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Emerald - Cities, Towns and Localities
Emerald sits on the crossroad of Selma Road and two major tourism drives, the Capricorn Highway and the Gregory Highway, which is a section of the Great Inland Way. Considered the hub for the Central Highlands, Emerald is in the heart of Queensland's coal mining territory and is the gateway to the Sapphire Gemfields.

Emerald was first established in the 1860's, it wasn't until the railway arrived in 1879 that the town was surveyed and started to grow. It is believed the town was named after a nearby station called Emerald Downs.

The town remained a sleepy place for many years servicing the railway and surrounding stations. In the 1940's the area was chosen to grow cereal grains for the British market by the Queensland British Food Corporation. The Fairbairn Dam and the Emerald Irrigation Scheme were established in 1968-1972. This water resource allowed the establishment of further agricultural development in many different industries including, cotton, wheat, peanuts, citrus fruits, and cut flowers. Today Emerald produces one quarter of Queensland annual cotton harvest.

With the addition of a reliable water supply coal mining was established in the area, today Emerald services three mines Gordonstone, Crinum, and Ensham.

Emerald is a reasonable size town, situated on the central district highland and lies on the Nogoa River. The touring route Capricorn Highway and the Tropic of Capricorn runs through the town, as does the Great Inland Way tourism drive.

To the west of the town are the gem fields nearby. Two places of interest are Sapphire and Rubyvale. The places were named after the gems found there. Fairbairn Dam and Lake Maraboon is just a short drive out of Emerald, the dam being built for the cotton industry water supply. The dam when full, holds more water than Sydney Harbour.

Other items of interest include the Gems of Country Festival, Easter Sunflower Festival, Gemfest or Festival of Gems.

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.

Information Centre Central Highlands Visitor Information Centre
3 Clermont Street
Ph: 07 4982 4142
Monday to Friday 9 am - 5 pm
Saturday 9 am - 5 pm
Sunday 10 am - 2 pm
Closed Christmas Day, Boxing Day and Good Friday
Hours may vary, contact visitor centre
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Emerald Attractions

Blackdown Tableland National Park
• Sandstone plateau that rises 600 m above the surrounding country. Magnificent views, cliffs, deep gorges, aboriginal art, few camping facilities. No water or visitor centre.
Emerald Botanic Gardens
• Capricorn Hwy, EMERALD QLD 4720
• Relax as you meander through an oasis like no other within Queensland’s Central Highlands.
The Emerald Botanic Gardens is a tropical paradise providing a relaxing location as you meander through the garden. Situated on the banks of the Nogoa River, botanic gardens covers an area of 42 hectares, with a number of themed plant communities, that are native to the region.
Emerald Centenary of Federation Mosaic Pathway
• Capricorn Hwy, Morton Park, EMERALD QLD 4720
• Made possible by Centenary of Federation funding, the mosaic pathway in Morton Park, depicts 100 years of Emerald’s history with 21 intricately tiled designs. The detailed mosaics were created by 10 of Emerald's local artists.

Van Gogh Sunflower Painting
• Known locally as 'The Big Easel', this public art located in Morton Park is the world's biggest Van Gogh sunflower painting. Part of a concept by Cameron Cross to erect seven Sunflower sculptures in seven different countries, reproducing Van Gogh's seven different Sunflower paintings, Emerald was chosen as one of the locations. The 'Sunflower Painting' was completed on 8 November 1999. Visitors can now see this superstructure, measuring 25 metres high with approximately 13.6 tonnes of steel involved in its construction. The painting celebrates the Central Highland's reputation as a major sunflower producer.
Emerald Historic Railway Station
• 100 Capricorn Hwy, EMERALD QLD 4720
• Classified by the National Trust the Railway Station would have to be the finest ornate building in the central highlands, with its wrought iron lacework and pillared portico. The original Railway Station was built in 1899, but unfortunately burned down within a year. A new Railway Station was built in 1900, and restored in 1986.
Emerald Fossilised Tree
• Egerton St, Cnr of Anakie St, Town Hall, EMERALD QLD 4720
• During the construction of the Railway Bridge across the Mackenzie River in 1979 for the Gregory Mine, a piece of fossilised wood was dug up. Estimated to be 250 million years old, this amazing fossilised tree can be viewed outside the Emerald Town Hall.
Lake Maraboon and Fairbairn Dam
• Popular water sports and leisure spot for all the family. There are grassed lawns, shady trees, picnic and barbecue facilities. There is a caravan park on site, though no other camping is available. Depending on the level of the water in the dam, visitors can enjoy boat, skiing and fishing. The dam is stocked with a variety of fish including yellowbelly, sarotoga, murray cod, barramundi, jew and redclaw.
Minerva Hills National Park
• Minerva Hills is a group of mountain peaks and plateau's just north of the town of Springsure in central Queensland. Mount Zamia within the park makes a spectacular backdrop to this small town. Roads are available to some of the peaks in the park so views abound as do picnic and camping areas.

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Emerald Events

• Queensland Events
Easter Sunflower Festival
• Easter Long Weekend - April
• The Festival encompasses an Art, Wine and Cheese Night, combined churches service, street parade and family fun day and finishes with the Easter Sunflower Rodeo.
The Festival of Gems
• Ph: 07 4985 4225 (Pat Gregory) • Email
• The Gemfields is a unique outpost in Central Queensland. World-famous for its high-quality sapphire fields, it provides adventure at many levels for all visitors. The 4 small towns of Anakie, Willows, Sapphire and Rubyvale are all situated on the Gemfields.
Gems of Country Festival
• The following is a summary of events hosted during the Gems of Country for 2002. Emerald Gems of Country Talent Search - Jim Haynes Workshops - Song writing & Self Marketing - Luella Widt & the Blue Heeler Band and other various artists played at several venues around the Shire - "Our Gems" Senior Citizens Concert - Shop Window Competition.

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Emerald Other Links

• Emerald Community/Local Government Links
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