Blackwater is known as the coal capital of Queensland and the recently built, nine million dollar Blackwater International Coal Centre showcases the Central Highlands coal industry for the world. Located on the Capricorn Highway, Blackwater is located 836km from Brisbane and 190km west of Rockhampton. Located in Queensland’s Central Highlands, Blackwater owes its name not to the black gold (coal) in the region, but to a natural tea tree which blackened the water in the local billabongs. Blackwater currently has a population of approximately 8000, nearly all of whom work directly or indirectly for the mines in the area. Blackwater is the dormitory town for six coalmines. The coal extracted makes a very considerable contribution to Australia’s mineral export earnings.
Blackwater township is situated on what was a pastoral block initially taken up as the “Blackwater Run” by Henry Crew and Richard Lanyon in April, 1882, and grew around a railway siding established to service the western line that was built to service the gold and copper mining (as well as the grazing areas) around the Peak Downs and Clermont areas. The township was gazette and laid out in 1886 with the first sale of land held in December that year. Blackwater provided services for the rail workers and outlying pastoralists, including a general store, hotel, school and race track. In 1886 the McKenzie family took up “Jellinbah”, a property that was later to play a significant role in the development of the coal industry. By 1893 other pastoral leases taken up in the area included Curragh, Bonnie Doon and Blackwater.
Major features of the area include Blackwater Country Club, Blackwater Sports Complex, Blackwater Hospital, Civic Centre & Art Gallery, Arts & Crafts Centre, Blackwater International Coal Centre, Japanese Garden, Blackwater Showground, Blackwater Railway Station and several schools.
The Japanese Garden, reputed to be the best of its kind in Queensland, marks the relationship between Blackwater and its sister city Fujisawa, Japan. The coal mines each year around Blackwater produce millions of tones of coking and steaming coal. The coking coal is exported to Japan, Italy, UK, Holland, France, Spain, Greece, Chile and many other countries, while the steaming coal produced is used for power generation within Queensland.
The Lions Park is well known for one of the largest displays of flags in the world, each flag being representative of one of the 37 nationalities who labored together in their efforts to establish the district’s coal industry.
Anglers are welcome to drop a line in the Bedford Weir which is stocked with barramundi. 26km from town, there are boating, camping, toilet and shower facilities. Don’t miss the Saratoga fishing competition in September.
Blackwater International Coal Centre incorporates an education and community centre, exhibition space, a theatre cinema and a café. It showcases the Australian coal industry, and provides an interactive learning experience.
Just 55km east from the township of Blackwater you will find the spectacular Blackdown Tableland National Park it protects a sandstone plateau rising abruptly above Central Queensland’s flat plains. Dissected by deep gorges, the park offers spectacular views and hundreds of plants and wildlife species, some of which are only found in the park. You can enjoy the picnic areas, fireplaces, lookouts, waterfalls, camping area and scenic walking tracks that feature throughout the park.