Tolga, Queensland

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Kennedy Highway near the intersection with Main Street, Tolga
Tolga is located in Queensland
Coordinates17°13′23″S 145°28′44″E / 17.2230°S 145.4788°E / -17.2230; 145.4788Coordinates: 17°13′23″S 145°28′44″E / 17.2230°S 145.4788°E / -17.2230; 145.4788
Population2,426 (2011 census)[1]
 • Density27.016/km2 (69.97/sq mi)
Elevation760 m (2,493 ft)
Area89.8 km2 (34.7 sq mi)
LGA(s)Tablelands Region
State electorate(s)Hill
Federal Division(s)Kennedy
Mean max temp Mean min temp Annual rainfall
25.6 °C
78 °F
15.3 °C
60 °F
1,400 mm
55.1 in
Localities around Tolga:
Walkamin Mareeba Tinaroo
Arriga Tolga Kairi
Mutchilba Watsonville Atherton

Tolga is a town and locality on the Atherton Tableland in the Tablelands Region in Far North Queensland, Australia.[2][3] It is the centre of the region's peanut industry. In the 2016 census, the population of Tolga was 2718.[4]


Tolga is located on the Atherton Tableland. The Kennedy Highway traverses the locality from the north-west to the south of the locality, passing through the town which is in the southern part of the locality.[5] To the north-west of the town is a large residential development which is marketed under the names of Tandara, Rangeview and Panorama Views.[6]

The Barron River forms the north-east boundary of the locality. The south-western boundary of the locality is the drainage divide that separates the drainage basin of the Barron River from that of the Mitchell River.[5]

The northern and eastern parts of Tolga are relatively flat land used for cropping. However, the western parts of the region are more mountainous (creating the drainage divide) and are mostly undeveloped[5], but is to be the location of the Mount Emerald Wind Farm currently under construction [needs update] on the Great Dividing Range.[7]

The Tolga Scrub on the southern side of town is one of the last remaining areas of Mabi rainforest on the Atherton Tableland. It is the most drought resistant type of rainforest in Australia. The Tolga Scrub is 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) long and 100 metres wide.[8]


The name Tolga is thought to be derived from the Aboriginal word for red volcanic soil.[4] The town was originally called Martin Town, and grew out of a Cobb and Co staging post at Rocky Creek.[9] The town's name was changed to Tolga in 1903 when the railway was extended from Mareeba. [4]

During World War II in 1943 the Australian Army established their largest storage and repair centre to the west of the town centred on Griffin Road and Tate Road to support the War in the Pacific. It was known as the 13 Australian Advanced Ordnance Depot and was operated by the Royal Australian Army Ordnance Corps under the comand of ieuteant-Colonel LW Gale with a staff of about 1000 including 200 from the Australian Women's Army Service. The complex had about 150 buildings, including 18 large igloo storage shed. The complex stored, repaired and maintained Army vehicles and vehicle parts, weapons and ammunition, and clothing.[10]

Most buildings on the site were removed in 1946 after the war had ended with one building being relocated to the Atherton Hospital for the use of the Queensland Country Women's Association. On Friday 29 November 1946, three Army personnel were working to remove cordite from the shells in the ammunition dump when the cordite ignited in a blinding flash. The three men were severely burned in the explosion but managed to crawl over a mile to their headquarters. Although they were rushed to the Atheron hospital, the three men died and were buried at the Atherton War Cemetery.[10][11]

At the 2006 census, Tolga had a population of 843.[12] By the 2011 census, Tolga's population had increased to 2,426 people.[1]


Tolga State School opened on 10 October 1895 and is coeducational, catering from Prep - Year 6 with an enrollment of 366 students.[13] The school celebrated its centenary in 1995.[14]

Tolga Markets[edit]

Tolga Markets are held at the Tolga Racecourse from 7am to 12pm on the first Sunday of each month. Local produce, hand crafted items, clothing, tools and food are commonly found for sale. It is considered the second most popular market held on the Atherton Tableland, only slightly smaller than the Yungaburra Markets.

Heritage listings[edit]

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


  1. ^ a b Australian Bureau of Statistics (31 October 2012). "Tolga (SSC)". 2011 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 8 June 2016. Edit this at Wikidata
  2. ^ "Tolga - town (entry 34741)". Queensland Place Names. Queensland Government. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
  3. ^ "48903 - locality (entry Tolga)". Queensland Place Names. Queensland Government. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
  4. ^ a b c "Tolga". Australian Bureau of Statistics. 12 January 2017. Archived from the original on 3 February 2018. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  5. ^ a b c "Queensland Globe". State of Queensland. Archived from the original on 19 December 2017. Retrieved 26 February 2018.
  6. ^ "Panorama Views, Atherton Tableland". Archived from the original on 26 February 2018. Retrieved 26 February 2018.
  7. ^ "Mount Emerald Newsletter 3" (PDF). RATCH Australia. Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 April 2013. Retrieved 30 January 2012.
  8. ^ "The Tolga Scrub". Tolga Bat Hospital. Archived from the original on 6 June 2016. Retrieved 8 September 2016.
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 24 July 2008. Retrieved 6 June 2009.
  10. ^ a b "13 Australian Advanced Ordnance Depot: Tolga Advanced Ordnance Depot". Queensland World War II historic places. Queensland Government. Archived from the original on 26 October 2018. Retrieved 26 February 2018.
  11. ^ "Three Deaths Follow Cordite Blast". The Sydney Morning Herald (33, 991). New South Wales, Australia. 2 December 1946. p. 1. Retrieved 26 February 2018 – via National Library of Australia.
  12. ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics (25 October 2007). "Tolga (L) (Urban Centre/Locality)". 2006 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 25 June 2011.
  13. ^ "Tolga State School Annual Report 2016". Education Queensland. 2016. Archived from the original on 4 February 2018. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  14. ^ Snelling, Judy (1995), Tolga State School centenary 1895-1995, The School, retrieved 3 February 2018
  15. ^ "WWII RAAF 220 Radar Station (entry 602741)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 14 July 2013.
  16. ^ "Rocky Creek World War Two Hospital Complex (former) (entry 601815)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 14 July 2013.

External links[edit]