The Boulevard, looking towards the water tower
|Population||452 (2011 census)|
|Elevation||142 m (466 ft)|
|LGA(s)||Shire of Banana|
Theodore is situated on the Dawson River just off the Leichhardt Highway 565 kilometres (351 mi) north-west of the state capital, Brisbane. Castle Creek flows through the town and into the Dawson River immediately south of the town centre.
The first European settler in the district was Joseph Thompson who amassed a number of pastoral leases from 1850 to his death in 1857, including Oxtrack Creek, Okangal, Coteeda, Delusion Creek, Macoom, Hope, Thalba and Woolthorpe. He entered a partnership James Reid who acquired the Boam run and acquired Thompson's runs after his death and then acquired further runs, before beginning to sell out to new settlers.
In 1893, William Woolrych acquired 13,000 acres (53 km2) of land alongside the Dawson River and gradually built it up through further land acquisitions into the very large Woolthorpe Station.
Dawson River Irrigation Scheme
In 1905, the Queensland Minister for Lands Joshua Thomas Bell and fellow Member of the Queensland Legislative Assembly Robert Herbertson conducted a tour of the district. Herbertson reported that Woolthorpe was "a splendid property, consisting of downs and black soil flats" used for sheep grazing. Herbertson also reported favourably on an experiment to raise lucerne by irrigating 70–80 acres (28–32 ha) of cleared land beside the Dawson River. His opinion was that there was plenty of water available in the Dawson River for irrigation and the land could grow almost any crop. Herbertson believed that, with irrigation, the district would be capable of supporting a large population, provided there was cheap, easy and quick transport to the coast. This comment about transport followed Minister Bell's earlier criticism of the condition of the roads west of Gladstone which were the responsibility of the Banana Shire and the Taroom Shire.
The idea of a major irrigation scheme involving the Dawson River continued to be considered by the Queensland Parliament over a number of years. However, it was not until February 1920, that the Premier of Queensland Ted Theodore announced his support for a Dawson River irrigation scheme. Later that year, in September 1920, Ted Theodore announced that a dam would be built at The Gorge on the Dawson River ( ) enabling 100,000 acres (40,000 ha) of fertile land to be created through irrigation along 65 kilometres (40 mi) of the Dawson River. The irrigated area would be organised into five zones: Isla, Castle Creek (later Theodore), Huon, Moura and Coolibah, with each zone having a central township. There would be irrigated farms closer to the river and dry (non-irrigated) blocks further away. It was estimated that there would be about 5000 farms and that, together with those living in the towns providing services to the farmers, the irrigation scheme would support about 50,000 people. Each town would be a "model garden city" as the local population would be sufficient to enable all modern amenities and recreational facilities; this was seen as important to attract younger people, who were believed to abandoning rural towns in favour of cities to which many had been exposed during the Great War.
In 1922 it was announced that the gorge and the dam would both be named after Matthew Nathan, the (then) Governor of Queensland. The dam would be the second largest in the world, submerging over 83,200 acres (337 km2) and capable of storing 2,485,000 acre feet (3.065 cubic kilometres) of water. (For comparison, the present day Wivenhoe Dam has an area of 109.4 square kilometres and a capacity of 2.61 cubic kilometres).
Also in 1922, it was announced that, in addition to the dam, the Dawson Valley Irrigation scheme would include the construction of a railway line to service the Dawson Valley. The funding for the overall scheme was to be through a loan from America for approximately £2.5 million.
The town of Theodore
As it would take some time to build the Nathan Dam, it was decided to commence on a smaller scale by initiating the Castle Creek irrigation zone by building a small low-cost weir nearby on the Dawson River, from which water would be pumped along canals to the irrigated farms. A power station was also built beside the river. The land offered for initial settlement was 264 irrigated farms of average size 13 acres (5.3 ha) and 109 dry blocks of average size 211 acres (85 ha).
The town was initially called Castle Creek after the local railway station, which in turn took its name from the creek which flowed into the Dawson River just south of the town. However, in November 1926, it was renamed in honour of Ted Theodore, who as Premier of Queensland had given so much support to the irrigation scheme.
Theodore State School opened on 6 May 1924.
The Castle Creek receiving office opened on 1 December 1924, but was upgraded to a post office on 15 December 1924. It was renamed Theodore Post Office on 1 July 1927.
The Hotel Theodore was originally built as a boarding house to accommodate new residents to the district.
The Theodore branch of the Country Women's Association was established in about 1928. In 1932, they opened their original rest rooms in Theodore in 1923 at a cost of £113. On 21 February 1953, their current hall on The Boulevard was opened. The land was donated and the building cost £3,000. It is painted in the traditional blue-and-white colours of the CWA.
In March 2010 the Dawson River flooded, causing significant economic damage to the town. On 28 December 2010, a second flood forced evacuation of the town, with the level of the Dawson River exceeding 14.6 metres.
The town's economy is closely linked to coal mining – Theodore is at the southern end of Queensland's coal-rich Bowen Basin.
