The “Curry” CELEBRATIONS

Starting September 15 the people of Cloncurry and district came out to host local celebrations marking 150 years of settlement since Ernest Henry was attributed as the founder of Cloncurry in the year 1867. Henry, who was in search of grazing land at the time, discovered the regions mineral deposits instead and established the Great Australia Mine.

View of the Great Australia Mine and the town of Cloncurry north-west in the background. c. 1910 Negative number: 3186

View of the Great Australia Mine and the town of Cloncurry north-west in the background. c. 1910
Negative number: 3186 John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland

Cloncurry the township was surveyed in 1876, but Burke and Wills who had travelled this route on the way to the Gulf of Carpentaria in 1861 originally named the region and the river nearby ‘Cloncurry’ after Burke’s cousin Lady Elizabeth Cloncurry, County Galway in Ireland.

The Cloncurry River section illustrated in Fussells new map of Australia: embracing the discoveries of Gregory, Burke and Wills, Stuart, Landsborough, Walker and McKinlay dated 1867, the same year Ernest Henry was attributed as the founder of Cloncurry.

The Cloncurry River section illustrated in Fussells new map of Australia: embracing the discoveries of Gregory, Burke and Wills, Stuart, Landsborough, Walker and McKinlay dated 1867.

A digitised version of the 1866 Fussells new map of Australia showing the Burke & Wills expedition is available online at National Library.

Cloncurry Shire Council offers more information about the history of the area including the many historical sites of interest and links to the Cloncurry Unearthed Visitor Information Centre and Museum and the John Flynn Place Museum.

Celebrations marking 150 years of settlement started in Cloncurry with a formal luncheon for Councillors and visiting dignitaries (September 15) and a street parade for the 70+ floats showcasing community organisations and businesses kicking off the weeks’ public events. Read a full account of the parade published in the North West Star newspaper (18 Sept) and view a gallery of images shared by newspaper editor and photographer Derek Barry. Cloncurry Shire Council is also posting an account of the events on Council’s Facebook page.

Below are several digitised images available through the State Library of Queensland collections featuring Cloncurry.

Burke and Wills Memorial, Cloncurry. The obelisk was erected by the Cloncurry Shire Council, Mount Isa Mines Limited and Mary Kathleen Uranium Limited to commemorate the expedition of Burke and Wills who crossed at this location on 22nd January 1861 on their journey north. Accession number: 83-3-16. Negative number 40031 John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland

Burke and Wills Memorial, Cloncurry. The obelisk was erected by the Cloncurry Shire Council, Mount Isa Mines Limited and Mary Kathleen Uranium Limited to commemorate the expedition of Burke and Wills who crossed at this location on 22nd January 1861 on their journey north. Accession number: 83-3-16. Negative number 40031 John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland

Camel riding at Cloncurry, ca. 1907 Accession number 90-3-9 Negative number 169554 John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland

Camel riding at Cloncurry, ca. 1907 Accession number 90-3-9 Negative number 169554 John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland

Stagecoach outside the post and telegraph office in Cloncurry, ca. 1910 Accession number: 83-2-6 Negative number: 39810 John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland

Stagecoach outside the post and telegraph office in Cloncurry, ca. 1910 Accession number: 83-2-6 Negative number: 39810 John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland

The De Havilland 9C G-AUEF was acquired by QANTAS in 1923 for the Charleville - Cloncurry route. Pilot, Captain G. Matthews is on the left and Mr. A. N. Templeton is on the right. (Description supplied with photograph) Negative number: 62425 John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland

The De Havilland 9C G-AUEF was acquired by QANTAS in 1923 for the Charleville – Cloncurry route. Pilot, Captain G. Matthews is on the left and Mr. A. N. Templeton is on the right. (Description supplied with photograph) Negative number: 62425 John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland

This dramatic view shows the houses and buildings of Cloncurry, possibly including the Club Hotel, seen against the backdrop of a looming dust storm in the sky. Part of Accession number: 84-6-2. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland

This dramatic view shows the houses and buildings of Cloncurry, possibly including the Club Hotel, seen against the backdrop of a looming dust storm in the sky. Part of Accession number: 84-6-2. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland

Dr. Jean White, flying doctor at Normanton; Mrs Simpson, Dr. Simpson's (photographer) wife; Rev. Fred McKay, A.I.M. Patrol Padre; Dr. Gordon Albury, flying doctor at Cloncurry; Rev. John Flynn, founder and A.I.M. superintendent; Mrs. Jean Flynn, his wife and former secretary. (Description supplied with photograph). Picnicking on a tartan travel rug at Cloncurry in 1937 Accession number: 90-1-12. Negative number: 168082 John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland

Dr. Jean White, flying doctor at Normanton; Mrs Simpson, Dr. Simpson’s (photographer) wife; Rev. Fred McKay, A.I.M. Patrol Padre; Dr. Gordon Albury, flying doctor at Cloncurry; Rev. John Flynn, founder and A.I.M. superintendent; Mrs. Jean Flynn, his wife and former secretary. (Description supplied with photograph). Picnicking on a tartan travel rug at Cloncurry in 1937 Accession number: 90-1-12. Negative number: 168082 John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland

With assistance by Josh Arnold and Small Town Culture, the song Cloncurry encourages Queenslanders to join in #cloncurry style.

Additional Reading

Cloncurry District Improvement Board, 1932 Cloncurry Advocate 23 January p.9

Cloncurry – a Mining Centre, 1940 Cloncurry Advocate, 15 November p.6

Celebrating 13 years of Flying Doctor Service, Cloncurry Advocate, 20 June 1941 p.1

Cloncurry plans a Jubilee celebration, 1951 Cloncurry Advocate, 25 May p.2

Digital Story

QANTAS digital story: 2009 Queensland Business Leaders Hall of Fame, State Library of Queensland

Anne Scheu | Queensland Memory | State Library of Queensland