|Population||5,758 (2016 census)|
|• Density||327.2/km2 (847.3/sq mi)|
|Elevation||175.0 m (574 ft)|
|Area||17.6 km2 (6.8 sq mi)|
|Time zone||AEST (UTC10)|
|LGA(s)||Shire of Banana|
Biloela (// BIL-oh-EE-lə) is a rural town and locality in Shire of Banana, Central Queensland, Australia. It is situated 120 kilometres (75 mi) inland from the port city of Gladstone at the junction of the Burnett and Dawson highways. Biloela is the administrative centre of Banana Shire, which has an area of 15,729 square kilometres (6,073 sq mi). In the 2016 census, Biloela had a population of 5,758 people.
The town was established on what is Gangulu tribal lands. Gangalu (Gangulu, Kangulu, Kanolu, Kaangooloo, Khangulu) is an Australian Aboriginal language spoken on Gangula country. The Gangula language region includes the towns of Clermont and Springsure extending south towards the Dawson River. There was a ceremonial bora ground behind what is now the main street of Bileola and the local entombment custom was to place the skeletal remains of their dead in hollowed out burial trees which were specially marked with red ochre. Dingoes were used in the process of mustering and killing of kangaroo and emu for food.
Prairie pastoral property
British colonisation began in 1854 when Frederick Morton established a large squatting pastoral property in the area which he named Prairie. This leasehold comprised around 500 square miles of land in the Callide valley and Morton built his homestead not far from the present day location of the town of Biloela. Morton initially ran Prairie as a sheep station but later it was used to farm cattle.
In 1864, Morton decided to "disperse" a group of Aboriginal people for the taking of some sheep. He and other local settlers, armed and mounted on horses, set off on a night-time attack on a local Aboriginal camp. The people in the camp were made aware of the oncoming horsemen and set up an ambush. Morton's group was either warned at the last minute of the impending ambush or, according to historian John Bird, they were beaten back by the Aboriginal counter-attack and forced to retreat.
In 1873 the Native Police detachment of Alexander Douglas "broke up the camps and dispersed the most dangerous offenders". An enquiry into 'the late massacre of the "black innocents"' heard that Harry, an Aboriginal man who had committed an outage on a woman, was shot by Douglas when he tried to escape. It was reported that "since his death, reports have been made out to make him out 'an innocent black', hence the enquiry". The enquiry exonerated Douglas and found that he had done a "great deal of good in this district" and that "no outrages or robberies have been committed since; before, they were of daily occurrence" The local colonists signed a petition for him to conduct further patrols. An Aboriginal survivor of Douglas' raids named Etamitcham later described how as a child he and his family were chased over the Kroombit Mountains to avoid "being shot down." Aboriginal people who were employed on Prairie Station thought themselves to have "an excellent opportunity for hilarious abandon" and "well compensated" by being paid with trinkets and tobacco.
In 1886, most of Prairie was subdivided and sold off, with Montague Beak coming into ownership of what remained. Prairie was then resumed by the government in 1925 and completely divided into small land selections for urban development.
Township of Biloela
The name Biloela is generally believed to come from an Aboriginal word (possibly from the Sydney area) for cockatoo. The Government dockyards in Sydney were known as Biloela during 1871–1913 in an endeavour to remove the perceived stigma of the prior Cockatoo Island convict establishment.
Biloela Post Office opened by January 1925.
Biloela Provisional School opened on 22 June 1925 and become Biloela State School in 1928. An opportunity class commenced on 29 January 1975, becoming a special education unit in January 1979. On 4 February 1957 a secondary department was opened, closing when Biloela State High School opened on 28 January 1963.
St Joseph's Catholic Primary School was established by the Sisters of Mercy and opened on 31 January 1939. The Sisters operated the school until 1980 when the first lay principal was appointed.
The first open-cut mine was established in 1942.
In 1963, work began on the Callide Power Station.
