Collinsville, a rural town, is 80 km south-west of Bowen.

By 1912 most parts of Queensland with railways had access to local supplies of coal, but not the far northern railways which relied on fuel imported through Townsville. The State government decided to investigate Robert Logan Jack's reports of coal on Pelican Creek, a tributary of the Bowen River. A group of Bowen business people formed the Bowen River Coal Prospecting Syndicate, and a few other prospecting groups took out exploration licences. Several coal seams were verified by 1914. When Labor came to power in 1915 it announced a commitment for a State coal mine at Pelican Creek, and in 1917 decided to add a coking facility for a proposed State steel works 6 km south of Bowen.

The government designed a town for the coal mine, based on advice from the Town Planning Association and modelled on good contemporary design; iron shacks and canvas tents were to be avoided. Named Collinsville, after Charles Collins the local MLA, the town had nearly 100 lots sold by 1922. A freight and passenger train service to Bowen was also opened that year. Within a few years the population passed 700, and there was a hotel, a picture theatre, a dance hall, a bowling green and several shops and tradespeople. Electricity was reticulated from the mine, with the town set well away from the mine workings.

About 4 km south-west of Collinsville the syndicate, Bowen Consolidated Coal Mines, operated a smaller mine at its company town of Scottville.

Model town and company town each came under the influence of union militancy as the Communist Party formed a united industrial front in 1933-34. The Party gained the leadership of the important national mining union, and by 1936 Collinsville had four Communist Party branches to one ALP branch. Forty-eight percent of Collinsville voters supported the Communist State Parliamentary candidate, Fred Paterson, and in Scottville the figure was 75 percent. They also elected the left-wing Jim Henderson to the local Shire Council.

Thirty years later union militancy again came to the fore in a lockout over the construction of a powerhouse for the Northern Electricity Authority.

When mining began in the 1920s plans were also made for a coal export facility at Bowen. Neither the steel works nor the export contracts eventuated, but the coal was entirely satisfactory for the railway locomotives. The 1968 powerhouse took up coal consumption as steam rail was phased out.

In 1983 a railway line was opened for Mount Isa's open-cut coal mine at Scottville (and a more southerly mine at Newlands) to an export port at Abbot Point, north of Bowen.

Collinsville has local shops, State primary and high schools (1921, 1986), a Catholic primary school (1936), a hospital, the Collinsville and Scottville Workers Club (where meals were supplied during the lockout), golf, swimming, bowls, rugby and horseracing venues, Catholic and Uniting churches and a Whitsunday Regional Council branch office. A mining heritage centre was opened to commemorate, the 50th anniversary of the Collinsville mine disaster in 1954. In 2009 a 5 hectare site of the Bowen Consolidated Colliery, near Collinsville, including buildings, machinery and a railway line, were added to the Queensland heritage register. The underground mine was operational from 1919 until the 1960s and was one of the earliest and most successful mines in the Bowen Basin.

In 2015 meetings were held to reinstate the Collinsville branch of the Country Women's Association (CWA) which had been closed for three years and its hall unused. The town also raised money that year to build a giant bronze statue of its last pit pony. Pit ponies were Clydesdale horses that hauled coal up from the underground mines in the area until they were retired in 1990. A reopened hotel was renamed the Pity Pony Tavern (2015).

Its census populations have been:

Census DatePopulation

Scottville has a primary school (1924), a cooperative store and a sports ground. Its census population was:

census datepopulation

How Collinsville was won, Brisbane, Trades and Labor Council of Queensland, 1968

R.L. Whitmore, Coal in Queensland: from federation to the twenties, 1900 to 1925, St Lucia, University of Queensland Press, 1991


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