South Burnett Tourism > Towns > Cherbourg
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Cherbourg Our Aboriginal Heritage
Where is Cherbourg?
Cherbourg is located off the Bunya Highway approximately 250 kilometres north-west of Brisbane.

It can be reached by following:
  • the D'Aguilar Highway from Caboolture
  • the Brisbane Valley Highway through Esk
  • the New England Highway via Yarraman
  • the Bunya Highway via Dalby and Kingaroy
  • the Wide Bay Highway via Gympie or
  • the Burnett Highway via Gayndah

Look for the well-marked Cherbourg turnoff a few kilometres north of Murgon on the road to Goomeri.


How big is Cherbourg?
Cherbourg is an aboriginal community and has a permanent population of around 2,500 residents.

Its main tribal groups are the Wakka Wakka people (who originally lived in the area between Dalby and Maidenwell) and the Culidy people (who originally lived in the area between Roma and Quilpie).

However, representatives of many other tribal groups from western Queensland, the Cape and Burdekin areas form part of the population too. Cherbourg is located close to Murgon but is an independent local government authority, separate from Murgon Shire.


What is Cherbourg like?
Cherbourg is run by the Cherbourg Community Council which is composed of respected tribal elders drawn from the community.

The Council is part of the South Burnett Local Government Association and its goal is to make Cherbourg the first completely self-sufficient aboriginal community in Australia.

In recent years the Community Council has run a vigorous "work for the dole" program which has resulted in many improvements to the township area and today Cherbourg has its own convenience store, hospital, TAFE campus, motel, community radio station, aged care hostel and arts and crafts centre.

Cherbourg always welcomes visitors and two community ventures particularly worth seeing are the Cherbourg Emu Farm (the first commercial emu farm in Queensland, which provides breeding stock for other growers, emu meat for the restaurant trade, emu leather for export and emu eggs for local egg-carvers) and the Cherbourg Tourist Centre - built on a hill overlooking Lake Barambah - which sells a wide range of Aboriginal souvenirs, fine art and craftworks.

The Centre also has very pretty landscaped gardens with picnic and bbq facilities, along with wonderful views over the Lake.


When was Cherbourg established?
Cherbourg was founded in 1904 when 7000 acres (2,835 ha) of the Cherbourg selection were set aside by the Queensland State Government for an aboriginal settlement.

In 1906 the first 300 occupants - drawn from 13 different tribal groups - were forcibly moved there by the Protector of Aborigines under the policies of the times. Others followed in succeeding years.

The aboriginal settlers were required to clear the area by hand and the early conditions were so harsh that most continued traditional hunting and fishing methods to eat, and lived in bush humpies to shelter from the elements. In the 1960s a slightly more enlightened Government policy provided rations for the inhabitants and began to construct proper accommodation in Cherbourg township. Residents were paid wages for their work soon afterwards.

Cherbourg became independent in 1986 when the Queensland State Government issued the community with a Deed of Grant in Trust. The size of the settlement has steadily increased with the passage of time and ventures in agriculture, beef cattle, dairying and joinery are becoming increasingly successful. The community is celebrating its Centenary in 2004.


Useful Cherbourg information links
Aboriginal artworks at the Cherbourg Tourist Centre

Above: The Cherbourg Tourist Centre offers visitors a wonderful range of genuine aboriginal arts and crafts to choose from. This modern, attractive facility is open 7 days a week. (photo courtesy of Clive Lowe)

The view from the Bert Button Lookout picnic grounds

Above: Landscaped picnic areas which adjoin Cherbourg's Tourist Centre provide stunning panoramic views across nearby Lake Barambah. The picnic facilities and BBQs are free to use (photo courtesy of Clive Lowe)

Everyday life in Cherbourg

Above: Cherbourg aims to become the first self-sufficient aboriginal community in Australia. Visitors are warmly welcomed at any time (photo courtesy of Clive Lowe).

Discover the Magic of the South Burnett

Wine and Food, Great Lakes, Bunya Mounains... Discover The Wonderful Towns Of The South Burnett
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NANANGO (07) 4189-9446  ·  KINGAROY (07) 4189-9172  ·  WONDAI (07) 4189-9251  ·  MURGON (07) 4189-9387

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