A middle-sized, typically Queensland country town that is known as both the peanut capital and baked bean capital of Australia. Kingaroy is one of Australia's major peanut producers with part of the crop being exported to New Zealand, Britain and Japan. The huge peanut silos are 42 m high and capable of holding 16 000 tonnes. The town hosts a peanut festival every September.
Location: 225 km northwest of Brisbane on the D'Aguilar Highway; 431 m above sea level.
Plan And Book
Events: Annual Bunya Festival - Aboriginal tribal ceremonies, hunting, feasting, mock fighting and corroborees.
Built features: Sir Joh and Flo Bjelke-Petersen's property, 'Bethany'; Johannes Bjelke-Petersen Airport; peanut silos; navy bean factory (known as the bean used in baked beans); Gordonbrook Dam; The Peanut Van; localities of Memerambi, Tingoora, Wooroolin, Kumbia; Muntupa Tunnel
Kingaroy was the home of the former long-serving Premier of Queensland, Sir Johannes Bjelke-Petersen, whose name appears throughout the area as regularly as does NSW's early Governor, Lachlan Macquarie, across New South Wales and Tasmania. There's the Johannes Bjelke-Petersen Airport (which is conveniently located next to the property of the former premier) and the Bjelke-Petersen Research Station. And, if you want a memento of your brief visit to Bjelke-Petersen country, you can still buy tea towels which combine a picture of Lady Flo with the recipe for her famous pumpkin scones.
A key part of the town's Art and Heritage Precinct in Haley Street is the Bicentennial Heritage Museum. Its displays chronicle the agricultural and pastoral history of the area. The museum's ANZAC displays and historical records are very interesting too. Ph. (07) 4162 6272.
Kingaroy Regional Art Gallery is housed in the old Art Deco council chambers building. The art-space is well-lit, spacious, and well-maintained, and not only are they majority of the artists on display local, but the level of professionalism is very high and diverse. Most of the pieces on display are for sale. Location: 128 Haly St, Kingaroy. Ph (07) 4189 9323.
Apex Park is the site of the first public hospital in Kingaroy and was developed by the Apex Club in the mid 1960s. The large trees you see today are the original plantings from the hospital grounds. A resident of the area donated the steam engine in the centre of the park. A walking track through native bush takes you to the lookout on Coral Street. The viewing platform affords panoramic vistas of Kingaroy and surrounds including the iconic peanut silos, Tarong Power Station and Coolabunia Hill (home to the late Joh and Lady Florence Bjelke-Petersen). Towards the south-west, are expansive views of the Bunya Mountains. There is a large playground and towering shade trees perfect for relaxing under. Bring a picnic and enjoy a pleasant afternoon in the peaceful surroundings.
Kingaroy's Memorial Park is located near the heart of town and is the major formal park in the Shire. The War Memorial is located in the park and is a band rotunda constructed of eight classical columns, supporting a frieze and a domed roof. The park has extensive flower gardens, paved paths, modern play equipment, picnic tables, barbecue facilities (coin operated on William Street side) and amenities which also have disabled access. The park also offers an off leash area for dogs on the Alford Street side. It is also home to the annual Wine and Food in the Park Festival held each March.
Gordonbrook Dam is the sole source of water supply for Kingaroy; it was built in 1941 to provide water for the Royal Australian Air Force Training Base during WWII. In 1987 due to increased demand the dam wall was raised and the inundated area is now 229 hectares. Take time to enjoy the beautiful views of the dam from either the viewing platform or the variety of walking tracks along the waters edge. Enjoy a picnic at the tables provided and use the wood fired barbecues. Camping is not permitted at the dam along with swimming, fishing, sailing and low horse-power boating due to blue/green algae in the water. Location: Recreation Drive, Kingaroy.
Kingaroy is home to Queensland's largest privately owned public astronomical observatory. Kingaroy Observatory was originally established in Maidenwell in 2004 before being moved to the Kingaroy Airport in 2015. Visitors are welcome and have the choice of Day or Night shows. Day shows offer visitors a real live image of the sun which is projected onto the big screen in the Star Theatre which seats over 70 people. Visitors also experience solar prominences, sunspots, filaments and the granularity of the Sun s solar surface. Bookings are recommended.
The South Burnett railway was one of the first branch lines built in Queensland. Originally used for agriculture and commercial freight as well as passenger public transport. The last train officially traveled along the line in 2004 and as the line was no longer used closed in 2010. This made way for the re-birth of the railway line as a rail trail. The 60km rail trail travels through beautiful countryside, quaint little creeks, across historical wooden bridges and passes through five major towns. Each offer their unique experiences and places to explore, including historic landmarks and buildings, art galleries, museums, food and wine, shopping and markets.
