Barcaldine is situated on the junction of the Capricorn and Landsborough Highways and known as the Garden City of the West. Many visitors use Barcaldine as a base from which to explore central west Queensland. The extensive range of accommodation and shopping facilities make Barcaldine a relaxing place to stay, recover and explore. Barcaldine is the largest town in the Barcaldine Regional Council area and it is proud of its interesting and famous history.
Barcaldine is home to the Tree of Knowledge, the reputed birth place of the labour movement in Australia. The Tree – a ghost gum – grew outside the Railway Station for about 180 years until 2006 when sadly, it was poisoned by an unknown culprit. The famous tree has been preserved and placed under an award winning timber structure that was constructed to protect the preserved tree and celebrate its importance in Australia’s history. The structure is impressive during the day but when viewed at night is truly magnificent.
The name Barcaldine originates from the Oban region in Scotland. Donald Charles Cameron was one of the first settlers in the district and a direct descendant of the Campbell’s of Barcaldine Castle. He settled on a portion of land fronting the Alice River and immediately named his property “Barcaldine Downs”. The railway line came as far as Lagoon Creek in 1886 and the township of Barcaldine developed on land from the Barcaldine Downs run.
The Australian Workers Heritage Centre is a national project commemorating not just these events, which changed the course of the nation’s working history, but is a tribute to all Australian working men and women. Set in over five acres of landscaped gardens, it is also home to the Wanpa-rda Matilda Outback Education Centre, which is a unique residential facility for schools and community groups.
Barcaldine is also home to the old world Radio Theatre, complete with its canvas seats, and the working windmill that pumps water into the sculpture designed and erected by the Youth of Barcaldine, which stands outside the information centre.