STATION TO TOWN,
STORY OF BILOELA.
By KINGSLEY TEMPLE.
Picturesque and gripping as aie the descriptions of the startling, mushioom growths of towns erected in the course of hectic stampedes, yet there is a type of town which, though, perhaps, without the glamorous romance of a mining town, is, nevertheless, like it in speed of progiession, while it actual- ly surpasses it in material value. It is possessed of virtues which the mining town has not; it is of vastly greater potential wealth; and it endures in a utility that does not flash like an elec tric spark and then vanish behind a
trail of waste—it is the town of sud- den, unleashed agricultural wealth And just such a town is Biloela, in Callide Valley.
In 1924 the name Biloela was un- known except for his Majesty's gun- boat of that name. In 1925 Biloela was a speck on the newly-completed railway map of Central Queensland, and was represented in actual view by a cattle station and a lone store. In the same year the old cattle stations were cut into hundreds of selections, two of them, Kroombit and Prairie, contributing nearly 700,000 acres be- tween them. To these then came ven turesome farmers, at first on tentative experiments, but their speedy success soon brought a flock of followers-on, and blocks of land were clamoured for, ballotted, and taken as fast as they were opened for selection. The great game went merrily on, and in a few years the town itself began to show the results, and by 1928 had duplicate stores for all the major commodities.
The year 1929 brought the peak period and thousands of pounds were represented in the output of cotton and cream. Agencies for the various branches of machinery made their ap pearance and every train brought cars, trucks, tractors, ploughs, and a host of farming implements, and the town's growth actually bolted. Permanent representatives of almost every profes- sion and trade began to appear, and a sawmill, restaurants, barbers, drap- ers, tailors, and a picture show made their rapid debut, while the town spread from one street into two, from two into three, and in another year
Regular cream runs were com- menced, and trucks in plenty plied back and forth between the outlying farms and the town, and were car- riers, mail-waggons, and 'buses in one. Churches, garages, a School of Arts, school, boarding-houses, more stores, a bank, an office of the Lands De- partment, and hotels then followed each other; the police staff was in
creased, and the erstwhile chaining tree as a make-shift lockup became
Then came the 1930-31 drought, That it affected the farming section there was no doubt, but the progress of the town continued in its headlong impetus; and to-day, after a scant seven years' existence, Biloela has numerous town residences, a talking picture theatre, a laundry, and a hos- pital. Building still goes on apace and with the prospective return to pros- perity in the coming season the town will flourish and reaccelerate its phenomenal activities and once more take its place among the busiest and most progressive of Queensland towns.