Emerald, a rural town, is 240 km west of Rockhampton at the junction of the Capricorn and Gregory Highways. It grew very rapidly in the 1980s and 1990s as a dormitory town for major new coal mines in the Bowen Basin. The Emerald district was traversed by Ludwig Leichhardt in 1844-45 and in 1861 a former gold prospector, Peter MacDonald, took up the first of several pastoral runs around Emerald. He is generally considered to be the first permanent white settler. In 1866 MacDonald consolidated his runs into the Emerald Downs station, which became the source of the district's name.

Further Reading: 

Marie Reid, A history of Emerald: a place of importance, Rockhampton, Central Queensland University Press, 2001

John Rolfe, Emerald and the gemfields centenary 1879-1979, Emerald, Emerald Shire Council, 1980

Bowen Basin and Emerald Shire entries


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