We pass through Dimbulah on the way to Chillagoe on one of my Two Day Outback Tour. The name Dimbulah is thought to be a local aboriginal word meaning long water hole as the Walsh River runs close to the town and always becomes a series of waterholes during the dry season. Dimbulah was originally established in late 1800’s to service the Hodgkinson Gold Fields to the North and a little later Wolframite (Tungsten) was discovered closer to town. The mine was named Wolfram Camp and when Tungsten prices crashed in 1906, mining came to a halt although the Tyrconnell Gold mine and Battery on the Hodgkinson Gold Field continued to operate. The Catholic church at Wolfram Camp was dismantled and moved to Dimbulah (and later to Chillagoe in late 1990’s). Coal was discovered at Mount Mulligan and a tram track was constructed in 1915 to connect to the Chillagoe line.There were many Chinese (for the gold) and Afghan cameleers in the region resulting in half cast aboriginal children. During that shameful time in Australian history, many children were forcible removed from their parents and the local tribe scattered. Australia adopted a ‘White Australia’ policy and an influx of Italian migrants began to grow tobacco in the area. Tinaroo Dam was constructed in the 50’s to irrigate the area and the town prospered – it was difficult to get a park in the main street but as late as 1998 the British and American Tobacco Company stopped leasing the properties and the industry came to an abrupt halt. Tea tree was quickly planted to ensure a continuance of income but the market became top heavy creating little demand for the oil. It was a dark time for Dimbulah and the town has never fully recovered. I can remember going to a few town meetings and making recommendations to local council about the restoration of the old railway station. A few other projects assisted to regenerate town pride such as the Savannahlander Train, the Great Wheelbarrow Race and Wolfram Camp was revived for a while. These days Dimbulah is the hub of fruit and vegetable growers with mangoes being the primary produce.
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