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Bilo Silo.JPG
The Silo, Biloela
Biloela is located in Queensland
Coordinates24°24′01″S 150°30′48″E / 24.4002°S 150.5133°E / -24.4002; 150.5133Coordinates: 24°24′01″S 150°30′48″E / 24.4002°S 150.5133°E / -24.4002; 150.5133
Population5,758 (2016 census)[1]
 • Density327.2/km2 (847.3/sq mi)
Elevation175.0 m (574 ft)
Area17.6 km2 (6.8 sq mi)
Time zoneAEST (UTC10)
LGA(s)Shire of Banana
State electorate(s)Callide
Federal division(s)Flynn
Mean max temp Mean min temp Annual rainfall
29.0 °C
84 °F
13.2 °C
56 °F
667.6 mm
26.3 in
Localities around Biloela:
Dakenba Dakenba Valentine Plains
Prospect Biloela Valentine Plains
Prospect Prospect Valentine Plains

Biloela (/bɪlˈlə/ BIL-oh-EE-lə)[2] is a rural town and locality in Shire of Banana, Central Queensland, Australia.[3][4] 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.[1]


Aboriginal history[edit]

The town was established on what is Gangulu tribal lands.[5] 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.[6] 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.[7] Dingoes were used in the process of mustering and killing of kangaroo and emu for food.[8]

Prairie pastoral property[edit]

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.[7]

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.[8][9]

In 1873 the Native Police detachment of Alexander Douglas "broke up the camps and dispersed the most dangerous offenders".[10] 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.[11] 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."[8] 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.[12]

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.[12]

Township of Biloela[edit]

The name Biloela is generally believed to come from an Aboriginal word (possibly from the Sydney area) for cockatoo.[3][4] 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.[13][14][15]

The town was gazetted in 1924; it was on the Rannes-Monto railway line.[16] Land sales were held in Rannes in December 1924.[17]

Biloela Post Office opened by January 1925.[18]

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.[19][20]

St Joseph's Catholic Primary School was established by the Sisters of Mercy and opened on 31 January 1939.[19] The Sisters operated the school until 1980 when the first lay principal was appointed.[21]

The first open-cut mine was established in 1942.

In 1963, work began on the Callide Power Station.

2010s Drug Abuse Crisis[edit]

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.[22] Among the five suspects questioned in the investigation, a 20-year-old Postal Driver was arrested and eventually charged for distribution of restricted substances.[23]

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.[23]

Heritage listings[edit]

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%.[1]


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
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
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[26]


Biloela and the Banana Shire, dubbed by the council as 'The Shire of Opportunity', has a diverse range of industries.[27] 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[28] and is now mined at the nearby Callide[29] and Boundary Hill mines which supply the power station. The third largest abattoir in Queensland is situated in the town.[30]

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,[31] 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[32] 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.

Callide Dam[edit]

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 (24°23′54″S 150°30′58″E / 24.3983°S 150.5161°E / -24.3983; 150.5161 (Biloela State School)).[33][34] 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).[35] It includes a special education program.[33]

St Joseph's Catholic Primary School is a Catholic primary (Prep-6) school for boys and girls at 66 Rainbow Street (24°23′49″S 150°30′53″E / 24.3969°S 150.5147°E / -24.3969; 150.5147 (St Joseph's Catholic Primary School)).[33][36] 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).[35]

Biloela State High School is a government secondary (7-12) school for boys and girls at Cnr Scoria Street & Gladstone Road (24°23′56″S 150°31′04″E / 24.3988°S 150.5178°E / -24.3988; 150.5178 (Biloela State High School)).[33][37] 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).[35] It includes a special education program.[33]

Redeemer Lutheran College is a private primary and secondary (Prep-11) school for boys and girls at 2 Collard Street (24°24′05″S 150°31′08″E / 24.4014°S 150.5190°E / -24.4014; 150.5190 (Redeemer Lutheran College)).[33][38] In 2017, the school had an enrolment of 253 students with 18 teachers and 19 non-teaching staff (14 full-time equivalent).[35]


Ambulance station, 2014

The Banana Shire Council has its shire chambers at 62 Valentine Plains Road.[39] There is an ambulance station at 32 Kariboe Street.[40]

Banana Shire Council operate a library on the corner of Grevillea and Melton Streets.[41]

The Valentine Plains branch of the Queensland Country Women's Association meets at the CWA Hall at 271 Valentines Plains Road, Valentine Plains.[42]

Callide Valley Faith Community (also known as Biloela Uniting Church) has its Biloela church at 90-92 Kroombit Street (24°23′49″S 150°30′42″E / 24.3970°S 150.5118°E / -24.3970; 150.5118 (Callide Valley Faith Community (Uniting))).[43][44] It is part of the Uniting Church of Australia.[45]


In March, the Callide Dam also plays host to the annual Callide Dam Fishing Competition in which a number of introduced stock are caught.[46]

In April, Rotary holds its annual Ute muster.[46]

The Callide Valley Show including the Callide Valley Ball and the Rodeo are held each May.[46]

