History of Boulia History of Boulia

The official beginning of Boulia is a proclamation signed by Cr. Kennedy on 31st July 1879 and gazetted on the 2nd August setting aside a reserve for township purpose on the Boulia waterhole, in the Burke river, Gregory North district, under the name of "Boulia".

The reserve was 1 280 acres resumed from the Bulla-Bulla No. 2 and Bulla-Bulla No. 4 runs, which at that time, was held by W.L. Reid, R.T. Reid and W. Paterson having been originally taken up by John Farrar on 20th December 1876 and transferred to Messes Reid and Paterson the following year. It was surveyed by F.A. Hartnell in October 1882 and March 1883. The first land sale being set down for Tuesday 13th February 1883.

The name is derived from the name of the waterhole, which was so called by the Pitta Pitta tribe, according to the survey office. Another source gives the Aboriginals the original name for the waterhole as Bulzoo Bulzoo. However the map shows a Bullu Bullu waterhole quite far from the Boulia waterhole.

The mail service (from Cloncurry) by horse was inaugurated on 1st July 1879. The telegraph line was completed in July and the telegraph station opened in Boulia on 11th August 1884.

The Flying Doctor Service started at Cloncurry in 1928.

The book "Taming the North" by H. Fysh, which is a biography of Kennedy and Pioneer of "Noranside" and "Buckingham Downs" and "Devoncourt", says of Mrs Kennedy's journey west in 1877.

Mrs Kennedy is quoted saying "when I first passed through the site of Boulia 1877, Paterson with cattle from the Darling, had just arrived to stock Goodwood station. Ernest Henry arrived about that time with two wagon loads of station supplies, with which he started a store.

Vallis, Donaldson and a few others were also there, camped on the Boulia waterhole. Later on Paterson built a hut, on the west side of the river and Ernest Henry erected a canvas store where the town now is. Later on Harry Westerfelt built a pub, and although both pub and store should have done well, both were failures. However this was the foundation of Boulia, the centre of a prosperous pastoral area, despite the challenges of frequent low rainfall.

Both Kennedy in this book, and H.G. Lamond in an article on the Warenda Station say, that Vallis was the first white man in Boulia. The Ernest Henry mentioned above was also the founder of Hughenden and the discoverer of the vastly rich Cloncurry mining field. Kennedy says "Henry was the first man to blaze a track between Cloncurry and Boulia which afterwards became a much used route".

The Boulia Divisional Board was gazetted on the 24th September 1887.