The trip to Blackbutt turned out to be a rather pleasant sightsee of three towns. Although the job is in Blackbutt, we were booked accomodations in Nanango a further 35kms (30 mins drive) away. And on the way to nanango is the town of Yarraman, located at the junction of the D'Aguilar and New England Highways. Yarraman is a terminus of the New England Highway and also of the Brisbane Valley Heritage Trail (currently under construction).
I spent a total of three wonderful days in the area. As mentioned, this region is in the south burnett council, located on top of Australia's Great Dividing Range two hours drive nw of Brisbane. It is home to the State's biggest vineyards. More than 20 wineries and cellar doors, support its claim of Queensland's largest wine region. It is also home to two of Queensland's biggest inland waterways (a lake and a dam), the Jurassic-era Bunya Mountains and some of the prettiest agricultural country anywhere in oz. The timber towns of Blackbutt, yarraman and Nanango are located on top of the Blackbutt Range. They have a combined population of around 7,200 residents. Localities near these towns include Benarkin, Taromeo, Old Esk Road, Crows Nest Road and Nukku. The massive Tarong Power Station and Meandu Coal Mine are located 16km to the south of Nanango. The 11,700 hectares (about 25,000 acres) Bunya Mountains National Park is also adjacent to the shire.
Proof of this was one evening in Nanango when i opened my motel window to let some cool air in.
The area was first settled by Europeans in 1840s. Blackbutt was named for the eucalyptus piluralis tree which is native to the area. The name Nanango has evolved from "Nunangi". The original settlement near the big waterhole was called Noogoonida by the aborigines. It means place where the waters gather together - a large lagoon or lake). Yarraman itself means "wild horse". The population of the area only really began to boom in the very late 1800s when gold was discovered at several locations around Blackbutt and Benarkin precipitating a population boom. This was accelerated again when Yarraman became the terminus railhead for the Brisbane Valley Line. The early 1970s with the development of the Tarong Power Station led to a third population explosion. The south burnett relies mainly on timber, agriculture and tourism industries. The rich soils around support many rural industries including Forestry Department hoop pine plantations, horticultural farms, avocado and olive tree farming, flower growing and grazing. Nanango's principal industries are power generating and coal mining, agriculture, beef and pork production, dairying and milk processing, timber growing and milling, small crops, natural medicine, art and craftwork and tourism.
Timber cutters arrived in the region in the 1860s and began to establish sawmills to harvest the Bunya pines. However - once the uniqueness of the area began to be appreciated - public agitation for preservation of the Mountains quickly grew. In 1908 the Queensland State Government gazetted 9,303 ha as the Bunya Mountains National Park (the second declared national park ion the state). This was later extended to 11,700 ha - partly by land donations from locals who also wished to see this unique part of Australia preserved for future generations to enjoy. It's now proposed to extend the Park by a further 40% to further protect its fragile ecosystems.