History of Boulia and Urandangi

The Boulia Shire is steeped in a rich history which evolved 100 million years ago Dinosaur/Fossil picturewhen the shire was part of the Inland Sea and was home to a mass of marine reptiles including Elasmosaurus, Ichthyosaur, Kronosaurus and the Bouliachelys suteri. This Inland Sea, The Eromanga Sea, covered much of what we know today as western Queensland. 



It was the meeting grounds for many Indigenous tribes (Traditional Owner Groups) who were assured of permanent water and saw the famous explorers Burke and Wills and also Afghan Camel Traders pass through before the settlements of Boulia and Urandangi were forged in the late 1800’s.


The official beginning of the Boulia township is a proclamation signed by Cr. Kennedy on 31st July 1879 and gazetted on the 2nd August, setting aside a reserve for township purpose. Located on the Burke River, the name Boulia is said to be derived from the word ‘water hole’ from the language of the local Pitta Pitta people. Boulia’s early history is based around a few hardy adventurers and pastoralists in search of new lands and with the will to ‘make a go of it’.  It is now an attractive Shire community with a population of almost 500 people and well-serviced by modern facilities.


The town of Urandangi founded in 1885 on the Georgina Stock Route and was a popular stop for drovers before branching out to Dajarra to the railhead. It became a very important centre for drovers and travellers being close to the border of NT and a short cut to Alice Springs from Mount Isa and the coast. In its heyday Urandangi boasted two stores, hotels, dance hall, Post Office, Police Station, school and several private residences. In the 1920's and in the 1930's and 40's there were over 400 people living in the area. 

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Tree-less open plains, hundreds of meandering channels and night skies full of glorious stars – including that elusive Min Min Light. From the origins of its name and founding people to the development of the town’s stores and pubs, you will find there is much to discover about the history of our shire.   

To learn more, why not visit the Boulia Heritage Complex or drop into our Library.