Towns in Australia

Exploring Australia, town by town

Cloncurry QLD


Postcode: 4824

Cloncurry is a town situated in north west Queensland, Australia, 770 kilometres west of the city of Townsville via the Flinders Highway. The town lies adjacent to the Cloncurry River. It is the administrative centre of the Cloncurry Shire, which has a population of approximately 3841. Cloncurry was proclaimed a town in 1884, and the railway arrived in 1908. Until the advent of Mount Isa, the town was the largest settlement in north west Queensland.

The first Europeans to traverse the area were Burke and Wills on their epic, and ultimately fatal, transcontinental expedition. The Cloncurry River was named by Burke after Lady Elizabeth Cloncurry, his cousin, with the town eventually taking its name from the river.

The first ever flight of the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia took place from Cloncurry on May 15, 1928, using a DH-50 aircraft hired from the then small airline, Qantas. A Royal Flying Doctor Service museum is situated in the town.

Cloncurry was widely regarded as holding the record for the highest temperature recorded in Australia at 127.5 °F (53.1 °C) on 16 January 1889. Recent investigations have revealed that this temperature was measured in an improvised screen made from a beer crate and that it equated to 47-49 °C under standard conditions. Population in Cloncurry had decreased from 3,898 in 1996 to 2,900 in 2002.

For an outback town of 3,000 souls, Cloncurry has packed a stack of ecstasy and misery into its history since workers hired by the Great Australian Copper Mine began settling on the banks of the river of the same name in 1867, just six years after Burke and Wills passed through the area on their ill-fated expedition.