Twenty-nine kilometres north-west of Toowoomba, Oakey owes its prosperity to the Darling Downs staples of cereal grains, dairy herds and beef, but it was a horse that put the town on the national map.
The mighty Bernborough was born and bred in the district and the town doesn’t let visitors forget it. A life-sized bronze statue of the champion galloper stands proudly outside the tourist information centre which, naturally, takes the horse’s name in its official title.
Oakey also hosts the Australian Army’s aviation base which supports the Flypast Museum of Army Flying.
Just a few minutes drive north on the Warrego Highway is the state’s oldest and largest shearing shed, Jondaryan Woolshed, which has been in continuous operation since it was built in 1859. It is now the centrepiece of Jondaryan Woolshed Historical Museum and Park, established in 1975 to present the history of Jondaryan Station and its role in the development of pastoralism on the Darling Downs.
Oakey is the administrative centre for the Jondaryan Shire whose 1906sqkm were once almost entirely occupied by the Jondaryan and Westbrook stations which were virtually feudal pastoral fifedoms in their 19th century heyday.
While Oakey offers visitors the space and relaxed lifestyle of the Darling Downs, it is within comfortable, scenic driving distance of Brisbane and the Gold and Sunshine Coasts.