WELCOME TO BILOELA
About The Town
BILOELA: (pronounced Bil-o-eel-a) is the aboriginal word for "White Cockatoo".
SOME VITAL STATISTICS:
With a population in excess of 5700, Biloela is the administrative centre of the Banana Shire, and centre of
the rich Callide Valley. Located 600km north of Brisbane, 145km south of Rockhampton, and 122km west
of Gladstone, Biloela is situated at the junction of the Burnett and Dawson Highways. It lies 180 metres
above sea level, and has an average yearly rainfall of 712mm.
The district was first settled in 1854 with the establishment of several large leaseholds or "runs". Sheep
were raised initially, but were replaced by cattle when speargrass became a problem.
Gold and other minerals were found in the area before the turn of the century, and the Mt. Rainbow and
Cania Townships blossomed briefly before disappearing. Banana (the town from which the local Shire
takes its name) also saw its gold rush days, but went into decline when
by-passed by the railways.
In the early 1920's, several runs were broken up into smaller blocks and opened for selection. Biloela township was surveyed in association with the railway line and was first settled in 1924.
The selectors usually lived a breadline existence while they cleared their land and attempted to grow cotton and establish dairy herds. The later discovery of vast underground water reserves proved a boon to many.
Industry came to Biloela in 1937 with the establishment of a Butter Factory, and in the late 40s, the Callide Coal Mine commenced significant production. In 1962, the Meatworks commenced operation, followed by Callide "A" Power Station in 1965, and the Cotton Ginnery in 1973. Construction of Callide "B" Power Station and the new Boundary Hill Coal Mine commenced in 1981, and provided another major boost for the township. Callide "C" Power Station was completed in 2001.
Today, Biloela area is fortunate in that it has a broad economic base giving it a large degree of stability.
The underground water reserves permit some 2,500 hectares of irrigation. Irrigated and dryland crops include wheat, oats, sorghum, cotton, lucerne, safflower, sunflower, millet, corn, onions, potatoes, beans, seeds, spices and flowers. Other rural pursuits include grazing of cattle, horse studs, pigs, poultry, eggs, aquaculture and squab.
Employment is also generated by the Callide, Boundary Hill and Moura Mines, Callide Power Stations, the Meatworks, the Banana Shire Council, the DPI (DNR&M) Research Station, and Ammonium Nitrate Plant.
In addition, there are the many smaller enterprises associated with such a thriving town, and several large retailers such as Woolworths (Biloela Shoppingworld), Supa IGA, Target Country, Mitre 10 and Home Hardware are represented here.
The availability of accommodation and facilities and the many points of interest, have also resulted in Biloela becoming the venue for an increasing number of statewide and even national seminars and conferences.
As yet untapped mineral resources in the area include coal fields near Callide and Boundary Hill, and oil shale to the north east of Biloela.
The installation of gates on the Callide Dam has provided a dramatic increase in the surface area of the dam and has created an upsurge of interest in water sport. Kroombit Dam site provides additional storage capacity for the area. Other dam sites exist in the area, and may warrant development as water conservation grows in importance. The establishment of the College of Technical and Further Education at Biloela has permitted many trade and technical staff needed in the area to be trained locally.
Things To Do and See
Go fishing and catch a Barramundi - Lake Callide on the outskirts of Biloela is fast gaining a reputation as one of Queensland’s highest quality inland fisheries, with catches of metre long Barramundi not uncommon. Sleepy Cod, Yellow-belly, and Red-claw are also prolific. Most fish are caught from the shore, and adults will require a fishing licence.
Visit Callide Lookout
- The views from the lookout are magnificent, giving the visitor a first hand look at mining operations, Callide Power Stations, Lake Callide and the Callide Valley. (Field glasses are recommended.) For access to the lookout proceed past the Callide Power Stations, turn left after crossing a grid and proceed with care. The drive is well worth it. The road is part bitumen and part gravel, and not suitable for caravans.
Have a picnic at Mt Scoria - Located near Thangool and 15 minutes drive south of Biloela, Mt Scoria Conservation Park is recognised for its amazing rare rock formation, 150 metres high and once the core of a volcano. Colloquially known as ‘Musical Mountain’, the long six-sided basalt columns sound musical notes when struck by another rock. This small attractive park, with picnic and toilet facilities, provides an ideal setting to rest and take in nature.
