Biloela Outback Region QLD
BILOELA: (pronounced Bil-o-eel-a) is the aboriginal word for "White Cockatoo".
With a population in excess of 5700, Biloela is the administrative centre of the Banana Shire, and centre of the rich Callide Valley. Located 600km north of Brisbane, 145km south of Rockhampton, and 122km west of Gladstone, Biloela is situated at the junction of the Burnett and Dawson Highways. It lies 180 metres above sea level, and has an average yearly rainfall of 712mm.
The district was first settled in 1854 with the establishment of several large leaseholds or "runs". Sheep were raised initially, but were replaced by cattle when speargrass became a problem.
Gold and other minerals were found in the area before the turn of the century, and the Mt. Rainbow and Cania Townships blossomed briefly before disappearing. Banana (the town from which the local Shire takes its name) also saw its gold rush days, but went into decline when by-passed by the railways.In the early 1920's, several runs were broken up into smaller blocks and opened for selection. Biloela township was surveyed in association with the railway line and was first settled in 1924.
The selectors usually lived a breadline existence while they cleared their land and attempted to grow cotton and establish dairy herds.
The later discovery of vast underground water reserves proved a boon to many.Industry came to Biloela in 1937 with the establishment of a Butter Factory, and in the late 40s, the Callide Coal Mine commenced significant production. In 1962, the Meatworks commenced operation, followed by Callide "A" Power Station in 1965, and the Cotton Ginnery in 1973. Construction of Callide "B" Power Station and the new Boundary Hill Coal Mine commenced in 1981, and provided another major boost for the township. Callide "C" Power Station was completed in 2001.