Cattle, sheep and tourism are the mainstays of this historic town.

Story + Photos Kerry Sharp

A dynamic and sociable rural town that is known as Queensland’s ‘Gateway to the West’, Alpha is an important service hub for the cattle and sheep industries, and major infrastructure and shire council projects. Tourism is on the rise, too, with the town an increasingly popular overnight stop for travellers enticed by historical museums and dozens of enchanting murals painted by local artists on prominent town facades as a tribute to bush pioneers, rural life and the area’s history. 

Behind the main street’s bright and bustling visitor information centre are fascinating reminders of Alpha’s early days, including the old Tivoli Theatre that’s now a museum, and the old Beta Railway Station, which was the terminus for just five months in 1885, until the line was extended west to Jericho and Barcaldine. Historical accounts tell of Alpha’s early reputation as a lawless frontier town, where wild fights were the go on pay nights. 

This story excerpt is from Issue #143

Outback Magazine: June/July 2022