Dalby, Queensland

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Main street of Dalby
Dalby is located in Queensland
Coordinates 27°11′S 151°16′E / 27.183°S 151.267°E / -27.183; 151.267Coordinates: 27°11′S 151°16′E / 27.183°S 151.267°E / -27.183; 151.267
Population 12,299 (2011 census)[1]
Postcode(s) 4405
Elevation 343.8 m (1,128 ft)
LGA(s) Western Downs Region
State electorate(s) Condamine
Federal Division(s) Maranoa
Mean max temp Mean min temp Annual rainfall
26.3 °C
79 °F
11.9 °C
53 °F
682.5 mm
26.9 in

Dalby /ˈdɒlbi/[2] is a town in the Darling Downs region of Queensland, Australia, and is approximately 208 kilometres (129 mi) north northwest of the state capital, Brisbane, at the junction of the Warrego, Moonie and Bunya Highways.[3] Dalby is the administrative centre of the Western Downs Region and the centre of Australia's richest grain and cotton growing area.[3] At the 2011 census, Dalby had a population of 12,299.[1]

The name of the town is believed to come from the village of Dalby on the Isle of Man and reflects immigration from the Isle of Man in the mid-19th century.[4] The name was apparently chosen by Captain Samuel Perry when he surveyed the settlement in 1853.

Dalby was linked by rail to Ipswich on 20 April 1868.[5]


Children marching in the main street, ca. 1915

Dalby was founded in the early 1840s at a place known locally as "The Crossing" on Myall Creek, a tributary of the Condamine River. The first settler was Henry Dennis, who explored the region and chose land for himself and others in the locality.[4] Today an obelisk in Edward Street denotes the location where Dennis camped.[3] A small settlement was founded to assist travellers heading north to nearby Jimbour Station. The explorer Ludwig Leichhardt visited the area in 1844, on his way to Port Essington.[6]

In February 1853, the New South Wales government sent the Deputy Surveyor General Captain Samuel Perry to the area to survey a township. In August of the following year, Mr Charles Douglas Eastaughffe arrived with a document under the Seal of the NSW Government officially proclaiming 'Dalby' a township. Mr Eastaughffe was later appointed Chief Constable and remained in Dalby until his retirement.[7] Myall Creek Post Office also opened in 1854 in Roche's store, with Mr Simpson as the first postmaster. It was renamed Dalby in 1855.[8] [6]

In 1859, Dalby was made part of the new state of Queensland. In August 1863 Dalby was officially proclaimed a municipality in the Government Gazette, and was invested with all the trappings of the Westminster System.

From 1873 to 1949 the electoral district of Dalby was an electoral district of the Legislative Assembly of Queensland.

Dalby was believed to have a healthy climate and in 1900 the Queensland Government built the Jubilee Sanitorium for comsumptive patients. In 1904 the Dalby Town Council erected therapeutic thermal baths using artesian water from a local bore for those wishing to improve their health by "taking the waters".[9] In 1938, the council closed the artesian baths as interest in "taking the waters" was declining. Medical opinion became increasingly doubtful of the benefits of bathing in mineral waters, favouring drugs and physiotherapy as better treatments.[10]

Dalby War Memorial, 2008

The Dalby War Memorial was unveiled by the Queensland Governor, Matthew Nathan, on 26 July 1922.[11]

Heritage listings[edit]

Dalby has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:


Dalby has a humid subtropical climate (Cfa in the Koeppen climate classification) and being located just to the west of the Great Dividing Range it is hotter and less humid in summer and colder and drier in winter than nearby locations on the other side of the range. Dalby has had a recording weather station since 1893, but that was replaced in 1992 by another station at the Dalby Airport. The towns highest recorded temperature is 45.6 °C (114.1 °F) on 4 December 1913, while the coldest was −7.2 °C (19.0 °F) on 5 July 1895.[18] The annual rainfall is 681.2 mm (26.8 in), the majority of which falls as thunderstorms in the summer months.

Dalby experienced its worst floods since 1981 in late December 2010.[19] The town's water purification system was flooded, resulting in water restrictions that have hampered clean-up efforts. 112,500 litres (24,700 imp gal; 29,700 US gal) of water were transported to the town of 14,000 residents.[20] In early March 2013, Dalby received another severe flood, cutting the town in two after 122 mm (4.8 in) of rain was recorded over a few days. Flood waters peaked at 3.21 meters and a number of homes received water damage.[21]

Climate data for Dalby (Dalby Post Office, 1893–1992)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 44.9
Average high °C (°F) 32.0
Average low °C (°F) 18.5
Record low °C (°F) 8.1
Average rainfall mm (inches) 88.0
Average rainy days (≥ 0.2mm) 8.0 6.7 6.3 4.4 4.5 5.1 5.0 4.3 4.8 6.5 6.9 8.2 70.7
Average relative humidity (%) 43 45 45 43 46 49 46 41 38 39 38 40 43
Source: Bureau of Meteorology[18]


Industry in Dalby includes large-scale engineering, coal mining, and fuels (ethanol). Dalby is the centre of a diverse and productive agricultural area with rich black soil allowing the production of crops such as wheat, cotton and sorghum. Livestock raising including pigs, cattle and sheep is also popular. Two cotton gins are situated within 10 kilometres (6 mi) of the town.

