Chinchilla and District
Population: 5487 (ABS Census Data 2011)
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.