|Population||8,401 (2011 census)|
|LGA(s)||Rockhampton Regional Council|
Gracemere is a town located on the Capricorn Highway in Central Queensland, Australia, approximately 9 kilometres (5.6 mi) west of the city of Rockhampton. Because of the proximity of the town to Rockhampton, Gracemere has become a dormitory town, with many residents commuting the short distance to work in the city. At the 2011 census, Gracemere had a population of 8,401.
The area was first explored by Europeans in 1853, when the Archer brothers arrived looking for pastures for their sheep. They settled by a small lake, originally called "Farris" or Padgole lagoon which was named Gracemere in 1855. The name Gracemere comes from "Grace", the name of one of the Archer brothers wife and "mere" which is a Scottish term for lake. They also located a suitable landing point for supplies on the nearby Fitzroy River, which later became Rockhampton.
Gracemere has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:
Construction and industry
Gracemere, as a commuter town, has a relatively low level of industry compared to Rockhampton. Grazing, particularly of beef cattle, has long been the significant industry of the area. The Gracemere Saleyards, located on the western side of the town, is the largest cattle sales facility in the Southern Hemisphere, and has recently[when?] undergone a multimillion-dollar upgrade. A new shopping centre, Gracemere Shoppingworld, located just off the Capricorn Highway has just opened with Woolworths and Best and Less operating as the anchor stores along with up to 20 speciality stores. Gracemere is rapidly expanding with around 10 new housing estates under construction.
There are three schools servicing Gracemere. They are all primary, one catholic and two public. These are St. Pauls Gracemere, Gracemere State School and Waraburra State School. Currently, all high school students travel by a free bus service into Rockhampton to continue their senior education.
As a dormitory town, most Gracemerians either drive a private vehicle or catch a bus to the city. The bus service, Youngs Bus, operates hourly between the town centre and South Gracemere. Traffic can peak at around 8:00 in the morning, with traffic being banked up for around 1-1.5 kilometers on weekdays. Infrastructure problems are now becoming a reality for the small town and surrounding Capricorn Highway towns. This has resulted in constant roadworks and upgrades of the highway road quality. This mass influx of vehicles has resulted in a proposal for a new western bypass for Rockhampton, to send vehicles right to the northern suburbs, avoiding inner city congestion and delay, as this is where many Gracemerians work.
- Anna Meares - OAM and twice gold medallist at the Commonwealth Games and Olympic Games
- Kerrie Meares - Twice gold medallist at the Commonwealth Games for cycling. She is the older sister of Anna Meares