Blackwater, Queensland

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Blackwater is located in Queensland
Coordinates 23°28′0″S 148°46′0″E / 23.46667°S 148.76667°E / -23.46667; 148.76667Coordinates: 23°28′0″S 148°46′0″E / 23.46667°S 148.76667°E / -23.46667; 148.76667
Population 4,749 (2016 census)[1]
Postcode(s) 4717
LGA(s) Central Highlands Region
State electorate(s) Gregory
Federal Division(s) Flynn
Localities around Blackwater:
Mackenzie River Mackenzie River Jellinbah
Mackenzie River Blackwater Bluff
Comet Stewarton Stewarton

Blackwater is both a town and a locality in the Central Highlands Region, Queensland, Australia, 190 km west of Rockhampton.[2][3] It is a town in a significant coal mining area in Central Queensland. The name of the township was inspired by the dark colour of local waterholes.[4][3]


Six major open cut coal mines and one underground dot the landscape surrounding the town and provide its main employment opportunities. The town is also situated close to the Blackdown Tableland National Park which lies to the southeast and Blackwater coal mine located south of the town. Emerald is 74 kilometres (46 mi) to the west.


Blackwater was established on Kanolu territory, and is named after the Blackwater Creek which apparently was first observed to flow with black water, believed to be caused by the local coal deposits.[2][3]

Coal deposits were discovered there by Ludwig Leichhardt on his expedition from Moreton Bay to Port Essington (now Darwin, Northern Territory) in 1845.[5] Leichhardt saw "beds of coal indistinguishable from those on the Hunter at Newcastle".[6]

It wasn't until over a century after Leichhardt first discovered the beds of coal at Blackwater that the town saw major coal mining development. With the opening up of several coal mines near the town in the 1960s, Blackwater's population rapidly increased as people searching for work flocked to find employment in the town's booming mining industry. There were 77 people living in Blackwater when the 1961 census was recorded. This increased to almost 2,000 when the 1971 census was recorded.

The town's population peaked in the early 1990s with 6,760 people living in Blackwater in 1991. Since then, the population of the town has gradually waned. In the 2011 census, there were still over 5,000 people living in the Blackwater community.[7]

Blackwater Post Office opened on 19 July 1877.[8]

Approximately 100,000 workers were employed in coal mining at Blackwater over its 50 year history. The town has provided considerable economic development for Queensland and Australia more generally. In the mid-late 1970s, the population of Blackwater was more than 10,000 people. At that time thet town had 3 Rugby League clubs: South Blackwater, Blackwater Devils and Blackwater Centrals.[citation needed]


The Central Highlands Regional Council Library Services operates a Library in Blackwater at the Community Centre on Wey Street. [9]


Blackwater State School opened on 21 November 1877. [10] Blackwater North State School opened on 30 January 1979.[10] Blackwater State High School opened on 30 January 1973.[10]

Notable people from Blackwater[edit]

Olympic track cyclist Anna Meares was born in Blackwater in 1983. In 2012, Anna Meares had a street named after her in the town when Meares Street was constructed as part of a new subdivision in the centre of Blackwater.[11] Australian television personality, actor and comedian Josh Thomas was born in Blackwater in 1987 but moved with his family to Brisbane soon after.[12]

Blackwater State School ca.1900

Australian rugby league players PJ Marsh and David Taylor both grew up in Blackwater and have represented various teams in the National Rugby League competition.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Blackwater (State Suburb)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 29 January 2018.  Edit this at Wikidata
  2. ^ a b "Blackwater (town) (entry 3109)". Queensland Place Names. Queensland Government. Retrieved 24 April 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c "Blackwater (locality) (entry 46918)". Queensland Place Names. Queensland Government. Retrieved 24 April 2014. 
  4. ^ Kennedy, Brian and Barbara (2006). Australian Place Names. ABC Books. ISBN 073331760X. 
  5. ^ "Coal mining in Blackwater". Blackwater International Coal Centre. Retrieved 23 April 2014. [permanent dead link]
  6. ^ Leichhardt, Ludwig (1847), Journal of an overland expedition in Australia, from Moreton Bay to Port Essington, a distance of upwards of 3000 miles, during the years 1844-1845, T. & W. Boone , available online
  7. ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics (31 October 2012). "Blackwater (SSC)". 2011 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 24 April 2014.  Edit this at Wikidata
  8. ^ Premier Postal History. "Post Office List". Premier Postal Auctions. Retrieved 10 May 2014. 
  9. ^ "Blackwater Library". Public Libraries Connect. Retrieved 31 January 2018. 
  10. ^ a b c "Opening and closing dates of Queensland schools". Department of Education and Training. Queensland Government. Retrieved 2 February 2018. 
  11. ^ Di Stanley (10 October 2012). "Anna Meares name on new Blackwater street". Central Queensland News. Retrieved 17 May 2015. 
  12. ^ "Panelist: Josh Thomas". Q&A. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 17 May 2015. 
  13. ^ "B'water stars go head-to-head". Central Queensland News. 5 February 2010. Retrieved 17 May 2015. 

External links[edit]