Windorah General Store, 2013
|Population||115 (2016 census)|
|Elevation||126.3 m (414 ft)|
Windorah is one of three towns in the Barcoo and a locality in Central West Queensland, Australia. It is stated that the town is named after the local Aboriginal word for "Big Fish", although according to an account of the Durack settlers, the name means high, stony place. At the 2006 census, Windorah had a population of 158. In the 2016 census, Windorah's population had decreased to 115, with 20.5% of the population identifying as indigenous.
Located 35 kilometres (22 mi) downstream from where the Thomson and Barcoo Rivers join to form the multi-channelled Cooper Creek, the Shire covers an area of 60,901 km², the town has a population of 60 people, with a further 40 living at surrounding stations.
A landscape of rocky outcrops, multiple sand hills and black soil flood plains make up most of the area surrounding the town. Water in the town follows the outback cycle of boom and bust. During a wet year Cooper Creek may flood more than a half a dozen times, during the dry it becomes a chain of waterholes. Downstream of the town stretches the Cooper Floodplain below Windorah Important Bird Area, identified as such by BirdLife International because of its importance for waterbirds when flooded.
Windorah is diverse in many aspects. The temperature may range from maximums in summer that approach 50 °C to minimums in winter that are below 0 °C. The annual rainfall has recorded falls between a low of 86 mm and a high of 988 mm. Other weather extremes include 25 morning frosts in 1977, 10 dust storms in 1987 and four hailstorms in 1985.
Sheep and cattle grazing are the mainstay of the district; however, recently oil and gas industries have developed in the area. Many locals also work on the Shire Council and the Dingo Barrier Fence.
Before the onset of white colonisation, the area near and east of Windorah was inhabited by the Kulumali. The town was founded on a stock route and proclaimed in 1880. Cobb & Co once ran a stage coach service between Windorah and Adavale.
Windorah Provisional School opened on 30 July 1888. In 1897 it became a half-time school, sharing a teacher with Cooper's Creek Provisional School, but reverted to a full-time school in 1903. In 1907, it became a half-time school with Cooper's Creek school again, and then closed in 1915. However, it reopened in 1916, only to close again in 1918. In 1926, it reopened and remains operating as Windorah State School.
The town was completely isolated by floodwater in 1949 after surrounding areas were inundated by heavy rainfall. Low cloud and more rain prevented relief food supplies from being delivered by air from a RAAF Dakota.
Windorah has a library, race course, local museum, shire hall, information centre and museum.
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Windorah (State Suburb)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 23 January 2018.
- Environmental Protection Agency (Queensland) (2002). Heritage Trails of the Queensland Outback. State of Queensland. p. 127. ISBN 0-7345-1040-3.
- Durack, Mary (1959). Kings in Grass Castles.
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (25 October 2007). "Windorah (Barcoo Shire) (State Suburb)". 2006 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 25 June 2011.
- BirdLife International. (2011). Important Bird Areas factsheet: Cooper Floodplain Below Windorah. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 2011-12-17.
- Queensland Family History Society (2010), Queensland schools past and present (Version 1.01 ed.), Queensland Family History Society, ISBN 978-1-921171-26-0
- "Family rescued from flood". Townsville Daily Bulletin. Queensland: National Library of Australia. 25 March 1949. p. 1. Retrieved 24 March 2013.
- "Opening and closing dates of Queensland Schools". Education Queensland. 1 August 2013. Retrieved 30 January 2016.
- "Windorah State School". Education Queensland. Retrieved 30 January 2016.
- "Barcoo". Centre for the Government of Queensland. Retrieved 21 December 2011.
- "Public Library Directory". Public Libraries Connect. 5 September 2017. Retrieved 19 January 2018.
Media related to Windorah at Wikimedia Commons