Footpath on the main street of Chinchilla
|Population||5,487 (2011 census)|
|Time zone||AEST (No Daylight Saving) (UTC+10)|
|LGA(s)||Western Downs Region|
The town (approximately 300 kilometres (190 mi) west-northwest of Brisbane) was established in 1877. As the railway pushed west across the Darling Downs from Toowoomba and Dalby, the banks of Charley's Creek seemed an ideal place for a town.
Agriculture is the mainstay of the community, with beef and pork production, wool growing, and horticulture traditionally underwriting the local economy. However, with the recent resources boom, the Kogan Creek Power Station (and other coal and gas projects) have begun to inject welcome cash into the town and Chinchilla is experiencing mass growth and development. House prices in Chinchilla have boomed as a result of the need to house new workers.
Chinchilla is known as the 'Melon Capital of Australia', and plays host to a Melon Festival every second year in February – the next is to be held in 2015.
Chinchilla Post Office opened on 3 January 1878.
The Chinchilla War Memorial was originally located near the railway overpass and was unveiled on 30 January 1919 by the Queensland Governor, Hamilton Goold-Adams. In 1977 it was substantially refurbished and relocated to the Returned and Services League of Australia club and was unveiled on 17 March 1979.
Chinchilla has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:
Chinchilla has four schools (one state high school, one state primary school, and two private primary schools) that cater from prep to year 12:
- Chinchilla State School (450 students)
- Chinchilla Christian School (170 students). Chinchilla Christian School is set to move into high school in 2014 or 2015.
- St Joseph’s School (170 students)
- Chinchilla State High School (500 students). The Southern Queensland Institute of TAFE annex is located in the high school grounds and works closely with local business and industries.
Chinchilla has two childcare facilities, and other home care facilities, that care for children from 6 weeks to 16 years old.
The Chinchilla Grandfather Clock Campdraft is a major event held every October, where entrants compete for the Grandfather Clock prize. Chinchilla also hosts horse races four times a year.
Chinchilla Melon Festival
As Chinchilla produces 25% of Australia’s melons (including watermelon, rockmelon and honeydew), the first Chinchilla Melon Festival  was held in 1994 by local producers and businessmen, to lift the town’s spirits after the severe drought experienced in the early 1990s. Estimated numbers at the first Festival were approximately 2,500, and it has been estimated that there were 10,000 visitors on the main day of the last Festival (which was held in February 2011).
In 2009, the Melon Festival won the Queensland Regional Achievement and Community Award for Tourism Event.
The Festival features extremely interactive and unique events, such as Melon Skiing, Melon Bungee, Melon Bullseye, Melon Ironman, Melon Chariot, a pip spitting competition, and melon eating races. A special event held in 2009 saw John Allwood secure the Guinness World Record of Melon Head Smashing - cracking open as many watermelons as possible using only the head. Currently his record is 47 melons in a minute.
Arts and entertainment
Chinchilla has a Cultural Centre, which includes a 700-seat auditorium, cinema and function room, outdoor patio, theatrette, plus bar and kitchen facilities. Also included in the complex are the White Gums Art Gallery and the Cypress Pines Library.
Chinchilla White Gums Art Gallery houses a new display every month.
Tourism and recreation
Chinchilla is one of the towns located on the Warrego Highway, which is a main highway leading out west to Charleville, and a popular tourist route. The mainstays of Chinchilla's tourism industry are the Historical Museum, fishing and fossicking for petrified wood. 'Chinchilla Red' petrified wood is unique to the area, and known for its colour and quality. The Chinchilla White Gum (Eucalyptus argophloia) is also unique to the area, and can be seen on some of the tourist drives which are marked around the region.
An accredited Visitor Information Center is located on the Highway.
Chinchilla has a range of sports facilities and a variety of sports clubs. Chinchilla Aquatic Centre houses an indoor 25m heated pool, an outdoor 50m pool and a gymnasium. The Chinchilla Family Sports Centre provides facilities for many sports and clubs. There are also clubs and facilities for touch football, rugby league, cricket, tennis, squash, motocross, gymnastics, indoor netball, taekwondo, football and lawn bowls. A fishing club, Pony Club, and shooting range also operate in the area. In addition, there are Polocrosse grounds, a race track, and 9 hole golf course. A Multipurpose Sports Centre Stadium is currently being developed.
