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Blackbutt-Benarkin: The Timber Towns
Where is Blackbutt?
The timber towns of Blackbutt and Benarkin are located on top of the Blackbutt Range at the eastern gateway to Queensland's South Burnett region. They're approximately 140 kilometres north-west of Brisbane on Highway 17.

They can be reached by following:
  • the D'Aguilar Highway from Caboolture
  • the Brisbane Valley Highway through Esk
  • the New England Highway via Yarraman
  • the D'Aguilar Highway from Kingaroy

Blackbutt can also be reached via a partially unsealed scenic road from Crows Nest on the Darling Downs.


How big is Blackbutt?
Blackbutt is one of the two principal towns of Nanango Shire (the other is Nanango) and has a population of around 1,200 residents.

Blackbutt has its own hotel, motel and caravan park, B&B's, cafes, convenience and food stores, medical facilities, a golf club, RSL, art gallery and petrol outlets. Nanango Shire Council's Blackbutt office is home to a Rural Transaction Centre which provides banking and postal services, Medicare Easyclaim, phone and fax.

Benarkin - located off the D'Aguilar Highway less than a few kilometres away - has a general store and a population of around 200 residents (the rest area at First Settlers Park is a popular overnight stop for travellers).

Other localities near Blackbutt include Taromeo, Old Esk Road, Crows Nest Road and Nukku.


What is Blackbutt like?
Blackbutt is a small, friendly town. It has a low-humidity mountain climate of cool summers and brisk winters.

Most of eastern side of the town is surrounded by majestically tall eucalypt forests and hoop pine State Forests, while the western side leads into typical South Burnett grazing country.

The Blackbutt area has abundant wildlife and is popular with bushwalkers, campers and naturalists. In addition, the skies over Blackbutt are insulated from urban light. This has made the town very popular with both amateur and professional astronomers.

Blackbutt has a vigorous cultural, social and sporting life. Local art group the Friends of Cultcha stage monthly exhibitions at the town's Archie Muir Centre (opening night is always the first Monday of the month) and the Taromeo Country Music Club holds country music socials most months of the year.

The Blackbutt Showgrounds are home to the annual Blackbutt Show (held each May). The Blackbutt Christmas Carnival is celebrated in the heart of the town over several days each December.


When was Blackbutt established?
The Blackbutt area was first settled by Europeans in 1842 when the Scott family established Taromeo Station at the top of the Blackbutt Range.

The timber towns of Benarkin and Blackbutt were jointly founded 45 years later on land ceded from Taromeo Station by the Scott family for that purpose. Blackbutt itself was named for the eucalyptus piluralis tree which is native to the area (specimens still grow along the southern entrance to the town).

New settlers in the area quickly established 160-hectare farms around the townships over the next few years, but the population of the area only really began to boom in the very late 1800s when alluvial gold was discovered at Gympie and the nearby Seven Mile Diggings, as well as at several locations around Blackbutt and Benarkin themselves.

The Brisbane Valley Line - a railway connecting Brisbane to Yarraman - was built through the town in 1905 and subsequently ripped up in the 1980s. These days, the former railway line is a popular walking and horse-riding track between Blackbutt and Linville at the foot of the range (NB: use of this trail at the present time requires permission).


Blackbutt today
Blackbutt is a quiet, prosperous town which attracts a wide variety of people including bushwalkers, campers, artists and 4WD enthusiasts.

The rich soils around Blackbutt support many rural industries including Forestry Department hoop pine plantations, horticultural farms, avocado and olive tree farming, flower growing and grazing. The Blackbutt and District Tourism and Heritage Association actively support all organisations in the town.


Useful Blackbutt information links

Artist's impression of Blackbutt (detail)

Above: A detail from an artist's impression of Blackbutt showing the town's cenotaph and a corner of the Radnor Hotel (picture courtesy of Shaun Mather)

Wildflowers near Blackbutt

Above: Wildflowers bloom all around Blackbutt for most of the year. The area is a naturalist's delight (photo courtesy of Rose Mather)

Rural Blackbutt scene

Above: Blackbutt's main industries are timber, dairy and cattle farming, and flower, avocado and olive tree growing (photo courtesy of Rose Mather)

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