|Population||1,422 (2016 census)|
|• Density||1.9069/km2 (4.9389/sq mi)|
|Elevation||266.9 m (876 ft)|
|Area||745.7 km2 (287.9 sq mi)|
|Time zone||AEST (UTC+10:00)|
Barcaldine (//) is a rural town and locality in the Barcaldine Region in Queensland, Australia. In the 2016 census, Barcaldine had a population of 1,422 people. This is the administrative centre of the Barcaldine Region. Barcaldine played a major role in the Australian labour movement.
Barcaldine is Central West Queensland, approximately 520 kilometres (320 mi) by road west of the city of Rockhampton. The town is situated on Lagoon Creek, which flows into the Alice River approximately five kilometres south of the Barcaldine. Major industries are sheep and beef cattle rearing. The streets in Barcaldine are named after different types of trees.
Barcaldine lay on the traditional tribal lands of the Iningai. Iningai (also known as Yiningay, Muttaburra, Tateburra, Yinangay, Yinangi) is an Australian Aboriginal language spoken by the Iningai people. The Iningai language region includes the landscape within the local government boundaries of the Longreach Region and Barcaldine Region, particularly the towns of Longreach, Barcaldine, Muttaburra and Aramac as well as the properties of Bowen Downs and catchments of Cornish Creek and Alice River.
The town takes its name from a sheep station called Barcaldine Downs, which was established in 1863 by Donald Charles Cameron, whose family property in Ayrshire, Scotland, which was named for Barcaldine, Argyll and Bute, Scotland. Cameron had been a slaveholder in British Guiana.
The first lots were sold in 1885 and within a year several buildings were under construction. By the end of 1886 the town had been surveyed. The Central Western railway line to Barcaldine opened on 8 November 1886. Barcaldine Post Office opened on 13 November 1886. Barcaldine State School opened on 4 July 1887.
St Joseph's Catholic Primary School was opened in 1896 by Sisters of Mercy, specifically Sister Mary Muredach McMullen (superior), Sister Mary Catherine Cleary, and Sister Mary Fayne, with the assistance of lay teacher Catherine Lobie. The original building had two storeys with the sisters living upstairs and the classrooms downstairs. In 1906 a new school building was erected to accommodate the school's 195 students. The current school building opened on 21 October 1962.
Barcaldine played a significant role in the Australian labour movement and the birth of the Australian Labor Party. In 1891, it was one of the focal points of the 1891 Australian shearers' strike, with the Eureka Flag flying over the strike camp. The landmark Tree of Knowledge, under which the strikers met, stood outside the railway station. In 2006, persons unknown poisoned the tree with the herbicide Roundup, which led to its demise.
One of the first May day marches in the world took place during the strike on 1 May 1891 in Barcaldine. The Sydney Morning Herald reported that of the 1,340 men that took part, 618 were mounted on horses. Banners carried included those of the Australian Labor Federation, the Shearers' and Carriers' Unions, and one inscribed 'Young Australia'. The leaders wore blue sashes and the Eureka Flag was carried. The Labor Bulletin reported that cheers were given for "the Union", "the Eight-hour day", "the Strike Committee" and "the boys in gaol". It reported the march:
In the procession every civilised country was represented doing duty for the Russian, Swede, French, Dane etc., who are germane to him in other climes, showing that Labor's cause is one the world over, foreshadowing the time when the swords shall be turned into ploughshares and Liberty, Peace and Friendship will knit together the nations of the earth.
In 1892, the local government area of Barcaldine Division was established, by separating it from the Kargoolnah Division which had its headquarters in Blackall. Since then, Barcaldine has been the headquarters of local government in the area, commencing with the Barcaldine Divisional Board, which became the Barcaldine Shire Council in 1903, and then the Barcaldine Regional Council in 2008. The initial local government meetings were held in a building in Oak Street, which burned down in 1896. A shire hall was then constructed in 1898 on the south-east corner of Ash and Beech Streets, which eventually became too small. In February 1912 a new larger shire hall was opened and that building (somewhat modified and extended) is still in use today and is heritage-listed.
