|Population||1,136 (2016 census)|
|• Density||1.1336/km2 (2.9361/sq mi)|
|Elevation||324.0 m (1,063 ft)|
|Area||1,002.1 km2 (386.9 sq mi)|
Hughenden is situated on the banks of the Flinders River.
Hughenden is located on the Flinders Highway, 376 kilometres (234 mi) west of Townsville and 1,400 kilometres (870 mi) north-west of Brisbane, the state capital. The region around Hughenden is a major centre for the grazing of sheep and cattle. The main feed is annual grasses known as Flinders grass, which grow rapidly on the (by Australian standards) fertile grey or brown cracking clay soils after rain between November and March. However, because the rainfall is extremely erratic — at Hughenden itself it has ranged from 126 millimetres (5 in) in 1926 to 1,051 millimetres (41 in) in 1950 — droughts and floods are normal and stock numbers fluctuate greatly.
The upper Flinders River area has been occupied by the Yirandhali people from around 11,000 years ago. Jirandali (also known as Yirandali, Warungu, Yirandhali) is an Australian Aboriginal language of North-West Queensland, particularly the Hughenden area. The language region includes the local government area of the Shire of Flinders, including Dutton River, Flinders River, Mount Sturgeon, Caledonia, Richmond, Corfield, Winton, Torrens, Tower Hill, Landsborough Creek, Lammermoor Station, Hughenden, and Tangorin.
Dalleburra (also known as Dalebura, Dal-leyburra, Yirandali) is a language of North-West Queensland, particularly Lammermoor Station via Hughenden. The Dalleburra language region includes the local government boundaries of the Flinders Shire Council.
British occupation began in October 1861 with the expedition group led by Frederick Walker camping near the site of the future township of Hughenden. Pastoralists soon followed and in 1863 Ernest Henry and his cousin Robert Gray established the Hughenden sheep station. Hughenden was named after Hughenden Manor in Buckinghamshire, England, the home of former British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli. Robert Gray and Ernest Henry both had a family connection with Hughenden Manor. Mary Francis Norris, the daughter of John Norris of Hughenden Manor was Henry's mother and Robert's aunt.
The actual town of Hughenden began in 1870 as a barracks for the paramilitary Native Police with sub-Inspector Harry Finch and his six troopers constructing the simple buildings at the junction of Station Creek with the Flinders River. In 1877, William Mark built a pub near the barracks and in August of that year the township site was officially surveyed and allotments made available for purchase.
Hughenden Provisional School opened on 22 April 1880, becoming Hughenden State School in 1884. On 30 January 1968, it was expanded to have a secondary department.
In November 1883, "Hughenden West Estate" made up of 37 allotments were advertised to be auctioned by Wilson, Ayton and Ryan of Townsville. A map advertising the auction states the allotments are charmingly situated on high sloping ground, overlooking the Town of Hughenden, within a few minutes walk to the Post and Telegraph Offices, the Court House and the business centre of town. The map also states these residence sites only need the completion of the railway works to enormously increase its value.
Hughenden North Provisional School opened c. 1897, becoming Hughenden North State School on 1 January 1909. Due to low attendances, it closed in 1926.
Torrens Creek near Hughenden is where the Americans stored explosives in World War II. The Americans didn't know of the dangerous bush fires out there. After they put out a fire they went back to camp thinking that the fire was out. However, the fire took hold again without them knowing. They then heard about twelve major explosions in succession; the explosions left craters twenty feet deep. Hot shrapnel covered a wide area and started more fires. In the townships, people said that buildings shook and windows broke, and some people were convinced that an air raid had occurred. Thousands of soldiers and civilians attacked the blaze in an attempt to stop it spreading to fuel dumps, but were unable to control it. When the fire got to the explosives it was so powerful it blew the Americans out of their trucks. Many buildings and shops got burnt down from the spreading fires. However the locals were able to save the post office. A police Constable from Torrens Creek Police was awarded the King's Medal of Bravery.
In June 1945 it was announced that a new court house would be built in Hughenden in the 1945-1946 financial year with architectural plans drawn up in August 1945. However, it was not until September 1946 that the Executive Council of the Queensland Government approved expenditure of £31,560 for the project. In September 1947, the project stopped because it was determined that the foundations would not support a 2-storey building and that the new court house would have to be redesigned as single-level building. In January 1950, the new plans for the one-storey building were announced and by October that year, the construction was progressing in "leaps and bounds". A shortage of cement appears to have delayed the project until 10,000 tons of cement was imported from England in January 1951. By January 1952, three-quarters of the framing had been completed while the project was suffering from a shortage of skilled labour and the cost having risen to an estimated £60,000. In October 1954 the court house was described as "almost completed", but it was not until 1955 that the court house opened.
