Cunningham Highway

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Cunningham Highway
section under conversion to
General information
Type Highway
Length 327 km (203 mi)
Route number(s)
Major junctions
West end
East end
Major settlements Yelarbon, Inglewood, Warwick
Highway system
Highways in Australia
National HighwayFreeways in Australia
Highways in Queensland

The Cunningham Highway is a 327-kilometre (203 mi)[1] national highway located in south-eastern Queensland, Australia. The highway links the Darling Downs region with the urbanised outskirts of Ipswich via Cunninghams Gap.[2][3]

The Cunningham carries the National Highway 15 shield between Ipswich and north of Warwick at its junction with the New England Highway where both the Cunningham and the New England head south concurrently to Warwick. Thereafter, the Cunningham carries the National Highway 42 shield to its south-western terminus with the Leichhardt Highway at Goondiwindi. The majority of the Cunningham Highway is a single carriageway and freeway standard and 6-lane arterial road standard towards its north-eastern terminus, near Ipswich.

The highway is named in honour of the explorer and botanist Allan Cunningham who followed a route close to where the modern day highway runs. In 1828 after discovering the route Cunningham sent a report to Governor Ralph Darling emphasising the economic benefits that a link between the coast and pastoral lands to the west would provide.[4]


Cunningham Highway at Cunningham's Gap

The north-eastern terminus of the Cunningham Highway is situated a short distance west of where the Warrego Highway reaches its eastern terminus with the Ipswich Motorway, at Riverview, a suburb of Ipswich. From this point, the Cunningham heads south-west as the Cunningham Motorway, bypassing to the south the Ipswich central business district, the original path of the highway, now named Warwick Road. The motorway transitions to the Cunningham Highway, and a further modern deviation takes the highway south of Willowbank and RAAF Base Amberley through the Scenic Rim region including the towns and settlements of Warrill View, the Fassifern Valley and Aratula.[2][5]

From this point, the Cunningham Highway begins its ascent across the Great Dividing Range via a mountain pass at an elevation of 787 metres (2,582 ft) above sea level called Cunninghams Gap, situated in the Main Range National Park, between the peaks of Mount Cordeaux and Mount Mitchell.[5] The original route was built entirely by voluntary labour and officially opened on 11 June 1927, the 100-year anniversary of Allan Cunningham's discovery of the Darling Downs.[6] The road was plagued by problems during this embryonic stage with the Royal Automobile Club of Queensland announcing that the road was closed, less than one month after it was officially opened.[7] The new sealed road through the gap was eventually opened in November 1949.[8]

As the Cunningham Highway descends through the Southern Downs region and west adjacent to the settlement of Maryvale, it reaches a major junction with the New England Highway near Eastments Ridge approximately 14 kilometres (8.7 mi) north of Warwick. The two highways run south to Warwick, sharing the National Route 15 shield and cross the Condamine River before the concurrency terminates and the New England Highway runs south, carrying the National Highway 15 shield; and the Cunningham heads west by south-west through Inglewood, Yelarbon, before reaching its south-western terminus on the outskirts of Goondiwindi.[5]

Within close proximity of Goondiwindi, the Cunningham Highway links to the Newell, Leichhardt, and Barwon highways, with the Bruxner Highway nearby.[3][5]

Towns on the Cunningham Highway[edit]

From northeast to southwest, the following towns and settlements are located on the Cunningham Highway:

Major exits and intersections[edit]

LGA Location km[1] mi Destinations Notes
Ipswich Riverview 0 0 Ipswich Motorway (National Highway M2) east – Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast North-western terminus via motorway-grade underpass
0 0 Warrego Highway (National Highway M2) west – Toowoomba No westbound exit to M2 westbound;
No south-westbound entrance from M2 eastbound
Blackstone 4.6 2.9 Redbank Plains Road (State Route 61) – Redbank Plains, Blackstone South-westbound exit and north-eastbound entrance
5.7 3.5 Redbank Plains Road (State Route 61) – Blackstone, Redbank Plains North-eastbound exit and south-westbound entrance
5.7 3.5 End of motorway conditions, beginning of highway conditions south-westbound;
End of highway conditions, beginning of motorway conditions north-eastbound
Raceview 7.7 4.8 Swanbank Road – Swanbank, Raceview South-westbound exit and south-westbound entrance
8.8 5.5 South Station Road – Raceview, Swanbank North-eastbound exit and north-eastbound entrance
Flinders View 9.8 6.1 Ripley Road – Flinders View, Ripley South-westbound exit and south-westbound entrance;
North-eastbound exit and north-eastbound entrance
Deebing Heights,
14.3 8.9 Centennary Highway No southbound exit to A5 southbound;
No north-eastbound entrance from A5 northbound
14.9 9.3 Ipswich-Boonah Road south (State Route 93) – Boonah S93 eastern concurrency terminus
14.9 9.3 Warwick Road north – Yamanto
Willowbank 19.2 11.9 Ipswich-Rosewood Road northwest (State Route 93) – Willowbank S93 western concurrency terminus
Scenic Rim Kalbar, Aratula 56.5 35.1 Boonah-Fassifern Road east (State Route 90) – Boonah
Southern Downs Glengallan 115.6 71.8 New England Highway north – Toowoomba A15 northern concurrency terminus
Warwick 126.6 78.7 Condamine River Bridge over river
129.4 80.4 New England Highway (National Highway A15) south – Stanthorpe / New South Wales A15 southern concurrency terminus
129.4 80.4 Cunningham Highway continues as
Goondiwindi Inglewood 234.4 145.6 Millmerran-Inglewood Road (State Route 82) – Inglewood
Goondiwindi 324.2 201.4 Leichhardt Highway (National Highway A39) west via bypass – St George, Brisbane and Rockhampton /
(to Barwon Highway (State Route 83) – Nindigully)
Bypass does not carry the shields, although named as the Leichhardt Highway
327 203 Marshall Street west to Barwon Highway (State Route 83) – Goondiwindi town centre, St George / Nindigully
Newell Highway (National Highway 39) south – Macintyre River to New South Wales
South-western highway terminus at roundabout
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Google (2 April 2015). "Cunningham Highway" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved 2 April 2015. 
  2. ^ a b "South-east Queensland coast (map 7)" (PDF) (Map). Guide to Queensland Roads (Department of Transport and Main Roads, Queensland Government). 16 September 2013. Retrieved 31 March 2015. 
  3. ^ a b "South-west Queensland Downs (map 6)" (PDF) (Map). Guide to Queensland Roads (Department of Transport and Main Roads, Queensland Government). 16 September 2013. Retrieved 31 March 2015. 
  4. ^ Queensland Environmental Protection Agency (2000). Heritage Trails of the Great South East. State of Queensland. p. 35. ISBN 0-7345-1008-X. 
  5. ^ a b c d "Map of Cunningham Highway, QLD". Bonzle Digital Atlas of Australia. Retrieved 31 March 2015. 
  6. ^ "Cunningham's Gap". The Brisbane Courier (Qld.: National Library of Australia). 13 June 1927. p. 13. Retrieved 12 August 2011. 
  7. ^ "Week-end Trips – State of Roads – Royal Automobile Club's Reports". The Brisbane Courier (Qld.: National Library of Australia). 2 July 1927. p. 18. Retrieved 14 August 2011. 
  8. ^ "Minister opens new highway". The Courier-Mail (Qld.: National Library of Australia). 7 November 1949. p. 3. Retrieved 13 September 2011. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Cunningham Highway at Wikimedia Commons