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Surat  Queensland

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Deep in the bush, on the Carnarvon Highway, 65km south of Roma and about 130km north of St George, Surat, on the banks of the Balonne River, is at the centre of some dinky-di cattle and sheep country.

Surat is not only the administrative centre for the 13,166sqkm Waroo Shire, which is a major producer of wool, beef, wheat, oil and gas, but thousands of stock pass through the town's saleyards during the year.

The region round Surat is also developing as a significant producer of muscat grapes and olives. The nearby river weir which regulates the flow of town and irrigation water also provides an aquatic playground for boating and fishing enthusiasts. Keen hunters can arrange to join a wild pig safari.

Roma, nearby in Aussie bush terms, was the first gazetted settlement after Queensland separated from NSW in 1859. It also claims the first wine-making venture in Australia in 1863, and the first natural gas strike in 1900.

Although sheep and cattle are major resources of this area, natural gas is still piped the 450km from here to Brisbane. With natural gas came a brief rush for oil but this was short-lived, and the area is now dotted with abandoned rigs.

St George, south of Surat, is at the centre of a rich cotton-growing district.


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