2010s Drug Abuse Crisis
Throughout the decade of 2010, Queensland Police in Biloela saw a surge in criminal cases and hospitalisations involving drug abuse, with initial investigations into the matter beginning in 2018 leading local investigators to apprehend various "suspicious individuals" residing in the neighbourhood of Don Street as a potential source of the drug abuse case. Among the five suspects questioned in the investigation, a 20-year-old Postal Driver was arrested and eventually charged for distribution of restricted substances.
After "The Postal Driver" was incarcerated for the offence, the Chief of Police in Biloela accepted an interview with local media, stating that local authorities expect the marginalised Aboriginal Australian population of Biloela to "benefit greatly from cleaner streets", and that "the children of Biloela can visit the local skate park safely now that the local supply of drugs has been stopped", although ending the interview stating that he did not expect the problem of drug abuse to be "gone for good", stating that Biloela as a community must stay vigilant regarding the substance abuse issue.
Biloela has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:
At the 2016 census, Biloela had a population of 5,727.
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people made up 4.3% of the population.
- 77.7% of people were born in Australia. The next most common countries of birth were New Zealand 1.9% and Philippines 1.8%.
- 82.7% of people only spoke English at home. Other languages spoken at home included Vietnamese at 1.9%.
- The most common responses for religion were Catholic 25.7%, Anglican 18.3% and No Religion 17.2%.
Biloela has a warm subtropical climate, with hot to warm temperatures all year round. Winter nights can occasionally drop below freezing; however, winters are usually warm and dry, with pleasant sunny days. Summers are hot and humid, with most rain falling with occasional thunderstorms. Record temperatures have ranged from 43.1 °C (109.6 °F) to −4.7 °C (23.5 °F). The wettest 24-hour rainfall was 199.6 millimetres (7.86 in) on 31 January 1978.
|Climate data for Biloela|
|Record high °C (°F)||43.1
|Average high °C (°F)||33.5
|Average low °C (°F)||19.7
|Record low °C (°F)||12.3
|Average rainfall mm (inches)||98.1
|Average rainy days (≥ 0.2mm)||7.8||7.4||5.9||4.1||3.9||3.5||3.6||3.2||3.1||5.6||6.5||7.4||62|
|Source: Bureau of Meteorology|
Biloela and the Banana Shire, dubbed by the council as 'The Shire of Opportunity', has a diverse range of industries. Extensive grazing and cropping concerns are found in the area. Cotton, sorghum and wheat are grown in the area. The Callide Power Stations lie just north of the town. Coal was discovered on Callide Creek in 1891 and is now mined at the nearby Callide and Boundary Hill mines which supply the power station. The third largest abattoir in Queensland is situated in the town.
Callide is an open-cut mining operation providing low sulphur, sub-bituminous thermal coal primarily for Queensland's domestic power generation.
Dinosaur footprint fossils had been documented in the scientific literature as early as 2000, namely those attributable to ornithopod and theropod track-makers, however, no fossils were shown or described, nor specific locality data provided. Confirmation came in 2020 with the first ichnological descriptions of tracks originating from Lower Jurassic (Hettangian–Sinemurian) aged Precipice Sandstone from the Callide open-pit mine. Purportedly hundreds of small- to medium-sized three-toed tracks resembling bird footprints were observed in the overburden dumps associated with the Dunn Creek Mining area in 1998, with others noted and photographed in 2010, enough to create a virtual 3D model via photogrammetry methods. The 18 cm long blunt-toed track was attributed as registered by a medium-sized Anomoepus-like ‘Anomoepid’ track-maker and resembles those of ornithischian footprints found from the only other Early Jurassic Australian dinosaur fossil sites: Mount Morgan and Carnarvon Gorge, these being the first to be discovered preserved as an impression rather than as track infills.
The closest fresh water depository is the Callide Dam, however it is often well below capacity due to low rainfall in the area. Despite this, the dam acts as a popular site for water skiing, camping, swimming and fishing. In particular, the dam is a haven for Eel-tailed catfish, Yellowbelly, Saratoga and Barramundi. The largest ever Barramundi recorded was at the 2008 Callide Dam fishing competition, measuring 138 centimetres (54 in).
