Prairie is a small town of approx 50 people, surrounded by beautiful rolling plains of Flinders grass. Prairie is part of the Great Northern Railway Line that links Townsville to Mount Isa. Construction of the line began in 1878 under contract by Messrs Mackenzie and Sutherland. Several hundred men, many of who were Irish immigrants, worked on this line. Some settled in the area and around Charters Towers and their descendants are still present today.
Despite many delays, the line reached Prairie on September 6th, 1887 and Hughenden on October 19th the same year. The opening of the railway line was a great help to the graziers in the transportation of wool.
In the early 1900's, the population of Prairie was close to 300. The town boasted two hotels, two guest houses, two general stores, two blacksmith shops, two churches, one butcher shop, a saddlery shop, a café, a school of arts hall, a privately owned dance hall, a large garage, a stock and station agency, a dairy, a barbers shop, a shearing shed, a Chainman's garden (later also a bakery), a school, a post office, a railway station and a sale yard. The present day Prairie now has one hotel, a police station, a town hall, a school (current enrolment of 15), and a truck transport business.
The earliest occupants were the aboriginal Dalleburra tribe and then came the settlers. Robert Christison of Lammermoor was one of the first settled in the area, and he can be thanked for the emergence of the town. Many sheep and cattle properties were developed around the area and helped the town to progress. Original properties, which still retain their early names, are Lammermoor, Glendower, Redcliffe, Strathglass and Uanda.
The Prairie Hotel is well worth an inspection. Owner / Operators Andrea & Tom Duddy have created a unique atmosphere with their collection of stockman's hats and other memorabilia. The pubs claim to fame lies in the mystique of the wandering ringer. The origin of the ghostly prowler comes from a story around the 1930's. The Prairie Hotel had reigned unchallenged in the town for many years until the 1930's when another hotelier decided to open a pub. The owner of the pub planned to remove competition by burning down the new complex and enlisted the aid of a local yardman with the promise of a payment of a gold sovereign and a bottle of OP Rum. The ringer dutifully lit the fire but stumbled upstairs to grab his bottle of rum, downed the contents, fell asleep, and was burned by the fire. The ringer did light the fire, however, was not given his full cash reward by the old pub owner. In retaliation he now haunts the hotel looking for his gold sovereign.
If you wish to escape the hustle and bustle, Kooroorinya Nature Reserve maybe in order for you. Located 54km south of Prairie on the Muttaburra Road the reserve offers people the chance to just lay back and enjoy nature at its best. The falls mainly run through the wet season, however permanent billabongs remain throughout the year and provide excellent fishing and swimming.