The Callide Dawson Machinery Preservation Club holds an annual Old Wheels in Motion Rally in July.[47]

November has a number of annual events: the Arts and Crafts Day, the Brigalow Arts Festival and the Biloela Festival.[46]


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)


Biloela's local newspaper is the Central Telegraph which is issued weekly. The newspaper was formerly owned by APN News & Media but has been owned by News Corp Australia since 2016.[48][49]

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.[50] 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.[51]

Rebel Media stations Rebel FM[52] and The Breeze[53] 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.[54][55][56]

"Biloela family" asylum seekers[edit]

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.[57] 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.[58][59]

Sister city[edit]

Biloela is twinned with Boulouparis[60]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Biloela (SSC)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 20 October 2018. Edit this at Wikidata
  2. ^ Macquarie Dictionary, Fourth Edition (2005). Melbourne, The Macquarie Library Pty Ltd. ISBN 1-876429-14-3
  3. ^ a b "Biloela – town in Shire of Banana (entry 2623)". Queensland Place Names. Queensland Government. Retrieved 28 September 2017.
  4. ^ a b "Biloela – locality in Shire of Banana (entry 49537)". Queensland Place Names. Queensland Government. Retrieved 28 September 2017.
  5. ^ "Tindale Tribes - Kangulu". South Australian Museum Archives. Archived from the original on 2 October 2017. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  6. ^ CC-BY-icon-80x15.png This Wikipedia article incorporates CC-BY-4.0 licensed text from: "Gangalu". Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages map. State Library of Queensland. Retrieved 23 January 2020.
  7. ^ a b "The Rainbow Trail". Morning Bulletin (19, 217). Queensland, Australia. 20 March 1926. p. 13. Retrieved 29 October 2020 – via National Library of Australia.
  8. ^ a b c "The Rainbow Trail". Morning Bulletin (19, 436). Queensland, Australia. 10 December 1926. p. 7. Retrieved 29 October 2020 – via National Library of Australia.
  9. ^ Bird, J. T. S. (1 January 1904), The early history of Rockhampton : dealing chiefly with events up till 1870, The Morning Bulletin, retrieved 29 October 2020
  10. ^ "Callipoe". Rockhampton Bulletin. XII (1675). Queensland, Australia. 24 February 1873. p. 2. Retrieved 30 October 2020 – via National Library of Australia.
  11. ^ "Calliope". The Brisbane Courier. XXVII (4, 811). Queensland, Australia. 1 March 1873. p. 5. Retrieved 29 October 2020 – via National Library of Australia.
  12. ^ a b "Old Prairie". The Brisbane Courier (23, 325). Queensland, Australia. 1 November 1932. p. 12. Retrieved 29 October 2020 – via National Library of Australia.
  13. ^ "The Government Gazette". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 27 May 1871. p. 7. Retrieved 20 April 2014.
  14. ^ "The Forthcoming Agricultural Society's Show". The Empire. Sydney: National Library of Australia. 3 June 1871. p. 2. Retrieved 20 April 2014.
  15. ^ "Melbourne". Australian Town and Country Journal. Sydney: National Library of Australia. 3 June 1871. p. 8. Retrieved 20 April 2014.
  16. ^ "Biloela". Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. 8 February 2004. Archived from the original on 3 April 2013. Retrieved 19 March 2013.
  17. ^ "Rockhampton". The Brisbane Courier. National Library of Australia. 26 December 1924. p. 7. Retrieved 20 April 2014.
  18. ^ Phoenix Auctions History. "Post Office List". Phoenix Auctions. Retrieved 26 January 2020.
  19. ^ a b Queensland Family History Society (2010), Queensland schools past and present (Version 1.01 ed.), Queensland Family History Society, ISBN 978-1-921171-26-0
  20. ^ "Opening and closing dates of Queensland Schools". Queensland Government. Retrieved 18 April 2014.
  21. ^ "St Joseph's Catholic School, Biloela". St Joseph's Catholic Primary School. Archived from the original on 9 November 2019. Retrieved 9 November 2019.
  22. ^ myPolice (4 February 2019). "Closure of drug operation, Biloela". Queensland Police News. Retrieved 1 November 2020.
  23. ^ a b "Five arrested in Central Queensland trafficking operation". Morning Bulletin. Retrieved 1 November 2020.
  24. ^ "Greycliffe Homestead (entry 600017)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 6 July 2013.
  25. ^ "Banana Shire Historical Society / Greycliffe Homestead". Museum and Gallery Services Queensland. Archived from the original on 8 August 2016. Retrieved 18 June 2016.
  26. ^ "Thangool Airport". Climate statistics for Australian locations. Bureau of Meteorology. 1 June 2013. Retrieved 2 July 2013.
  27. ^ "Mayor's Message". Banana Shire Council. Archived from the original on 10 May 2014. Retrieved 19 April 2014.
  28. ^ Kerr, J.D. (October 1978). "The Callide Coalfields Branch Railway". Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin: 210–222.
