INTRODUCTION TO THE LOCKYER SHIRE
Lockyer Valley Shire covers 2200 square kilometers of the fertile Lockyer Valley, 90 kilometres west of Brisbane, and is recognised as one of the richest farming areas in Queensland. As well as the main town of Gatton, the shire encompasses the towns of Laidley, Plainland, Forest Hill, Grantham, Helidon and Withcott. The western boundaries of the shire extend to the mountains of the Great Dividing Range and include a section of the Bicentennial National Horse Trail.
The Lockyer Shire offers the visitor a taste of rural Australia, with drives along quiet country roads through lush working farm land to traditional buildings and pubs still standing. Along the roadside there are antique shops, where objects from the past can be bought, and nurseries selling a wide choice of flowers and plants.
The town of Gatton has many attractions for
weekend visitor. The licensed clubs and pubs welcome
visitors for a game or a drink. A visit to the Historical
Museum is not to be missed, where a restored village shows
the way we were in the old days. Opposite the Historical
Village is Apex Park where visitors can have a picnic or
barbecue, overlooking a lake inhabited with colonies of
waterbirds. Located in the park is the Lockyer Valley Regional
Council’s Tourist Information Centre, Kiosk, the Queensland Transport Museum, and the Lights on the Hill Trucking Memorial
As well as the Lights on the Hill Memorial Convoy, Gatton hosts the Clydesdale and Heavy Horse Field Days at the showgrounds over the Labour Day long weekend, the HCVAQ Historic Truck & Machinery Show held annually in September, and is also host to the Gatton Street Sprints.
The Lockyer Valley, with it’s wide range of soil types, irrigation from the river and proximity to major markets, has become the “salad bowl” of Australia. Among the many vegetable crops grown here are potatoes, onions, lettuce, cabbage, beans, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, sweet corn, carrots, peas, beet-root, pumpkins and celery. Orchards also thrive in this environment and rows of mango, avocado and custard apple trees can be seen stretching across the landscape. The beautiful sight of peach orchards in blossom heralds the coming of spring to the region. In season, lines of farm workers can be seen in the fields harvesting crops. Many of these fruit and vegetables can be bought from the roadside and local fruit shops, ensuring the freshest and cheapest produce available.
Farms in the region also produce lucernes and grains as well as pork, beef and a range of dairy products. In all, the rich soil of the Lockyer Valley, and the abundant Queensland sunshine, produces a smorgasbord of fresh farm produce for the tables of Australia.
THE UNIVERSITY OF QUEENSLAND GATTON CAMPUS
The University of Queensland Gatton Campus was founded in 1897 as a training college for young farmers and is the oldest tertiary education institution in Queensland. Over the years it has expanded it’s educational frontiers and presently provides a wide range of courses, at associate diploma, degree and postgraduate levels. The Campus is recognised for teaching and research in the areas of agriculture, agribusiness, animals and veterinary science. All students and staff enjoy the excellent facilities provided by the College. There is a swimming pool, small golf course, tennis courts, gymnasium, squash and basketball courts, playing fields for football, cricket and hockey.