On 9 June 2003 in the Queen's Birthday Honours List, Mrs Jean Eva Anderson of Ballater Station of Stamford was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for her "service to the community of Hughenden, particularly through the Country Womens Association". She had given 52 years of service to the Hughenden branch of the Queensland Country Women's Association. Her award was presented to her by the Governor of Queensland, Quentin Bryce.
In August 2008, Hughenden hosted the first Arid Lands Festival and The Great Hughenden Camel Endurance Challenge.
Hughenden has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:
St Francis Catholic School is a Catholic primary (Prep-6) school for boys and girls at 8 Flinders Street ( In 2018, the school had an enrolment of 41 students with 4 teachers and 4 non-teaching staff (3 full-time equivalent).).
Hughenden State School is a government primary and secondary (Prep-12) school for boys and girls at 12 Moran Street ( In 2018, the school had an enrolment of 115 students with 15 teachers and 13 non-teaching staff (11 full-time equivalent).).
Hughenden is served by five radio stations.
Hughenden has a visitor information centre, showground, shire hall, and racecourse.
Hughenden has a large range of sports on offer, including pony clubs, swimming, lawn bowls, golf, netball, tennis, campdrafting, rugby league, and gymnastics. The Hughenden Hawks are the local Rugby League team.
The town hosts the Hughenden Dinosaur Festival, which attracts tourists and includes entertainment and other events.
Other annual events include the Hughenden Show, held the first weekend in June; the Hughenden Country Music Festival, held every Easter week end and the Bullride and Race Day which is held in September. The Matron's Ball is also a popular annual event.
The Hughenden Rugby 7's is a popular one day Rugby Union Carnival, run in the town since 2012.
Hughenden has a replica of the Muttaburrasaurus, a dinosaur, whose bones were discovered in 1963 near Muttaburra (220 kilometres (140 mi) by road from Hughenden) and some teeth and other bones were also discovered around Hughenden. One reason for fossils being discovered must be the dry climate, which means the rocks are usually bare of vegetation.
Hughenden has a hot semi-arid climate (Köppen BSh). Record temperatures have varied from around 44 °C (111.2 °F) in the summer months to as low as −2 °C (28.4 °F) in winter, but average maximum temperatures are usually a very hot 36 °C (96.8 °F) in summer and a very warm 25 °C (77 °F) in June and July. Minimum temperatures range from 22 °C (72 °F) in summer to around 10 °C (50 °F) in winter. On average, a minimum below 2 °C (35.6 °F) is recorded once per year.
The average annual rainfall is around 490 millimetres (19 in), of which over three-quarters falls from November to March. Between May and September, rainfall is extremely rare: the median rainfall is zero in August, less than 2 millimetres (0.1 in) in July and September and less than 10 millimetres (0.4 in) in April, May, June and October. Variability is extreme, however, and totals as high as 800 millimetres (31 in) occur roughly one year in ten, whilst in the driest years as little as 127 millimetres (5 in) can be recorded. Between December and March, monthly totals can exceed 330 millimetres (13 in) if the monsoon is vigorous, with the wettest month being January 1984 with 659.7 millimetres (25.97 in).
Humidity is generally low except when the monsoon is active, when relatively lower temperatures accompany high humidity. The same applies to cloudiness: in the dry winter months over twenty days are completely clear.
|Climate data for Hughenden Post Office|
|Record high °C (°F)||43.6
|Average high °C (°F)||35.8
|Average low °C (°F)||22.5
|Record low °C (°F)||15.4
|Average rainfall mm (inches)||114.5
|Average rainy days (≥ 0.2 mm)||8.2||7.6||4.7||2.3||1.8||1.8||1.4||0.9||1.3||2.7||4.3||6.0||43|
|Source: Bureau of Meteorology|
|Preceding station||Queensland Rail||Following station|
|Long distance rail services|
towards Mount Isa
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Hughenden, Queensland.|
- University of Queensland: Queensland Places: Hughenden
- Town map of Hughenden, 1979, northern and southern sections