The History of Blackwater Queensland

Queensland’s Coal Capital ‘Blackwater’ is a town filled with rich history, a heart-warming community and surrounded by natural treasures. Named after the Blackwater Creek which apparently was first observed to flow with black water, believed to be caused by local coal deposits.  The township was built in 1886 and provided services for the rail workers and outlying farmers, including a general store, hotel, school and race track.

In 1845 coal deposits were discovered by Ludwig Leichhardt on his expedition from Moreton Bay to Port Essington (now Darwin, Northern Territory). It wasn’t until over a century after Leichhardt first discovered the beds of coal at Blackwater that the town saw major coal mining development. With the opening up of several coal mines near the town in the 1960s, Blackwater’s population rapidly increased as people searching for work flocked to find employment in the town’s booming mining industry. There were 77 people living in Blackwater when the 1961 census was recorded and now is home to a population of approximately 5,100.

Blackwater is proud of it’s history, especially some of the great Aussie’s who have grown up here. Olympic track cyclist and 2016 Rio Olympics Flag Bearer Anna Meares was born in Blackwater in 1983. In 2012, Anna Meares had a street named after her in the town when Meares Street was constructed as part of a new subdivision in the centre of Blackwater. Loveable and hilarious television personality, actor and comedian Josh Thomas was born in Blackwater in 1987 but moved with his family to Brisbane soon after. Also proud to call home is the inspiring Multimedia producer Wayne Denning from Carbon Media, well-known for his Jessica Mauboy & 5 Kangaroo’s Sesame Street Clip. Wayne globally promotes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture through media and digital forms.  Australian rugby league players PJ Marsh and David Taylor both grew up in Blackwater and have represented various teams in the National Rugby League competition.

The Blackwater International Coal Centre showcases a historical display of Blackwater Queensland. If you would like to contribute to building our historical collection of the town please feel free to contact the Centre on 4982 7755.