A quick look at the amazing heritage and history of Boulia

History of Boulia

In far western Queensland lies a remote town of about 500 people.


Boulia, a township that spans 61,176 square kilometres, lies at the edge of the Outback and has an established history that reaches back 100 million years. Let’s take a quick look at the history of Boulia.

Opening image: Red Stump, Tourism and Events Queensland.


History of Boulia
Take a look into the history of Boulia. Image courtesy of Tourism and Events Queensland.

Over 100 million years ago, the land where Boulia was established was part of the inland sea whose coverage included most of present-day Queensland. Many marine reptile fossils, including dinosaurs, turtles and other creatures, have been discovered around Boulia since then, the first discovered to date back to that time period was found in 2005 by palaeontologists from the South Australia Museum. These fossils are currently on display in the Boulia Stone House Museum, along with other artefacts from the local Indigenous community and early pioneer life.

Before Europeans arrived, the land belonged to the Pitta Pitta Aboriginal nation. The name “Boulia” comes from the Pitta Pitta word for “waterhole” or “clear water.” 

The first arrival of Europeans was in 1861 when Burke and Wills passed through on their Australian expedition from the south in Melbourne to the north at the Gulf of Carpentaria.

Multiple tents were settled here in 1876, but the town wasn’t established until 1879 with a store at the waterhole. From there, the town was surveyed in 1882 and expanded upon for the rest of the late 1800s, including a school, police barracks and a courthouse by the late 1880s.

One of the many legends of the Outback that arose came to be in the late 1910’s. A local stockman reported he was followed by a strange ball of light from the graveyard past the Min Min Hotel, which had burned down. Some say you can still see this strange ball of light reappear at night and legend has it that if you follow the ball of light, you disappear.

All that remains of the Min Min hotel today is broken glass and the town talk of the light’s reappearance at night by drivers passing by in the dark and campers in the area. The town hosts a “Min Min Encounter” show at the Visitors Centre to attempt to recreate and immerse visitors in the story and the lights. 

Alongside the fossil discovery in 2005, the town also had an aquatic and sports centre built. Unfortunately, the town experienced major floods not too long after in 2009 and 2010.

In 2012, land near Boulia was formally recognised as owned by the Pitta Pitta nation under the Native Title legislation.


Image courtesy of Tourism and Events Queensland.

Beyond the rich history of Boulia, there are many things to do here. Alongside the Min Min Encounter and the Stone House Museum, there is also the Red Stump in town and the Boulia Camel Races. 

The Camel Races is an annual event on the third weekend in July. The Boulia Cup is a highly anticipated event for the professional camel-racing circuit and is the longest camel race in Australia, stretching over 1500 metres.

From natural attractions to activities born from them, this small town has lots to offer. Find out more about what’s going on in Boulia here.

To book flights, visit the Rex website here or check out their route map below.



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