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Overview

With its location on a major inland route between Brisbane and Melbourne, Goondiwindi is a popular stopping point for travellers. Being the largest town for more than 100 km, it is the main commercial centre for the region’s agricultural community. The surrounding land grows cotton and grain crops, with beef, pork, lamb and wool also contributing to local farming enterprises.

Locally owned racehorse Gunsynd put Goondiwindi on the map in the late 1960s/early 1970s, winning 29 races including the 1972 Cox Plate, followed by third place in the Melbourne Cup the same year.

  • Population – 6,355
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander percentage of population – 5.9%
  • Closest major town/city – Moree, NSW (128 km)
  • Distance from airport – 130 km (Moree, NSW)
  • Cinemas – 1
  • Cafes/restaurants – 25 (approx.)
  • Pubs/bars – 4
  • Primary schools – 3
  • Secondary schools – 3
  • Tertiary education providers – 0
  • Annual average maximum temperature – 27.3⁰C
  • Annual average minimum temperature – 12.9⁰C

The location

The centre of local agriculture, Goondiwindi sits on the north bank of the Macintyre River at the junction of five major highways. The closest larger town is Moree, which is 128 km away over the NSW border to the south, while Brisbane is close to 350 km away.

The people

There is quite a mix of ancestries amongst Goondiwindi’s inhabitants, with only about 63 percent of Australian or English descent and more than one in five from Irish, Scottish or German backgrounds. However, at the time of the 2016 census, 83 percent of residents were Australian-born. The median age of townspeople is 36, one year younger than the state figure. There is a higher than average number of children in the town, with more than 22 percent of the population being children aged up to 14, a few percent more than for the rest of the country.

People of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander descent make up 5.9 percent of the town’s residents. The Bigambul people are the area’s traditional owners, and it is thought that the name Goondiwindi is derived from an Indigenous term meaning wild duck or the resting place of birds.

The medicine

The main general practice clinic in town is Goondiwindi Medical Centre, which has around 12 GPs. There are also a couple of smaller clinics. Goondiwindi Hospital, though small, provides a range of services including obstetrics, paediatrics, emergency care, dental, speech pathology, radiology, physiotherapy and more. There is also an ambulance station in the town.

Due to the socioeconomic status of its many agricultural workers, Goondiwindi’s health profile shows the population to be at a disadvantage. The rate of preventable diseases and deaths from cancer and respiratory and cardiovascular disease is high. The main concerns are lifestyle factors; rates of both smoking and alcohol consumption are above average. However, with physical activity also somewhat above average, there are some positives in the general health of the population.

Goondiwindi is in the Darling Downs and West Moreton PHN and is rated RA3.

Education

Despite its somewhat remote location, Goondiwindi has a good choice of educational facilities. There are several preschool centres in the town for the youngest family members. For school-aged children, there are both state and private options available. Goondiwindi State School caters for children from Prep to Year 6, while Goondiwindi State High School provides education for those in Years 7–12. If a Catholic education is preferred, St Mary’s School is available for students from Prep to Year 10. The other option for a Christian education is Border Rivers Christian College, a non-denominational school that covers both primary and secondary levels.

For university education, students may need to leave town. The nearest tertiary facility is the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) campus in Toowoomba, over 200 km away. USQ also offers a wide range of distance courses for off-campus learning. Additional educational opportunities are offered through Gateway to Training, which has an office in Goondiwindi and offers short courses and introduction to work programs.

Career options for partners

The level of full-time employment amongst Goondiwindi’s residents is substantially higher than for the rest of Australia, with half of the town’s workforce putting in at least 40 hours at work each week. The unemployment level is low; at 3.3 percent it is less than half the Queensland and national rates. Occupations are varied; professionals, administrative workers, labourers and everything in between are all well represented. Education, grocery stores and road transport are amongst the top industries of employment. With the high number of cafes, restaurants and hotels in the town, many part-time jobs are likely to be in the hospitality industry.

