Longreach is the largest town in Queensland’s central west and is located right on the Tropic of Capricorn (23° 26′ 30″ S) at the junction of the Landsborough Highway and the Thomson Developmental Road. It is approximately 700kms west of Rockhampton along the Capricorn Highway.
It is surrounded by some of the outback’s most historical and fascinating towns, features and venues. Major towns in the area are Barcaldine to the east, Winton to the northwest, Blackall to the southeast and a little bit further down the track, Charleville.
Home to The Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame and Outback Heritage Centre, and boasting a population of 4000, the township of Longreach sits at the junction of a number of stock routes. The seat of the Longreach Shire, Longreach is at the centre of the region’s grazing and tourism industries, and is the focal point for distribution and communications for a vast, sparsely populated area.
The township of Longreach was settled in 1870 and gazetted in 1887. The name was derived from the town’s situation on ‘long reach’ of the Thompson River. It was when the railway reached Longreach in 1892 that progress really took place.
Longreach also claims fame for its role with Qantas. The hangar at the airport was the first operational base for the airline which grew into the nation’s first international carrier. It was in this hangar between 1922 and 1934 that Australia’s first six aircraft were built. The hangar now houses the Qantas Founders Outback Museum.
The name Longreach has since been used by Qantas to name its Boeing 747-700 aircraft, and by the ford Motor Company who also named one of its ‘utes’ after the town.