Clermont is an agricultural town of approximately 5,000 in the Belyando Shire, Queensland, Australia. It is 274 km south-west of Mackay on the junction of the Gregory and Peak Downs highways.
Ludwig Leichhardt was the first European to pass through the Clermont area in 1845, but it was the discovery of gold in 1861 that was responsible for the establishment of the town. The town reserve was proclaimed on 25 March 1864. It is named after Clermont, France. Copper was discovered soon after. In the 1880’s up to 4000 Chinese people were resident in Clermont, mining for gold and copper. This led to racial riots and the Chinese were removed from the region in 1888.
Today, Clermont is a major hub for the large coal mines in the region as well as serving agricultural holdings.
But things weren’t always that serene around Clermont and the Peak Downs. The rush which followed the discovery of gold in the area in 1861 led to bitter clashes between European and Chinese diggers.
Thirty years on, Clermont was in the headlines again when striking shearers marched behind the Eureka Flag to breast non-union workers. Blood was only spared when police blocked the march.
Long dependent on the fortunes of surrounding beef producers, wool and crop growers, Clermont prospered when the Blair Athol open-cut miners tapped into the world’s largest seam of steaming-coal in the late 1970s.