The 150-year-old Jondaryan Woolshed in south-east Queensland is an authentic reminder of our pastoral history.

Story By Sally Nicol

“Every child ought to be made to understand not only something of the world in which he lives, but something of the inheritance from the past to which he is born.” In a quiet cul-de-sac of the Darling Downs, the 150 year-old Jondaryan Woolshed stands, an icon of the Australian wool industry and the centrepiece of the Jondaryan Woolshed Historical Museum. This quote, from William Charles Braithwaite in 1909, has become the impetus behind the woolshed’s management team to connect with a modern market – the community.
“This is a unique destination,” says John Osborne, the man responsible for putting the Jondaryan treasure on the map. “This magnificent building is authentic – an original. As time goes on and society becomes more urbanised, people are starting to appreciate the need to reconnect with early Australian history.” Now, more than ever, he says, a place like the woolshed provides a solid link to the past.
The Jondaryan Woolshed is now set on five hectares, 45 kilometres west of Toowoomba, Qld. Originally settled as Jondaryan Station in 1842, it passed through several hands, including those of Robert Campbell and Robert and Edwin Tooth of Tooths Brewery, as famed for their beer as their involvement in the establishment of the Bank of New South Wales. When the Tooth brothers ran into financial trouble, they leased the station, 62,700 hectares, to William Kent and Edward Wienholt who eventually purchased it outright in 1863. Under them, the construction of an imposing new woolshed began. Architect James Charles White designed the grand structure and 90 men began the exhausting work of building it in 1859. It was the same year that Queensland became a separate state of Australia. “Some of the original owners of the station were strong advocates for the formation of Queensland,” John says. “Some of them served in the state’s first Parliament.” This year sees both the state and the woolshed celebrate their 150th birthday.

This story excerpt is from Issue #61

Outback Magazine: Oct/Nov 2008