We were surprised but delighted to learn about Texas, a tiny Australian town that shares more than just a name with its namesake.
Welcome to Texas, Queensland (Australia)
Adding the kangaroo-inspired Roo camping hammock to our marketplace last week got us thinking about Australia, and more specifically, the relationship between Australia and Texas.
Some quick research revealed remarkable similarities between these proud countries (see what we did there). Consider:
- Historically, Texas and Australia experienced the thrust of their initial European settlement at the same time, right around the 1820‘s.
- Culturally, both are known for their friendly people, cowboys and stockmen, frontier toughness, accented English, and wild, wide open spaces.
- Texas has a population of roughly 26 million; Australia, 23 million. Citizens of both places are mostly concentrated in 5 major cities, which themselves have nearly identical populations.
- Geographically, Texas and Australia both are largely covered by plains and desert. The highest point in Texas is around 2,900 meters; in Australia, 2,300 meters.
- Economically, both find support through their natural resources: oil and gas in Texas, and minerals in Australia. Both economies are also heavily dependent on agriculture, dating back to their earliest colonial years and continuing to this day.
- Interestingly, Texas struggles from a feral hog invasion, introduced by colonial Spaniards; Australia struggles from a feral camel invasion, introduced by colonial Brits.
But our research also revealed to us the existence of a special little place in the Australian state of Queensland: a town called Texas.
Located a mile or so north of the border with New South Wales, Texas dates back to around 1840, just several years after Texas gained independence from Mexico.
Its founders were the McDougall Brothers, a couple of gold-prospecting pioneers who returned from a mining expedition to discover their property had been occupied by another pioneering fellow. For some time thereafter, the brothers fought to re-establish their right to the property. In honor of their (ultimately victorious) struggle, they named the area “Texas” after another territorial dispute they’d heard about 9,000 miles away.
We were fortunate enough to connect with the friendly people at Texas QLD Inc., a small organization in Texas dedicated to promoting tourism and general education about Texas and its surrounding area. They’ve shared with us these photos of Texas, Queensland, which are courtesy of the area's local newspaper, the MacIntyre Gazette. If you’re at all familiar with Texas, USA, you’ll likely agree they could easily be mistaken for ones taken three hours outside of Austin, rather than three hours outside of Brisbane.
Texas is a popular destination for campers, RV's, and motorcycle riders, in particular. It's located centrally to what's called the "Rural Gateway," an alternate thoroughfare from Queensland to New South Wales; the scenic route, if you will. In 2013, Texas was named the first Certified Motorcycle Friendly town in all of Australia. It's also a popular area among fisherman: the nearby Dumaresq River provides multiple serene spots for casting and camping.
Like its American counterpart, Texas offers scenic views of ranch land and cattle, and charming old out buildings.
In town, visitors find an art gallery, several museums, and the Stockman Hotel, which entices its guests with the charming invocation: "Fancy a gamble? Try your luck on our pokies, have a flutter on the Keno, or back a winner at the TAB!" We don't know what these activities are, but somehow they sound like perfectly Texas things to do.
If you're a Texan who's ever visited Texas, or in the alternative, if you're a Texan who's ever visited Texas (see what we did there?), we'd love for you to share your comments below. And to our friends at Texas QLD and The MacIntyre Gazette, we hope to meet you in person someday. And thank you kindly for the photos!