Over 1000kms west of Brisbane you will find the small Outback town of Eromanga. But don’t let the distance fool you, this town has some quirky history and some unusual claims to fame that make it the perfect destination for your next trip!
1. Their name
The name ‘Eromanga’ comes from the Aboriginal word for ‘Windy Plain’, and if you’ve ever been to Eromanga on a windy day you will totally understand how it got its name! Eromanga was literally built on a big wide open plain on the banks of the Erounghoola Creek, which makes for a great place to walk around and enjoy the town and surrounds.
2. It’s a long way from the sea.
In fact, Eromanga has the claim to fame of being the furthest town from the sea in Australia. It is situated 860km northeast of the Coral Sea, which is part of the South Pacific Ocean. And the locals have a great sense of humour about it….just check out the Dinosaur riding a surfboard next door to the pub! It’s makes for a perfect photo opp!
3. The town is 141 years old.
Well almost anyway! Eromanga was gazetted as a town in March 1879, so next month it will be turning 141!
Eromanga began as a busy opal mining town and once boasted a population of around 500 people. The population has dwindled over the years and the town has seen declines and then prosperity with the discovery of gas and oil.
Eromanga’s population these days stands at around 30-40.
4. Home to Australia’s largest Dinosaur
That’s right! Not satisfied with having one claim to fame as the ‘furthest town from the sea’, in 2007 the largest bones of any known dinosaur in Australia were discovered on a property west of Eromanga.
‘Cooper’, (as that 2007 bone discovery is now known) is a 30 metre long by 6.5metre tall titanosaur and can be found along with many other amazing individuals at the Eromanga Natural History Museum. Open to the public 7 days a week between April to October why not experience an Australian Dinosaur Giants Tour and be introduced to the wonderful Australian Arid Palaeontology.
For more information visit: http://www.enhm.com.au/
5. The grounds are filled with oil and gas
I’m willing to bet you 1.5 million barrels of oil that you didn’t know that Eromanga is the largest oil producing area in mainland Australia – producing approximately 1.5million barrels of oil per year!
An oil refinery was even established in the township in 1985 and is still in action today. You will see it on the right hand side of the road as you drive in to town from Quilpie. You will also see the oil donkey above on the side of the road along your drive to Eromanga.
6. Once known as ‘Opalopolis’
And the claims to fame keep coming! Eromanga was the centre for some major Opal discoveries in the late 1800’s and 19th century. Enough so, that the town was known locally as Opalopolis.
Eromanga boomed at the time due to the discovery of opal and even now opal is mined in the area. Stop in at Opalopolis Park and see the opal inlaid memorial, a tribute to opal miners past and present.
7. The Pub was a Cobb & Co. Staging Post
The Royal Hotel, or simply Eromanga Pub to the locals, was built way back in 1885 (if you’re not a keen math wiz that makes it 135 years old!).
Cobb & Co. held contract no. 132 for mail to be carried from Thargomindah to Kyabra from 1898 to 1903 and a contract to carry from Charleville to Eromanga from 1904 to 1909.
The Royal Hotel is the last pub standing in Eromanga, which once boasted 4 pubs. Pop in and visit the pub and have a chat about the town and history with the friendly local staff. You can even live like a local and join in the fun at the weekly community BBQ, held each Saturday night.
8. They didn’t have automatic phones until 1991
I mean it could be understandable that it took so long to have automatic phones, being that Eromanga is the furthest town from the sea. That’s A LOT of phone line cable that needed to be laid! But alas, in 1991 the manual telephone exchange was finally replaced!
However, being that it took a little longer to go automatic, it did mean that Eromanga’s telephone exchange was the last of its kind operating in South-west Queensland, and that’s worth bragging about.
9. Steve Fossett surprise landing
And here we go bragging again! Well this one didn’t so much happen in Eromanga the town, but we are still claiming it!
On 4th July 2002 America Balloonist Steve Fossett landed his “Spirit of Freedom” balloon on Durham Downs station west of Eromanga.
Steve became the first man to:
Complete a solo journey around the world.
Travel the longest distance in a balloon by a single person (34 000km).
Stay in the air for the longest duration ever, 14 days and 20 hours.
When you visit the Living History Centre in Eromanga you can learn more about his journey and landing and even see remnants of the balloon.
10. They were gifted statues from the G20 Summit
Just outside of Eromanga you will find some unusual sculptures, a family of ‘twisted sauropods’!
These interesting pieces of art, the ‘knot-a-saurus’ statues, were commission for the 2014 Brisbane G20 summit to showcase Queensland’s rich fossil heritage.
These statues were donated to the Outback Gondwana Foundation, who operates the Eromanga Natural History Museum and are now living out their lives on the outskirts of Eromanga being photographed thousands of times a year! Not a bad retirement….
There are so many more interesting things that we could tell you about Eromanga and we could go in to so much more depth on just these 10! But we don’t want to share all the stories before you even get here! Make a trip to Eromanga and discover more interesting facts for yourself.