Croydon has a golden history. The town, born in 1885 and built around the gold-mining industry, was a bustling, decadent centre in its heyday. Then, it was the third largest town in Queensland and serviced a goldfield that extended for 18km and produced 23,675kg of gold over 35 years.
During the gold rush, the streets were lit by gas lamps. Four original gas lamps, along with replicas, can be found on the sandstone-kerbed streets of the heritage precinct and throughout the rest of the town.
Start your visit at Croydon’s True Blue Visitor Information Centre. Watch a free film in the air-conditioned theatre then explore the landscaped gardens, sculptures, mining architecture and vintage vehicles. Collect a map of the town for a self-guided tour.
Walk across the road to Croydon’s Heritage Precinct. Heritage-registered buildings are open and free for you to wander through. See the Police Station, Gaol (but don’t wake the prisoner), Police Sergeant’s Residence, Town Hall and the Courthouse, which is the oldest civic building in Croydon.
Although the Courthouse is more than 125 years old, it only fulfilled its designated role for the first 40 years of its existence. In those years, the main business of the Courthouse was dealing with disputes over mining claims and other crimes. Although it hasn’t been in session since 1926, the courtroom retains its furniture, including the judge’s bench, defendant’s box, witness stand and jury bench. Listen to a mock trial from 1902, taken from court records, by pressing the red button inside. Also wander through the back rooms and savour the atmosphere of the former Goldfields Administration Office and see the extensive medical object collection.
Recently refurbished is the Matron Morrow Hall, on the western side of town.
See an outdoor collection of early mining machinery next to the Croydon Shire Council office and at the Iguana Consols Mining Museum.
The star of the local railway line, The Gulflander (RM93), travels from Normanton to Croydon every Wednesday then stays overnight before departing Croydon to head back to Normanton on Thursday. The driver is a Savannah Guide and gives tourists a marvellous historic journey through Savannah Country following the gold strike route. During the peak tourist season, you can experience the Golden Sunset Tour which runs every second Wednesday afternoon departing Croydon Railway Station at 5.30pm, returning at approximately 7.00pm after a traditional outback station meal at the old Golden Gate Railway Station.
During its golden days, the town had a large population of Chinese settlers. In more recent times, archaeologists have rediscovered and interpreted the Croydon Chinese Temple site. Walk around the Chinese Temple Historical Site (on the road to Lake Belmore). On the drive out to Lake Belmore, at the top of the range you will see Diehm’s Lookout, a fantastic location for catching Croydon’s exceptional outback sunrise. Lake Belmore is less than 4km from Croydon. It is Croydon’s town water supply and a great spot for fishing, watersports or to have a barbecue at the sheltered areas.
Croydon Caravan Park is an ideal base while you explore, as it offers self-contained, air-conditioned cabins, powered and unpowered sites, laundry facilities, pool and barbecue.
While you are visiting, have a free game of golf on Croydon’s nine-hole Savannah Golf Course. Clubs are available for guests of the Croydon Caravan Park. On Wednesday nights, lawn bowls is free at the bowling club. Birdwatchers will enjoy the abundance of birdlife in the region.
Croydon has a range of services including hospital, police, cafe/supermarket, roadhouse/post office, the longest continuously running general store in Queensland (built in 1894) and the Croydon Club Hotel, the last remaining hotel of 64 on the field at the peak of its mining era.
Events include Heritage Week in and the Poddy Dodgers Festival in. Heritage Week features everything from metal detecting for relics to guided tours through town. The festival includes rodeo, campdraft, ute muster, street parade, a campoven cooking competition and country music entertainment.
True Blue Visitor Information Centre
Phone (within Australia) 07 4748 7152