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Ayr Local History

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The Local History of Ayr, Queensland, Australia

Ayr is a small town located in the Burdekin region of Queensland, Australia. It has a rich history that dates back hundreds of years.

Indigenous Australians

The Burdekin region was originally inhabited by the Bindal and Nywaigi indigenous people. They lived off the land and had a deep connection to the natural world. They used the land for hunting, fishing, and gathering food, and they had a sophisticated understanding of the local flora and fauna.

European Settlement

The first Europeans to arrive in the area were British explorers John Oxley and George Evans. In the 1850s, pastoralists began to establish cattle stations in the area. One of the most influential of these pastoralists was Robert Towns, who established a large cattle station on the Burdekin River.

In 1882, a railway was built connecting Ayr to the nearby city of Townsville. This made it easier for farmers to transport their crops, and it led to a population boom in the area.

The Sugar Industry

In the early 1900s, the sugar industry began to take off in the Burdekin region. Many farmers switched to growing sugarcane, which proved to be a profitable crop. Ayr became an important center for the sugar industry, and it remains so to this day.

World War II

During World War II, Ayr played an important role in the defense of Australia. The town was home to an airfield that was used by the Royal Australian Air Force and the United States Army Air Forces. It was also used as a training center for Australian soldiers.

The Present Day

Today, Ayr is a thriving town with a population of around 8,000 people. It is still an important center for the sugar industry, but it has also diversified its economy to include other industries such as tourism and agriculture. The town is home to a number of historic buildings and landmarks, including the Ayr Railway Station, which was built in 1882, and the Burdekin Bridge, which was completed in 1957.


Ayr has a long and fascinating history that reflects the development of Queensland and Australia as a whole. From its indigenous roots to its role in World War II, Ayr has played an important role in shaping the identity of the Burdekin region and the nation as a whole.

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