About This Drive
Duration: 4 days
Route: Wowan - Theodore - Cracow - Biloela
The Banana Shire is littered with Historical features and experiences for you to enjoy. From Museums and Homestead’s to Historical Villages and the Cracow Pub, you don’t want to miss a thing!
Camping spots are available in all the overnight stay locations.
Day 1 – Wowan, Goovigen & Biloela (82km/1.5hr)
Begin your journey at Wowan and take some time looking through the old relics at the Wowan Museum.
Make your way to the Percy Schluter Memorial School of Arts Hall and Engel Homestead, on the outskirts of Goovigen. Note that it is open by appointment only, so you’ll want to phone ahead (07) 4996 5146.
From there, continue your drive onto Biloela, the capital of the Banana Shire.
When you arrive in Biloela, head to the Queensland Heritage Park, located on Exhibition Avenue. Other historical points of interest in Biloela include the Spirit of the Land Mural and Greycliffe Homestead.
Queensland Heritage Park
11 Exhibition Avenue, Biloela QLD 4715
The Queensland Heritage Park complex in Biloela showcases heritage exhibitions of our nation’s past and the pioneering spirit of Australians.
Through a range of interactive and interpretive displays, the Queensland Heritage Park provides an insight into the history and heritage of the region. The Heritage Park is housed in a ‘silo’ structure iconic to Biloela, a town rich in major industries including agriculture and mining.
The restored vintage church and railway station buildings are a testament to early pioneers and families who settled in the Callide and Dawson Valleys. The walls of these buildings are lined with historical photographs and memorabilia from the families who shaped the district’s early days.
Explore, discover and relive the past as you browse through the machinery sheds and the large array of vintage agricultural machinery, which have been collected, preserved and placed on display at the Park.
48 Gladstone Road, Biloela QLD 4715
Greycliffe Homestead is the original home of the Nott family, local pastoralists who owned and operated Greycliffe Station. It’s the closest reminder the region has to home life on a pastoral station in the 1870’s. The Nott’s and their seven children were raised on the station and it was passed down through the generations for 100 years.
After the last of the Nott family passed away in 1974, the local Historical Society became caretakers of the Homestead.
Greycliffe Homestead has been listed by the National Trust of Queensland as an essential element of the National Estate. It is open by appointment only with the Banana Shire Historical Society. Phone (07) 4992 3959
Day 2 – Baralaba, Moura & Theodore (200km/2.5hr)
From Biloela, travel west along the Dawson Highway to the town of Banana.
Don’t expect to find banana trees lining the streets of this town though. The unusual name comes from a bullock with yellow colouring which was a favourite of local stockmen in the 1860’s. You can visit his statue in town during your visit.
Continue onto Baralaba, where the town’s main attractions revolve around heritage and country life.
Follow into Baralaba and pay a visit to the Historical Village. Local historians, Tinny and Colin Major, have spent three decades creating the Historical Village. The heritage houses are filled with memorabilia, offering visitors an insightful passage back in time. The Historical Village is open by appointment only so you will need to book ahead. Phone (07) 4998 1163 or (07) 4998 1351.
Next, set your sights on the town of Moura. For almost six decades, coal mining has been pivotal to the town. It’s impossible to miss the huge open cut pits from the highway as you enter Moura. Ensure you visit the Moura Coal and Country Museum in the Moura CBD with the museum providing a great insight into the town’s history.
Turn right onto the highway and follow the road into Theodore, a town wedged at the point between the Dawson River and Castle Creek. Upon arriving in Theodore, follow ‘The Boulevard’ through town and make your way to the Dawson Folk Museum, housed in an old power house.
Moura Coal and Country Museum
Gillespie Street, Moura QLD 4718
Moura has a rich history with mining. Learn all about the industrial history of Moura at the Coal and Country Museum with memorabilia on display.
There are also four Mining Memorials located throughout the town, dedicated to the lives lost in three separate mining disasters which occurred between 1975 and 1994.
While on the history trail, why not take a stroll ‘Down Memory Lane’ which takes you on a guided history trail around the development of Moura’s first town block, before mining came to town. Drop into the ‘Culture Shack’ (located on Gillespie Street) for more information.
