Hughenden, Queensland

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Hughenden's dinosaur statue
Hughenden is located in Queensland
Coordinates20°50′38″S 144°11′55″E / 20.8438°S 144.1986°E / -20.8438; 144.1986Coordinates: 20°50′38″S 144°11′55″E / 20.8438°S 144.1986°E / -20.8438; 144.1986
Population1,136 (2016 census)[1]
 • Density1.1336/km2 (2.9361/sq mi)
Elevation324.0 m (1,063 ft)
Area1,002.1 km2 (386.9 sq mi)
LGA(s)Flinders Shire
State electorate(s)Traeger
Federal Division(s)Kennedy
Mean max temp Mean min temp Annual rainfall
31.6 °C
89 °F
16.6 °C
62 °F
491.3 mm
19.3 in
Localities around Hughenden:
Dutton River Dutton River Porcupine
Stamford Hughenden Prairie
Stamford Stamford Tangorin

Hughenden /ˈhjuːəndən/[2] is a town and locality in the Shire of Flinders, Queensland, Australia.[3][4] At the 2016 census, Hughenden had a population of 1,136.[1]


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 runoff from the Flinders River is much too erratic to provide a sustainable supply for any crop-growing via irrigation.


The upper Flinders River area has been occupied by the Yirandhali people from around 11,000 years ago.[5] 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.[6]

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.[7]

The region in the vicinity of Hughenden was originally known as Mokana in the Yirandhali language.[8]

British occupation began in October 1861 with the expedition group led by Frederick Walker camping near the site of the future township of Hughenden.[9] 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.[3]

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.[8][10]

Hughenden Post Office opened on 1 July 1878 (a receiving office had been open from 1874).[11]

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.[12]

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.[13]

Hughenden North Provisional School opened c. 1897, becoming Hughenden North State School on 1 January 1909. Due to low attendances, it closed in 1926.[12]

St Francis' Catholic School was opened on 1 October 1900 by the Sisters of the Good Samaritan.[12][14]

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.[15]

Architectural plans for the two-storey court house drawn up in 1945, a project which was abandoned when it was discovered that the foundations could not support a 2-storey building
The partly-built one-storey court house, 1952

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.[16][17] However, it was not until September 1946 that the Executive Council of the Queensland Government approved expenditure of £31,560 for the project.[18] 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.[19] 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".[20][21] A shortage of cement appears to have delayed the project until 10,000 tons of cement was imported from England in January 1951.[22] 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.[23] In October 1954 the court house was described as "almost completed",[24] but it was not until 1955 that the court house opened.[25]

In 1960, the Hughenden branch of the Queensland Country Women's Association opened their hall.[26]

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.[27][28]

In August 2008, Hughenden hosted the first Arid Lands Festival and The Great Hughenden Camel Endurance Challenge.[29]

Heritage listings[edit]

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 (20°50′46″S 144°12′07″E / 20.8461°S 144.2020°E / -20.8461; 144.2020 (St Francis Catholic School)).[31][32] In 2018, the school had an enrolment of 41 students with 4 teachers and 4 non-teaching staff (3 full-time equivalent).[33]

Hughenden State School is a government primary and secondary (Prep-12) school for boys and girls at 12 Moran Street (20°50′45″S 144°11′47″E / 20.8459°S 144.1965°E / -20.8459; 144.1965 (Hughenden State School)).[31][34] In 2018, the school had an enrolment of 115 students with 15 teachers and 13 non-teaching staff (11 full-time equivalent).[33]


Hughenden is served by five radio stations.


Hughenden has a visitor information centre, showground, shire hall, and racecourse.

The Flinders Shire Council operates the Flinders Shire Public Library at 39 Grey Street.[35]

The Hughenden branch of the Queensland Country Women's Association has its rooms at 42 Stansfield Street.[36]

Hughenden has a large range of sports on offer, including pony clubs, swimming, lawn bowls, golf, netball, tennis, campdrafting, rugby league, and gymnastics.[37] 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.[38]

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,[39] 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
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
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[40]


Preceding station Queensland Rail Following station
Long distance rail services
Torrens Creek
towards Townsville
The Inlander Richmond
towards Mount Isa

