History of Warwick: Patrick Leslie and his two brothers originally settled in the area as squatters, naming their run Canning Downs. In 1847 the NSW government asked Leslie to select a site on his station for a township, which was to be called ‘Cannington,’ although the name ‘Warwick’ was eventually settled on.
Land sales were held in 1850, and the first allotment was bought by Leslie. The telegraph to Brisbane was operating by 1861.
The 1870’s were boom years for this new town. In 1871 the railway reached Warwick, a brewery was built in 1873, then a cooperative flour mill and brickworks were completed during 1874.
Warwick was the seat of a series of local government areas, the Borough of Warwick from 1861, Town of Warwick from 1903, City of Warwick from 1936, Shire of Warwick from 1994, and Southern Downs Region from 2008.
An event officially known as the Warwick Incident occurred on 29 November 1917, which would lead to the formation of the Australian Commonwealth Police with the first commissioner for Commonwealth Police appointed eight days later. As Prime Minister William Morris Hughes was addressing a crowd at the Warwick railway station, a man in the crowd threw an egg dislodging the Prime Minister’s hat. Hughes ordered his arrest but the Queensland State Police allegedly refused to carry out the order.
Warwick has many interesting historic buildings:
- The 1891 Post Office was built from locally quarried sandstone and is a huge two storey building with Saracen arches on the first floor, a large cupola and Tuscan columns on the ground floor.
- The 1888 Town Hall was also constructed from local sandstone.
- The 1864-built St Mary’s Church.
- The 1917 Criterion Hotel which retains much of its early charm.
- The 1885 Old Court House.
- The 1890 Police Station.
- The 1862 Warwick East State School and St Mark’s Church.
- The 1869 Pringle Cottage complex also includes an old General Store and a shepherd’s hut.
Today Warwick is an attractive city set alongside the willow-shaded Condamine River. It is the headquarters of the Australian Rough Riders Association and is the self declared ‘Rose and Rodeo City’, with the Warwick Rodeo and the Warwick Rose Festival being held each October. The region has a population of approx 20,000.