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Queanbeyan - Cities, Towns and Localities
Due to its proximity to the Australian Capital Territory and about 10 minutes away from Canberra’s Parliament House and other major attractions, Queanbeyan is often considered to be a de facto district of the Australian Capital Territory, with the original border separating it being a railway line. A city in its own right, Queanbeyan has now sprawled over the ACT border.

The original occupants of the region were the Ngarigu people. In 1820, explorers Charles Throsby Smith, Joseph Wild and James Vaughan, set out from Throsby Park near Moss Vale and discovered the Limestone Plains. They crossed the stony range of hills beside Lake George, that had been discovered earlier that year, and reached a point from which they viewed what is now the site of Canberra. The explorers climbed Black Mountain and then followed the Molonglo River upstream to its junction with Queanbeyan River and into a small valley at the eastern end of the Limestone Plains. This area became a stopover for travellers crossing into the Monaro and until official settlement in 1828, squatters ran stock stations in the area. Old mans of the area show no fewer than 12 stations in the Molonglo, Gundaroo, Lake George and Bungendore area.

In 1828 a freed convict turned innkeeper from Campbelltown named Timothy Beard, had a squattage on the Molonglo River call  “Quinbean”, thought to be from an Aboriginal word meaning “clear water”. Beard was credited with having the first settlement close to the present site of Queanbeyan, although his occupancy was illegal.

It wasn’t until 1838, before Queanbeyan was officially proclaimed a township with a  population of 50 persons. The discovery of traces of gold in 1851, along with the establishment of lead and silver mines, saw the town flourish briefly. This was also the time when settlers had to contend with bushrangers that included John Tennant, Jacky Jacky, Frank Gardiner and Ben Hall. Some of the historic buildings from that era still stand today.

Queanbeyan’s “golden age” was with the founding of the first newspaper in 1860 by John Gale (1831-1929). Prospering as a primary producing area, it was proclaimed a Municipality in February 1885 that covered an area of 5,700 acres.

It was William James Farrer (1845-1906), the wheat experimentalist, who established Queanbeyan’s reputation as an agricultural district with his famous “Federation” rust-free strain, developed at his property “Lambrigg” at Tharwa. Although Farrer’s work was only slowly recognised elsewhere in Australia, the local farmers supported him, especially with the development of “Blount’s Lambrigg”, another strain, which in 1889 was to give hope to farmers after the disaster of 1887, when crops failed after heavy Christmas rains. “Federation” became the leading variety throughout Australia during 1910 to 1925, although by 1914, of the 29 varieties recommended for growing in New South Wales, 22 of them were developed by him.

At the height of Queanbeyan rural prosperity, it boasted 16 public houses and six flourmills powered by wind, water, horse and steam.

Source: Cultural Map of Queanbeyan, Email
and Bright Sparcs - Farrer, William James

Part of the capital country and gateway to the Snowy Mountains and NSW South Coast region, Queanbeyan offers much for the visitor. Take a tour of the heritage walk, and visit the local galleries. Do a scenic drive and take in the Molonglo Gorge and Googong Foreshores.

Check out our range of Queanbeyan accommodation. In addition to our listed online travel guide information, contact the local tourism visitor centre for your destination for more attractions, tours, local maps and other information.

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