Wallangarra is a village on the border between Queensland and New South Wales in Australia. It is the third most southerly town in Queensland, 258 km south west of Brisbane. Wallangarra is on the Queensland side of the border and Jennings is on the New South Wales side.
The name, originally Wallan-Garra, these are Aboriginal words meaning "plenty of water".
In 1885, the Queensland government announced that a town would be formed where the railway line between Queensland and New South Wales would meet. On 29 June 1885, 179 lots were offered for sale at £8 per acre.
Wallangarra lies in a valley between two ranges of mountains, which each are branches of the Great Dividing Range
. It is 878 m above sea level. There is a gap between the more Westerly range at Wyberba, about 5 kilometres north of Wallangarra. This gap has made Wallangarra the major inland border crossing for the New England Highway
and what was the first railway line between Brisbane and Sydney.
A railway heritage
The town was created to service a break-of-gauge
between Queensland's narrow gauge
of and New South Wales's standard gauge
of when the two systems came together in 1888. The railway was the only rail link between Queensland and New South Wales until a standard gauge track was completed in 1932, with the completion of the bridge at Grafton
. From that time on, the Wallangarra station lessened in importance. All scheduled rail services stopped in 1997. In 2003, after major refurbishment, the station was reopened as a museum
The railway line from Stanthorpe to Wallangarra has continued to be maintained and steam trains taking tourists to Wallangarra occasionally operate.
During World War II
, the Commonwealth Government created a general army store on the Queensland side of the border, and an ammunition dump
on the New South Wales side. Dual gauge
tracks were run to each store.
Access to the army stores was via Margetts St, one of the main roads in the town. The late Muriel Daphne Verdun Nicolson lived at 30 Margetts St from before WWII until her death in 2001. During WWII she reported that the flow of trucks and materiel went on all day and night.
The stores hold enough bridging material to rebuild the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Helicopters, F-111 parts and all sorts of odds and ends are held there. The ammunition dump was, in the 1970s, the largest ammunition dump in the Southern Hemisphere. As of 2004, it is the second largest in Australia. Children going to the Wallangarra State Primary School are still entertained by the massive scheduled explosions of stale ammunition.
Riverina Stock Feeds
Taking advantage of the rail junction Riverina Stock Feeds operated a packing plant opposite the Wallangarra railway station for many years until 1995. After that it moved to Warwick, a city 100 kilometres to the north. Warwick also has a major Woolworths warehouse. Interestingly the Chairman of Woolworths who located the ware house at Warwick grew up in Wallangarra.
Until 1982 The Anderson Meatpacking Company operated a large beef abattoir
at Wallangarra. After this closed the town's future looked dim. Ten years later, however, Australia's largest Mutton works opened on a new site just to the east of the town. The mutton produced is Halal, and most of it is exported to Arab countries.
Drive out along Margetts St, over the railway bridge, past the Rugby League grounds and out past the army. From there follow Old Paling Yard Road up the foot hills of Mt Norman. There you will find a water treatment plant and a road branch to the left going down to Beehive dam. Beehive dam is in the mountains, and fed by a spring. It is a beautiful place for a picnic.
Wallangarra is bounded by Sundown National Park to the West and Girraween National Park
to the East. Being situated on the Great Dividing Range, Sundown is dry and Girraween is much more moist.