Kingaroy is the centre of local agriculture and serves as the commercial and retail hub for the surrounding area. It is most famous for its peanut crops, with the peanut silos being a town landmark. However, the region also produces several other crops including navy beans, sorghum, sunflowers, citrus fruits and grapes. It is also a large pork-producing area. Historically, the town had a role in Air Force training, with the RAAF having a base at Kingaroy Airfield during World War II. Young families find it a great place to raise kids with its abundance of sports clubs and youth groups.
- Population – 10,020
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander percentage of population – 4.9%
- Closest major town/city – Dalby (113 km)
- Distance from airport – 147 km (Toowoomba); 211 km (Brisbane)
- Cinemas – 1
- Cafes/restaurants – 20 (approx.)
- Pubs/bars – 5
- Primary schools – 4
- Secondary schools – 3
- Tertiary education providers – 1
- Annual average maximum temperature – 25.8°C
- Annual average minimum temperature – 11.4°C
Situated in Queensland’s South Burnett region, Kingaroy is around 120 km directly inland from the Sunshine Coast and sits on a plain to the northeast of the Bunya Mountains. It is conveniently located at the junction of the D’Aguilar and Bunya highways.
Kingaroy is a town of young families, with more than half of the households including children. The median age is 37, the same as for Queensland as a whole; however, more than 20 percent of the population is aged under 15. While more than 85 percent of residents were born in Australia, almost one in ten have German ancestry and nearly 30 percent come from English backgrounds.
At 4.9 percent, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population is somewhat higher than for the rest of the state. The name Kingaroy is derived from the Wakka Wakka (the area’s Indigenous people) word for the red ants that inhabit the area.
Kingaroy’s general practice needs are provided by three clinics:
There are also two hospitals in the town. Kingaroy Hospital is a public hospital that provides general and specialist services, various clinics including dental and mental health, and allied health and outreach services. The private Lady Bjelke-Petersen Community Hospital offers a number of clinical services including surgery.
Kingaroy’s health profile is somewhat disadvantaged, with the biggest issue being lower than average median incomes. Smoking, unhealthy weight and poor diet are also prevalent. The town has slightly above-average numbers of elderly people which increases the chronic disease incidence.
Kingaroy is in the Darling Downs and West Moreton PHN and is rated RA2.
There’s a good range of education options in Kingaroy. For preschoolers, there are eight kindergartens to choose from. Primary and secondary education are provided by both state-run and church-run schools, with the latter covering both levels. Schools are:
- Kingaroy State School (Prep to Year 6)
- Taabinga State School (Prep to Year 6)
- Kingaroy State High School (Year 7 to Year 12)
- St John’s Lutheran School (Prep to Year 9)
- St Mary’s Catholic College (Prep to Year 12)
Beyond secondary school, there is a TAFE Queensland South West campus in town that offers courses in hospitality, community services, business, IT and trades. For university, the closest option is University of Southern Queensland in Toowoomba, or alternatively, online study could be undertaken.
Career options for partners
There is a wide range of occupations on offer in Kingaroy, with everything from labourers to professionals well represented. The biggest employment sectors are education and meat processing. Levels of both full-time and part-time employment are quite similar to nationwide rates, however, median wages are significantly lower.
Volunteering seems to be popular, with almost a quarter of the population doing unpaid work. Two active volunteer organisations in Kingaroy are the St Vincent de Paul Society and Pathway 2 Hope, a local organisation helping those with mental illness.
Arts and culture
Kingaroy has a few options when it comes to cultural activities. Kingaroy Regional Art Gallery showcases local artistic talent, and the Kingaroy Heritage Museum has exhibits focused on the history of the area’s peanut industry, including early machinery used to thresh the peanuts. Buildings at the local airport that were used by RAAF personnel stationed there during World War II are being gradually restored by the Burnett War Memorial Museum Association, and in Memorial Park there is a memorial to locals who have served in several wars.
For anyone interested in learning to dance, there are a couple of academies offering classes in a variety of dance styles. Or if music is more your thing there are also lessons available in town for guitar, piano, woodwind and other instruments. The town has its own cinema that has 3D capability, which is somewhat unusual in a small-town cinema.
There are a number of active community interest clubs in Kingaroy including Kingaroy Photographic Club, Kingaroy & District Garden Club, Kingaroy Writers Association, South Burnett Choral Society and South Burnett Filipino-Australian Caring Group.
Kingaroy residents have many options for enjoying the outdoors, with numerous parks in the town. Lions Park has a great playground for the kids, and there are paths for walking and cycling nearby. Apex Park is a great spot for a picnic under the shady trees. You can follow the walking trail through the Carroll Nature Reserve with its abundance of native plants and birds and head to the lookout that provides views of the town and surrounding areas. It’s the perfect place for a quiet stroll. Or for a walk or bike ride in the country, the 44 km long South Burnett Rail Trail follows the old railway corridor between Kingaroy and Murgon.
For a wilderness experience, Bunya Mountains National Park is less than an hour’s drive away. With 35 km of walking tracks, there are plenty of opportunities for hiking through rainforest and the bunya pines that give the park its name. Walk lengths range from 500 m to 10 km, so there’s something for everyone. There are waterfalls to see, and its an ideal place for some birdwatching. The park has three camping areas for extended stays.
If sports are more your idea of how to enjoy the great outdoors, Kingaroy has plenty to choose from, including rugby league, soccer, golf, cricket, tennis, netball, bowls, swimming, shooting, gliding and speedway racing.
Food and drink
There is a good choice of places to eat out in Kingaroy, from restaurants offering a range of cuisine including Asian and European to great little coffee shops and cafes with wonderful fresh-baked goods. Add to this the local hotel restaurants, fast food chains and takeaway stores and you have in the vicinity of 30 dining options.
For a night out, the town’s five hotels offer plenty of cold beer and other beverages together with live music or gaming. With Kingaroy becoming increasingly popular as a grape-growing region, there are also a few vineyards in the area where visitors can taste and buy locally produced wines.
Demand for housing in Kingaroy is quite low and this is reflected in property prices. Median price for a three-bedroom home is $190,000, with rentals for a similar-sized home going for around $260 per week. There is a choice of both older and newly built properties due to the town’s recent expansion. Around 86 percent of residences are separate houses, with the remainder mostly semi-detached dwellings or flats. House blocks are generally a good size with plenty of yard space.
Kingaroy no longer has a train service as the local railway line was closed in 2010, however, Purser’s Coaches has a weekday bus service that connects the town to Caboolture, Blackbutt and Murgon. Your best bet is to drive. With Kingaroy located at the junction of the D’Aguilar and Bunya highways, it has great connections to Brisbane and the rest of the Queensland highway network.
Broadband – ADSL2+ is currently available, delivering speeds up to 15Mbps. NBN, with maximum access speed of 100Mbps, is expected to be available in late 2018.
Notable Kingaroy residents – Former Queensland premier Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen and his wife, former senator Lady Flo Bjelke-Petersen, former deputy prime minister Warren Truss, cricketers Matthew Hayden and Carl Rackemann, and a number of national rugby players, including Dave Brown, Chris Sandow and Willie Tonga, have all called Kingaroy home at some time.