Rebel FM 97.1 (formerly Sun FM) was Chinchilla's first commercial FM radio station. Rebel FM has a new rock & classic rock music format. Rebel FM's sister station, The Breeze broadcasts on 95.5 FM with an easy adult contemporary & classic hits format. Both stations are part of the Gold Coast based Rebel Media Group which operates a radio network that reaches the Gold Coast and South Brisbane to many centres throughout regional and outback Queensland.
Chinchilla News is the local newspaper, published every Thursday. All major television channels are available, including WIN Television, Seven Network, Network Ten, ABC Television and SBS, along with the HDTV versions of these channels, and Austar is also available. ABC Triple J is on 104.1.
As coal and gas interests continue to develop within the region, significant benefits will flow on to other sectors, particularly education, construction, infrastructure, transport and logistics. Already, Chinchilla is growing rapidly to accommodate increased investment and demand exists for many associated and downstream industries.
This has enabled multiple property development companies to develop the town, building multiple estates which include; Chinchilla Park Estate, Bottle Tree Residential Estate and Parker Place, Chinchilla. This growth has pushed the development of new commercial stores, such as McDonald's and Subway. As of 2013 Chinchilla is the second fastest growing town in Queensland after Brisbane, and is the fastest growing inland town in the state.
Despite the "welcome influx of cash" to the area, there are serious health concerns within the community regarding coal seam gas. These concerns are ignored for the most part as the big companies bring money to the area and small land holders have no rights to stop these companies putting gas wells on their land despite most land being a grant in fee simple that have protections under the constitutional monarchy! They tend to buy out anyone who raises concerns about the health implications and have caused many locals to leave the area as property prices outside of town lower, concerns that the mining boom will destroy the local farming communities surrounding area have been voiced but not addressed and the future, while looking good for the town itself is not looking viable on the outskirts that are affected by csg.
Chinchilla has its own hospital, with an emergency ward, maternity ward and operating theatre. It can also care for long stay patients, and has other services such as social work, child health, physiotherapy, dietician, speech therapy, occupational therapy, mental health, community health services, a women’s clinic and an x-ray facility.
In town, there is also a private dental practice, along with the public dental hospital. Five general practitioners operate in the area, along with an occupational therapist, optometrist, podiatrist, physiotherapists and chiropractors.
Chinchilla is connected to Brisbane, Toowoomba and Roma by the Warrego Highway. Greyhound Australia operates 2-3 daily bus services between Brisbane and Mount Isa via Longreach and Charleville, and three buses a week between Toowoomba and Rockhampton, along the Dawson Highway. The Westlander train also comes through Chinchilla twice a week, on its way between Brisbane and Charleville. As it is a small town, there is no public transport (besides a taxi), although many coal and gas companies run contracted buses out to their sites.
- Film producer George Miller.
- Australian folk/country singer Pete Murray grew up in Chinchilla.
- Australian painter Hugh Sawrey spent many years in the Kogan area.
- Rugby League player Ben Ross.
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (31 October 2012). "Chinchilla (Urban Centre/Locality)". 2011 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 2008-11-29.
- John McCarthy (5 February 2010). "Gloom mining towns are boom towns thanks to housing frenzy". The Courier-Mail. Retrieved 21 March 2010.
- Premier Postal History. "Post Office List". Premier Postal Auctions. Retrieved 10 May 2014.
- "Chinchilla War Memorial". Monument Australia. Retrieved 4 April 2014.
- "Soldier Statue, Chinchilla (entry 16032)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 2013-07-16.
- Surat Basin Corporation. "About Chinchilla". Retrieved 8 February 2010.
- Queensland Museum. "Chinchilla Melon Festival display". Collecting Queensland Festivals. Retrieved 8 February 2010.
- Awards Australia. "Regional Achievement & Community Awards". Retrieved 8 February 2010.
- "Man smashes way to melon record with head". ABC News. 21 February 2009. Retrieved 16 February 2010.
- Queensland Government Department of Mines and Energy. "Chinchilla Petrified Wood Localities". Retrieved 25 March 2010.
- Chinchilla Shire Council (May 2007). "Sport and Recreation Plan". p. 4. Retrieved 23 March 2010.
- Queensland Government. "Queensland Health". Retrieved 8 February 2010.
- IMDB Database. "George Miller (II)". Retrieved 6 February 2006.
- PeteMurray.com. "Pete Murray Biography". Retrieved 6 February 2006.
Media related to Chinchilla, Queensland at Wikimedia Commons
- University of Queensland: Queensland Places: Chinchilla
- Chinchilla Melon Festival Official Website