Situated alongside the rail trail is the award winning Wondai Timber Museum, take in the awe-inspiring Wagon Camp diorama or simply stop for refreshment at the many cafes and hotels. The Kingaroy to Murgon section is 44km of bitumen and is suitable to walk, run or cycle.
One of the true natural highlights of the area is the Bunya Mountains National Park which is about 50 km from Kingaroy. This pleasant and isolated area of the Great Dividing Range has bushwalks, camping facilities and excellent picnic sites. With an average elevation of 975 m and a diversity of flora including rainforests, woodlands and grasslands it is an area rich in history and typical of the development of much of the region. The Queensland National Parks and Wildlife Service, who administer the area, record the park's interesting history in numerous brochures and leaflets.
Every three years in February and March, the bunya pine produces a heavy crop of cones. Aboriginal tribes came from as far as the Maranoa, the Clarence and Maryborough area for six weeks of tribal ceremonies, hunting, feasting, mock fighting and corroborees. Most evidence of this important gathering of tribes is gone.
European settlers moved into the region in the early 1840s; however, the Bunya Mountains were not opened for selection until 1878. In the late 1860s, sawmillers arrived to log red cedar; initially, the bunya pine was not cut because of its significance to Aboriginals. The last great bunya feast took place in 1875 and remnants of the tribes continued to assemble until 1883 when the Great Bunya Sawmill opened and commenced cutting bunya pine. The last sawmill on the mountain closed in 1945.
Mount Wooroolin Lookout
You'll find great views from Mount Wooroolin Lookout, just over four kilometres west of Kingaroy. Established in 1988 as a bicentennial project by Kingaroy Shire Council, the area features a grassed area with picnic tables and wood barbecues. The elevated viewing platform offers 360 degree panoramic views of the surrounding countryside: Coolabunia Hill, the Bunya Mountains, Queensland's second oldest National Park and Tarong Power Station, which generates approximately one fifth of Queensland's power. To the northwest is pretty Gordonbrook Dam, the source of Kingaroy s water supply.
The Wooroolin Wetlands are located at the township of Wooroolin, 16 kilometres north of Kingaroy along the Bunya Highway. Wooroolin Wetlands was declared a fauna sanctuary in 1973, now classified as a palustrine wetland, a non-tidal, inland, seasonally flooded, vegetated swamp. After successive floods in 2011 and 2013, the wetland burst its banks and Wooroolin was flooded for the first time in recorded history. A bird hide and two walking trails have been established for naturalists to fully appreciate resident and migratory fauna. However the walking trails are only accessible during dry periods and can be accessed from Wooroolin Sports Ground. Over 25 different birds have been sighted including nankeen kestrels, striated pardalotes and golden-headed cisticola. Location: Sportsground Road, Wooroolin.
Step back over 150 years and experience what life was like on an isolated station in the early years of Queensland settlement at Boondooma Homestead. The restoration and preservation of the buildings have been carefully and methodically carried out and today provides an authentic picture of early station life. Artifacts uncovered during the restoration process have been carefully recorded and housed, along with a growing collection of researched material, in a specially constructed Museum. The annual Heritage Weekend and Bush Ballad Muster held in April attracts a large following. The complex is open to the public 9.00am to 4.30pm most days (phone ahead to check), with a resident caretaker able to provide guided tours (fees apply). Catering (Morning Tea, Afternoon Tea or Lunch) for large groups is available by prior arrangement. Over night grass camping sites are available, with toilet facilities but no showers. Location: 8262 Durong-Mundubbera Road, Proston. Ph (07) 4168 0159.
Like so much of the land north of Moreton Bay, Kingaroy was opened up in the 1840s when Henry Stuart Russell and the Haly brothers moved into the area. Taabinga Station homestead (now listed on the National Estate) was built in 1846. Taabinga Station homestead (5 km south) was built in 1846. Part of the vast Taabinga Station was set aside for a town as early as the 1880s but it wasn't until 1902 that the town centre came into existence. After 1904, when the railway from Brisbane arrived, the town grew rapidly. In the 1920s the first significant crops of peanuts was harvested. The first peanut silo was built in 1928. The town is now one of Australia's major peanut producers with part of the crop exported to New Zealand, Britain and Japan.
Origin of name: pioneer settler James Markwell called his selection Kingaroy Paddock using a corruption of the local Wakka Wakka aboriginal people's word for the red ant ('kinjerroy') because red ants were so prevalent in the area. Another source suggests the town was named after an early settler named King but there is little evidence to support this claim.