Border "gates" at Wallangarra
|Population||385 (2006 census)|
|LGA(s)||Southern Downs Region|
|State electorate(s)||Southern Downs|
Wallangarra is a town and locality in the Southern Downs Region, Queensland, Australia. It is the third most southerly town in Queensland, 258 kilometres (160 mi) south west of Brisbane. Wallangarra is on the Queensland side of the border and Jennings is on the New South Wales side. At the 2006 census, Wallangarra had a population of 385.
In 1885, the Queensland Government announced that a town would be formed where the railway line between Queensland and New South Wales would meet. On 29 June 1885, 179 lots were offered for sale at £8 per acre (£20/ha).
Wallangarra lies in a valley between two ranges of mountains, which each are branches of the Great Dividing Range. It is 878 m above sea level. There is a gap between the more Westerly range at Wyberba, about five kilometres north of Wallangarra. This gap has made Wallangarra the major inland border crossing for the New England Highway and what was the first railway line between Brisbane and Sydney.
Wallangarra is one of the coldest towns in Queensland, due to its altitude and extreme southerly location in the state. Maximum temperatures rarely rise above 15 °C (59 °F) in winter or above 30 °C (86 °F) in summer. Wallangarra holds the record for the lowest maximum temperature in Queensland, 2.4 °C (36 °F) on 3 July 1984. Despite this, minimum temperatures are not as low due to local geographic variations, and towns well to the north such as Warwick and Oakey frequently record lower minimums.
|Climate data for Wallangarra Post Office|
|Record high °C (°F)||36.2
|Average high °C (°F)||26.6
|Average low °C (°F)||14.7
|Record low °C (°F)||7.7
|Average rainfall mm (inches)||101.7
|Average rainy days (≥ 0.2mm)||9.3||8.8||8.0||6.1||6.6||6.9||6.8||6.3||6.4||8.0||8.7||9.6||91.5|
|Source: Bureau of Meteorology|
The town was created to service a break-of-gauge between Queensland's narrow gauge Southern railway line of 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm) and New South Wales's standard gauge Main North railway line of 4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) when the two systems came together in 1888. The railway station was named Wallan-garra (and remains so to this day officially) and the town took its name from the station but used the spelling Wallangarra (with most people using the same spelling for the railway station). The railway was the only rail link between Queensland and New South Wales until a standard gauge track was completed via Kyogle in 1930, with the completion of the bridge over the Clarence River at Grafton. From that time on, the Wallangarra railway station lessened in importance. All scheduled rail services stopped in 1997. In 2003, after major refurbishment, the station was reopened as a museum.
The railway line from Stanthorpe to Wallangarra has continued to be maintained and steam trains taking tourists to Wallangarra occasionally operate.
Despite being declared as Wallangarra, the station itself has the Queensland name boards hyphenated as Wallan-Garra.
|Preceding station||NSW Main lines||Following station|
|Terminus||Main North Line||
Wallangarra has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:
Army stores depot
During World War II, the Commonwealth Government created a general army store on the Queensland side of the border, and an ammunition dump on the New South Wales side. Dual gauge tracks were run to each store.
Access to the army stores was via Margetts St, one of the main roads in the town. The late Muriel Daphne Verdun Nicolson lived at 30 Margetts St from before WWII until her death in 2001. During WWII she reported that the flow of trucks and materiel went on all day and night.
As of 2013, the Wallangarra Stores Depot remained a major Australian Army logistics facility. It is used to store a wide range of engineering and general equipment, clothing, and tents. Bulk fuel storage handling apparatus are also held at the site. The munitions storage facility is also still active in Jennings.
Riverina Stock Feeds
Taking advantage of the rail junction Riverina Stock Feeds operated a packing plant opposite the Wallangarra railway station for many years until 1995. After that it moved to Warwick, a city 100 kilometres (62 mi) to the north. Warwick also has a major Woolworths warehouse. The Chairman of Woolworths who located the warehouse at Warwick grew up in Wallangarra.
The Anderson Meat Packing Company was re-started by Mr. A.W. Anderson in 1938 after a 15 month closure. Until 1982 it operated a large beef abattoir at Wallangarra. Anderson's employed in excess of 400 workers at the Wallangarra plant. The plant was located on the border so as to take advantage of rail lines from both Queensland and NSW.
After this closed the town's future looked dim. Ten years later, Thomas Foods International opened Australia's largest mutton works opened on a new site just to the east of the town. The mutton produced is Halal, and most of it is exported to Arab countries. The abattoir shut down in July 2016 for "the short to medium term" blaming low stock numbers and poor global trading conditions.
Drive out along Margetts St, over the railway bridge, past the Rugby League grounds and out past the army. From there follow Old Paling Yard Road up the foot hills of Mt Norman. There you will find a water treatment plant and a road branch to the left going down to Beehive dam. Beehive dam is in the mountains, and fed by a spring. It is a beautiful place for a picnic.
The Wallangarra cemetery is in McCall Street.
Notable former residents
Rugby League legend Billy Moore lived in Wallangarra as a child. He is best known for playing for the North Sydney Bears and the Queensland State of Origin team. He was born in Tenterfield, New South Wales as this was the closest hospital.
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (25 October 2007). "Wallangarra (L) (Urban Centre/Locality)". 2006 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 25 July 2009.
- "Wallangarra - town (entry 36315)". Queensland Place Names. Queensland Government. Retrieved 12 May 2017.
- "Wallangarra - locality (entry 49846)". Queensland Place Names. Queensland Government. Retrieved 12 May 2017.
- Stokes, I.M., The History of the Wallangarra Meatworks, The Tenterfield Star, 23 October 1967.
- "Wallangarra Post Office". Climate statistics for Australian locations. Bureau of Meteorology. January 2014. Retrieved 13 January 2014.
- The Centenary of the Southern Line Kerr, J.D. Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin, December 1970 pp261-291
- "Wallan-Garra - railway station (entry 36316)". Queensland Place Names. Queensland Government. Retrieved 12 May 2017.
- The Last Years of the Warwick/Wallangarra Mails Milne, Rod Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin, July 1995 pp179-189
- "Heritage Register". Retrieved 20 September 2014.
- "Wallangarra Railway Station and Complex (entry 601242)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 13 July 2013.
- "Wallangarra Stores Depot, Queensland" (PDF). Department of Defence. 1 October 2013. Retrieved 18 July 2015.
- Australian National Audit Office (2011). "Management of the Explosive Ordnance Services Contract" (PDF). Australian National Audit Office. p. 63. Retrieved 18 July 2015.
- Maistre, Barbara Le. "Anderson, Alfred William (1888–1956)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. National Centre of Biography, Australian National University. Retrieved 26 February 2017.
- "TO REOPEN". Warwick Daily News (5823). Queensland, Australia. 19 March 1938. p. 2. Retrieved 26 February 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
- "Stock shortages blamed for imminent sheep abattoir closure". ABC Rural. 2016-07-05. Retrieved 2017-02-26.
- Sharwood, Anthony (15 June 2011). "Why Queensland care more, and NSW couldn't care less". The Punch. Retrieved 24 August 2011.
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