Towns in Australia

Exploring Australia, town by town

Gatton QLD


Postcode: 4343

Gatton is a town (pop. 6000) and the administrative centre of the Gatton Shire Council Local Government Area situated in the Lockyer Valley of South East Queensland, Australia.

The area is primarily agricultural, with vegetables making up the majority of crops. Fruit was grown extensively in the Shire until the 1990s, when economic conditions changed and many of the orchards were removed.

Over recent years, the rural tranquility of the Gatton Shire has started to be encroached on by the suburban sprawl of metropolitan Brisbane and Ipswich in the east and Toowoomba in the west. The Warrego Highway, which runs east-west through the Shire, has also experienced increasing strip development, with fuel outlets and commercial properties gradually spreading along the highway.

Located 90 km west of Brisbane and 104 m above sea level, Gatton was one of the earliest settlements in Queensland. The area was explored as early as 1825 when Major Edmund Lockyer (after whom the Lockyer Creek was named) passed through the area. He had been instructed to explore the Brisbane River and, in a small boat, managed to reach the present site of Ipswich, where he found coal, and discovered the Stanley River.

The area was settled in the 1840s after land around Moreton Bay was opened up to free settlers. By 13 April 1855 the village of Gatton (it was probably named after Gatton, Roxburghshire, Scotland) was gazetted, and by 1858 it had become a major stopover point (it was a changeover point for the horses on the Royal Mail) on the road from Brisbane to the Darling Downs. The town was officially surveyed in 1859 and town allotments went on sale in 1860. By 1875 the railway line from Ipswich had reached the area and the town expanded rapidly as a service centre for the surrounding farms.