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    Minister for Natural Resources and Water and Minister Assisting the Premier in North Queensland
    The Honourable Craig Wallace

    Westwood celebrates its place in Queensland’s 150 year history

    Minister for Natural Resources and Water and Minister Assisting the Premier in North Queensland
    The Honourable Craig Wallace

    Wednesday, February 18, 2009

    Westwood celebrates its place in Queensland’s 150 year history

    Natural Resources Minister Craig Wallace has today visited the small central Queensland town of Westwood, to acknowledge its special place in Queensland’s 150 year history.

    Mr Wallace said the grazing town south-west of Rockhampton has the unique claim of being the first new town proclaimed in the Queensland Government Gazette, after the state became a separate colony back in 1859.

    In recognition of the town’s special role in our state’s history, Minister Wallace and Member for Fitzroy Jim Pearce presented the Westwood community with a commemorative map of Queensland as it was in 1859, with the original extract from the 1860 Government Gazette included on the map.

    “As we celebrate our state’s 150th Birthday, it is timely that we reflect on the people and places which shaped the Queensland we live in today,” Mr Wallace said.

    “The town of Westwood is one of those places, as it was the first town to be officially gazetted after Queensland became a colony in its own right.

    “While towns like Rockhampton, Maryborough and Brisbane appeared on the map when our state was still a part of New South Wales, Westwood was our first ‘uniquely Queensland’ township – a title well worth celebrating.”

    Mr Wallace said Queensland’s first Governor, Sir George Ferguson Bowen, named the town after ‘Westwood’; the English estate of Sir John Pakington, a politician and Secretary of State for the Colonies and War in 1852.

    “Westwood was a busy town in the 1860s. The first stage of the Central Railway, then known as the Great Northern Railway, opened from Rockhampton to Westwood on 19 September 1867,’’ Mr Wallace said.

    “Westwood became the railhead – the location where goods were loaded, unloaded or transferred to other transport.

    “Today, Westwood has a population of 250, and is predominantly focused on agriculture, with cattle grazing dominating the surrounding area.

    “It remains a close-knit community – one to be celebrated for both its past and its present.”

    Mr Pearce said he was pleased Westwood was being recognised for its part in Queensland’s history.

    “In the 150th anniversary year of Queensland being declared a separate colony, it is worthwhile reflecting on our history and celebrating the many things that have made our state such a great place to live,” Mr Pearce said.

    “The community of Westwood is a good example of everything that is great about our state and I’m pleased the Bligh Government is acknowledging the important part our small rural communities play in the story of our state.”

    Minister Wallace and Mr Pearce presented the commemorative map to the principal of Westwood State School during a special ceremony today.

    “This map serves as a reminder of how far Queensland has come,” Mr Wallace said.

    “150 years ago Westwood did not even appear on the map. But since its gazettal in 1860, the town has grown and changed with our state, creating a history to be proud of.

    “Today’s community celebration of this rich past ensures the next generation will now be able to carry the story of Westwood into the future.”

    Queensland celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2009 with a range of activities and events being held right across the state to celebrate the occasion. The official program Q150 program is available at

    Media contact: Minister Wallace’s office, 3896 3688.