If Jandowae - principal town of the Wambo Shire in Queensland’s Western Downs - has an identity problem, it’s scant wonder. The small town, in a diversified farming and cattle district, has had three 'official' names since the first settlers put down their roots in 1860.
Originally endorsed as Jindowie, the Aboriginal name for waterhole, this was corrupted to Jondowaie when Jack Dowaie set up a rest camp for travellers. The adoption of the last surviving name coincided with the arrival of the railway in 1914.
The jewel in this corner of the downs is Jimbour House, which the National Trust describes as 'probably the grandest of Queensland’s station homesteads'. Built in the early 1870s, this magnificent, two-storeyed sandstone and cedar home has been lovingly restored.
Jandowae moved from the national heritage estate into rural mythology recently when the Aliens on Earth website identified the town at the centre of a Downs region where thousands of 'haunted' cows, spooked by UFOs, stampeded every morning in the spring of 1999.