Winton, Queensland

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Main street of Winton
Coordinates 22°23′29″S 143°02′17″E / 22.3913°S 143.0381°E / -22.3913; 143.0381Coordinates: 22°23′29″S 143°02′17″E / 22.3913°S 143.0381°E / -22.3913; 143.0381
Population 954 (2011 census)[1]
Postcode(s) 4735
LGA(s) Winton Shire
State electorate(s) Mount Isa
Federal Division(s) Maranoa
Mean max temp[2] Mean min temp[2] Annual rainfall[2]
32.1 °C
90 °F
16.6 °C
62 °F
414.7 mm
16.3 in

Winton is a town in Central West Queensland, Australia, 177 kilometres (110 mi) northwest of Longreach. The main industries of the area are sheep and cattle raising. The town was named in 1876 by postmaster Robert Allen, after his place of birth, Winton, Dorset.[3] At the 2011 census, Winton had a population of 954.[1]


Asteroid strike[edit]

In 2015 the Sydney Morning Herald reported that recent seismic studies indicated that 300 million years ago an asteroid or comet struck the area releasing energy equivalent to 650 Hiroshima A-bombs.[4] Richard Blewett, a senior official with Geoscience Australia, described how it was a long circular arc in the course of the Diamantina River near Winton that triggered the curiosity that prompted seismic studies. The strike left geomagnetic anomalies over an area 130 kilometres (81 mi) in diameter.


The area surrounding the town has yielded a number of dinosaur fossils, including 'Elliot', a sauropod. In 2009, three dinosaur genera, Australovenator, Wintonotitan and Diamantinasaurus, were discovered near the town. Australovenator wintonensis, the type specimen of that genus, is named after the town. The town also lent its name to the Winton Formation.

Great Artesian Basin[edit]

Winton is situated on the Great Artesian Basin. The water supply bursts to the surface at 83C degrees and is then channeled through cooling ponds before being distributed to the town. Sulphur gas gives the water an 'eggy' smell.

Street Names[edit]

The main streets in the town of Winton were named after the stations which were in the direction in which the streets were running. For instance, east and west — Elderslie, Vindex, Cork and Dagworth. Those facing the north were called Oondooroo, Manuka, Sesbania and Werna. Three of these stations Dagworth, Vindex and Oondooroo figure in the Waltzing Matilda story.[5]



At the races in Winton, Queensland, ca.1890
  • 1848 Ludwig Leichhardt explores region
  • 1858 Augustus Gregory searches for Leichhardt
  • 1861 Landsborough searches for Burke and Wills
  • 1866 First European settlers
  • 1876 First hotel/store built
  • 1879 Town gazetted
  • 1880 First doctor arrives, Cobb and Co services begin, Police station established
  • 1881 First bank opens
  • 1882 First school opens
  • 1885 First newspaper
  • 1888 Opal discovered
  • 1891 Great Shearers' Strike
  • 1894 Second shearers' strike
  • 1895 First public performance of "Waltzing Matilda"
  • 1899 First train arrives
  • 1900 Worst drought
  • 1906 Record floods
  • 1909 Telephone connected
  • 1911 Open-air picture theatre opens
  • 1920 Qantas formed
  • 1928 Bert Hinkler visits
  • 1942 Lyndon B. Johnson, later to become US President, was on board The Swoose which made a forced landing at Carisbrooke Station[6]
  • 1946 North Gregory Hotel destroyed by fire for 3rd time
  • 1958 World Rodeo Championships
  • 1962 Dinosaur Trackways discovered at the site now known as Lark Quarry Conservation Park
  • 1966 Crash of Ansett-ANA Flight 149, a Vickers Viscount aircraft, on Nadjayamba Station, west of Winton
  • 1972 First Outback Festival
  • 1989 Winton to Cloncurry Highway sealed
  • 1995 Waltzing Matilda Centenary
  • 1996 The Agitator newspaper appears
  • 1998 Waltzing Matilda Centre opens
  • 1999 "Elliot", the largest dinosaur find in Australia was discovered by a local grazier
  • 2002 Lark Quarry building opened in August.
  • 2004 Lark Quarry receives National Heritage Listing.
  • 2009 Three new dinosaurs discovered: "Banjo", "Matilda", "Clancy"
  • 2015 An un-controllable fire engulfs and destroys many precious artefacts at the Waltzing Matilda Centre


Winton was one of the founding towns of the Australian airline Qantas. The first board meeting was held at the Winton Club on 10 February 1921.

Vickers Viscount accident[edit]

External images
Photograph of memorial in Winton, plus 3 photographs of the crash site and 10 of the aircraft
Main article: Ansett-ANA Flight 149

On 22 September 1966, Ansett-ANA Flight 149, a Vickers Viscount aircraft crashed on Nadjayamba Station 12 miles (19 km) west of Winton, killing all 24 people on board. On the fortieth anniversary of the accident a memorial was unveiled in the main street of Winton.[7]

2015 Waltzing Matilda Centre Fire[edit]

On the night of 17 June 2015, fire broke out in the Waltzing Matilda Centre, the building that housed town's information centre and a museum housing a collection of historic artifacts. Firefighters arrived within minutes to find the rear of the building engulfed in flames, the teams fought desperately to save the front of the building and any artifacts that hadn't already been destroyed. Despite all efforts, the entire structure was reduced to a smoldering wreck with little evidence of the building ever housing such a unique museum.The fire has been deemed unsuspicious and investigators are currently[when?] looking for clues to the cause of the blaze. Until the building is either rebuilt or re-located, a makeshift information centre will be moved to a vacant premises inside the town. The building was unoccupied at the time of the fire and there were no casualties.[8]


Waltzing Matilda Centre[edit]

Winton is intimately involved in the story of the popular Australian folk song, "Waltzing Matilda", which had its first performance in the North Gregory Hotel in the town. The Waltzing Matilda Centre opened in 1998 and is the first museum dedicated to a song.[9] The song was written by 'Banjo' Paterson whilst holidaying at a local property, Dagworth Station. The music for the song was arranged by Christina Macpherson, the sister of the station manager who was visiting at the same time.