Experience local culture
The Callide Dawson Machinery Preservation Club Inc.invite you to review the array of heritage displays celebrating our nation’s glorious past, our rich heritage and the pioneering spirit of Australia at Queensland Heritage Park, Biloela, Central Queensland. The complex offers visitors the rare opportunity to take a walk down memory lane, whilst viewing an extraordinary collection of items from Australia’s past along with displays depicting the social and cultural heritage of Biloela and the Banana Shire. The front of the complex houses the Post and Rail Café that will indulge the tastes of visitors and guests with its local homemade fare and the Rural Hinterland Visitor Information Centre. The complex is open between 9.00am and 4.00pm daily and offers visitors and guests an array of facilities including toilets and showers, caravan and motor home parking, grey and blackwater disposal and picnic areas. Group tours welcome. For further information, please contact Mrs Cindy Cooper, Manager, on 4992 2400.
At Greycliffe Homestead Discover how our pioneers lived - Visit Greycliffe Homestead and Museum, an Australian Heritage Commission listed, century old, wooden slab station homestead, located on Gladstone Road near the high school. This building was re-located from Greycliffe Station and was the original home of the Nott family, who had held the run since 1870. Viewing is by appointment (ph 4992 3959 or 4992 1862 or ask at the visitor centres).
- by taking in an event such as the Moura Coal and Country Festival, Callide Valley Show, Brigalow Arts Festival, or one of the numerous rodeo or camp-draft events held throughout the year.
Take a Guided 4 Wheel Drive Tour of Kroombit National Park –from Kroombit Tourist Park, 35 kms from Biloela along the Valentine Plains Rd, Alan and Carol Sandilands run day tours into Kroombit National Park. You’ll see magnificent tall timber areas, Kroombit Gorge, escarpment views, the remains and site of a lost WW11 Liberator Bomber, and more. Phone Lochenbar Station 07 4992 2186.
Visit Kroombit State Forest and National Park –You will need a 4-wheel drive vehicle to explore this remote and undeveloped park. Things to do include 4 WD’ing, bird-watching, bush camping, bushwalking and photography. The park features a wide variety of vegetation including extensive rainforest areas, gorges, extensive views and plentiful native fauna and flora. From Biloela, the park entrance via the Dawson Highway and Tableland Road from Calliope is 2 hours drive. Contact the Parks and Wildlife Service (ph 07 4971 6500), or our visitor centres for more information.
Discover caves, rainforest and sandstone cliffs at Cania Gorge National Park –located less than an hour’s drive south of Biloela along the Burnett Highway (turn left 77 kms south of Biloela), this park features relatively easy bush walks through what has been described as a “mini Carnarvon Gorge”.
Take a self-drive day trip around the Banana Shire –Inquire at our visitor centres about the range of self-drive routes and points of interest about the Shire. An example, and must see location is the ‘ghost town’ of Cracow, now being revitalised with the reintroduction of gold mining. Stop for a beer at the Cracow pub, a tourist attraction in its own right featuring extensive displays dedicated to our Australian stockmen and outback larrikins. There’s Fred Brophy’s boxing tent memorabilia and there’s even ‘an Irish lifeboat’ (full of holes). Visit Cracow Beach to see an extensive stand of rare “Carnarvon” Livistona Palms.
Experience life on a cattle station - A variety of farm and station stays offer visitors the opportunity to join in rural life. You can learn to ride a horse and crack a whip, muster or draft cattle, enjoy home and camp-fire cooking, camp under the stars, yarn and share bush poetry, so why not park the van for a night or two and join in? Ask at our visitor centres about Kroombit Tourist Park, Myella Farm Stay and Cooper Downs Station.
Or just replace that worn tyre, get the vehicle serviced, buy a gift or ‘stock up’ in Biloela’s CBD - featuring a huge range of retail and service businesses.
For more information about any of these interesting, fun activities and other great things to see
and do in the Banana Shire contact the friendly teams at either the Queensland Heritage Park Rural Hinterland Information & Visitor Centre or the Biloela Information Centre.