Killarney is an attractive town and the western gateway to the Heart of the Scenic Rim. Just 8 kilometres from the New South Wales border, it is in elevated country, on the headwaters of the Condamine River.
Location: 120 km south-west of central Brisbane.
Killarney’s participation in heritage tourism received a blow in November 1968 when several important buildings including the old municipal powerhouse, were destroyed by a tornado. The main street buildings that survived the storm: the Butter Factory, the Co-op Building, MacKenzie s Emporium (now a St Vincent de Paul boutique), former Commercial Bank (opposite the Post Office), the Post Office and the Killarney Hotel, hint at the town’s former glory. The former National bank building did survive the storm but was relocated to a suburb of Brisbane in 1977. The old Bank Vault’s foundation stones remain on the vacant block in the buildings original location adjacent to the St Vincent de Paul boutique.
The annual agricultural show, rodeos, various horse-related events, the annual Killarney Country Music Festival and the annual Border Ranges Trail Ride are major events that attract substantial numbers of visitors to the town. Killarney has many active community and sporting groups including the Killarney Area Promotion Association.
Queen Mary Falls
The five waterfalls surrounding Killarney make this area a popular scenic destination, the Teviot Falls, Queen Mary Falls, Dagg’s Falls, Brown’s Falls and Upper Brown’s Falls. During wet weather there are two additional falls, Black Fella Falls and Jack Brunton’s Falls, which can be seen tumbling down the cliffs surrounding Killarney at the bottom of the Cambanoora Gorge.
Main Range National Park is home to the most spectacular the local waterfalls. Queen Mary Falls, where Spring Creek plunges 40m down a sheer rock face, is 10km on the Boonah side of Killarney.
Road to Cambanoora Gorge
Cambanoora Gorge runs between the source of the Condamine River and the town of Killarney. It is also known as the Condamine Gorge or the 14 River Crossings. The gorge begins in the historical area of The Head which is borderd by Wilsons Peak to the east and Mount Superbus to the north. Commencing at this broad grassland, the Gorge narrows as the river encounters harder trachyte rock. This creates a dramatic landscape.
The Condamine River is believed to be one of the tracks used by Aborigines to traverse the range between the Darling Downs and the Logan river catchment, as it is now known. In the 1850 2s timber cutters used the gorge to reach Cedar growing on the side of Mt. Superbus. When timber mills were established later at the Head it became the main road out for sawn timber going to the railway in Killarney.
The Condamine River still to this day has to be crossed 14 times and is impassable in floods. A common site for someone riding on horseback out to The Head was to pass around 12 bullock teams hauling timber through the gorge. There are many tales told of valiant efforts to get ladies through the floods before their babies were born. As the hillside gradually become clear-cut of timber, people started dairy farming. A local man by the name of Doug Peterson used to take the cream to Killarney twice a week. A road over Spring Creek Mountain was opened in 1957 and today the road through the gorge is mostly used by tourists.
The scenic road through the gorge – known in times past as the Condamine Track – was used to carry supplies and mail to early settlers along the length of the gorge, and to bring timber to the railway in Killarney. It is now a 4WD track which crosses the Condamine River 14 times. The Crossings are named First, Second, Double, Mawhirts, Bullocky, Flaggie, Rocky, Mill, Reis’, Heywood’s, Billy John’s, Andrew Evan’s, Long and Watson’s Crossing in order from The Head down river. The Gorge is part of the Bicentennial National Trail.
Origin of name: The precise origin of the name Killarney is uncertain. There was a Killarney Station, an outstation of the famous Canning Downs pastoral run, about eight kilometres down the Condamine from the present town. There were also several picturesque lakes in the valley, fringed by wooded hills, reminiscent of Killarney, Ireland.