Jondaryan, a rural town on the Darling Downs, is 140 km west of Brisbane and midway between Toowoomba and Dalby. The name originated from the Jondaryan pastoral station (1842), derived from an Aboriginal expression thought to describe something along way off; possibly a view from the Bunya mountains of a tree line or topographical feature on the black soil plains.

The Jondaryan pastoral station grew to be a colonial colossus, comprising 62,750 ha in the 1870s, Queensland's largest freehold station. In 1889 it was the cause of the 'Jondaryan affair', when unionists won the right to have union-only shearers, but which in turn galvanised employer interests to unite and crush trade-unionism in the national maritime strike. Jondaryan was run somewhat like a feudal village, and a map of the 1890s showed neighbouring pastoral runs being cut up for selection but Jondaryan standing untouched. The first incursion by selectors came in 1908, and the final subdivisions at Jondaryan came in the 1940s.

The western railway was extended from Toowoomba to Dalby in 1867. A primary school was opened in 1872. Jondaryan grew as the main town in the district, remaining so until overtaken by Oakey which benefited by being a railway junction with branch lines to Cooyar and Cecil Plains. The Queensland post office directory of 1904 recorded four hotels, several stores and two blacksmiths at the railway town of Jondaryan. On the pastoral station there was another blacksmith, a lavish homestead better appointed than any hotel, and a woolshed (1861) capable of covering 3000 sheep and shearing 52 at a time. It was the largest woolshed on the Downs.

Although the town's population decreased, the district's population grew as farm lots were occupied. Consequently Jondaryan was quite a well appointed town according to the post office directory in 1949, with several stores, a hotel, two banks, a motor garage, Anglican, Catholic and Presbyterian churches, a hall, a school of arts and the Jondaryan Amateur Race club.

In the early 1970s local townspeople began the restoration of the historic woolshed. Several decades of dedicated voluntarism have created a rural museum with several restored buildings brought in from elsewhere. A notable building is a grain shed from Evanslea.

Jondaryan has a hotel, a school, a public hall and a post office.

Its census populations have been:

Census DatePopulation

N.J. Douglas, Jondaryan Shire handbook, Queensland Department of Primary Industries, 1977

Han Walker, Jondaryan Station: the relationship between pastoral capital and pastoral labour 1840-1890, St Lucia, University of Queensland Press, 1988


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