Gardens of the Downs
Historic Leyburn & Pratten
July 7th & 8th 2018
9.00am to 5.00pm
Entrance Fee $20.00 per person
Tickets/maps available at the Leyburn Royal Hotel
( no presold tickets )
entry to 3 gardens in Leyburn and 3 gardens in Pratten
Walk through the history of Pratten at the Community Hall
'The discovery of gold in 1863 at Canal Creek lured people from near and far to try their luck.'
Take a tour around Leyburn's Historical Plaques and through the RSL Display
Leyburn was home to the Z Force Special Operations Unit
and the RAAF Liberator Squadrons
10am to 3.00pm
from the CWA Hall in Leyburn and the Community Hall in Pratten
A Look at Leyburn
The small historic village of Leyburn offers visitors a look at the very early history of the Darling Downs, with one home which was even built when Leyburn was still part of New South Wales.
During World War 2, the Leyburn airstrip was built by 1943 with a nearby camp accommodating 450 RAAF personnel. When 200 Special Duties Flight was formed in early 1945 to support the Z Special Operations Unit in inserting agents by parachute behind enemy lines in Borneo & Timor, all other units were relocated because of the intense secrecy surrounding their missions. 14 Z Unit agents & 32 airmen lost their lives, together with the loss of 3 Liberator aircraft.
After the War, organizers of the Australian Grand Prix were looking for a suitable site for the first Grand Prix to be held in Queensland. Another wartime airfield at Lowood was chosen because of its proximity to Brisbane, but the devout, mainly German Lutheran population refused to allow it to be held on a Sunday. Leyburn Airfield was the next choice, & the rest, as they say, is history... over 30000 spectators, dust, food supplies running out, dust, long drop dunnies surrounded by hessian, dust.... The annual Leyburn Sprints now commemorate that event.
Join a bus tour of the Heritage Trail on 7th & 8th July, leaving every hour from the Royal Hotel, built in 1863, the longest continuously licensed pub in Queensland still in its original structure, & hear about the first publican who spent a fortune building it in brick, only to die months later in the DTs (he officially died of "intemperance").
A Look at Pratten
As early as 1843 Ludwig Leichhardt, who stayed with CW Pitts at his Canal Creek Run Station observed the auriferous nature of the surrounding country. But it wasn't until 1864 that the Talgai, Thanes Creek and Canal Creek Goldfields were proclaimed.
The goldmines have been worked on and off ever since and even today, hopeful gold seekers still work the Talgai, Durikai and Thanes Creek fossicking areas.
Talgai Goldfield, also known as Darkey's Flat and later Pratten, extended over 20,000 hectares supporting both alluvial and reef mining. The first noisy battery stampers which crushed the ore were heard in 1864. By November 1865 there were 5 public houses and a store. In 1866 Talgai Goldfield consisted of 9 reefs, with a population of 350-400 miners, 8 pubs (of which only 2 were licenced, meaning the remainder were sly grog shops), butchers and a baker.
The richest alluvial gold was found in Dunn's Gully, 5km south of Pratten and at Gum Flat, 3km west of Pratten. The largest nugget of 65oz was found by H Gibson in 1895.