Birdsville is a small town located in Western Queensland, Australia. The town is located 1590 kilometres west of the state capital, Brisbane, and 720 kilometres south of the city of Mount Isa. Birdsville is situated on the edge of the Simpson Desert, and the climate is very arid.
Birdsville is located in the Diamantina Shire, which has a population of 326 persons (Census 2001). The Birdsville Track extends 514 kilometres from Marree in South Australia through the Strzelecki Desert before ending at Birdsville. Proclaimed a town in 1887, Birdsville was located at the border of South Australia and Queensland to collect tolls from the droves of cattle being moved interstate. With Federation in 1901, the tolls were abolished and the town fell into decline.
In 2007 there is a single hotel, serving canned or bottled beer, and a hospital. When proclaimed the town had three hotels, two stores, a customs house for interstate trade, a police station and a large collection of commercial buildings. Today Birdsville is a popular tourist destination and is most famous for the legendary annual Birdsville Races, which are held in September in aid of the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia. The tiny town population is swelled to many thousands for the two day event, and hundreds of aircraft often fill the town's airstrip.
Birdsville is also home to an 80 kW Geothermal Power Station, with water being extracted from the Great Artesian Basin (at 98 °C) before being vaporised into steam, producing energy for the town. This water (once cooled) is also the source of the town's drinking water.