First settled in 1875, Winton is best known as the place that AB (Banjo) Paterson wrote Waltzing Matilda in 1895, while staying at Dagworth Station outside Winton. The North Gregory Hotel, reported as being where the first performance of the ballad was held is a favourite stop for Winton visitors. Recognised as the 'home' of Australian bush poetry, Winton hosts the annual Bronze Swagman Award, one of the country's most prestigious literary awards.
Visitors to Longreach will visit the Qantas Founders Museum, but it is in Winton where Qantas (Australian’s National Airline) was formed in November, 1920 and had its first board meeting in the Winton Club on 21 February 1921. Winton has an undisputed rich history with links to the Great Shearers’ Strike, Waltzing Matilda and Qantas, however recent dinosaur discoveries have attracted new visitors to the region.
In 1962, a fossilized footprint was found on Cork Station leading to the discovery of the world’s only recorded dinosaur stampede, now known as the Lark Quarry Dinosaur Trackways (a day trip from Winton). Later discoveries in the Winton district included a 20-30 ton Sauropod, (nicknamed ‘Elliot’), and more Sauropods of varying sizes and types.
Winton is known for its water supply which thrusts its way to the earth's surface from three artesian bores, all around 1,200 metres deep emerging at a temperature of 83 degrees Celsius. The water is sourced from the Great Artesian Basin which provides water for most of Australia's Outback.
Key Winton attractions include:
- The Waltzing Matilda Centre is the first museum in the world dedicated to a song. ‘Waltzing Matilda’ was written by ‘Banjo’ Paterson whilst holidaying on Dagworth Station. Legend has it that this song was first performed in public at the North Gregory Hotel
- Originally established in 1918, the historic Royal Theatre offers a rare opportunity to enjoy the movies the old-fashioned way – laid back in canvas seats under the stars. The Open Air Theatre is now also home to the World’s Largest Deck Chair.
- Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum of Natural History is home to the world’s largest collection of Australian dinosaur fossils, including some of our most famous such as Australovenator (Banjo) and Diamantinasaurus (Matilda)
- Combo Waterhole is believed by some to be the setting for the story of Waltzing Matilda, or at least part of the inspiration. 'Banjo' Paterson visited the site in 1895 while staying at Dagworth Station and later wrote the words to a song that captured the spirit of Australia – ‘Waltzing Matilda’.
- Winton is home to world's first permanent musical fence installation in the world. Accompanied by a junkyard band, the Musical Fence is free and available for everyone to use.Go on, grab a stick and head on down to make some music at the world’s first and only Musical Fence!
- The Dinosaur Trackways at Lark Quarry are believed to be unique in the world in that they represent the most concentrated site and only definitive record of dinosaur stampede behaviour. The Trackways are also believed to date back to the Cretaceous Period, 95 million years ago. Approximately 3,300 fossilised dinosaur tracks can be viewed.
For more information on Winton we recommend you view the Experience Winton website