The town of Alpha is situated approximately 400 kilometres to the west of Rockhampton with the name being derived from Alpha Pastoral Station, established in 1863. This was a very large station, dominating the area and growing to more than 1,600 square kilometres by the 1890s.
The area was originally visited and partly explored by the New South Wales Surveyor-General, Thomas Mitchell in 1846 and it was his reports that were to encourage settlement, particularly from the 1860s. The major coastal centre of Rockhampton was keen to take full advantage of the inland pastoral wealth and pushed for a central railway line with construction commencing in 1867. The central railway line reached Emerald in 1879 and extended to Alpha in 1884.
Further growth and development progressed with a school being opened in 1886. Churches followed with the Catholic Church opening in 1890, the United Protestant Church in 1894 and a convent school being established in 1904. A hospital was opened in 1913.
Jericho Shire, which included the town, was incorporated in 1917, with the main shire offices and council facilities located in the town of Jericho. The on-going development of Alpha is demonstrated by the establishment of a range of community facilities including hotels, a new community hall (1957), a golf club (1964), a secondary school department (1967), a show society and jockey club (1967) as well as a swimming pool (1980)
As with many rural towns, Alpha has experienced a period of slow growth, however Alpha is experiencing a resurgence, being at the centre of a new coal project, presently in the early stages of development.
Brian Randall – Queensland Places Coordinator, State Library of Queensland