The artesian water at Barcaldine is full of minerals. A bore had been constructed in 1887, but was unsuitable for the water needs of the steam locomotives and so the water was let run to waste. By 1891, a local doctor observed that water contained soda and potash which he believed would have health benefits. In 1907, a swimming pool using the artesian water was built by the Barcaldine Shire Council, along with baths and showers for therapeutic use. Although Barcaldine was being promoted as a spa town into the mid 1930s, interest in "taking the waters" declined after that period as medical opinion became increasingly doubtful of the benefits of mineral waters, favouring drugs and physiotherapy as better treatments.
At the 2016 census, Barcaldine had a population of 1,422.
2019 Guinness World Record
On 26 May 2019, Barcaldine set a world record for a 9.5-kilometre (5.9 mi) line of 868 motorhomes, caravans, campervans and fifth wheelers outside the town, beating the previous record of 672 vehicles in Italy in 2003.
On 22 November 2019 the Queensland Government decided to amalgamate the localities in the Barcaldine Region, resulting in five expanded localities based on the larger towns: Alpha, Aramac, Barcaldine, Jericho and Muttaburra. Barcaldine was expanded to incorporate Barcaldine Downs, Evora, Grant (all except for the eastern corner), Home Creek, Ingberry (southern part), Moombria, Narbethong (all except for the north-eastern corner), Patrick, Saltern Creek, and Tara Station.
Barcaldine has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:
- Ash Street: Barcaldine Shire Hall
- Ash Street: Barcaldine War Memorial Clock
- Bank of Lagoon Creek: Shearers' Strike Camp Site
- Oak Street: Tree of Knowledge
- 39 Beech Street: Barcaldine Masonic Temple
- 85 Elm Street: St Peter's Anglican Church and Hall
|Climate data for Barcaldine|
|Average high °C (°F)||35.6
|Average low °C (°F)||23.1
|Average rainfall mm (inches)||86.5
|Average rainy days (≥ 1mm)||6.0||5.5||4.2||2.5||2.2||2.2||1.9||1.6||1.9||3.1||4.0||5.3||40.4|
|Source: Bureau of Meteorology|
Barcaldine has a bowls, tennis clubs, a combined racecourse and showground near the golf course, a historical and folk museum, swimming pool and visitor information centre.
Barcaldine Prep-12 State School is a government primary and secondary (Early Childhood-12) school for boys and girls at Gidyea Street ( In 2017, the school had an enrolment of 284 students with 29 teachers (27 full-time equivalent) and 22 non-teaching staff (16 full-time equivalent). It includes a special education program.).
St Joseph's Catholic Primary School is a Catholic primary (Prep-6) school for boys and girls at 23 Willow Street ( In 2017, the school had an enrolment of 26 students with 5 teachers (4 full-time equivalent) and 3 non-teaching staff (2 full-time equivalent).).
The Working Man's Paradise: an Australian Labour novel, was written by William Lane under the pseudonym John Miller in 1892, inspired by the events of the 1891 Shearers' Strike in Barcaldine. This story shows a contrast between the 'haves' and the 'have nots' (slum dwellers and the wealthy citizens) and depicts the conflict between the squatters and pastoral workers. The preface of the book states, 'The scene is laid in Sydney because it is not thought desirable, for various reasons, to aggravate by a local plot the soreness existing in Queensland'.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Barcaldine, Queensland.|
- University of Queensland: Queensland Places: Barcaldine and Barcaldine Shire
- "Barcaldine Tree of Knowledge poisoned". Australian national news. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 19 May 2006. Retrieved 23 May 2006.
- "Efforts to save 'Tree of Knowledge' fail". Australian national news. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 28 June 2006. Archived from the original on 3 June 2011. Retrieved 3 June 2006.
- Manifesto of the Queensland Labour Party - digitised and held by John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, Australia.
- Community History Barcaldine Community History[permanent dead link]
- Town map of Barcaldine, 1984