Wallangarra, Queensland

Wallangarra is a rural town and locality in the Southern Downs Region, Queensland, Australia on the border with New South Wales.[2][3] In the 2016 census, the locality of Wallangarra had a population of 468 people.[1]

Border "gates" at Wallangarra
Coordinates28.9194°S 151.9325°E / -28.9194; 151.9325 (Wallangarra (town centre))
Population468 (2016 census)[1]
 • Density12.683/km2 (32.85/sq mi)
Elevation875 m (2,871 ft)
Area36.9 km2 (14.2 sq mi)
Time zoneAEST (UTC+10:00)
LGA(s)Southern Downs Region
State electorate(s)Southern Downs
Federal division(s)Maranoa
Mean max temp Mean min temp Annual rainfall
20.8 °C
69 °F
8.6 °C
47 °F
781 mm
30.7 in
Localities around Wallangarra:
Ballandean Wyberba Girraween
Ballandean Wallangarra Jennings (NSW)
Ballandean Tarban (NSW) Jennings (NSW)

It is the third-most southerly town in Queensland, 258 kilometres (160 mi) south west of Brisbane. Wallangarra is on the Queensland side of the border and Jennings is on the New South Wales side.[4]


Wallangarra lies in a valley between two ranges of mountains, which are branches of the Great Dividing Range. It is 878 m above sea level. There is a gap between the more Westerly range at Wyberba, about five kilometres north of Wallangarra. This gap has made Wallangarra the major inland border crossing for the New England Highway and what was the first railway line between Brisbane and Sydney. It is situated on the northern periphery of the New England Peppermint Grassy Woodland.


Wallangarra station which is listed on the Register of the National Estate. Note the different style of awnings and the Queensland side compare to the New South Wales side

In 1885, the Queensland Government announced that a town would be formed where the railway line between Queensland and New South Wales would meet. On 29 June 1885, 179 lots were offered for sale at £8 per acre (£20/ha).[5] The town would provide a break-of-gauge between Queensland's narrow gauge Southern railway line of 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm) and New South Wales's standard gauge Main North railway line of 4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm) when the two systems came together in 1888.[6] Two railway stations were created within the area. One was named Wallan-garra railway station (28.9231°S 151.9319°E / -28.9231; 151.9319 (Wallangarra railway station))[7][8] and the town took its name from the station but used the spelling Wallangarra (with most people using the same spelling for the railway station).[9] Bald Mountain railway station (28.8966°S 151.9143°E / -28.8966; 151.9143 (Bald Mountain railway station)) was the other railway station and is now abandoned.[8]

Wallangarra Provisional School opened on 13 February 1888. On 1 January 1909, it became Wallangarra State School.[10]

The railway was the only rail link between Queensland and New South Wales until a standard gauge track was completed via Kyogle in 1930, with the completion of the bridge over the Clarence River at Grafton. From that time on, the Wallangarra railway station lessened in importance. Scheduled rail services ended in 1997.[11] In 2003, after major refurbishment, the station was reopened as a museum. The railway line from Stanthorpe to Wallangarra has continued to be maintained and steam trains taking tourists to Wallangarra occasionally operate.

The Anderson Meat Packing Company was restarted by Mr. A.W. Anderson in 1938 after a 15-month closure.[12][13] Until 1982 it operated a large beef abattoir at Wallangarra. Anderson's employed in excess of 400 workers at the Wallangarra plant. The plant was located on the border so as to take advantage of rail lines from both Queensland and NSW.

During World War II, the Commonwealth Government created a general army store on the Queensland side of the border, and an ammunition dump on the New South Wales side. Dual gauge tracks were run to each store. Access to the army stores was via Margetts St, one of the main roads in the town. The late Muriel Daphne Verdun Nicolson lived at 30 Margetts St from before WWII until her death in 2001. During WWII she reported that the flow of trucks and materiel went on all day and night.

