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McKinlay Shire, heart of the Queensland Outback and Gateway to the Gulf of Carpentaria.

With a population of ~1100 people across more than 40,000 square kilometres, and perfectly situated between Townsville and the Northern Territory, it’s easy to see why McKinlay Shire is tagged ‘the Gateway to the Gulf’. The Shire comprises four towns: Julia Creek and Nelia on the Flinders Highway (Overlander’s Way); and McKinlay and Kynuna in the south of the Shire, on the Landsborough Highway.

Major industries within the Shire are agriculture (primarily beef), mining and tourism.

When in Julia Creek, travellers should stop first at the award-winning Julia Creek information centre, ‘At the Creek’. With multiple audio visual displays outlining the history of the town; a selection of travel brochures and maps; as well as an array of souvenirs, it’s a must see.

Plus, lucky travellers may be there for the daily feeding of At the Creek’s dunnart, a mouse-like marsupial of the Dasyuridae family (which includes the Tasmanian devil!). The Julia Creek dunnart (Sminthopsis douglasi), native to the area, is listed as endangered both in Queensland, and nationally. McKinlay Shire works closely with the University of Queensland Native Wildlife Teaching and Research Facility to minimise disturbance of natural habitats and increase the local dunnart population.

McKinlay, named after traveller and founder John McKinlay, is home to Queensland’s Smallest Library; and the world’s largest and lowest cost single producer of silver and lead, South32’s Cannington Mine. Stop in and say g’day at McKinlay’s main tourism attraction, the Walkabout Creek Hotel – Mick’s local bar in the Crocodile Dundee movie series.

Kynuna, 75km east of McKinlay, is home to Combo Waterhole and Swagman’s Billabong, made famous in Banjo Patterson’s ‘Waltzing Matilda’. It is said that the song’s swagman, Samuel Hoffmeister, had his last drink at Kynuna’s Blue Heeler Hotel, before the fateful trip to Swagman’s Billabong where he commit suicide when approached by Police for stealing a sheep.

McKinlay Shire