Towns in Australia

Exploring Australia, town by town

Cherbourg QLD


Postcode: 4605

Cherbourg is a town in Queensland, Australia. It is located off the Bunya Highway approximately 250 kilometres north-west of Brisbane. Cherbourg has a population of around 2,500. The town has a sad history. Starting in 1904 indigenous people were forcibly removed from their homes and “settled” at Cherbourg. People from many different tribes or mobs were mixed together and they were not allowed to speak their own languages. Children were born at Cherbourg and ended up living in dormitories. People were not allowed to leave Cherbourg. In fact, until the referendum in 1967, the indigenous people at Cherbourg were not even counted in the census. The effect of mixing different groups of people together and forcing them to speak English has been an almost total loss of their cultural heritage.

Many of the languages are considered to be extinct, surviving only in notes and recordings stored at the University of Queensland.The community participates in “work for the dole” schemes. There is very little genuine work to be found. Nearby, the Silver Lining Foundation has established a training scheme for young people. A man born in Cherbourg said “we don’t just feel invisible. We are invisible!”

Attractions in Cherbourg include the ‘Bert Button Lookout’ and ‘Emu Farm Tours’. Cherbourg’s main tribal groups are the ‘Wakka Wakka’ people and the ‘Culidy’ people. Visitors can purchase a variety of crafts including intricately carved Emu eggs, learn more about native food plants in the Cherbourg Botanical Garden and enjoy amazing views over the Bjelke Petersen Dam.