Torrens Creek

Torrens Creek is located 88kms east of Hughenden and 166kms west of Charters Towers on the Flinders Highway. The town's population is approximately 20.

Torrens Creek has a long and interesting history. The creek, which rises in the Great Dividing Range and runs southward to the Thompson River system to eventually reach Lake Eyre, was discovered in 1862 by the explorer William Landsborough when on an expedition from Adelaide on the Gulf in search of Burke and Wills. He was riding southward to reach the nearest station on the Warrego. He named the creek after

Sir Robert Torrens, Premier of South Australia. The first stations such as Aberfoyle, lower down creek, and Lammermoor on nearby Tower Hill Creek, were taken up by 1866.

The Charters Towers to Hughenden railway reached Torrens Creek in 1885 and from then on it became the supply centre for a large district. Mailmen rode out north and south to various stations; the mail now goes by truck over the same roads. The district's most famous mailman, Jack Bunt who was a mailman from 1931 – 1954 is honoured with a cairn and plaque erected by people of Torrens Creek.

ImageThe Exchange Hotel welcomes all travellers, with cool drinks, and great meals. The Hotel boasts a graffiti gallery and visitors are invited to add their mark to the existing humour. The Hotel has accommodation for all and attached to the hotel are caravan and camping facilities.

The Coral Sea battle of 1942 during World War II, Torrens Creek played a vital role among defence installations when the threat of Japanese invasion was very real. Torrens Creek was strategically situated to be an ideal location for a supply dump – a place to stockpile tens of thousands of pounds of high explosives such as bombs, shells, and ammunition of all calibers. The bomb dump comprised of several piles, each of about twenty tones, together with hundreds of boxes of fuses. This dump was placed in the open on the Town Common, but bushfires presented a real hazard.

American Negro troops were in charge; they had to carry out regular controlled burns to create fire breaks. No doubt this sort of work in the loneliness and heat of outback Australia was new to them. They did not know what a bushfire could do. They would not have seen such long dry grass before.

One summer day in 1942 or early 1943, the soldiers had been patrolling firebreaks and putting out their ‘controlled burns'. They returned to camp for lunch not realizing all the fire was not out. They had not reached their camp before a terrific explosion hurled the men out of their trucks. There were twelve major explosions in succession, sufficient to leave craters twenty feet deep. Soil and rock erupted like a volcano. The area looked as if it had been bombed from the air. Red-hot shrapnel exploded over a wide area and started more fires. In the townships, buildings shook, windows broke, and people were convinced an air raid had occurred.

As the fire spread, a thousand soldiers and civilians attacked the blazing grass with bags and boughs in an attempt to prevent it spreading to other fuel dumps, but in vain. There was deadly danger from exploding shells. Constable Seawright of Torrens Creek Police was awarded the King's Medal of Bravery.

South of Torrens Creek is Moorrinya National Park. This park offers a dramatic impression of the harsh beauty and open expanse of the Desert Uplands. Travelling east along the Flinders Highway, White Mountains National Park offers short walking tracks for those who wish to explore this magic spot a little further.