Volunteer opportunities are plentiful, with around a quarter of those of working age undertaking some form of voluntary work. The local St Vincent de Paul Society, Meals on Wheels and the Visitor Information Centre are all options.

Arts and culture

 

One of the town’s cultural centres is the Goondiwindi Regional Civic Centre on Marshall Street, which houses an art gallery, the Gunsynd Museum and a display of rodeo memorabilia. There is a statue of Gunsynd located near the original Border Bridge over the Macintyre River, another spot worth a visit. The historic Customs House is now a museum, home to items from the town’s history. Those wanting to learn about the indigenous Bigambul people’s culture can join in a bush tucker and medicine plant tour.

There are art lessons available at Fairway Studios and dance lessons at Deja vu Dance, as well as a local photography club and the Goondiwindi Charity Sewing and Craft Group. The latest movies can be viewed at the Goondiwindi Cinema, originally the local town hall built in 1937 which has been restored to its former glory.

Great outdoors

With a good number of public parks and gardens to choose from, there are plenty of opportunities for families to enjoy picnics, barbecues and play areas in Goondiwindi. The Natural Heritage and Water Park has 3 km of waterway purpose built for boating and waterskiing. It’s also a great place for a picnic, swimming, birdwatching and walking on the park’s trails. Goondiwindi Botanic Gardens displays only plants indigenous to the area. A feature of the gardens is a large lake with a nesting island for local waterbirds. The lake is also suitable for swimming and canoeing, and there are walking tracks throughout the gardens.

Outside of town, Bendidee National Park is only about 30 km northeast of town but has no facilities. There are also several state forests in the surrounding area for those wanting to experience natural bushland. For camping, there are a number of reserves within 50 km of town such as Bengalla Reserve, Rainbow Reserve and Lees Reserve, some of which have water access for swimming and fishing.

Social scene

Playing sport is a great way to both stay fit and socialise, and Goondiwindi has a wide range to choose from. Along with more common sports like golf, tennis, bowls, swimming, netball and the various football codes, there are also clubs for shooting, flying, equestrian, volleyball, squash, triathlon and more. The local racecourse holds several race meetings each year.

The town also hosts several annual events. These include:

  • Hell of the West Triathlon – Held each February, this long-course event entails a 2 km swim, 80 km bike ride and 20 km run.
  • Easter on the Macintyre
  • Gourmet in Gundy – Celebrates local food and wine, and includes cultural events. Held in September.
  • Bachelor and Spinsters Ball – Also in September is Goondiwindi’s version of the quintessential country B&S get-together.

The town also has Rotary, Lions and Apex clubs, and for the younger community members there are Scouts, Guides and a couple of youth groups.

Food and drink

Due to Goondiwindi’s location as a transport hub and service town for the region’s agricultural community, it has more restaurants and cafes than you would normally expect to find in a town of its size. There are around 30 eateries to choose from, offering everything from casual cafe dining and fast food to well-regarded restaurants that provide international cuisine.

Nightlife revolves around the town’s four pubs – the Queensland, Railway, Royal and Victoria hotels – which also serve meals, as well as providing entertainment such as live music and gaming.

Housing

The median price of a three-bedroom house in Goondiwindi is around $290,000. Renting a similar-sized house will set you back around $290 per week. Houses are generally on good-sized blocks with plenty of yard space. One in ten dwellings in the town are flats or apartments. Expect to pay about $200 a week for renting a two-bedroom unit.

Transport

With five highways meeting at Goondiwindi, road transport links to other parts of the country are easily accessible. Two bus companies run services that stop in Goondiwindi. Bus Queensland has a twice weekly service between Toowoomba and Lightning Ridge, while Crisps Coaches operates a Brisbane–Moree run every day except Saturday.

Goondiwindi Airport is suitable for small private aircraft and has charter services available but no commercial passenger flights. The nearest airport for commercial services is at Moree, which has links to Sydney and Brisbane.

Other attractions

Internet connection – Broadband internet is available in Goondiwindi via ADSL2+. National Broadband Network connection is expected to be available in late 2018.