Yuleba, named after an Aboriginal word meaning “the place of water lilies”, is a small town in the Maranoa district of south-west Queensland, about 420km west of Brisbane. At the 2010 Census, Yuleba had a population of 212. The town was established in 1878 and was connected to the railway in 1879. Yuleba was an important centre as a railhead for the region to the west, until the railway was extended again to Roma in 1910.
Yuleba played a significant role in the history of the Cobb and Co stagecoach, with the last run on August 16, 1924 running between Yuleba and Surat. In its heyday Yuleba boasted as many as four hotels, six stores, two blacksmiths, a saddler and a sawmill.
The region’s cypress pine industry has been a major employer in years gone by with nearby Yuleba State Forest one of the largest areas of native white cypress pine in the country. The timber’s natural resistance to termites has made it a favoured building material for over a century. Early squatters scorned the local timbers and bought in lumber from Europe and the Americas to build their homes. While very few of those original houses still stand, in most cases, the local cypress pine was soon seen as cheaper and superior in all ways.
Many cattle grazing and farming properties still operate in the district, some still owned by the descendants of pioneers who settled the area in the mid to late 1800s. What was once sheep country with flocks grazed by Chinese shepherds has with few exceptions become cattle country running breeding and fattening operations. Most towns have some legacy of the Chinese populations and the route of the Yuleba Fun Run passes by an old shepherd’s camp in Combabula State Forest and crosses Chinaman Creek on its way to Yuleba.
Today, Yuleba is the site of Yuleba Minerals a modern mining and processing facility working a high grade silica deposit just to the south of the town. The mine produces graded silica sands for the building and mining industries as well as zircon, kaolin clays and hapthium. A byproduct of the sand extraction is a line of decorative pebbles and gravels containing agates and petrified woods for which the area is noted. The region is also currently experiencing considerable expansion in the energy resources sector with coal seam gas dirty words to some but an economic lifeline to others.
Things to see and do
- The Corduroys provide an insight into the ingenuity of road builders in a time prior to motor vehicles and sealed roads.
- Native Wells – a picnic area built and maintained by local traditional owners, these wells still hold water
- Judds Lagoon & Wetlands (Pictured) is a popular picnic and ‘bush’ camping area and home to an array of local flora and fauna.
- Cobb & Co Mural tells the story of the Cobb & Co Coach mail service and its journey from Surat to Yuleba.
- War Memorial Mural – painted by an ex-serviceman providing an outstanding historical social commentary