.8||21.6||20.8||23.5||28.1||32.1||35.5||37.7||30.5|
|Average low °C (°F)||24.2||24.1||21.1||16.2||11.3||7.9||6.6||8.3||12.2||16.1||19.7||22.5||15.8|
|Record low °C (°F)||12.2||13.9||9.4||6.0||1.7||-1.7||-1.7||0.4||1.5||2.8||8.5||10.9||-1.7
|Precipitation mm (inches)||24.7||29.0||16.4||9.5||11.8||10.4||10.9||6.4||5.7||12.1||13.5||16.0||167.0|
|Avg. precipitation days||2.5||2.4||1.7||1.2||1.7||1.8||1.6||1.3||1.3||2.3||2.3||2.5||22.6|
In popular culture
- Elizabeth Haran's 2004 novel Stars in the Southern Sky is set in the town (though renamed to Kangaroo Crossing).
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (25 October 2007). "Birdsville (Diamantina Shire) (State Suburb)". 2006 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 2009-03-20.
- "2011 Census QuickStats - Bedourie". Australian Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 5 August 2012.
- "Birdsville". Queensland Holidays. Tourism Queensland. Retrieved 11 March 2012.
- "About Birdsville, history". Birdsville Race Club Inc. Archived from the original on 2006-10-25. Retrieved 2007-01-07.
- "Australian Inland Mission Hospital (former) (entry 28739)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 2013-07-07.
- "Birdsville Courthouse (entry 15235)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 2013-07-07.
- "Royal Hotel/Australian Inland Mission Hospital (former) (entry 15234)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 2013-07-07.
- "Birdsville Hotel (entry 15236)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 2013-07-07.
- "Carcory Homestead Ruin (entry 15233)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 2013-07-07.
- "Kidman's Tree of Knowledge (entry 15237)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 2013-07-07.
- "Birdsville". Flinders Ranges Research. Retrieved 2007-01-07.
- Central Eagle Aviation Website Retrieved: 27 March 2011.
- Birdsville Air Charter Website Retrieved: 24 March 2011.
- "Birdsville Race Club". Birdsville Race Club Inc. Archived from the original on 2006-10-25. Retrieved 2007-01-07.
- "New power station for Birdsville". The North West Star (Fairfax Media). 23 February 2012. Retrieved 11 March 2012.
- "Birdsville geothermal power station (pdf)" (PDF). Queensland Sustainable Energy Innovation Fund. September 2007. Archived from the original on 2006-07-16. Retrieved 2007-01-07.
- Chrissy Arthur & Julia Harris (20 February 2012). "A pontoon for Birdsville's billabong". ABC Western Queensland (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). Retrieved 11 March 2012.
- "Birdsville croc catches sun". ABC Western Queensland. 19 June 2013. Retrieved 30 July 2013.
- Hesse, Paul B. (2010). "The Australian desert dunefields: formation and evolution in an old, flat, dry continent". In Bishop, P.; Pillans, B. Australian Landscapes. London: Geological Society. p. 145.