In 2012, to remind Australians of the song's significance, Winton organised the inaugural Waltzing Matilda Day to be held on 6 April, the anniversary of its first performance.[10][11]

Royal Theatre[edit]

The historic Royal Theatre is one of the few remaining open air picture theatres in Australia and home to the World's Largest Deckchair which was originally constructed in Victoria by the Freemasons Taskforce in 2002 and donated to Winton and the Royal Theatre by the members of that taskforce in April 2005.

Outback Festival[edit]

The biennial Outback Festival is held each odd calendar year in September. The festival is held over five days draws. The event was billed in the '100 Things To Do in Australia Before You Die' list from Australian Traveller magazine and is one of 19 Queensland events and attractions to make this epic list coming in at no. 81. The final 100 was culled from an original list of 800.

The Outback Festival has been recognized since 1991 winning many Outback Queensland Tourism accolades including the recent 2012 Winner of the Outback Queensland Tourism Awards for Festivals and Events and finalist at the Queensland Regional Achievement and Community Awards.[citation needed] The Festival being one of three chosen from over 90 Queensland organizations for the Community of Year Award. Featured events include the Quilton Australian Dunny Derby. The Outback Century Cycle Challenge is also held over this event period - attracting competitors from all over Australia for their one chance in every two years of mastering the outback course.

Arno's Wall[edit]

Arno's wall is a strange mixture of art and architecture. Cemented contents of the wall include rusted lawnmower parts, boat propellers, vintage typewriters and sewing machines and even a couple of complete motorbikes. A photograph of the wall by Gordon Undy is in the National Library of Australia digital collection [12]

Heritage listings[edit]

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

Other facilities[edit]

Winton's visitor centre is located in the Waltzing Matilda Centre. The town has a range of museums including the heritage listed former Corfield and Fitzmaurice emporium as well as the heritage truck and machinery museum. Winton has a range of facilities available to the public; these include a public library, showground, racecourse, golf, bowls, skate park and swimming facilities.[15] Winton Airport is located about 5.6 kilometres (3.5 mi) northeast of Winton.


Winton is dry with summer temperatures ranging from 23 °C to 38 °C while temperatures in the 'winter' season range from 9 °C to 25 °C. Temperatures above 30 °C can be experienced throughout the year, and even hotter temperatures above 40 °C can be recorded in every month from October to March. Rainfall is concentrated in summer and the yearly average is 414.7 mm (16.3 in). Extremes have ranged from 46.8 °C (116.2 °F) to -1.7 °C (28.9 °F)

Climate data for Winton (Winton Post Office 1884-2012)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 45.6
Average high °C (°F) 37.5
Average low °C (°F) 23.5
Record low °C (°F) 12.8
Average rainfall mm (inches) 83.2
Average rainy days (≥ 0.2mm) 6.9 6.5 4.3 2.2 2.0 1.9 1.5 1.2 1.6 2.8 3.9 5.3 40.1
Source: Bureau of Meteorology[16]

In popular culture[edit]

The 2005 film The Proposition was filmed entirely in Winton and the surrounding area.

The 2013 film Mystery Road was also filmed in Winton and the surrounding area.[17]


  1. ^ a b Australian Bureau of Statistics (31 October 2012). "Winton (Urban Centre/Locality)". 2011 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 30 November 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c "Winton Post Office", Bureau of Meteorology
  3. ^ Reader, Jane (19 June 2007). "Pop down (under) to Winton…". Bournemouth Daily Echo. Newsquest Media Group. Retrieved 19 June 2007. a book which reveals the town in western Queensland was named after our very own Winton by the postmaster, Robert Allen, in 1876 
  4. ^ Cameron Attfield (22 March 2015). "Winton 'asteroid strike' had power of 650 million Hiroshima bombs". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 21 March 2015. A massive explosion, the equivalent of more than 650 million Hiroshima atomic bombs, is thought to have changed the course of history west of Winton in outback Queensland. 
  5. ^ Ponnamperuma, Senani. "Waltzing Matilda Australia's Favourite Song". 
  6. ^ "Boy's Own adventures nearly killed Lyndon Johnson" by Cameron Stewart, The Australian (12 November 2011)
  7. ^ Vickers Viscount crash Retrieved 25 August 2011
  8. ^
  9. ^ Waltzing Matilda centre
  10. ^ Arthur, Chrissy (6 April 2012). "Outback town holds first Waltzing Matilda Day". ABC News. 
  11. ^ "Waltzing Matilda Day". Waltzing Matilda Centre, Winton. 
  12. ^ Undy, Gordon (1994–1996), Part of Collection of photographs documenting aspects of Queensland's mining country, 1994-1996 Arno and his wall, Winton Check |url= value (help), National Library of Australia, retrieved 16 Feb 2013 
  13. ^ "Corfield & Fitzmaurice Store (entry 600965)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 16 July 2013. 
  14. ^ "Elderslie Homestead (entry 600966)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 16 July 2013. 
  15. ^ "Winton". Centre for the Government of Queensland. Retrieved 18 January 2011. 
  16. ^ "Winton Post Office". Climate statistics for Australian locations. Bureau of Meteorology. April 2013. Retrieved 8 April 2013. 
  17. ^ "Mystery Road Press Kit" (PDF). Retrieved 14 October 2015. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Winton, Queensland at Wikimedia Commons