Clermont is recognised as one of the most historic towns in northern Australia. Its colourful past is rich in drama and laced with tragedy. It was the first inland settlement in the tropics, making it a frontier town in the truest sense of the word. Behind its small-town façade and hidden amongst the new prosperity are the remnants of earlier times from the days of gold rushes, copper mines, timber getters, shearers, stockmen and squatters. Mining development has brought many of the consumer comforts of the town. The many multi-generational families of historic Clermont contribute to the strong sense of pride and connection within the community. Reconnect with the Isaac region’s resource heritage and try your hand at striking fortune in one of Queensland’s famous gold rush towns.
Hoods Lagoon and Centenary Park
Hoods Lagoon is a scenic natural watercourse full of birds and wildlife. The adjacent Centenary Park provides a peaceful atmosphere for picnics and barbecues. Follow the lagoon’s winding footpaths and boardwalk and learn about Clermont’s rich and often tragic history. Memorials, monuments and sculptures including St Mary MacKillop, local war service men and women, the Northern Hairy-nosed Wombat, the 1916 Flood and local Aboriginal heritage, all line the surrounding footpaths. The full circuit of the lagoon is approximately 1.8km long.
In 1862 a high wall of solid copper ore was discovered at Copperfield, approximately 4km south of Clermont. Queensland’s first copper mine soon opened and continued until the 1880s, by which time the best quality ore was mined out. It is difficult to imagine that Copperfield was once a bustling town of 2,000 people. Today all that remains of the town’s thriving past is a lonely brick chimney and the old general store. Copperfield Cemetery is located on the right-hand side of the Rubyvale Road. Browse through the old graves to feel the echo of lives lived and lost in this slice of Australia’s pioneering past.
Blair Athol coal
Coal was first discovered in 1864 at Blair Athol Station, on Robert McMaster’s grazing property, when a seam of coal was penetrated while sinking a well for water. The first coal extracted was used to fire the furnace at Copperfield. Peak Downs Coal and Copper Mining had taken up the lease in 1879 and export began out of Clermont by rail in 1890. The coal was transported from Blair Athol to the rail line by horse or bullock drawn wagons until the branch line from Clermont to Blair Athol was completed in 1909. Blair Athol Coal and Timber took possession of most of the smaller mines in 1909 and became a large operation. In 1936 open cut mining was first introduced, but it was not until Rio Tinto acquired Blair Athol that development progressed to one of the largest steaming coal mines in the world. Blair Athol Coal ceased operations in 2012.
1916 Flood Memorial
The 1916 Flood is Clermont’s most iconic event. Striking suddenly, the flood washed away Clermont’s central business district and claimed at least 65 lives. It is still known as Australia’s second worst flood in terms of loss of life. Visit the 1916 flood marker on the corner of Capricorn and Drummond Streets to view the height of the flood waters and read the names of the citizens who perished. The ‘Piano in the Tree’ in Capricorn Street (opposite Ivan Bettridge Park) is an eerie reminder of the height and ravaging force of the flood waters. Although the piano seen today is a replica, there were originally three pianos found in trees after the flood. The mass grave of the flood victims is in the Clermont Cemetery.
Clermont Historical Centre
Located 2km north of Clermont along the Gregory Highway, the Clermont Historical Centre contains over 8,000 artefacts reflecting the rich history of Clermont and its surrounding region. Behind its small-town façade, and hidden amongst the new prosperity, are the remnants of earlier times from the days of gold rushes, copper mines, timber getters, shearers, stockmen, and squatters.
Peak Range National Park
Take a scenic drive along the Peak Downs Highway to take in the panoramic views of the Peak Range. The range is a chain of prominent and picturesque volcanic mountains between Moranbah, Clermont and Dysart and includes Wolfang Peak, Eastern Peak, Lords Table Mountain and Gemini Mountains.
Theresa Creek Dam
An ideal recreation area for families, Theresa Creek Dam is located 22km southwest of Clermont and was built in 1983. It is one of the most idyllic camping spots in the Isaac region. Pitch your tent, pull up your caravan or camping trailer and make Theresa Creek Dam campground your base to explore the region. Enjoy swimming, canoeing, water skiing, jet boating and fishing … or just sit back and relax. Redclaw crayfish are the main target species in the dam. You can also chase Barramundi, Golden Perch, Saratoga, Eel-Tailed Catfish, Sleepy Cod, Silver Perch and Bony Bream. There are two boat ramps to choose from with bitumen approaches all the way. Land-based anglers and Redclaw hunters can find plenty of spots to access the dam. Find shaded picnic tables, barbecues, playground, swimming areas, food kiosk, camping shelters, showers, toilets and dump point provided. Spend the evening on the shores of the dam. Camping fees apply.
Visit the Clermont Historical Centre to experience the history and discover stories from the local district.
- Go for a scenic walk around the lagoon and see the 1916 flood memorial area including the piano in the tree, war memorial, Billy Sing memorial, Mary MacKillop grotto, indigenous heritage site and more.
- Pub crawl Clermont’s historic pubs.
- Visit Theresa Creek Dam for a ski, swim, fish, camp or for a scenic lunch at the kiosk.
- View the railway station and murals and find the green frogs located on each carriage.
- Visit the Clermont Library for Free Wi-Fi.
- Take a stroll through Rose Harris Park on Capella Street. Named after local identity, Rose Harris, in recognition of her services to the community during the 1916 flood. Rose and her father were responsible for saving five lives. Rose operated a saddlery business for many years and was believed to be the only female saddler in Australia at the time.
- Clermont is famous and popular for its gold fossicking – try your luck at striking gold at one of its 11 General Permission Areas.
- Go for a drive to visit Copperfield and learn about the town that was.
Fun Fact – it is estimated that more than 7, 380kg of gold was recovered in Clermont Goldfields between 1861 and 1901.