  29. ^ Milne, Rod (October 1992). "'Biloela – Railhead for the Callide". Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin: 241–247.
  30. ^ "Introducing Banana Shire". Banana Shire. Archived from the original on 16 October 2002. Retrieved 19 March 2013.
  31. ^ Grant-Mackie, J.A.; Aita, Y.; Balme, Basil; Campbell, H.J.; Challinor, A.B.; Macfarlan, D.A.B.; Molnar, R.E.; Stevens, G.R.; Thulbornl, R.A. (2000). "Jurassic palaeobiogeography of Australasia". Memoirs of the Association of Australasian Palaeontologists. 23: 311–353.
  32. ^ Romilio, Anthony (12 November 2020). "Evidence of ornithischian activity from the Lower Jurassic (Hettangian–Sinemurian) Precipice Sandstone, Callide Basin, Queensland, Australia — preliminary findings". Historical Biology: 1–5. doi:10.1080/08912963.2020.1846033. ISSN 0891-2963. S2CID 228879343.
  33. ^ a b c d e f "State and non-state school details". Queensland Government. 9 July 2018. Archived from the original on 21 November 2018. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  34. ^ "Biloela State School". Archived from the original on 4 August 2012. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  35. ^ a b c d "ACARA School Profile 2017". Archived from the original on 22 November 2018. Retrieved 22 November 2018.
  36. ^ "St Joseph's Catholic Primary School". Archived from the original on 5 January 2019. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  37. ^ "Biloela State High School". Archived from the original on 2 May 2012. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  38. ^ "Redeemer Lutheran College". Archived from the original on 29 December 2018. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  39. ^ "Contact Us". Banana Shire Council. Archived from the original on 17 May 2014. Retrieved 16 May 2014.
  40. ^ "Queensland Ambulance Service – Biloela". My Community Directory. Archived from the original on 4 April 2015. Retrieved 22 June 2014.
  41. ^ "Library: Branches & Opening hours". Banana Shire Council. Archived from the original on 19 March 2017. Retrieved 8 May 2017.
  42. ^ "Branch Locations". Queensland Country Women's Association. Archived from the original on 26 December 2018. Retrieved 26 December 2018.
  43. ^ "Callide Valley Uniting Church – Biloela and Wowan". Retrieved 28 August 2021.
  44. ^ "Biloela Uniting Church". Churches Australia. Retrieved 28 August 2021.
  45. ^ "Find a church". Uniting Church in Australia, Queensland Synod. Archived from the original on 24 October 2020. Retrieved 6 May 2021.
  46. ^ a b c d "Simple Pleasures: Banana Shire" (PDF). The Gladstone Region. Tourism Queensland. p. 3. Archived (PDF) from the original on 15 July 2014. Retrieved 8 June 2014.
  47. ^ "Old Wheels in Motion Rally". Callide Dawson Machinery Preservation Club. Archived from the original on 31 May 2014. Retrieved 8 June 2014.
  48. ^ "Central Telegraph information". Archived from the original on 24 June 2016. Retrieved 18 June 2016.
  49. ^ Johns, Bryce (22 June 2016) What News Corp purchasing us means for you Archived 29 April 2018 at the Wayback Machine, Central Telegraph, News Corp Australia. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  50. ^ Harris, Matt (25 August 2017) Long overdue move for the 4CC team Archived 29 April 2018 at the Wayback Machine, Central Telegraph, News Corp Australia. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  51. ^ "4CC". Archived from the original on 8 June 2016. Retrieved 18 June 2016.
  52. ^ "Rebel FM". Archived from the original on 10 June 2016. Retrieved 18 June 2016.
  53. ^ "Breeze FM frequency information". Archived from the original on 18 June 2016. Retrieved 18 June 2016.
  54. ^ McGhee, Rachel (26 June 2017) Biloela's First Lady Archived 7 May 2018 at the Wayback Machine, WIN News Central Queensland, WIN Television. Accessed 28 April 2018.
  55. ^ Ross, Susan (27 June 2017) Suspended birthing services in Biloela Archived 14 May 2018 at the Wayback Machine, 7 News Central Queensland, Seven Network. Accessed 28 April 2018.
  56. ^ Cullen, Alexandra (12 March 2018) Biloela's Heartfelt Plea Archived 14 May 2018 at the Wayback Machine, 9News Central Queensland, Southern Cross Austereo. Accessed 28 April 2018.
  57. ^ "Asylum seeker family removed 'without warning' at dawn in central Queensland, Tamil Refugee Council says". ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). 12 March 2018. Retrieved 30 May 2020.
  58. ^ "Commonwealth ordered to pay more than $200,000 in costs over Biloela asylum seeker case". ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). 27 April 2020. Retrieved 30 May 2020.
  59. ^ Hendry, Megan (17 April 2020). "Tamil girl 'not afforded procedural fairness' in Biloela family's asylum bid, Federal Court rules". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 18 April 2020.
  60. ^ "Jumelage". Mairie de Boulouparis (in French). Retrieved 15 June 2021.

External links[edit]