Millmerran is a small, largely agricultural community in the Darling Downs. The surrounding area supports a variety of farming activities including poultry, sheep, cattle, grain and cotton. A feature of the town is several large murals depicting its history. Millmerran’s population has been fairly stable over the last few years, however, census figures show that the number of inhabitants increased by more than a quarter between 2006 and 2011, perhaps in part due to the opening of a coal-fired power station not far from town in 2002.
- Population – 1,563
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander percentage of population – 4.3%
- Closest major town/city – Toowoomba (83 km)
- Distance from airport – 82 km (Toowoomba); 207 km (Brisbane)
- Cinemas – 0
- Cafes/restaurants – 3
- Pubs/bars – 2
- Primary schools – 2
- Secondary schools – 1
- Tertiary education providers – 0
- Annual average maximum temperature – 25.5°C
- Annual average minimum temperature – 10.9°C
Millmerran sits on the Gore Highway southwest of Toowoomba. While the land immediately surrounding the town is largely agricultural, there are numerous state forests to the town’s west and south.
With a median age of 43, Millmerran residents are, on average, a few years older than those throughout the rest of Queensland. Almost 29 percent of the population are aged 60 and over, compared to less than 21 percent for the entire state, pushing the median age up. The marriage rate in Millmerran is above average, while the number of children in the town is close to the state figure. Around three quarters of the town’s residents were born in Australia, and close to one in ten are from Asian countries.
Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people make up 4.3 percent of the population. The traditional owners of the Millmerran area were the Kambuwal people, who lived a semi-nomadic lifestyle from the Great Dividing Range to the land to its east. Unfortunately Kambuwal culture has largely vanished, as the tribes were dispersed by early European settlers. Today’s Aboriginal inhabitants are from a mix of language groups.
The Millmerran Medical Centre is the sole medical practice in town. There is also a local hospital, the Millmerran Multiurpose Health Service, which provides essential services including emergency medicine, x-ray, pharmacy and aged care as well as some visiting specialist and other services. The town also has an ambulance station and the Yallambee Millmerran Centenary Retirement Village, which offers both supervised and independent accommodation.
Millmeran’s health profile is disadvantaged; the median income is a little below the state and national averages (a reliable predictor of health issues) and unhealthy lifestyle factors are also prevalent. The smoking rate is above average and almost two-thirds of residents are an unhealthy weight. Diet is not particularly good and alcohol consumption is significant. The high population of people aged 60 and over also brings a chronic disease burden.
Millmerran is in the Darling Downs and West Moreton PHN and is rated RA2.
While education options in Millmerran are somewhat limited, they are quite good for a town of its size. For preschoolers there are two options – Little Tackers Childcare Centre and C&K Millmerran Community Kindergarten. There are also two schools in the town. St Joseph’s School is a Catholic primary school covering Prep to Year 6. Millmerran State P-10 School, as the name suggests, caters for students up to Year 10 level. For Years 11 and 12 the closest school is Pittsworth State High School, 45 km away. For private secondary schooling, students would need to travel to Toowoomba or attend a school offering boarding facilities. The nearest options for those wanting to undertake post-secondary education are also in Toowoomba, with both university and TAFE campuses in the city.
Career options for partners
Millmerran has low unemployment; at 5.2 percent it is well below the state level. There’s a relative shortage of professional positions, however. A quarter of the town’s workforce are employed as labourers, which is to be expected in an agricultural region. Other industries of employment for the town’s residents are aged care, local government administration, grocery stores and the local power station. Around 60 percent of workers are employed full-time.
Levels of voluntary work are a little higher in Millmerran than for other parts of the country. While there are no charitable organisations based in the town, there are groups such as Lions, SES, Meals on Wheels and the local camp oven festival in which community members can lend a hand.
Arts and culture
Despite its small size, Millmerran hosts several events throughout the year. Millmerran Arts Council organises art exhibitions, dance and music, with many events held at the Millmerran Community and Cultural Centre, which can cater for up to 300 people. The Australian Camp Oven Festival is held biannually in October (in even years), with live music, bush poets, camp cooking demonstrations and competitions, and even damper throwing contests. Anyone interested in the town’s early days can visit the Millmerran Museum, which provides an insight into the area’s history and pioneering families.
For those who like something a bit more hands-on, there is a local arts and crafts group, while for dance enthusiasts, Ace Dance Studios offers classes for all ages in a variety of styles including ballet, jazz, hip hop and tap.
Millmerran is well situated for anyone who likes the outdoors, with huge areas of state forest just to the west of town. Wondul Range National Park, 32 km southwest of Millmerran, has some impressive sandstone hills covered in native forest. The park is a popular spot for viewing birds and other wildlife in their natural habitat but has no facilities.
There are plenty of places for bushwalking in the local area, with Mount Basalt Reserve being one of the closest to town. It has some interesting formations left over from the area’s volcanic past as well as lookouts with great views of the area. Another place from which to see the surrounding countryside is Commodore Peak Lookout, which also has information on the region’s history. Or if spending time swimming, boating or fishing in the Condamine River appeals to you, head to Yarramolong Weir where there is a small campground and a boat ramp.
If your preference for enjoying the outdoors leans more towards organised sports, there are several to choose from in Millmerran. While the town’s small size means that there isn’t an extensive range available, there’s still a good variety. Sports clubs in town include rugby league, cricket, tennis, pony club, shooting and golf. There is also an aquatic centre with solar-heated pools and an indoor sports centre with a gym and multi-purpose courts that can be used for a variety of sports including volleyball, basketball, netball and badminton.
Food and drink
Unsurprisingly for a town with less than 1,600 people, Millmerran doesn’t have a huge array of places to eat out. There are a couple of cafes for a meal or coffee, as well as a bakery that serves food beyond the typical bakery fare. The town also has two hotels – the Mill Inn Tavern and the Rams Head Hotel, both of which serve meals and drinks.
While population growth since the turn of the century has resulted in some new housing in Millmerran, there are also many older-stye homes in the town. Most homes are separate houses, with a small number of flats mixed in. As housing demand is reasonably low, prices tend to be quite affordable. The median price for a three-bedroom house in Millmerran is $210,000, with the average rent for a similar property around $260 per week.
The railway line that passed through Millmerran closed in 2011, and there are currently no train services to the town. However, there are bus services available, with Bus Queensland’s twice weekly service between Toowoomba and Lightning Ridge stopping in Millmerran. If wanting to go further afield, once in Toowoomba there are buses and trains connecting to Brisbane and other parts of the country.
The quickest way to get around, however, is by driving. Millmerran sits on the Gore Highway (A39), giving easy access to Toowoomba and the rest of the Queensland highway network.
Broadband – While the outer areas of Millmerran are already connected to the National Broadband Network, the inner parts of the town are not expected to be connected until late 2018. In the meantime, broadband is available in these areas via ADSL.