While the Western Downs is flourishing with new projects and exciting attractions, our communities also love to celebrate our yesteryear and Wandoan is no exception. The town is steeped in history dating back to the early 1840s whilst also being home to some of the region’s most recent upgrades like the revitalised Waterloo Plains Environmental Park. It’s the perfect destination for history buffs and nature lovers alike, so we’ve put together some of our favourite spots to help you plan your next stay.
1. Encounter history and capture country views at Juandah Historical Site
What better place to start your Wandoan adventure than the site where it all began. Visit Juandah Historical Site, the original site of Juandah Head Station which later became the settlement of Wandoan. At Juandah Historical Site you’ll gain an insight into the first European settlement of the area, so be sure to take a stroll through the Folk Museum featuring the remains of some of the original buildings and structures (which, by the way, have been very carefully maintained for over a century). If you’re a photography lover, the site is the perfect place to set up camp and catch some magnificent sunset shots, showcasing the rustic historical buildings and gorgeous country landscapes. It’s the perfect escape for any traveller.
2. Experience the Western Downs spirit at the Wandoan Soldier Settlers Avenue of Honour
One of the most recent additions to town, the Wandoan Soldier Settlers Avenue of Honour, is a gorgeous tribute to the early soldier settler families in the area. In the early 1950s, soldiers who were honourably discharged were given land by ballot selection to establish working farms. The avenue, located at O’Sullivan Park, proudly displays 103 individual plaques to commemorate each of these soldiers and their families who were integral in the early development of the Wandoan community. The avenue is a very special place to many locals and embodies the warm, community spirit of the Western Downs making it a must-stop for your trip.
3. Check out one of our statement pieces – the Wandoan Windmill
The iconic Wandoan Windmill marks the entrance to Wandoan and is a hard one to miss. This windmill was originally erected at Bungaban Station to pump bore water and features a 40-foot tall tower and 27-foot wide wheel. It’s a statement piece of Wandoan and is surely worthy of a quick snap!
4. Become a part of the community at the Wandoan Cultural Centre
While in town, it’s worth a visit to the modern Wandoan Cultural Centre which is home to the Wandoan Library, Leichhardt Gallery and Wandoan Heritage Stone (a large sandstone depicting the history of the district). The Centre lives up to its name with an abundance of local culture and community celebrations. If you’re lucky you might even catch some of our local artists’ latest beauties on display in the gallery!
5. Don’t forget Wandoan’s piece in Australia’s Silo Art Trail
Speaking of art, you can’t go home without checking out the artwork on the Wandoan Water Tank. The tank artwork is dedicated to the servicemen in the area and has become part of Australia’s Silo Art Trail – a blazing interest throughout the country. The mural was an ingenious idea of the Wandoan Progress group in the 1990s and tells the story of the local industry and early settlers of the district. You’ll want to grab out your camera to capture this masterpiece.
Wandoan Illuminated Silos are an initiative of Wandoan Community, Commerce and Industry Inc in partnership with FRRR. These images are unique to Wandoan and displayed each night from 7pm until midnight. Why not stay another night and ENJOY!!
6. Escape to nature at the Waterloo Plains Environmental Park
The ultimate relaxation spot for birdwatchers and nature lovers, the Waterloo Plains Environmental Park awaits – featuring beautiful picnic spaces, walking tracks and plenty of vehicle/RV parking. The man-made lake offers a wonderful wetland paradise for local birdlife who are happy to share their blissful home to visitors.
7. Enjoy the country hospitality at the Juandah Hotel Motel
It wouldn’t be a Western Downs experience without some true blue country hospitality, so call into the Juandah Hotel Motel for a coldie and a yarn or a classic pub meal at the bistro (yarns are included there too don’t worry).
8. Visit O’Sullivan Park and find out more at the Visitor Information Centre
If you’re looking for somewhere to enjoy some downtime, visit O’Sullivan Park (adjacent to the VIC) where you’ll find comfortable amenities along with play equipment for the kids. The park also features the much loved ‘Mick the Dog’ statue which was erected in honour of a locally famous cattle dog who rescued his owner on Juandah Station in the early 1900s. Now that’s something you won’t find anywhere else! For everything else you need to know about Wandoan (and more!) visit the quaint Visitor Information Centre located next to the Wandoan Windmill and browse the gorgeous local arts and craft. Yes, the VIC will provide you with the handiest brochure, but more importantly, some of our friendly local volunteers will be there to share their favourite stories about their town. After all, it’s the people that make it on the Western Downs, so why not hear about our great town from the locals themselves.