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 BatteryTyrconnell 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 SavannahlanderSavannahlander Train 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.

More information can be found at http://www.whereis.com/qld/dimbulah#session=MTU=

To learn more, have a look at the Perentie Tours home page


About Gary Bondeson

Gary has been directly involved in tourism in Far North Queensland since the 1990’s. His passion for the area was inspired by the rich history and many points of interest concentrated in the region and felt a strong desire to share this with others. Gary is heavily involved with tourism development and even co-hosted an episode of the popular travel show 'The Great Outdoors’ with Tom Williams showing the limestone caves of Chillagoe located 200kms west of Cairns. After being away for 5 years, Gary has now returned to the area that he holds so dear to his heart to share his knowledge and experience with those who wish to have a Fair Dinkum Ozzy experience.

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