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Welcome to Yaraka sign.jpg
Welcome to Yaraka sign
Yaraka is located in Queensland
Coordinates24°53′00″S 144°05′00″E / 24.88333°S 144.08333°E / -24.88333; 144.08333Coordinates: 24°53′00″S 144°05′00″E / 24.88333°S 144.08333°E / -24.88333; 144.08333
Population18 (?)[citation needed]
LGA(s)Longreach Regional Council
State electorate(s)Gregory
Federal Division(s)Maranoa

Yaraka is a small town in Central West Queensland, Australia. It was the terminus of a branch railway line. It is located 220 kilometres (140 mi) south of Longreach, 165 kilometres (103 mi) west of Blackall and 100 kilometres (62 mi) south of Isisford.

The town has a population of 12 with 117 people living in the surrounding area.

The landscape is open Mitchell grass downs country, which provides good grazing country. Grey Range is located near Yaraka and is characterised by rocky ridges, spinifex grass and mulga.


Yaraka Railway Station in 1917 shortly after the rail link was opened. The Premier, Mr T. J. Ryan visited the new site.

The first European to pass through the area was Edmund Kennedy in 1847. In 1860, graziers began to populate the area and farm sheep and cattle. In 1910, the State government authorised the building of a 2,060 km railway line in Western Queensland to support the pastoral industry. However, only a quarter of the line was built and Yaraka became the end of the line.

Yaraka became a town when the rail line from Emmet opened in April 1917.[1] The station was called Yaraka by the Railway Department who said it was the Aboriginal name "of white spear grass which grows in the district".[2] A photo of the railway station taken shortly after its opening is shown. The town prospered for the next twenty years and in the 1930s had a population of about 100.[3] In 1932 a journalist toured this area and described the town in the following terms.

"Yaraka: This little place is the end of the line, and enjoys the privilege of seeing one train a week. It is situated well down the Barcoo, about one hundred miles from where the rivers meet, and becomes Cooper's Creek.

No doubt people who live and work in isolated places such as this are entitled to more consideration than they receive. They certainly have courage and endurance above the average."[4]

In the 1950s Yaraka railway station became a major centre for the transportation of cattle. In November 1953 over 5442 cattle were handled which was the largest number since the line opened in 1917. It was noted that this was unusual in these country yards and that Yaraka was unsurpassed in this respect.[5]

The line was officially closed on 14 October 2005 and has been dismantled.[6] These days however Yaraka has become known as one of Queensland's 'vanishing towns' and its population is declining.

Tourist attractions[edit]

  • Mount Slocombe Lookout: This is said to be "an ideal place to enjoy the stunning outback sunset or the glorious colours of a sunrise".[7] There are endless photographic opportunities. The view takes in Yang Yang Ranges, Mt Brooks and The Fort, all with ever changing colours, shadows and shades. There is a sealed road and electric barbeque and picnic area at the summit. Nearby waterholes offer an abundance of bird and wildlife.[8]
  • Magee’s Shanty: Not far from Yaraka is the historic site of the shanty immortalised in Banjo Paterson's poem "A Bush Christening", There is also the ruins of the Cobb & Co pub and the lonely grave of goldminer Richard Magoffin who perished in 1885.[9]
  • Yaraka Opal Field: This field encompasses the mines within and west of the Macedon Range including Harlequin and Mount Tighe. Famous for top patterns and various types of opal in as many as eight levels. Mines include Spur, Polykettle, Cockatoo and Pretty Gully.[10]
  • National parks: There are two national parks near Yaraka. Welford National Park is notable for golden-green spinifex, white-barked ghost gums and red sand dunes.[11] A highlight of Idalia National Park are the dense Mulga woodlands and views.[12]
  • Other activities: Other activities include exploring, fishing, tennis and golf.[13]


There are free caravan sites with water and electricity near the Yaraka Town Hall.[14] The hotel also provides accommodation.


Summer Average (day) Min temp=35.8⁰, Max temp=37.1⁰ Summer Average (night) Min temp=21.9⁰, Max temp=22.9⁰

Winter Average (day) Min temp=22.5⁰, Max Temp=25.1⁰ Winter Average (night) Min temp=6.5⁰, Max Temp=7.9⁰

Average annual rainfall 451mm


  1. ^ The Western Champion and General Advertiser for the Central – Western Districts, 14 April 1917, p. 7. Online reference
  2. ^ The Queenslander, 7 October 1916, p. 33. Online reference
  3. ^ Queensland Museum, 2003 "Discovery guide to outback Queensland", p. 174.
  4. ^ Worker (Brisbane), 4 May 1932, p. 17. Online reference
  5. ^ The Longreach Leader, 18 December 1953, p. 10. Online reference
  6. ^ "Jericho Blackall Yaraka branch closing". Railpage. Retrieved 20 August 2013.
  7. ^ Queensland Tourism website. Online reference
  8. ^ Yaraka: On the outer Barcoo website. Online reference
  9. ^ Barcoo Shire Council website Magee’s Shanty. Online reference
  10. ^ Opals Information webpage. Online reference
  11. ^ Welford National Park website. Online reference
  12. ^ Idalia National Park website. Online reference
  13. ^ Yaraka: On the outer Barcoo website. Online reference
  14. ^ Yaraka Town Caravan Park website. Online reference

External links[edit]

  • Media related to Yaraka at Wikimedia Commons