Here lies the heart of a successful agricultural history dating back well over a century, while it’s also the crime scene of one of Queensland’s most intriguing unsolved murders, all within easy driving distance of the city.
Just 60 minutes drive from Brisbane is the fertile Lockyer Valley and home of the Gatton Shire, where history and heritage mix for a great day out. It is one of our rich farming regions with Lake Apex taking pride of place. Agriculture has always been part of Gatton’s history. In 1897 the Queensland Agricultural College opened as both an agricultural college and experimental farm. Over a century later it continues as a campus of the University of Queensland and even served as a US Army field hospital during the war.
You can also visit the Queensland Transport Museum, take a walk around Lake Apex or visit the Lights on the Hill Trucking memorial in Lake Apex Park. Officially opened in 2009, it is dedicated to the men and women of the Australian transport industry who have lost their lives before their time.
Schedule a day trip for Sunday and you can visit the Gatton and District Historical Society Museum which is located beside Lake Apex and is open every Sunday from 1.30pm to 4.00pm.
Next to Lake Apex is the Gatton Cemetery where three Murphy siblings are buried – all brutally murdered on Boxing Day in 1898. The killer of Michael Murphy aged 29 and his younger sisters Norah, 27, and Ellen, 18, was never found, but the town donated the striking headstone.
Train enthusiasts will already know about the Spring Bluff Railway, a heritage-listed site and antique hunters can check out nearby Withcott (27km from Gatton) with its shops full of treasures.
There’s bushwalking on the scenic mountain trails and there are plenty of places to grab a bite in Gatton and surrounding towns, especially at the pubs – try the Royal.
Distance from Brisbane: 86km west of Brisbane.
Five things to see and do:
- Lights on the Hill Trucking memorial
- Murphy’s grave at gatton Cemetery
- Lake Apex
- Spring Bluff Railway, and
- Local antique stores.