The Callide Dam was constructed in 1965 to supply water for a nearby power station in Biloela in the state of Queensland, Australia. Callide Dam holds 136,300 megalitres (3.60×1010 US gal) at an average depth of 10.5 metres (34 ft) and a surface area of 1,240 hectares (3,100 acres) at full capacity. The dam supplies water to the Callide Power Station.
Biloela State School is a government primary (Early Childhood-6) school for boys and girls at 48 Rainbow Street ( In 2017, the school had an enrolment of 364 students with 32 teachers (27 full-time equivalent) and 19 non-teaching staff (13 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 66 Rainbow Street ( In 2017, the school had an enrolment of 224 students with 20 teachers (19 full-time equivalent) and 14 non-teaching staff (5 full-time equivalent).).
Biloela State High School is a government secondary (7-12) school for boys and girls at Cnr Scoria Street & Gladstone Road ( In 2017, the school had an enrolment of 577 students with 56 teachers (53 full-time equivalent) and 32 non-teaching staff (22 full-time equivalent). It includes a special education program.).
Redeemer Lutheran College is a private primary and secondary (Prep-11) school for boys and girls at 2 Collard Street ( In 2017, the school had an enrolment of 253 students with 18 teachers and 19 non-teaching staff (14 full-time equivalent).).
Banana Shire Council operate a library on the corner of Grevillea and Melton Streets.
In March, the Callide Dam also plays host to the annual Callide Dam Fishing Competition in which a number of introduced stock are caught.
The Callide Valley Show including the Callide Valley Ball and the Rodeo are held each May.
The Callide Dawson Machinery Preservation Club holds an annual Old Wheels in Motion Rally in July.
November has a number of annual events: the Arts and Crafts Day, the Brigalow Arts Festival and the Biloela Festival.
Various sporting organisations are active within the community, such as Panthers Rugby League Club, Biloela Rugby Union Club, Biloela Touch Football Association, Callide Valley Tennis Association, Biloela Netball Association, Biloela Golf Club, Biloela Cricket Association, Biloela Valley's Football Club (soccer), Biloela Swimming Club, Biloela Dirt Rider Club, the Biloela Police Citizens Youth Club, SSAA Biloela Branch Shooting Range, Callide Dawson Clay Target Club, Callide Dawson Pistol Club & Biloela Rifle Club (Queensland Rifle Association)
Gladstone-based AM radio station 4CC services the Biloela area via a local transmitter which broadcasts on a separate frequency to the main Gladstone transmitter. This enables 4CC to play separate commercial breaks in the Bilolea region, to attract Biloela businesses to buy advertising, to target people in the local area as opposed to the entire Central Queensland region.
Rebel Media stations Rebel FM and The Breeze also broadcast to Biloela and other centres in the Banana Shire, although neither station has any local programming as all their programs originate from studios on the Gold Coast. Rebel FM has a new rock & classic rock music format while The Breeze offers an easy adult contemporary & classics hits format.
Biloela receives all free-to-air television services part of the Central Queensland television market, therefore receives the Rockhampton-based television stations and their associated local news bulletins and commercial breaks. News from the Biloela area is often included in the local news bulletins originating from Rockhampton.
"Biloela family" asylum seekers
In a long-running case in which a couple of Tamil asylum seekers, Kokilapathmapriya Nadesalingam (Priya) and Nadesalingam Murugappan (Nades), were refused refugee status after settling and starting a family in Biloela, the community rallied to support the family, who became known as "the Biloela family" in the press. The family were removed in a dawn raid on their home and taken to Melbourne March 2018, pending deportation. Since then, various legal avenues have been pursued, with the family taken to Christmas Island Detention Centre in late August 2018. In April 2020 they were awarded costs of more than $200,000 against the federal government, for lack of procedural fairness in assessing their youngest daughter's claim.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Biloela.|
- "Biloela". Queensland Places. Centre for the Government of Queensland, University of Queensland.
- Town map of Biloela, 1985
- 'Station to town', a 1932 newspaper description of Biloela
- Callide Valley Show[permanent dead link]