The more you search the Southern Downs, the more surprises you find. While the history of the full Darling Downs is a testament to the resilience, perseverance and vision of those early European settlers who arrived not knowing what they would find in the “new world” . There are many small towns, villages and communities that date back to the mid 1800’s.
Last month (June) was the 193rd anniversary of Allan Cunningham’s journey and exploration of the Darling Downs. He traveled from Segenhoe Station in the Hunter Valley, and then returned, over a thirteen week period from 30 April 1827 to 28 July 1827.
The distance covered was approx. 1,400 kilometres. His party consisted of six men, eleven pack horses and supplies for fourteen weeks. They spent from the 5th of June to the 5th of July on what we now know as the Southern Downs region.
Killarney on the Southern Downs in Queensland
The nearby village of Yangan is on the Swan Creek at the head of the picturesque Swanfels Valley. The town developed as a service center for the Valley, with a police station, school and church built by 1884.
The Yangan Masonic Hall, acquired by Yangan Lodge in 1912, was originally built as the School of Arts (circa 1898). Made of local timber, it stands today as a distinctive landmark and symbol of the town’s former prosperity.
Yandilla and Tummaville Stations
The Gores were from a family of Irish landowners. They came out to Australia as a family, largely for reasons of health, following the death of their father, a clergyman, and the youngest son. Another son, William, became the Rector of All Saints Parramatta, while Ralph and St George Gore traveled to the Darling Downs in 1841 with sheep purchased from the Macarthurs.
They established a run at Grasstree Creek, later known as Yandilla, and were joined soon after by brothers, Robert and St John and their wives. In 1846 Tummaville station adjoining Yandilla was acquired by the Gores. The Church at Yandilla Station (built by the Gores in c1878), is now known as “All Saints Anglican Church”, Yandilla with some of the family members buried in the old cemetery.
There is a lot to discover on the Darling Downs including some of the Australia’s finest rural landscapes