Let’s play a game of destination Guess Who.
It’s the Dinosaur Capital of Australia, the birthplace of an iconic Australian airline, and where the legend of a jolly swagman waltzed into Australian history.
It’s a town that likes being a world first or only, from dinosaur stampedes to musical fences. Think you know the answer? It’s Winton of course, and here’re 11 things you didn’t know about this outback town.
1. It has the only museum in the world that is dedicated to a song
Arguably the most famous thing to come out of Winton is Banjo Patterson’s Waltzing Matilda.
Penned in 1895 not far from Winton at Dagworth Station, the song Waltzing Matilda birthed a national legend that the town thought deserved its very own museum.
The Waltzing Matilda Centre burnt down in a fire in 2015 but the multi-award winning museum is set to reopen its doors in April 2018 and we can’t wait.
2. The local pub was the first to hear the song
It’s rumoured that the first ever performance of Waltzing Matilda was in the same year it was written, at none other than the local North Gregory Hotel.
Known as the “Queen” and “Grand old lady”, the hotel has been a Winton resident since 1879.
You can take a history lesson of the town by just looking at its walls.
3. You can walk amongst the dinosaurs
If one of your favourite movies is Jurassic Park, then you’ll love the Dinosaur Canyon at the Australian Age of Dinosaurs.
Transported by a shuttle bus to a land that feels worlds away, you’ll get to explore four exhibits that contain life-size dinosaur replicas and fossils, as well as learn about each habitat.
4. It’s home to the world’s largest collection of Australian dinosaur fossils
Also located at the Australian Age of Dinosaurs is an Australian fossil collection so impressive, it’s the largest in the world.
Enter the Collection Room at the centre to say hi to “Banjo”, Australia’s largest and most complete carnivorous dinosaur. Along with “Matilda” and “Wade” (most complete sauropods), learn the story behind the dinosaurs and their fossils.
5. It’s got the world’s only recorded evidence of a dinosaur stampede
It’s no surprise that Winton is one third of the Australian Dinosaur Trail when it has epic fossil structures like that of the Dinosaur Stampede at Lark Quarry Conservation Park.
Located 110km south-west of town, it’s worth the trip to explore the 95 million year old story of 3,300 stampeding footprints that create the world’s only recorded evidence of a dinosaur stampede.
6. Every two years, they race dunnies
Yup, we’re not kidding, and it’s quite the coveted affair. Every second September the Outback Festival rolls into town, with outback activities from swag and brooms toss and wool bale rolling to live music and entertainment.
But there’s one event of the festival program that kicks up a stink – the Australian Dunny Derby. Teams take on the challenge of racing their decorated outhouse through a hilarious obstacle course to take home the title as the fastest dunny.
7. It made the first permanent musical fence installation in the world
Who said property boundaries had to be boring? The fence behind the Diamantina Heritage Truck and Machinery Museum is anything but boring.
Designed by percussionist and composer Graeme Leak, The Musical Fence is a permanent wire fence that doubles as a musical instrument, free to the public to use and enjoy.
8. You can watch movies the old-fashioned way
Step back in time at the Royal Theatre which was originally established in 1918.
Grab some popcorn, kick back in a canvas seat and watch a film under the stars in at this open-air theatre.
It’s also home to the world’s largest deck chair!
9. It’s the “Hollywood in the Outback”
Time your visit to Winton with the Vision Splendid Outback Film Festival, which is held every July in town.
Celebrating everything about film, the festival encourages emerging and experienced producers to come and be apart of workshops and seminars as well as show their work as part of the short film competition.
10. It’s the birthplace of QANTAS
It’s an Aussie icon, and it all began in Winton.
The very first board meeting of the organisation was held at the Winton Club in 1921, with one of the original landing strips located on the outskirts of town. Of course, if you want to tour the museum, you’ll need to visit nearby Longreach. Don’t worry, we’ve got this guide.