Winton is a charming town in Central West Queensland, located approximately 177 kilometres northwest of Longreach and 1,357 km northwest of Brisbane. It’s a unique town that we suggest everybody visits in their lifetime. Whether you love music, fancy yourself a paleontologist, or have a soft spot for film, we guarantee you will enjoy your time in Winton. Before you visit, though, it is best you brush up on your Winton trivia, so here are 10 facts that you may not know…
1. Banjo Patterson wrote Waltzing Matilda in Winton
Did you know that in 1895, Banjo Patterson wrote Waltzing Matilda on a station just outside of Winton, called Dagworth Station?
2. Winton is home to the only museum in the world that is dedicated to a song
Here is a fact that you might not know: Winton is home to the only museum in the world that is dedicated to a song. The town of Winton is so proud of Waltzing Matilda, they decided to dedicate a whole museum to Banjo Patterson and his song! The Museum burnt down in June 2015, however it was rebuilt and reopened last year.
3. Winton is often described as the “Hollywood of the Outback”
Did you know that Winton is often likened to Hollywood, thanks to the Vision Splendid Outback Film Festival that pops up in the town each year? The festival, inspired by the Sundance Film Festival, is a celebration of filmmaking in the Outback. Many blockbusters have been filmed in Winton, such as Nick Cave’s Proposition and Ivan Sen’s Goldstone. In 2019, it is back from the 28th of June to the 6th of July, with a schedule jam-packed full of workshops, tours, film screenings and live entertainment.
4. Winton was once known as Pelican Waterhole
Did you know that the settlement of Winton was originally named Pelican Waterhole? After a flood in 1876, the settlement was moved 1.5 km to where it is today and renamed Winton. It was, in fact, the Postmaster of the time, Robert Allen, who renamed the town after the suburb in Bournemouth, England where he was born. Legend has it that Robert got tired of writing the name Pelican Waterhole on postage stamps, so he opted to change it to a shorter name!
5. Winton is home to the world’s largest Australian dinosaur fossil collection
If you have always dreamed of getting up close and personal with a dinosaur, The Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum in Winton is a great place to visit! The museum is home to the world’s largest Australian dinosaur collection, including Banjo, the largest and most complete carnivorous dinosaur in Australia.
Want to see more dinosaurs? Here is a list of the best spots in Queensland to visit T-Rex’s cousins…
6. Winton is home to a massive music festival
In April 2019, Winton’s Way Out West Fest took the Queensland Outback by storm! Despite only being in its second year, the Outback’s newest music festival had no trouble attracting some impressive acts, such as Amy Shark, San Cisco, Jon Pardi, Ross Wilson and John Williamson. How cool!
Did you know that Winton has recently been declared Australia’s first Dark Sky Sanctuary, making it one of the best places in the world to look at the night sky? What is even more impressive is that it is one of just 10 in the world!
8. QANTAS was born in Winton
As the saying goes, QANTAS was “conceived in Cloncurry, born in Winton and grew up in Longreach”. In 1920, the Queensland and Northern Territory Air Service registered its company’s headquarters as being in Winton. The following year, on the 10th February 1921, the first official board meeting of QANTAS was held at the Winton Club. While the headquarters eventually moved to Longreach, you can still find one of the original landing strips in Winton.
9. Gotye recorded a song at Winton’s Musical Fence…
Winton is home to the world’s first musical fence – a boundary fence that doubles as a musical instrument. The Musical Fence was designed by percussionist and composer Graeme Leak back in 2003. If you think the fence sounds familiar, it might be because Gotye recorded his 2010 song Eyes Wide Open at the Fence. You can find the Musical Fence behind the Diamantina Heritage Truck and Machinery Museum.
10. There is evidence of a dinosaur stampede in Winton
Did you know that the world’s only recorded evidence of a dinosaur stampede is 110 km southwest of Winton? If you are ever in Winton, it is well worth the trip to Lark Quarry Conservation Park to see the 3,300 stampeding footprints that are believed to be 95 million years old.
By Kate Nutting