In 1974, Hugh Sawrey, a well known stockman and outback artist, dreamt of creating a memorial to the explorers, overlanders, pioneers and settlers of remote Australia.
This dream, it turned out, was shared by other outstanding Australians, including the legendary R.M. Williams. Following an AUD$12.5 million fundraising effort coordinated by this group of visionaries, Sawrey’s ‘vision splendid’ began to take shape.
Once a teamster’s stop beside a large waterhole, Queensland’s central western town of Longreach was chosen as the site for this monumental project. From humble beginnings as a stock route junction on the ‘long reach’ of the Thomson River, the town is now serviced by road, rail and air.
Netherlands born Sydney architect, Feiko Bouman won the national competition for the design with his outstanding concept featuring a sweeping, curved iron roof, vibrant outback colours and a cathedral-like timber ceiling.
Financial support from the Federal and Queensland State Government 1988 Bicentennial programme plus an extensive fundraising effort by supporters, commerce and industry, provided the money to create and outfit this magnificent museum. The building was completed in 1987 and opened by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, on the 29th April, 1988.
The Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame and Outback Heritage Centre was formed to capture and record the fast disappearing culture and history of rural Australia.
Since its opening in 1988, the Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame has been host to more than 1,000,000 visitors.
Approximately 40% of these visitors were from Queensland, 29% from New South Wales, 18% from Victoria, 6% from South Australia, 2% from Western Australia, 1.5% from Northern Territory and 1% from Tasmania. Overseas visitors make up 2.5%.
Considering the relative isolation of the area, the popularity of the museum is testament to the strength with which visitors relate to the Hall of Fame’s theme, philosophy and aims.
Construction and Development
Conceived by outback artist Hugh Sawrey.
Submissions called for suitable sites. More than 40 received.
Longreach wins selection as site for the Hall of Fame.
Australia-wide submissions called for architectural design competition co-ordinated by the Royal Australian Institute of Architects and sponsored by Consolidated Press and the Queensland Government.
Architect Feiko Bouman wins the design competition.
- 29 April 1988 – Hall of Fame officially opened by Her Majesty the Queen
- Founder: Hugh Sawrey
- Architect: Feiko Bouman, Sydney
- Structural Engineer: Miller Millston and Ferris
- Quantity Surveyor: D.R. Lawson and Associates
- Services Engineer: M & I Consultancy
- Client Consultant: Dept. of Works, Queensland
- Clerk of Works: Irvine Heeson
- Builder: T.F. Woollam & Son, Brisbane
- Siteworks: Longreach Shire Council
- Land area: 40.46 hectares
- Area under roof: 3000 sq. metres
- Useable floor space: 2500 sq. metres
- Courtyard: 200 sq. metres
- Central Gallery: 15.7 metres high
- Sandstone used ex. 711 tonnes – Sandstone from ‘Goodberry Hills’, Longreach
- Theatre seating 200
- Concrete 2955 tonnes
- Steel 623 tonnes
- Ceiling timber Tasmanian Oak
- Stainless steel screws in ceiling 92,000
- Total length of building (North) 68.125 metres
- (South) 58.625 metres
- Total width of building 54.75 metres
- Air conditioner 200 kVA – Maintains the building at 24°Celcius and 55% Humidity Air changes every 9 minutes Cooling capacity = Production 160 tonnes per day
- Cost: Building $8,250,000
- Cost: Displays $3,500,000