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Hughenden (State Suburb)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 23 January 2018. Edit this at Wikidata
  2. ^ Macquarie Dictionary, Fourth Edition (2005). Melbourne, The Macquarie Library Pty Ltd. ISBN 1-876429-14-3
  3. ^ a b "Hughenden – town (entry 16403)". Queensland Place Names. Queensland Government. Retrieved 12 June 2017.
  4. ^ "Hughenden – locality (entry 47387)". Queensland Place Names. Queensland Government. Retrieved 12 June 2017.
  5. ^ Morwood, Michael John (1990), The prehistory of Aboriginal landuse on the upper Flinders River, North Queensland highlands, retrieved 15 January 2019
  6. ^ CC-BY-icon-80x15.png This Wikipedia article incorporates CC-BY-4.0 licensed text from: "Guugu Yimithirr". Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages map. State Library of Queensland. Retrieved 28 January 2020.
  7. ^ CC-BY-icon-80x15.png This Wikipedia article incorporates CC-BY-4.0 licensed text from: "Indigenous languages map of Queensland". State Library of Queensland. State Library of Queensland. Retrieved 5 February 2020.
  8. ^ a b Gray, Robert (1913). Reminiscences of India and North Queensland. London: Constable and Company. p. 73.
  9. ^ Norman, W. H.; Landsborough, William.; Walker, Frederick. (1862), Exploration expedition : letter from Commander Norman reporting the return of the "Victoria" from the Gulf of Carpentaria : together with reports and correspondence, retrieved 15 January 2019
  10. ^ "AROUND THE CAMPFIRE". Townsville Daily Bulletin (Qld. : 1907 - 1954). 19 July 1951. p. 5. Retrieved 16 February 2020.
  11. ^ Phoenicx Auctions History. "Post Office List". Phoenix Auctions. Retrieved 18 January 2021.
  12. ^ a b c Queensland Family History Society (2010), Queensland schools past and present (Version 1.01 ed.), Queensland Family History Society, ISBN 978-1-921171-26-0
  13. ^ "West Hughenden Estate". State Library of Queensland. 24 November 1883. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  14. ^ "Welcome to St Francis Catholic School, Hughenden". Archived from the original on 12 June 2017. Retrieved 12 June 2017.
  15. ^ "History". Archived from the original on 11 September 2007. Retrieved 12 December 2018.
  16. ^ "NEW COURTHOUSE FOR HUGHENDEN". Townsville Daily Bulletin. LXVII. Queensland, Australia. 28 June 1945. p. 1. Retrieved 21 October 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  17. ^ "Item ID1430505, Plan of Hughenden Court House, Hughenden". Queensland State Archives. Retrieved 21 October 2017.
  18. ^ "POINTS FROM THE NEWS". Worker. 27 (3087). Queensland, Australia. 16 September 1946. p. 4. Retrieved 21 October 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  19. ^ "HUGHENDEN COURT HOUSE". The Northern Miner. Queensland, Australia. 1 September 1947. p. 2. Retrieved 21 October 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  20. ^ "NEW HUGHENDEN COURT HOUSE". Townsville Daily Bulletin. LXX. Queensland, Australia. 14 January 1950. p. 6. Retrieved 21 October 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  21. ^ "NEW COURT HOUSE AT HUGH'DEN PROGRESSING". Townsville Daily Bulletin. LXX. Queensland, Australia. 14 October 1950. p. 6. Retrieved 21 October 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  22. ^ "English Cement for Qld. Govt". Daily Mercury. 85 (12). Queensland, Australia. 13 January 1951. p. 1. Retrieved 21 October 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  23. ^ "£77,000 HAS BEEN SPENT ON MENTAL HOME". The Northern Miner. Queensland, Australia. 10 January 1952. p. 1. Retrieved 21 October 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  24. ^ "PWD Schemes Will Cost Thousands". The Northern Miner. Queensland, Australia. 9 October 1954. p. 1. Retrieved 21 October 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  25. ^ "Hughenden and District Timeline: From 1841 to 2013" (PDF). Flinders Shire Council. p. 4. Archived (PDF) from the original on 21 October 2017. Retrieved 21 October 2017.
  26. ^ Murdoch, Colleen (2008). "QCWA Hall, Hughenden, 2008". Retrieved 1 January 2019.
  27. ^ "Portrait of Mrs Jean Anderson of Stamford with Order of Australia medal, 2003". Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  28. ^ "ANDERSON, Jean Eva". It's an Honour. Australian Government. Archived from the original on 3 January 2019. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  29. ^ Arid Lands Australia Incorporated, accessed 22 March 2008.
  30. ^ "The Grand Hotel (entry 602608)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
  31. ^ a b "State and non-state school details". Queensland Government. 9 July 2018. Archived from the original on 21 November 2018. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  32. ^ "St Francis Catholic School". Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  33. ^ a b "ACARA School Profile 2018". Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority. Retrieved 28 January 2020.
  34. ^ "Hughenden State School". Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  35. ^ "Flinders Library" (PDF). Public Libraries Connect. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  36. ^ "Branch locations". Queensland Country Women's Association. Archived from the original on 26 December 2018. Retrieved 26 December 2018.
  37. ^ Hughenden - Community Groups, accessed 4 July 2008.
  38. ^ Events
  39. ^ Wilcox, Jacqui and Young, Phillip; Queensland's rainfall history: graphs of rainfall averages, 1880–1988; published 1991 by Queensland Department of Primary Industries. ISBN 0-7242-3913-8
  40. ^ "HUGHENDEN POST OFFICE". Climate statistics for Australian locations. Bureau of Meteorology. March 2013. Retrieved 3 April 2013.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]