Barcaldine (bar-call-din), a historic little outback town at the junction of the Landsborough and Capricorn Hwys (Rte 66), gained its place in Australian history in 1891 when it became the headquarters of a major shearers’ strike. The confrontation led to the formation of the Australian Workers’ Party, forerunner of the Australian Labor Party. The organisers’ meeting place was the Tree of Knowledge, a ghost gum that was planted near the train station and long stood as a monument to workers and their rights. It was mysteriously poisoned in 2006, but a radical and impressive memorial now stands as a testament to those days.
The original inhabitants of Barcaldine were the Inningai, encountered by explorer Thomas Mitchell when he passed through in 1824. Coming into conflict with European settlers, they were forced off their lands by the time the Barcaldine township was established in the mid-19th century.