Cloncurry in Australia is a rural town in the heart of Queensland's north west. It is a lovely place to stay for a few days to explore the history and natural surroundings.
Located on the banks of the Cloncurry river, the town is at the junction of the Flinders & Landsborough highways, about 784 km west of Townsville.
Flinders Highway is also known as the Overlander's Way, a tourist road from Townsville to the Northern Territory, while Landsborugh Highway is a part of the famous Matilda route.
For many years Cloncurry held the fame of being the hottest town in Australia, because of the highest recorded temperature of 53,1°C in 1889.
However, on more recent research about that claim, it turned out there was not a standardised measurement used, and the temperature was perhaps only in the high forties. The highest daily temperature that is now registered is 46,9°C on 1.12.2006.
Still, Cloncurry is a hot place, with temperatures rising above 40°C for about 35 days a years. The annual rainfall is about 500 mm, the heaviest rain is coming down between December and March. It's getting sticky and humid then, but usually not as bad as along the coast. Occasional flooding can make roads impassable.
The first Europeans in the Cloncurry area (1861) were Burke & Wills on their ill-fated expedition to the Gulf of Carpentaria. Burke named the river Cloncurry after his cousin Lady Cloncurry.
Six years later Ernest Henry, on his search for grazing land, discovered copper in the area, the Great Australia Mine was founded. A settlement to service the mine developed which was later proclaimed a town and named after the river.
On 16 November 1920 Queensland And Northern Territory Aerial Services Ltd were founded. It was a small, local airline which would soon conquer the world.
Although Winton is known as the birthplace of Qantas, operations moved to Longreach soon. Alexander Kennedy was the first passenger on the first scheduled flight from Charleville to Cloncurry. The original Qantas hangar is still in use at the airport.
John Flynn founded the Australian Aerial Medical Service in Cloncurry on 27 March 1928. Qantas agreed to operate flights on demand for the new service. The first flight left Cloncurry with a four-passenger DH50A on 17 MAy 1928. Arthur Affleck was the first pilot. 1942 the name was changed to Royal Flying Doctor Service.
Mary Kathleen Park (Flinders Highway) features
The museum in Daintree Street is a tribute to the man whose vision was to put a mantle of safety over the Australian Outback. See equipment of the early days, including a scale model of the first RFDS aircraft. The DH 50 had the fitting name "Victory". John Flynn's life work has been a victory over the tyranny of distance in Australia's vast inland.
Included in the complex is the Fred McKay Art Gallery, Alfred Traegar Cultural Centre, Allan Vickers Outdoor Theatre, and Cloncurry Gardens.
Open from 8.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday all year round. Open from 9.00am to 3.00pm weekends from May to the end of September, closed during the weekends in summer.
Visit the airport (Sir Hudson Fysh Drive)and the original hangar where where one of the oldest international airlines in the world started their service.
Enjoy stunning views over Cloncurry and the rugged hills in the area from the lookout about 2 km west of town near the Normanton turnoff.
Historic hotels and buildings include the Central Hotel, Post Office Hotel, the courthouse, and many more. Take a stroll around the town, it is worthwhile.
The dam about 3 km west of Cloncurry is a popular recreation area. Go for a swim, enjoy nature walks and birdlife. Don't forget the camera and your swimsuit. The colours of Mount Leviathan, especially in the soft afternoon light, are amazing.
The town offers a wide range of accommodation. Visitors can choose from a bed in old-fashioned hotels, modern motel rooms and cabins at the caravan parks.
For more info click the "where to stay" link below.