Theodore has an airport (IATA: TDR) but no regular scheduled services operate from it. The community has raised funds to install solar-powered lighting so the runway can be used for medical emergency flights at night.
The Shire of Banana operates a library on The Boulevard in Theodore.
The Theodore War Memorial on commemorates Australians who have served in all wars and conflicts. It is located on the oval in the centre of The Boulevard ().
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (31 October 2012). "Theodore (SSC)". 2011 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 21 April 2014.
- "Theodore (town) (entry 34200)". Queensland Place Names. Queensland Government. Retrieved 21 April 2014.
- "Theodore (locality) (entry 40445)". Queensland Place Names. Queensland Government. Retrieved 21 April 2014.
- "Town of Theodore". Hotel Theodore. Retrieved 20 May 2014.
- "DOMESTIC INTELLIGENCE.". The Moreton Bay Courier (Brisbane, Qld.: National Library of Australia). 27 June 1857. p. 2. Retrieved 20 May 2014.
- "DOMESTIC INTELLIGENCE.". The Moreton Bay Courier (Brisbane, Qld.: National Library of Australia). 15 August 1857. p. 2. Retrieved 20 May 2014.
- "TRANSFER OF RUNS.". The Moreton Bay Courier (Brisbane, Qld.: National Library of Australia). 27 October 1858. p. 2. Retrieved 20 May 2014.
- "APPROACHING LAND SALES.". The Courier (Brisbane) (Brisbane, Qld.: National Library of Australia). 25 March 1864. p. 3. Retrieved 20 May 2014.
- "QUEENSLAND'S AREAS FOR SELECTION.". The Brisbane Courier (National Library of Australia). 1 May 1905. p. 5. Retrieved 20 May 2014.
- "THE HON. J. T. BELL'S TOUR.". The Brisbane Courier (National Library of Australia). 25 April 1905. p. 2. Retrieved 20 May 2014.
- "IRRIGATION IN QUEENSLAND.". The Brisbane Courier (National Library of Australia). 2 March 1910. p. 5. Retrieved 4 June 2014.
- "WATER CONSERVATION AND IRRIGATION.". The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Qld.: National Library of Australia). 8 August 1916. p. 4. Retrieved 4 June 2014.
- "The Morning Bulletin.". The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Qld.: National Library of Australia). 17 December 1919. p. 8. Retrieved 4 June 2014.
- "WATER AND FODDER.". The Cairns Post (Qld.: National Library of Australia). 12 February 1920. p. 5. Retrieved 4 June 2014.
- "THE PREMIER'S SPEECH.". The Western Star and Roma Advertiser (Toowoomba, Qld.: National Library of Australia). 22 September 1920. p. 2. Retrieved 4 June 2014.
- "DAWSON VALLEY.". The Central Queensland Herald (Rockhampton, Qld.: National Library of Australia). 1 June 1933. p. 42. Retrieved 4 June 2014.
- "Theodore". Sydney Morning Herald. 8 February 2004. Retrieved 5 June 2014.
- "Theodore". Queensland Places. Centre for the Government of Queensland, University of Queensland. Retrieved 4 June 2014.
- "VICE-REGAL TOUR.". The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Qld.: National Library of Australia). 30 May 1922. p. 9. Retrieved 4 June 2014.
- "BURNETT PROPOSAL.". The Brisbane Courier (National Library of Australia). 10 February 1922. p. 6. Retrieved 4 June 2014.
- "Town of Theodore.". The Capricornian (Rockhampton, Qld.: National Library of Australia). 25 November 1926. p. 26. Retrieved 21 April 2014.
- "Opening and closing dates of Queensland Schools". Queensland Government. Retrieved 17 May 2014.
- Premier Postal History. "Post Office List". Premier Postal Auctions. Retrieved 17 May 2014.
- "Welcome to Hotel Theodore". Hotel Theodore. Retrieved 20 May 2014.
- "COUNTRY WOMEN'S ASSOCIATION.". The Brisbane Courier (National Library of Australia). 7 May 1929. p. 21. Retrieved 9 June 2014.
- "Big CWA Theodore paint job". Gladstone Observer. 13 April 2012. Retrieved 9 June 2014.
- Guse, Russell (12 March 2010). "Theodore starts flood clean up". Central Telegraph (Biloela: APN News). Retrieved 20 March 2010.
- Guse, Russel (28 December 2010). "Forced Evacuations from Theodore". Central Telegraph (Biloela: APN News & Media Ltd). Retrieved 30 December 2010.
- "Branches & Opening hours". Shire of Banana. Retrieved 9 June 2014.
- "Theodore War Memorial". Monument Australia. Retrieved 9 June 2014.
- "Simple Pleasures: Banana Shire" (PDF). The Gladstone Region. Tourism Queensland. p. 3. Retrieved 8 June 2014.
- "Theodore Show Society". Retrieved 8 June 2014.
Media related to Theodore, Queensland at Wikimedia Commons
- Banana Shire Website
- University of Queensland: Queensland Places: Theodore
- Central Queensland University's Bowen Basin Website (includes information on Theodore)