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Main Street, 2014
|Population||305 (2011 census)|
Meringandan is a small country locality in the Toowoomba Region on the Darling Downs in Queensland, Australia. The town is located near Highfields, 19 kilometres (12 mi) NNW of Toowoomba. At the 2011 census, Meringandan had a population of 305.
The name Meringandan is a corruption of the aboriginal words, Moorin meaning fire and Gandan meaning clay. Therefore Meringandan means 'place of fire and clay'.
Following the settling of the Leslie brothers at Toolburra, near Warwick, Henry and Fred Isaacs occupied the Gowrie Estate, including Meringandan in 1841.
In 1866 the estate was sold to a French Count, Ernest de Satge de St. Jeon, his younger brother Oscar and George King. During 1868, the Count returned to France, and the Gowrie Estate became the sole property of the Hon. George King and his sons. The owners originally used the property for sheep raising. Later, owing to heavy losses caused by dingoes, the sheep were replaced by cattle. The Isaac brothers built a homestead in Meringandan, and here, in 1860, was born the first white child, Eliza Hunt, her father being an overseer and stockman on the estate.
The Lands Alienation Act of 1868 meant that the Meringandan portion of Gowrie Station was resumed and thrown open for settlement. Many German farmers emigrated to Queensland in the 1860s, some coming to the Darling Downs. Many families in this district are of German descent. These pioneers were amazed that the minimum amount of land they could select was 40 acres (160,000 m2).
After being thrown open for selection in 1872, the land was soon occupied. A branch railway line was constructed from Toowoomba to Cabarlah, the first train running in September, 1883. Meringandan being their nearest railway station, the settlers in the Goombungee and Haden areas used it to forward their goods. Most of the farmers did their own carting, but well known carriers were Jack Wieck, Herman Lau, George Klein and Jack Lange.
The township grew rapidly. General stores were erected, and hotels were built, "The Criterion"; "Farmers Arms". Blacksmiths were kept busy, and so were the butchers. Before 1900, the farmers' wives baked their own bread, but early in the century a bakery was established by O. Wuersching, the first baker employed being Walls.
The spiritual welfare of the district was not neglected. The German settlers congregated in their little slab church, built in 1870. Later the Church of England, the Congregational Church, and the Church of Christ built Churches.
During 1875, a state school was built in the present grounds, Jack Maag being the builder. Mr. Isaac John Thomas was appointed head teacher of the school, which was opened on 24 January 1876. The enrolment for that year was 80 pupils.
At the beginning of the century, the Court House was moved from Cabarlah and erected at Meringandan. But the construction of the railway to Haden in 1910 saw the town begin a decline, hastened by the advent of motor transport. In the early 1900s a line of teams stretching a distance of half a mile, waiting to load or unload at the railway station, was a familiar sight. Now the railway yards have vanished and a park stands where the railway station used to be.
It contains two parks; it is also the gateway to Cooby Dam. Meringandan has one school, a country pub, convenience store and a butcher. It has an annual rodeo which many people attend. It is drained by the meandering Meringandan Creek.
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (31 October 2012). "Meringandan (State Suburb)". 2011 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 1 July 2013.
- "Meringandan (entry 49182)". Queensland Place Names. Queensland Government. Retrieved 20 November 2014.
- "Mobile library". Toowoomba Regional Council. Retrieved 10 November 2014.