Welcome to Dawson River Towns

The towns of  TaroomTheodoreMoura and Baralaba are ready to welcome you to their communities.

Theodore, a rural town of 490 people, is on the junction of the Dawson River and Castle Creek. It is named after Edward ‘Red Ted’ Theodore, a past Premier of Queensland and was originally named Castle Creek. It was promoted as the nation’s “first model garden town” and established as an administration centre for the Dawson Irrigation Commission who administered the town until 1958, when it was incorporated into Banana Shire.

Theodore is located on the Dawson River and is the service centre for the important irrigation and agriculture industries found in the area. The main irrigated crop in the area is cotton. Dry land crops include wheat, sorghum and mung beans. There are many cattle breeding studs, sawmill and plans to bring coal mining production on line in the near future.

Nestled on the Dawson River, Taroom is richly endowed with natural attractions, a thriving rural sector and a wide range of quality community and business facilities. Attractions include the Glebe Weir; a popular boating, fishing and camping spot and the National Parks with spectacular eroded sandstone areas. Isla Gorge, Precipice and Expedition Parks are also nearby.

The name Taroom is believed to be an aboriginal name meaning pomegranate or lime tree. A Coolabah tree in the main street is branded with the letters LL – scored in the bark by explorer Ludwig Leichhardt in 1844 on his overland trek from Dalby to Port Essington. A large sandstone monument stands in the park beside the Council Chambers.

Taroom has a rare “steel wings” windmill of unusual design, being one of only six models ever erected. Along with a windmill in Jerilderie in the Riverina, the fully restored windmills are the only two known working examples in the world . They are designed so their fan is contained and spins within the fully pivoting frame.

Moura took its name from the Pastoral Holding of the same name. This property was taken up in 1854 by Mr C. Marshall who had been a paymaster in Wellington’s Army while engaged in battles in Portugal. Some of the battles were fought near Moura in South East Portugal. It is possible that Mr Marshall named his property after the town. Moura was laid out in 1936 on a typical grid pattern. At the time it was a farming service centre imposed on to the existing Moura station.

The Dawson Valley with its rich supplies of food and water provided an excellent living environment for the Aborigines. According to Gangulu culture, the Rainbow Serpent (Moondya Gutta) formed the rivers and streams as he wriggled across the land; the deep waterholes were his special resting places.

European settlement would drastically affect the harmonious tribal existence; by the 1880’s Europeans had forcefully overpowered the aborigines. Some of the aborigines who survived worked on stations; others were forced into Missions. In 1896 fifty pairs of blankets were issued from Banana Police Station to the indigenous population. By 1925 only a handful of Aborigines were in Banana.

Among those registered were the last two official black-trackers – Arthur and George. They remained living in Banana with their families behind the police quarters until 1932.

The origin of Moura’s town name is uncertain; sources suggest an Aboriginal word for dog, an Aboriginal word describing a deep waterhole or it could be named after a small Portuguese town.

Baralaba is a pleasant country town with a wide main street divided by a median strip covered in lawns, attractive shade trees and shrubbery. It is situated on the Dawson River and surrounded by fertile farming and grazing land. The Neville Hewitt Weir on the Dawson River is a popular recreation area. The weir was opened in 1976 and boasts excellent fishing and the best water for boating and skiing in the Dawson/Callide Valley.