The main street of Alpha
|Population||571 (2011 census)|
Alpha was initially established as a temporary terminus during construction of the Central Western railway line (then known as the Great Northern line, a name that would be subsequently assigned to the subsequent more northern line west of Townsville to Mount Isa). The railway, which was being built westwards from Rockhampton, was opened to Alpha on 22 September 1884. The construction camp continued moving west, but a township remained at the former terminus. Until the late 1990s, Queensland Rail maintained a locomotive depot in the town.
Alpha State School opened on 30 August 1886.
The town remains a service centre for the surrounding pastoral properties and travellers on the highway.
On 29 May 2012 the first mine proposed to be developed in the Galilee Basin, known as the Alpha Coal Project, was approved by the Government of Queensland. Wharatah Coal is planning on building a new mine close to the town called the China First Coal Project. This mine is to be built on the Bimblebox nature refuge which is home to the endangered black-throated finch.
Another two mines are planned. The mining expansion is expected to place a significant strain on local infrastructure. The primary concerns are a lack of available land and sewerage, water and power systems at close to capacity.
Bimblebox, a feature-length documentary directed by Michael C O'Connell (Mountaintop Removal) premiered at the 2012 Byron Bay International Film Festival. Bimblebox explores the "China First" mega mine project being developed by Waratah Coal close to the town of Alpha in the Galilee basin. The film also examines opposition to the China First mine from the owners of the Bimblebox nature refuge which stands in the path of the proposed project. In a 20 March 2012 press conference Waratah coal CEO Clive Palmer accused environmental groups and the films producers of being funded by the Central Intelligence Agency.
Alpha has a tourism information centre, golf course, art gallery, showground, parks, swimming pool, tennis courts, museum, hardware store, newsagents, bank, pub, grocery store, bakery, butcher, post office, BP, Caltex, craft shop, hairdresser, pharmacey, hospital, police station and fire station.
Barcaldine Regional Council operates a library at the Alpha town hall.
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (31 October 2012). "Alpha". 2011 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 20 August 2016.
- "Alpha (entry 462)". Queensland Place Names. Queensland Government.
- "Alpha - locality (entry 47069)". Queensland Place Names. Queensland Government. Retrieved 20 August 2016.
- "A". Opening and closing dates of Queensland schools. Queensland Government. Retrieved 15 March 2014.
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (25 October 2007). "Alpha (L) (Urban Centre/Locality)". 2006 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 17 March 2011.
- Melinda Howells & Chrissy Arthur (30 May 2012). "Government approves $6.4b coal mine in Galilee Basin". ABC News (Australia). Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 20 August 2012.
- "Waratah Coal". Waratah Coal. Retrieved 20 August 2012.
- "Bimblebox teeming with life: botanists". Brisbane Times. Fairfax Media. 17 May 2012. Retrieved 20 August 2012.
- Simon Green (28 September 2011). "The mines are coming to quiet Alpha". Central Queensland News. APN News & Media. Retrieved 20 August 2012.
- "Mining magnate Clive Palmer says CIA is behind campaign to kill coal industry". ABC News (Australia). 22 March 2012. Retrieved 5 January 2014.
- "Libraries". Barcaldine Regional Council. Retrieved 8 May 2017.