Emerald railway station
|Elevation||189 m (620 ft)|
|LGA(s)||Central Highlands Regional Council|
Emerald is a town located in the Central Highlands Region, Queensland, Australia. At the 2011 census, Emerald had a population of 12,895. The town is the business centre for the Central Highlands Regional Council.
Emerald lies on the Nogoa River, a tributary of the Fitzroy River. The town lies almost 300 kilometres from the coast and approximately 270 kilometres west of the city of Rockhampton on the junction of the Capricorn and Gregory highways. The Tropic of Capricorn intersects the Gregory Highway just north of Emerald.
Fairbairn Dam overflowed for the first time in 17 years on the 19 January 2008. Major flooding in Emerald occurred a few days after as the Nogoa River broke its banks. The floods, resulted in 1,000 houses being affected and more than 2,500 people being evacuated. The 2008 floods did not reach the heights of flooding in previous years.
Some of the recorded floods have occurred in the region in 1863, 1864, 1868, 1870, 1871, 1872, 1875, 1876, 1878, 1882, 1887, 1890, 1894, 1896, 1898, 1906, 1912, 1918, 1920s, 1950 (where 1103.77 mm rain was recorded in Queensand), 1956 was the wettest year on record with 1032.29 mm rainfall. The 1970s also had similar rainfall to the 1860s and 1870s.
Previous to the 1990s, flood damage to residential properties was almost non existent. The biggest impact from flooding of the Nogoa River in Emerald itself was that one side of Emerald was cut off from the other and caravans at the Carinya Caravan Park would be towed to higher ground each time the Nogoa River rose, to prevent the caravans from being completely submerged. This caravan park is now the site of the Centro Property where Coles Supermarket and other businesses trade from. The swamp area is now part of Kidd Street, a housing development, in which an old river course ran into. The creek that ran along the back of the hospital, past the rear of Woolworths and past the Information Centre has been filled in turned into a channel with a section cemented on one side near the information centre, reducing the channel in size by approx two thirds. This area has been allowed to be developed. This creek was renamed Creek Street for a short section.
Emerald has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:
Emerald is a service town for a large number of industries in the area. Extensive coal mining operations are carried out in the district. Cotton is grown in the area, and is processed at the Yamala Cotton Gin, while other agricultural activities include grape, citrus and grain growing.
The citrus industry was severely affected by a citrus canker outbreak that started in 2004 and was declared over in early 2009. More than half a million citrus trees located around Emerald had to be destroyed.
To the west of the town is an area known as The Gemfields, with small towns such as Sapphire and Rubyvale indicating the type of gems found there. The sapphire fields located here are the largest in the southern hemisphere.
The Fairbairn Dam, a short drive to the south of the town, was opened in 1972, and holds back the waters of Lake Maraboon. The lake covers an area of up to 150 km², making it one of the largest artificial lakes in the country. When full, it holds more water than Sydney Harbour. This extensive water supply has allowed the cotton industry to flourish in the area, and the lake is a boon for local water sports.
Emerald has seven schools: five primary schools and three secondary schools. There are three public primary schools, Denison State School, Emerald North State School and Emerald State School. Marist College Emerald, St Patrick's and the Christian college are private schools. The only public high school in Emerald is Emerald State High School. The small community of Gindie exists approximately 23 km south of Emerald on the Gregory Highway. It is also home to a primary school established in 1897, Gindie State School.
Central Queensland University has a campus in Emerald.
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (31 October 2012). "Emerald (Urban Centre/Locality)". 2011 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 2013-15-10.
- "Travel: Emerald". theage.com.au. The Age Company. 2004-02-08. Retrieved 2009-08-22.
- "Overflowing dam to supply years of water to Emerald district". ABC News Online. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 19 January 2008. Retrieved 2009-10-22.
- "Emerald engulfed by spreading flood waters". ABC News Online. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 22 January 2008. Retrieved 2009-10-22.
- "Emerald Railway Station Complex (entry 15265)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 2013-07-07.
- "Citrus canker disease officially eradicated from Qld". ABC News Online. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 23 January 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-22.
- Pengiun Books Australia (2002). Explore Queensland. Camberwell, Victoria: Pengiun Books Australia. p. 40. ISBN 0-14-300015-2.