Chinchilla is a town on the rise, with a strong agricultural history and a recent boom in energy and technical jobs. It was historically an important part of the railway, with nearby Charley’s Creek making it the ideal watering place for the steam engines of the time. It remains a centre for nearby agriculture that includes fruit, vegetables, livestock and wool production.
- Population – 6,612
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander percentage of population – 5.8%
- Closest major town/city – Dalby (83km)
- Distance from airport – 152 km (Toowoomba); 302 km (Brisbane)
- Cinemas – 1
- Cafes/restaurants – 13
- Pubs/bars – 3
- Primary schools – 3
- Secondary schools – 2
- Tertiary education providers – 1
- Annual average maximum temperature – 27.7°C
- Annual average minimum temperature – 12.9⁰C
Located on the Darling Downs, Chinchilla is 83 km from Dalby at the intersection of the Warrego Highway and the Chinchilla–Wondai and Chinchilla–Tara roads. Nearby Barakula State Forest, north of the town, is the Southern Hemisphere’s largest state forest, however, most of the area surrounding Chinchilla is either farms or small towns.
Chinchilla’s population is relatively young, with a median age of just 33, a few years below that for the whole of Queensland. To contrast with this, there are somewhat more widowed residents than the national norm. More than a third of the population have completed a tertiary course, and with the growing tech sector in the area this may increase in coming years.
There is a strong religious factor in the town with a number of churches covering a range of denominations. As well as the more common Christian denominations such as Catholic, Anglican and Baptist, there are also places of worship for Seventh Day Adventist, Jehovah’s Witness and Lutheran followers.
Health care in Chinchilla is provided by two clinics – Chinchilla Medical Practice and First Avenue Medical Centre. The town is serviced by Chinchilla Hospital, and there is also a local ambulance station. Chinchilla’s overall health profile is not disadvantaged. The town has an average number of elderly people with attendant chronic diseases. There are also some lifestyle issues – smoking prevalence is slightly above average, for example, and both obesity and alcohol consumption are also issues.
Chinchilla is in the Darling Downs & West Moreton PHN and is rated RA3.
With a growing population, it should be no surprise that Chinchilla offers a reasonable range of educational opportunities. There are several options for day care and kindergarten, as well as both primary and secondary education in the town. Primary education is provided by Chinchilla State School and St Joseph’s School, while Chinchilla State High School is the local secondary school. Another school in town, Chinchilla Christian College, covers from Prep to Year 11.
For education beyond high school, the local TAFE Queensland campus offers a range of courses. The nearest university is the University of Southern Queensland at Toowoomba, more than 160 km away.
Career options for partners
The rate of employment – both full-time and part-time – for Chinchilla’s residents is very similar to state and national levels. Unlike many country towns, median wages are also very similar to the rest of the country. Technical and trade work is the largest employer, followed by labouring jobs. Professionals make up 12.5 percent of the workforce. Oil and gas extraction, education, and food services are among the leading industries.
For part-time work, the most likely options would be in food stores and supermarkets and other retail positions. A little over a quarter of the town’s workforce is engaged part-time. Chinchilla reports a reasonably high rate of volunteering, with 23 percent of the population reporting involvement in some non-paying work for a group or organisation. The Chinchilla Family Support Centre and Volunteers in Policing are two major organisations that are active in the town.
Arts and culture
Chinchilla Cultural Centre is the venue for concerts and other cultural events, and also houses the town’s cinema. There are dance classes at Shaping Lives Dance Studio and Martin’s Academy of Dance, and local art exhibits can be enjoyed at the Lapunyah Art Gallery (formerly known as Chinchilla White Gums Gallery), which also runs art workshops. In addition, there are a number of local special interest clubs, including:
- Chinchilla Patches & Piecemakers Sewing Group
- Chinchilla Garden Club
- Chinchilla Potters and Painters
- Chinchilla Concert Band
- Chinchilla Country Music Club
There are numerous state forests around Chinchilla, the closest being Barakula State Forest, the southern edge of which is around 30 km directly north of the town. The forest is logged for its cypress pine timber, so visitors need to keep a look out for logging trucks. It provides opportunities for birdwatching, and camping at Dogwood Creek Camp. For camping closer to Chinchilla, head to Chinchilla Weir, less than 10 km southwest of town.
There are also a number of parks in the town providing a range of facilities such as playgrounds, barbecues, picnic tables and toilets. These include:
- Bulldog Park
- Lions Park
- Railway Park
- Queens Park
- Jubilee Park
- Middleton Park
- Chinchilla Skate Park
Food and drink
With a selection of eating establishments to choose from, dining out in Chinchilla should never get boring. As well as meals at the local pubs, choices include Chinese, Indian and Thai, and there are also cafes, bakeries and takeaways to choose from. In addition, the RSL Club offers regular entertainment in addition to dining and drinks.
Even with Chinchilla’s growing population, development has been able to keep up with the expansion, so housing demands are relatively low and housing is priced at an affordable level. With growth spurring development, the majority of the housing stock is relatively new, and most are separate houses averaging $225,000 for a three-bedroom house. Renting a similar home costs around $200 a week.
Transportation is plentiful and includes Queensland Rail’s twice-weekly train service that runs between Brisbane and Charleville. Two coach lines run through town, Murrays Coaches and Greyhound Australia, which both provide a service between Brisbane and Miles. Chinchilla also has a small airport, with charter flights available.
Local driving is good, with the Warrego Highway (A2) right in Chinchilla to allow easy access to Toowoomba, Brisbane and the rest of the Queensland highway network.
Broadband – Chinchilla has partial National Broadband Network fibre coverage, giving speeds of up to 25Mbps, and a range of ADSL2+ and satellite services offering up to 12Mbps.
Famous townspeople – Singer Pete Murray, former rugby league prop Ben Ross and cricketer Nathan Reardon have all called Chinchilla home at one time.