Wallangarra Cemetery was established in 1953.[14]

On 12 September 1964 St Gabrielle's Anglican Church was dedicated by Bishop John Hudson. Its closure circa 2013 was approved by Bishop Robert Nolan.[15] The church building has been sold into private ownership but remains at 54 Merinda Street (28.9219°S 151.9308°E / -28.9219; 151.9308 (St Gabrielle's Anglican Church (former))).[16][17]

Taking advantage of the rail junction Riverina Stock Feeds operated a packing plant opposite the Wallangarra railway station for many years until 1995. After that it moved to Warwick, a city 100 kilometres (62 mi) to the north. Warwick also has a major Woolworths warehouse. The Chairman of Woolworths who located the warehouse at Warwick grew up in Wallangarra.

Circa 2005 Thomas Foods International opened Australia's largest mutton works opened on a new site just to the east of the town. The mutton produced is Halal, and most of it is exported to Arab countries. The abattoir shut down in July 2016 for "the short to medium term" blaming low stock numbers and poor global trading conditions.[18][19]

At the 2006 census, Wallangarra had a population of 385.[20]

In the 2016 census, the locality of Wallangarra had a population of 468 people.[1]

Heritage listings

Wallangarra has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:


As of 2013, the Wallangarra Stores Depot remains a major Australian Army logistics facility. It is used to store a wide range of engineering and general equipment, clothing, and tents. Bulk fuel storage handling apparatus are also held at the site.[22] The munitions storage facility is also still active in Jennings.[23]


Wallangarra State School is a government primary (Prep-6) school for boys and girls at 50 Callandoon Street (28.9184°S 151.9313°E / -28.9184; 151.9313 (Wallangarra State School)).[24][25] In 2018, the school had an enrolment of 76 students with 4 teachers (3 full-time equivalent) and 6 non-teaching staff (3 full-time equivalent).[26]

There is no secondary school in Wallangarra. The nearest government secondary school is Stanthorpe State High School in Stanthorpe to the north-east.[4]


Wallangarra cemetery, 2015

The Wallangarra Cemetery is in McCall Street (28.9188°S 151.9227°E / -28.9188; 151.9227 (Wallangarra Cemetery)).[14]


The Wallangarra branch of the Queensland Country Women's Association has its rooms at 52 Rockwell Street.[27]


Wallangarra is situated on the picturesque Granite Belt, and is bounded by Sundown National Park to the West and Girraween National Park to the East.

Beehive Dam

Beehive Dam is 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) north of the town. It is a popular fishing spot as it is stocked with golden perch, Murray cod and silver perch by the Jennings Wallangarra Fishing Club.[28]

Notable former residents

Rugby league legend Billy Moore lived in Wallangarra as a child. He is best known for playing for the North Sydney Bears and the Queensland State of Origin team. He was born in Tenterfield, New South Wales as this was the closest hospital.[29]


Climate data is recorded at the Wallangarra Post Office

Wallangarra is the coldest (and snowiest) town in Queensland, due to its altitude and extreme southerly location in the state. Maximum temperatures average 13.9 °C (57 °F) in winter and 26.6 °C (80 °F) in summer. Wallangarra holds the record for the lowest maximum temperature in Queensland, 2.4 °C (36 °F) on 3 July 1984.[30] However due to its exposed location, minimum temperatures are not particularly low; towns of significantly lower altitude such as Warwick and Oakey frequently record lower minima, and especially Stanthorpe of similar altitude but much flatter topography (which in turn causes warmer maximum temperatures compared to Wallangarra).

Climate data for Wallangarra Post Office (875 m AMSL)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 36.2
Average high °C (°F) 26.6
Average low °C (°F) 14.7
Record low °C (°F) 7.7
Average rainfall mm (inches) 101.7
Average rainy days (≥ 0.2mm) 9.3 8.8 8.0 6.1 6.6 6.9 6.8 6.3 6.4 8.0 8.7 9.6 91.5
Source: Bureau of Meteorology[30]


