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Rich in history, Winton was originally known as Pelican Waterhole and was first settled in 1875. The town is best known as the place that AB (Banjo) Paterson wrote Waltzing Matilda in 1895, whilst at Dagworth Station outside Winton. The first performance of the ballad was reported to be at Winton’s North Gregory Hotel on 6 April of the same year. Winton is recognised as the ‘home’ of Australian bush poetry, hosting the annual Bronze Swagman Award, one of the country’s most prestigious literary awards.

Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Service (Qantas), Australia’s national airline was formed in Winton in November, 1920 and its first board meeting was held in the Winton Club on 21 February 1921.

Winton is famous for its water supply which thrusts its way to the earth’s surface from three artesian bores, all around 1,200 metres deep emerging at a temperature of 83 degrees Celsius. The water is sourced from the Great Artesian Basin which provides water for most of Australia’s Outback.

Winton is in the centre of Matilda Country, a diverse region in which vast Mitchell Grass plains are broken by magnificent coloured gorges, ridges and jump-ups. Visitors to the region will be amazed by the vastness of the plains and the undulating nature of the landscape. There is a wide variety of animal and bird life in the area, generally best seen around dusk and dawn on minor roads and tracks.

Day trips from Winton take visitors to Opalton, one of the oldest opal fields in Queensland; Combo Waterhole, where the swaggie of ‘Waltzing Matilda’ fame reputedly met his fate; the vintage sandstone homestead of Old Cork Station; and Lark Quarry, where 93 million year-old fossils capture a dinosaur stampede.

Come a-waltzing Matilda

‘Once a jolly swagman, camped by a billabong. Under the shade of a coolibah tree’. You can relive this famous ballad way out in Queensland’s outback.
Here lies a peaceful waterhole surrounded by pretty coolibah trees, a perfect spot for a dip or a rest in the shade. As you take in the tranquil surroundings, you may see what inspired Banjo Paterson’s immortal ballad, Waltzing Matilda.
Just south-east of the tiny settlement of Kynuna, along the Matilda Highway in Queensland’s north-west, lies the Combo Waterhole, the legendary billabong behind Banjo’s famous poem.
It all started at nearby Dagworth Station. Here Banjo was inspired when Dagworth owner Bob MacPherson told him of the suicide of a shearer involved in the great strikes of the 1890s, which led to the burning of the Dagworth shearing shed.
Banjo heard several similar stories and this led to him scribing the famous ballad that has now become Australia’s unofficial national anthem.
Legend has it that Christina MacPherson of Dagworth adapted a Scottish tune, Cragielea, for the music to the ballad.
A visit to the Combo Waterhole is a nostalgic journey into Australia’s history. And if you travel a further 145 kilometres along the Matilda Highway, you can delve more into the famous legend at the Waltzing Matilda Centre in Winton.
Here, Banjo Paterson’s story is spelled out in full detail with a sound and light show and interactive displays. Winton also claims fame as the place where Waltzing Matilda was first performed.


Queensland’s Outback, covering an enormous 832,000 square kilometres, is tough pioneer country, steeped in the history of early explorers.
Many tourists travel the Matilda Highway and byways in search of the real Australian outback and its rich heritage. Here they discover Australia’s early beginnings thanks to many significant sites and memorials dedicated to brave pioneers such as Burke and Wills, Ludwig Leichhardt, William Landsborough, John McKinlay, Sir Thomas Mitchell and Sir Augustus Gregory, among many others.
Towns, highways, roads, trees, rivers and other important sites have been memorialised after explorers and are well worth a visit. There’s Burketown, the Burke river, the Mitchell Highway, the Landsborough Highway, the McKinley River, Leichhardt River and Falls, Gregory River and Downs to name a few.
Each town in the outback has its own place in Australia’s history. Barcaldine was the site of the revolutionary 1891 Shearers’ Strike. Visit the famous tree of knowledge, folk museum and Workers Heritage Centre.
Winton is the ‘birthplace’ of Australia’s national airline, Qantas, and the national song, Waltzing Matilda as well as being home to the Waltzing Matilda Centre.
Longreach has an important link with the Qantas story told in the Qantas Founders Outback Museum in the original Qantas hanger.
Don’t miss the Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame, a pioneer museum devoted to rural Australia’s exploration, settlement and development.

Activites and Experiences at Winton

  • Birdwatching Birdlife includes black kites and wedge tail eagles, emus and bustards, dazzling emerald flocks of budgerigar and many others.
  • Bushwalking
  • Camping
  • Farm/Station activity
  • Flora Vegetation is predominantly made up of Mitchell Grass, interspersed with gidyea and prickly acacia. Other hardy trees include coolibahs in the lower creeklines and river red gums along the deeper channels. Spinifex, ghost gums and bloodwoods are found on the red soil in the hills.
  • Scenic Flight
  • Sightseeing
  • Swimming
  • Animal Viewing There are many varieties of lizards from small skinks and geckos to goannas over a meter in length. Red and Eastern Grey Kangaroos and wallaroos abound in the area. Echidnas, native rats and mice, dingos, camels and feral cats and pigs can also be seen.
  • Walking
  • Accommodation
  • Airport MacAir Airlines.
  • Automatic Teller Machine
  • Banking Facilities National Australia Bank, Westpac and Commonwealth Bank facilities at the post office.
  • Chemist
  • Cinema/Theatre Open-air cinemas.
  • Service Club
  • Coach Stop Daily services with Greyhound Australia. Also Queensland Rail coach connection from Longreach.
  • Electronic Funds Transfer at Point Of Sale
  • Fuel Petrol, LPG and diesel.
  • Public Bar
  • Mechanical Services Royal Automobile Club of Queensland (RACQ).
  • Medical Facilities
  • National Park Lark Quarry Conservation Park, Combo Waterhole Conservation Park, Bladensburg National Park.
  • Newsagent
  • Police
  • Post Office
  • Rail Terminal Queensland Rail coach connection from Longreach.
  • Restaurant
  • Sporting Facilities
  • Supermarket General store.
  • Swimming Pool
  • Takeaway Food
  • Visitor Centres Waltzing Matilda Centre, Elderslie Street.
  • Places of Worship
  • Adventure
  • Aussie Lifestyle
  • Caravan and Camping
  • Rural/Country
  • Cultural
  • Educational
  • Environmental
  • Farm/Station
  • Flora and Fauna
  • Historic/Heritage
  • National Park Lark Quarry Conservation Park, Combo Waterhole Conservation Park, Bladensburg National Park.
  • Nature based
  • Off road
  • Outback
  • Pub Stay
  • Remote
  • Soft Adventure
  • Wildlife There are many varieties of lizards from small skinks and geckos to goannas over a meter in length. Red and Eastern Grey Kangaroos and wallaroos abound in the area. Echidnas, native rats and mice, dingos, camels and feral cats and pigs can also be seen.
  • RTN, QH and National Distributors (TQ)
  • 18-35’s
  • Backpacking/Unstructured
  • Budget
  • Disabled
  • Empty Nesters
  • Family
  • Gay and Lesbian
  • Group
  • Self-Drive
  • Senior
  • Single
  • Outback Queensland Tourism

Nearest Airport: Winton

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