Dalby is to be the site of the first dry mill grain-to-ethanol plant constructed in Australia (the first plant built specifically for the production of ethanol for fuel since the Second World War).[22]


The local area is developing an energy-based economy with a large coal-fired power station and a number of coal mines and natural gas bores being established to the west of Dalby. A local company has been awarded a contract to establish wind turbines on adjacent farm land.

Approximately 50 kilometres (31 mi) west of Dalby is the Kogan Creek Power Station. This A$1.2 billion project is a 750-megawatt coal-fired power station, with adjacent coal mine being developed at the small town of Kogan, which is roughly equidistant between Dalby, Chinchilla, and Tara.


Aerial view of the town taken in 2008.

The opening of a shopping centre at the northern end of Cunningham Street has brought new life to the Dalby CBD. Dalby Shoppingworld includes Woolworths, Big W, Amcal and other speciality shops.

Dalby's Water Treatment Plant uses a state-of-the-art reverse osmosis process, and will soon have a second RO plant to cater for the town's increasing needs. The town has made a ground-breaking deal with nearby gas companies by taking water from gas fields. It has been noted that the town will have a definite water supply for at least another 30 years, taking into account demographic trends.

Dalby's population has been increasing rapidly recently with many new estates created and subdivisions made.[citation needed] Some notable new estates include Sunnyside Estate, Heritage Gardens, Callistemon Park and a new estate on the Warrego Highway side of Sandalwood Avenue.

Notable residents[edit]

Monument to Cactoblastis[edit]

Dalby has a monument to the Cactoblastis cactorum in a park by the Myall Creek which runs through the town. The Argentinian caterpillar successfully eradicated the prickly pear in the 1920s.[3]


The schools in Dalby include:

Local media[edit]

There are two locally published newspapers including the Dalby Herald and Northern Downs News, as well as the Dalby Magazine. Dalby also has its own community radio station, 88.9 4DDD which was founded on January 26, 1992.

Dalby receives most commercial and ABC radio and television services from Toowoomba, the nearest regional city. Local news stories from Dalby and other Western Downs communities is often featured on WIN News, a regional television news bulletin compiled in Toowoomba.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Australian Bureau of Statistics (25 October 2007). "Dalby (Urban Centre/Locality)". 2006 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 7 May 2011. 
  2. ^ Macquarie Dictionary, Fourth Edition (2005). Melbourne, The Macquarie Library Pty Ltd. ISBN 1-876429-14-3
  3. ^ a b c d Penguin Books Australia (2002). Explore Queensland. Camberwell, Victoria: Penguin Books Australia. p. 40. ISBN 0-14-300015-2. 
  4. ^ a b Dalby Town Council:Birth and beginnings Official website. Retrieved 27 October 2006.
  5. ^ Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin, June 1959 pp91-96
  6. ^ a b John and Anne Healy of Dalby, Family Record and Story (Feb 2005)
  7. ^ CDE
  8. ^ Premier Postal History. "Post Office List". Premier Postal Auctions. Retrieved 10 May 2014. 
  9. ^ Griggs, Peter (2013), 'Taking the waters': mineral springs, artesian bores and health tourism in Queensland, 1870-1950, Cambridge University Press, p. 164, retrieved 16 January 2017 
  10. ^ Griggs, Peter (2013), 'Taking the waters': mineral springs, artesian bores and health tourism in Queensland, 1870-1950, Cambridge University Press, pp. 168–169, retrieved 16 January 2017 
  11. ^ "Dalby War Memorial". Monument Australia. Retrieved 3 April 2014. 
  12. ^ "Dalby Town Council Chambers and Offices (former) (entry 601018)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 16 July 2013. 
  13. ^ "St John's Anglican Church (entry 602399)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 16 July 2013. 
  14. ^ "St Columba's Convent (former) (entry 602761)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 16 July 2013. 
  15. ^ "Dalby Fire Station (entry 602754)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 16 July 2013. 
  16. ^ "Dalby War Memorial and Gates (entry 600441)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 16 July 2013. 
  17. ^ "Dalby Swimming Pool Complex (entry 602564)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 16 July 2013. 
  18. ^ a b "Dalby Post Office". Climate statistics for Australian locations. Bureau of Meteorology. February 2013. Retrieved 4 March 2013. 
  19. ^ Trenwith, Courtney (30 December 2010). "Heartbreak beneath the flood slick". Brisbane Times. Fairfax Media. Archived from the original on 4 February 2011. Retrieved 4 March 2013. 
  20. ^ "Drinking water trucked into flood-ravaged Dalby". Australian Associated Press. Herald Sun. 30 December 2010. Retrieved 4 March 2013. 
  21. ^ "Dalby Braces for Flooding". APN. Sunshine Coast Daily. 2 March 2013. Retrieved 4 March 2013. 
  22. ^ Hartland, Susan "$54 million ethanol plant for Dalby" Toowoomba Chronicle 9 November 2006 Retrieved 27 October 2006

External links[edit]