  1. Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Wallangarra (SSC)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 20 October 2018.
  2. "Wallangarra – town in Southern Downs Region (entry 36315)". Queensland Place Names. Queensland Government. Retrieved 29 December 2020.
  3. "Wallangarra – locality in Southern Downs Region (entry 49846)". Queensland Place Names. Queensland Government. Retrieved 29 December 2020.
  4. "Queensland Globe". State of Queensland. Retrieved 26 November 2022.
  5. Stokes, I.M., The History of the Wallangarra Meatworks, The Tenterfield Star, 23 October 1967.
  6. The Centenary of the Southern Line Kerr, J.D. Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin, December 1970 pp261-291
  7. "Wallan-Garra – railway station (entry 36316)". Queensland Place Names. Queensland Government. Retrieved 12 May 2017.
  8. "Railway stations and sidings - Queensland". Queensland Open Data. Queensland Government. 2 October 2020. Archived from the original on 5 October 2020. Retrieved 5 October 2020.
  9. "Wallangarra – town (entry 36315)". Queensland Place Names. Queensland Government. Retrieved 12 May 2017.
  10. Queensland Family History Society (2010), Queensland schools past and present (Version 1.01 ed.), Queensland Family History Society, ISBN 978-1-921171-26-0
  11. The Last Years of the Warwick/Wallangarra Mails Milne, Rod Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin, July 1995 pp179-189
  12. Maistre, Barbara Le. Anderson, Alfred William (1888–1956). Australian Dictionary of Biography. National Centre of Biography, Australian National University. Archived from the original on 27 August 2020. Retrieved 26 February 2017.
  13. "TO REOPEN". Warwick Daily News. No. 5823. Queensland, Australia. 19 March 1938. p. 2. Archived from the original on 27 August 2020. Retrieved 26 February 2017 via National Library of Australia.
  14. "Cemeteries". Southern Downs Regional Council. Retrieved 22 March 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  15. "Closed Churches". Anglican Church of Southern Queensland. Archived from the original on 3 April 2019. Retrieved 24 February 2019.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  16. "St Gabrielle's Anglican Church - Former". Churches Australia. Archived from the original on 27 August 2020. Retrieved 27 August 2020.
  17. Google (March 2010). "54 Merinda Street, Wallangarra (Street View)" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved 27 August 2020.
  18. "Stock shortages blamed for imminent sheep abattoir closure". ABC Rural. 5 July 2016. Archived from the original on 27 August 2020. Retrieved 26 February 2017.
  19. Hui, Jin (11 January 2018). "Wallangarra abattoir won't re-open: Thomas Foods". Warwick Today & Stanthorpe Today. Archived from the original on 22 March 2021. Retrieved 22 March 2021.
  20. Australian Bureau of Statistics (25 October 2007). "Wallangarra (L) (Urban Centre/Locality)". 2006 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 25 July 2009.
  21. "Wallangarra Railway Station and Complex (entry 601242)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 13 July 2013.
  22. "Wallangarra Stores Depot, Queensland" (PDF). Department of Defence. 1 October 2013. Archived (PDF) from the original on 27 August 2020. Retrieved 18 July 2015.
  23. Australian National Audit Office (2011). "Management of the Explosive Ordnance Services Contract" (PDF). Australian National Audit Office. p. 63. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 18 July 2015.
  24. "State and non-state school details". Queensland Government. 9 July 2018. Archived from the original on 21 November 2018. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  25. "Wallangarra State School". Archived from the original on 22 March 2021. Retrieved 22 March 2021.
  26. "ACARA School Profile 2018". Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority. Archived from the original on 27 August 2020. Retrieved 28 January 2020.
  27. "Branch locations". Queensland Country Women's Association. Archived from the original on 26 December 2018. Retrieved 26 December 2018.
  28. "Beehive Dam". Fish stocked dams and weirs. Queensland Government. Archived from the original on 22 March 2021. Retrieved 22 March 2021.
  29. Sharwood, Anthony (15 June 2011). "Why Queensland care more, and NSW couldn't care less". The Punch. Archived from the original on 16 October 2012. Retrieved 24 August 2011.
  30. "Wallangarra Post Office". Climate statistics for Australian locations. Bureau of Meteorology. January 2014. Retrieved 13 January 2014.
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