Dawson Folk Museum
Corner of Second Avenue and Dawson Parade, Theodore QLD 4719
For history buffs, the Dawson Folk Museum has a large collection of memorabilia from the region including an old telephone exchange and photographs covering the early history of the town.
The displays include the history of early station families, Aboriginal artefacts and farm machinery.
Day 3 – Taroom & Cracow (184km/3hr)
Head north along The Boulevard out of town and turn left onto the Leichhardt Way. Follow onto Taroom. Taroom is steeped in early European history and built on primary industries – first sheep, now cattle and grain.
Continue along the highway and turn right into Yaldwyn Street. On the right you will see the Leichhardt Tree. Stop and take a closer look and listen to the story of Ludwig Leichhardt.
Make a pit stop at the Taroom Museum on Kelman Street. The Museum opens by appointment. Contact the Taroom District Historical Society on 0409 663 701 to arrange access.
From Taroom, head to Cracow and make your way to the Cracow Hotel. The pub is legendary and owned by Fred Brophy, owner of Australia’s last boxing troupe. The pub is more than just a place to whet your whistle, it’s a great place to chat with the locals and, if the kitchen is open, enjoy a pub meal. Take a walk along the main street and delight at the abandoned buildings from yesteryear.
Continue along Third Avenue up the hill to the Cracow Mining Museum. It is also located right next door to the town camping area, a great spot to pull up and rest for the night.
Yaldwyn Street, Taroom QLD 4420
Visit the heritage-listed blazed tree, the Leichhardt Tree. Ludwig Leichhardt stopped and marked this tree on his expedition north in 1844. While the markings are no longer visible, a monument was erected in 1988 to commemorate this important tree. Stop and listen to the story of Leichhardt through the speaker box at the monument.
Taroom Historical Museum
17 Kelman Street, Taroom QLD 4420
The Taroom Historical Museum houses a collection of town memorabilia such as tools, photographs, household items, aboriginal artefacts and early pioneering instruments and machinery.
There are also eight historical buildings including the original St. Mary’s Church built in 1893, the Jongh Tai Shue’s Confectionary & Bakery shop; the ‘Slab & Pole’ Reynolds Cottage c1895, which was moved into town c1900; a Blacksmith Shed; original Row Boat of 1874 and its Boat House, Hospital Room, original 1877 Lock Up & Taroom War Memorial built c1973.
Corner of 3 Third Ave & Tenth Ave, Eidsvold-Theodore Road, Cracow, QLD 4719
While Cracow may be a ghost town, the Cracow Hotel is full of life. Owned by the legendary Fred Brophy, who runs the only remaining travelling Tent Boxing show in Australia, the Cracow Hotel looks more like a home than a hotel. Artifacts and memorabilia line the walls and ceilings and there’s not a pokie machine in sight.
Each room in the hotel has its own theme inspired by the great countries of the world. But choose wisely as the resident ghost has been known to wander the stairs and corridors in her nightgown in the early hours of the morning.
Day 4 – Camboon & Biloela (206km/2.5hr)
Head east out of Cracow towards Eidsvold, your destination is Camboon. Once you reach your destination, the old Camboon School of Arts Hall and bar are well worth a look.
If travelling in October, you may be lucky enough to catch the Camboon Campdraft. At other times of the year they hold dog trials and other minor events, which are always worth a look. Regardless, this is the perfect place to get your billy or thermos out and enjoy a cuppa. Note: you will cross a grid and go through gates – please close the gates behind you.
Head back to the Defence Road (GPS -25.045281, 150.421986).
Turn right and continue north along the Defence Road for 36 km until you reach the Leichhardt Way. Along the way, ensure you stop and check out the 4 historic stone bridges.
These bridges were built by hand in the 1940’s by Prisoners of War in mobile internment camps.
- Oxtrack Creek Bridge (GPS -25.036690, 150.413293)
- Bridge 3 (GPS -25.020513, 150400093)
- Bridge 2 (GPS -25.295372, 150.302624)
- Boam Creek Bridge (GPS -24.923844, 150.269123)
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