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Chinchilla and District Chinchilla and District

Population:  5487 (ABS Census Data 2011)
Elevation:  313m
GPS Coordinates:  26.75oS; 150.59oE

Our area was first discovered by explorer Ludwig Leichhardt on his 1844 expeditions, however, it wasn't until 1846 when he passed through again that he named Charley's Creek and took up camp here with his party. Charley's Creek, named in honour of Leichhardt's Aboriginal guide, Charley Fisher, and the reliable supply of water that it provided prompted the development of the first white settlement in the Chinchilla District. One of the first slab huts to be built and occupied on Chinchilla Station (Wongongerra Cottage) now stands proudly at the Chinchilla Historical Museum.

A succession of good seasons from the 1850s through to the early 1860s enticed landholders to take-up properties adjoining Chinchilla Station and the number of settlers in the area grew. When bullock wagons could no longer provide reliable transport of goods and produce, the settlement looked to the railway. Owing to their short bridge crossings and ample water supply, Charley's Creek and Rocky's Creek were deemed the preferred route, and in 1876, construction of the Dalby to Roma railway line had begun. By 1877, a lawless shanty town of tents and pubs had sprung up along Charley's Creek, which would later become known as Chinchilla. Local historians will tell you that our town name could be based on the Aboriginal word 'jinchilla', which is the indigenous term for the plentiful stands of cypress pine, a fresh scented termite resistant timber that grows on the Western Downs.

Present day Chinchilla is a vibrant and thriving community in the heart of Our Western Downs with great schools, an expanding retail sector and a diverse range of services and facilities. We are renowned for our 'Melon Festival' which is celebrated in February every second year and pays homage to one of our life-sources, the delicious watermelon. This quirky, fun, and family-friendly festival really captures our strong community spirit and attracts visitors from all over Australia. When you drive into town you can easily tap in to some local knowledge at the Chinchilla Visitor Information Centre on the Warrego Highway. Here you can enjoy a Devonshire Tea while you learn where to find the rare 'Chinchilla Red' petrified wood (to purchase a fossicking permit please click here). Be sure to enquire about Charley's Creek Walk, the Chinchilla Weir and of course the Chinchilla Historical Museum, which houses an impressive Cypress Pine Interpretive Centre and the Wongongerra Cottage.

Most importantly we invite you to visit our main street, a beautiful haven away from the bustle of the highway. Mature camphor laurels line the street throwing dappled shade on the sidewalk and huge leafy branches hug our shopfronts. Take a relaxing stroll down our street, encounter a friendly nod and smile from a local, do a bit of country shopping or enjoy a light lunch. Take note of our flood marker artworks as you enter the main street, which show the heights the water reached during the floods of 2011. Stop in at our Cultural Centre which features the Lapunyah Art Gallery, Chinchilla, a popular movie cinema and the public library. As the hub of our business and retail sector, our picturesque main street will give you an informed snapshot of just what Chinchilla has to offer.