Dalby is a lively, growing town that is the centre for the area’s rich grain, cotton and livestock industries and is the administrative hub of the Western Downs Region. The recent expansion in the local energy sector has resulted in both a growth in population and the expansion of many amenities that have made the town a pleasant place to live. Both artists and outdoor enthusiasts are likely to find something of interest in Dalby.
- Population – 12,719
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander percentage of population – 7.0%
- Closest major town/city – Toowoomba (82 km)
- Distance from airport – 4.4 km (Dalby); 220 km (Brisbane)
- Cinemas – 1
- Cafes/restaurants – 20 (approx)
- Pubs/bars – 7
- Primary schools – 4
- Secondary schools – 3
- Tertiary education providers – 2
- Annual average maximum temperature – 26.8°C
- Annual average minimum temperature – 11.9⁰C
Dalby is located a little over 200 km west-northwest of Brisbane on Myall Creek, a tributary of the Condamine River. Its convenient location at the junction of the Warrego, Moonie and Bunya highways gives easy access to many parts of the state. As the heart of the local agricultural region, the town is surrounded by farmland, but mountains and forests are not far away.
Dalby has quite a young population, with a median age of 35. While not as cosmopolitan as some country towns, 16 percent of residents were born outside Australia and more than one in ten speak a language other than English at home. The marital status of Dalby’s adult population is similar to state and national figures and, at seven percent of the town’s population, there is a healthy mix of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander residents.
Health services in Dalby are provided by several medical practices:
- Dalby Medical Centre
- Goondir Health Services – a community-controlled Aboriginal Medical Service
- Myall Medical Practice
- Western Downs Health Centre
Dalby Hospital provides a wide range of services, including surgical, maternity, dental, medical imaging, pathology, radiology and more. The town is also serviced by a local ambulance station. Aged care services are provided by Karingal Nursing Home and Ningana Retirement Village.
There are some lifestyle concerns amongst the town’s residents, with 60 percent having an unhealthy weight and almost half not getting enough exercise. In addition, there is a prevalence of poor diet among the population.
Dalby is in the Darling Downs and West Moreton PHN and is rated RA2.
Dalby has a good range of educational facilities from day care right through to college. For preschoolers, there are seven kindergartens and day care centres to choose from. Public education is well catered for with two state primary schools – Dalby and Dalby South – together with Dalby State High School for the secondary years. The town also has two private schools – Dalby Christian College and Our Lady of the Southern Cross College – which both cater for students from Prep to Year 12.
For post-secondary education there are great opportunities locally, with campuses of TAFE Queensland South West and Queensland Agricultural Training Colleges on the outskirts of Dalby, while the University of Southern Queensland in Toowoomba is an 86 km drive away.
Career options for partners
Dalby has seen growth in the last few years so it is no surprise that unemployment is a little lower than the state average and a greater percentage of residents work full-time. The largest sector for employment is education, followed by local government administration. There is a mix of occupations available, with technicians and trades workers making up nearly 19 percent of the town’s workforce, while 14 percent are professionals.
Most of the part-time work opportunities are in either food service or the local retail shops. With almost a quarter of those over 15 years of age involved in some type of volunteer work, it is easy to see that non-paid work is also an important part of the town.
Arts and culture
Dalby has a lot to offer when it comes to arts and culture. For those interested in music, dance or arts, there is a range of classes on offer. The town boasts an art gallery as well as several skilled craft groups including Dalby Art Group and Dalby Spinners & Weavers & Dyers Group. There is also a local choral society and several bands. Dalby Civic Theatre, the local cinema, is the place to go to watch the latest movies.
For festival lovers, Dalby’s Delicious and DeLIGHTful Festival is an annual event that takes place every August, with multicultural food and entertainment. The more traditional Dalby Show, featuring the district’s best livestock, takes place at the showgrounds each April.
The pleasant climate combined with nearby opportunities for outdoor adventure make Dalby a great town for anyone who enjoys venturing into the great outdoors. Bunya Mountains National Park, about 55 km northeast of Dalby, has plenty of options when it comes to hiking, camping and birdwatching. Closer still, to the southwest, is Lake Broadwater Conservation Park, which offers camping, swimming, boating and waterskiing.
For relaxing in the outdoors within the town area, there are a number of parks to choose from, with facilities including picnic areas and playgrounds. Diplock Park features a skate bowl and half basketball court to keep the town’s younger residents active.
Food and drink
Dalby has no shortage of places to eat out or enjoy a drink or two with friends. The options include everything from fast food and pizza to many types of ethnic food including Chinese and Indian, and there are five cafes to choose from for coffee and cake or a tasty lunch.
The town’s seven pubs offer meals and a variety of ways to enjoy some time with friends, with live music or other types of entertainment on many nights.
While the housing stock in Dalby is primarily separate houses, there are a good number of flats near the town centre. The demand for new housing as the population has grown has resulted in a plentiful supply of fairly new housing at affordable prices. Expect a three-bedroom home to sell for around $190,000 on average, with rentals for a similar house going for around $240 a week.
Dalby offers a number of ways to travel out of town including The Westlander train, which connects the town to Brisbane and Charleville twice a week. Both Murrays and Greyhound Australia have daily bus services that travel through Dalby on the Brisbane to Miles run. Travelling by car is easy as Dalby sits right on the Warrego Highway (A2), which runs west to Charleville and east to Toowoomba and Brisbane. There are also several other roads that intersect at Dalby, giving convenient access to many other parts of the state. The Dalby Airport, just north of town, is suitable for private light aircraft, but there are no commercial passenger flights available.
Famous Dalby natives – The poet BR Dionysius, rugby league players Andrew McCullough and Steve Price, golfer David Gleeson, actress Margot Robbie and singer Mark O’Shea have all called Dalby home at one time.
Broadband – The National Broadband Network is available in most of Dalby with speeds of up to 100Mbps.