beware! you may never want to leave

The Granite Belt is an area of the Great Dividing Range in south-east Queensland, Australia centred around the town of Stanthorpe. The cool high country of the Granite Belt is found to the south of the Darling Downs and north of the New England Tablelands.  The area gains its name from the predominantly granite rocks that distinguish it from other areas that makes up much of south-east Queensland. The Granite Belt is known for its spectacular flowers and produces virtually all of Queensland's $40 million apple crop from one million trees grown by 55 orchardists.

 

The area is also known as the Southern Downs. Including the town of Warwick the region has a population of 32 600 people. The Southern Down Regional Council is the local government authority for the area. The major river in the region is the Condamine River, a tributary of the Murray River

 

Climate

The Granite Belt is further distinguished by its elevation, which makes it the coolest part of Queensland. This, and its relatively low rainfall, has made it attractive for viticulture. Winter months can be very cold on the Granite Belt, and nighttime frost is very common. Bleak overcast conditions on rare occasions bring hail, sleet and snow. Situated at between 450 m (1,500 ft) to 900 m (3,000 ft) above sea level the altitude is the main controlling factor for the climate. The elevation creates a climate of four distinct seasons on the Granite Belt

The area is a popular tourist destination particularly for the short break drive market from Southeast Queensland/Northern New South Wales. The boom in wine tourism has been a key driver and while winter is popular, the region benefits from being a cool contrast to coastal humidity in the summer.

Towns

The town of Dalveen is in the north of the Granite Belt. Other towns include Applethorpe, Amiens, Ballandean, Pozieres, and Wallangarra, in the south at the border with New South Wales. Liston is a small village in New South Wales that is considered part of the Granite Belt.

 

History

The district was first explored by Allan Cunningham in 1827. Agriculture was established in the region during the 1860s. The following decade mining of gold, copper and tin brought permanent settlement to the district.

In 1881 the railway to Warwick was extended to Stanthorpe and then to the border in 1887, when Wallangarra was established.

The countryside around the Granite Belt, after World War 1, was given to some returning soldiers as gifts or payment for their services in the war. As such, many of the rural districts are named after battles that took place in the war, such as Amiens and Pozieres. These places were, at one point, rather busy and populated, but as Stanthorpe grew and returning soldiers grew frustrated with farming, the districts eventually died as many families left. In some places, where there were once Blue Nurse outposts and many stores, all that remain are small primary schools, while in other districts the post-war past remains only in the name.