Located 67 km north of Barcaldine, Aramac is one of those tiny little settlements in central Queensland which has outlived its original purpose and now stands forlornly in the middle of nowhere supporting the surrounding pastoral industries and sustaining the few people who continue to live in this hot, dry environment.
The area was first explored by Europeans and settled in the 1850s. The town was named after Robert Ramsay Mackenzie who, at the time, was the part-lessee of 52 runs, totalling 1536 sq. miles. Mackenzie, really nothing more than a land speculator, was Queensland's first treasurer and future premier. He was of limited talent and left no great impression on the public life of the newly formed colony.
William Landsborough explored the area in 1859 and called a nearby watercourse Aramac Creek. In a letter he explained: 'The Aramac, as many wrong reasons for the name have been given, I may say here I named, in honour of the late Sir R. R. Mackenzie, 'Ar-Ar-Mac', who was so well known in Queensland, and who had acted in a very friendly way to me'. The name stuck.
The area was settled in the 1860s and the town, which seems to have had the alternative name of 'Marathon' for a short time, acquired the inevitable services - a pub, a grocery and drapery.
The town was surveyed in 1875 but by that time the wide streets (apparently one of the locals had been impressed by the streets in Melbourne and had decided to copy them) were established and the surveyor simply confirmed the strangely disproportionate design. By any measure the streets are uncharacteristically wide for such a small settlement.
In 1909 Aramac Shire Council, still isolated from the surrounding area, borrowed �66 500 and built a tramway connecting the town to the main railway line at Barcaldine. The tramway operated until 1975.
Little is known about the area's original inhabitants although it is known that there was a massacre of more than 25 local Aborigines at Mailman's Gorge.
Things to see
One of the town's few tourist attractions the display of rolling stock is located in a large shed on the southern side of town. It is open for inspection from 9.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. each day and, in the unlikely event of it being locked, a key is obtainable from the Shire Council Offices. For more information check out:http://www.barcaldinerc.qld.gov.au/council/AramacMuttaburra.shtml
The other main attraction in the area is located approximately 100 km north-east of the town. Lake Galilee is a saltwater lake which covers about 15 000 ha. It is the only wetlands area in central Queensland and consequently is the home of a large waterfowl population.
Closer to town is Lake Dunn, known as 'The Lake'. It is a freshwater lake and the local council have gone to some trouble to render the shores attractive and provide picnic facilities. The foreshores have good stands of red river gums and coolibahs and, in recent years, it has become a popular destination for locals. However, in spite of the council's best efforts, the lake is muddy in appearance and therefore of greatest appeal to birdwatchers and nature lovers. For more information check out:http://www.barcaldinerc.qld.gov.au/tourism/aramac.shtml
There are ancient inscriptions on a boulder known locally as the Grey Rock. More detailed information about this site is available from the local Post Office or Shire Council offices.
Aramac Information Centre Post Office
Aramac QLD 4726
Telephone: (07) 4651 3147
Aramac Shire Council Offices
Aramac QLD 4726
Telephone: (07) 4651 3311 or (07) 4651 3202