Blackbutt is a small town with its roots in the timber trade. While it saw reasonable growth during the 19th century, the closing of the railway line in the 1980s has seen the town’s growth slow considerably. Plenty of nearby outdoor sports opportunities have made this a popular area for camping, hiking and similar activities.
- Population – 836
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander percentage of population – 3.3
- Closest major town/city – Kingaroy (61 km); Toowoomba (102 km)
- Distance from airport – 151 km (Brisbane)
- Cinemas – 0
- Cafes/restaurants – 3
- Pubs/bars – 1
- Primary schools – 1
- Secondary schools – 0
- Tertiary education providers – 0
- Annual average maximum temperature – 25.8°C
- Annual average minimum temperature – 11.3⁰C
Blackbutt is located in a mountainous area at the southern end of the South Burnett region. It is just a few kilometres west of the Benarkin State Forest, on the D’Aguilar Highway. It is some distance from major cities – a little over 100 km from Toowoomba, 140 km from the Sunshine Coast and 155 km from Brisbane. The closest larger town is Nanango, 36 km away, though Kingaroy, approximately 60 km northwest, provides more services.
There is a high percentage of seniors in Blackbutt, with around a third of the population aged 65 or over. The town’s median age of 56 is almost 20 years more than that for both the state and Australia as a whole. The Indigenous population of 3.3 percent is somewhat less than the state figure. Around three-quarters of the town’s residents were born in Australia.
Health care in Blackbutt is provided by Blackbutt Medical Centre, which has two GPs. However, there is no hospital in town, the closest being in Nanango. The nearest ambulance service is in Yarraman.
Blackbutt’s health profile is disadvantaged; incomes are well below the Queensland and Australian averages, leading to poor lifestyles and their attendant health problems. There is also a very high percentage of older people, with almost 34 percent of residents aged 65 or older, so chronic disease is prevalent.
Blackbutt is in the Darling Downs & West Moreton PHN and is rated RA3.
For preschool in Blackbutt, there is a choice of two kindergartens. Primary education is available at the local Blackbutt State School. However, there is no high school in the town, with students needing to travel to the surrounding towns of Nanango, Toogoolawah, Kilcoy or Kingaroy for their secondary years. The closest university is University of Southern Queensland in Toowoomba.
Career options for partners
The largest employer in the town is the education sector, with almost 10 percent of the jobs. Other opportunities include agricultural and forestry work, but professional positions are not as common. The best options for part-time work are likely to be in either retail stores or local eateries. There are few volunteer organisations in town, so volunteer opportunities are somewhat limited.
Arts and culture
For a small town, Blackbutt has several options for arts and cultural experiences. The Archie Muir Centre houses an art gallery and also has monthly music events. In addition, the town has events at the Butt Art Gallery. With no cinema in Blackbutt, residents need to go to Kingaroy to see the latest movies.
With Benarkin State Forest only a few kilometres out of town, the opportunities for walking, camping and cycling are great. Known for its hoop pine forest, the area also includes eucalypt stands and, of course, the blackbutt trees after which the town is named.
There is an extensive network of trails throughout the forest, and fishing and swimming at Emu Creek. In addition, the Bicentennial National Trail and the Brisbane Rail Trail pass through the forest for added hiking and cycling adventures.
Food and drink
You might think that the dining options in Blackbutt would be limited, however with a few cafes and takeaway options, as well as the local pub, there is quite a good choice for a town of its size. The pub is the focal centre for socialising on a Friday night, making it the place to be.
The low demand for housing makes this a very affordable town in which to buy. Much of the housing stock reflects the boom in the 1970s, and almost all of the homes are separate houses, with a few flats in town. The median price for a three-bedroom home is $175,000, with rental of a similar size home at an average of $230 a week.
Public transport options in Blackbutt are limited. There is no train service, but Pursers Coaches, based in Murgon, runs a weekday service between Murgon and Caboolture that stops in Blackbutt and other towns nearby.
The D’Aguilar Highway runs through Blackbutt and links it to other major highways, making access to Brisbane and wider Queensland easy for those travelling by car.
Broadband – ADSL2+ is available in Blackbutt at up to 10Mbps. National Broadband Network rollout is planned, giving up to 100Mbps through fixed wireless.