Winton Australia

Birthplace of Waltzing Matilda and Qantas

Once known as Pelican Point, Winton, Australia was first settled in 1875. Today, the town is the centre of a huge cattle and sheep raising district. It's a typical rural Outback town with the flair of a great past.

Walk along the streets and feel the spirit of the bush. Enjoy Country hospitality and unique characters. You'll miss a lot when you travel along the Matilda Way and don't stop in this unique town.

Good old Aussie PubNorth Gregory Hotel Winton

The original wooden hotel, built in 1879, burnt down 3 times. Finally, the hotel was rebuilt with brick in 1953.

Some Quick Facts about Winton

  • Population: 875 (2016 census)
  • Location: Approx. 1,153 km north-west of Brisbane
  • State: Queensland
  • Post Code: 4735
  • Time Zone: Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST)
  • Best time to visit: April to October is the best time to visit when you want to avoid the summer heat.
  • Facilities: Winton has full town facilities, hotels, motels, shops & a small hospital. Click here to read more.

Winton's history is connected with the great shearer's strike of the 1890s. About 500 shearers camped south of the town to show support for shearers on the surrounding stations.

It is said that Banjo Paterson was inspired to write Waltzing Matilda when he heard about the the fate of one of the shearers at nearby Dagworth Station. The song was performed in public for the first time at the North Gregory Hotel in Winton on 6th April 1895.

Statue of Banjo Paterson in WintonStatue of Andrew Barton Paterson in front of the Matilda Centre

Points of interest in Winton

Get a town map from the visitor information centre, Elderslie St. There are also self-drive route maps available to get to the attractions outside town.
A two km walk guides you to the major sights in Winton. Take your time and discover historic buildings and sites.

Matilda centre in 2004The old Waltzing Matilda centre

The above photo was taken many years ago. The old museum burnt down on 18th June 2015. There was a huge damage, and many items got lost. Luckily, the centre was rebuilt, the grand reopening was on 20th April 2018. The statue of Banjo Paterson and the huge windmill on the outside remained from the original centre.

The Waltzing Matilda Centre, Elderslie Street
Interactive displays tell the story of Waltzing Matilda. It is perhaps the only museum dedicated to a song. The centre includes an art gallery, the Qantilda museum with a collection of memorabilia from the pioneering past, and of course the birth of Australia's international airline, Qantas.
Explore the history from Aborigines time to present days. Enjoy a rest at the Tuckerbox Cafe after exploring all that history.

Visit the centre's website to check for opening times and admission fees.

The historic building of the Corfield & Fitzmaurice storeCorfield and Fitzmaurice Store

This building is listed by the National Trust as one of the well preserved old-style general stores. It was Winton's first general store, located in Elderslie Street.

The Royal Theatre, Cobb Lane
One of the few operating open-air picture theatres that remained in Australia. Don't miss the nostalgia night on Wednesday at 8 pm when you happen to be there.

Winton Club, corner Oodooroo & Vindex streets
The first Qantas Board meeting was held in the club in February 1921, thus it is known as the "birthplace" of Qantas.

Things to see around Winton

Winton and the surrounding area is also known as dinosaur country. Australia's largest dinosaur skeleton was found outside town in 1999, and more discoveries of fossilised bones followed. Finally, the Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum was opened to display these fascinating founds from millions of years ago.
The museum is located 24km south-east of Winton on top of a large jump-up. It can be reached by all vehicles.

It's the typical Aussie humour that Winton hides its dustbins in huge dinosaur feet.

Jump-upTypical Jump-Up in the Winton area

Lark Quarry Conservation Park

Have you ever seen a dinosaur footprint? At Lark Quarry you can see fossilised footprints of a dinosaur stampede! At least 150 small dinosaurs drank at a lake 95 million years ago. When a huge carnivorous dinosaur appeared they run away in panic, leaving a chaotic mass of footprints.

Get more info and download fascinating fact sheets about the stampede on Lark Quarry's website.

Lark Quarry Conservation Park is about 110km south-west of Winton along the road to Jundah . Although it can be reached by normal cars, a 4WD vehicle is much recommended. The unsealed road get boggy when it rains.
Be prepared and well-equipped when you go there. Camping is not permitted in the park.

Combo Waterhole

Waterhole surrounded by treesCombo Waterhole

Combo Waterhole
Winton's main claim to fame is that Waltzing Matilda, the famous Australian bush ballad, was first performed at the North Gregory Hotel on April 6th, 1895.
Written by Andrew Barton Paterson at nearby Dagworth Station, the song became Australia's unofficial national anthem.

Combo waterhole about 130 km north-west of Winton is believed to be the inspiration for Waltzing Matilda.
The track off the highway is well-signposted. It is a short walk from the car park to a the waterhole, passing a series of information signs.

Sign at the walking trail to Combo Waterhole telling the story of Waltzing MatildaInformation Sign at Combo waterhole

The area around Winton is also known as opal country and home of the unique matrix opal. It is a special form of boulder opal which is only found in this part of Queensland.

Winton is, like Cloncurry and Longreach, deep-rooted with the pioneering history of the central west in Queensland. A huge chapter of Australian history was written in this central part of Matilda Country. Take your time and enjoy!

Accommodation in Winton

The town offers a good 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 about where to stay and other facilities click here.

Read more about the destinations along the Matilda Way

Below you'll find more useful articles to help you plan your journey.