Miles Township

European Discovery

The explorer Ludwig Leichhardt named Dogwood Creek in 1844 on his first expedition across Australia because he found Dogwood trees (Jacksonia Scoparia) growing on the banks of the creek. On a second 1846-7 expedition he passed through this area again at Emu Tracks Creek, or Doolackah in an Aboriginal language, which is the origin of the name of Dulacca Station.

Condamine was the centre before the railway

Although there were ‘runs’ or farming stations in the area from the 1850s, the first population centre in this area was Condamine Township which lies on the Condamine River, 33km to the south.

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Dogwood Crossing

Miles township began as a teamster’s camp called Dogwood Crossing, at the place where they crossed the Dogwood Creek. It grew quickly in 1878 around the railhead which was formed here, due to the requirement to build a bridge over the river to carry the new railway line between Dalby and Roma. The town quickly changed its name in 1879 to Miles, a reference to The Hon. William M. Miles, a local landowner and prominent politician in the Queensland Legislative Assembly.

William M.Miles and the name of the town

Miles portraitSome people think that William Miles influenced the railway route through Dogwood Crossing and then his own property at Dulacca Station, however, the real story isn’t quite so simple. Miles, who was Minister for Public Works, had proposed a Dalby-Roma rail route that passed much closer to the existing township of Condamine alongside the old road in 1865 but lack of funding and an 1872 Royal Commission inquiry into Railway Construction led to this being reconsidered and in 1874-5 a second railway survey was carried out. The new route went via Charley’s Creek (Chinchilla) and Dogwood Crossing (Miles). The new alignment was positioned further north, which is upstream on the various creeks that flow south towards the Condamine River, and it therefore required less expensive bridge workings, making it cheaper and less dangerous for railway workers. After the Dogwood Creek crossing, the new alignment did pass through Dulacca Station, however W.M.Miles sold this property in 1875, which was before the final survey was made and the railway did not actually reach Dogwood Crossing until 1878.

Of course, it is possible that William Miles may have benefited from an increased sale price if the new railway alignment was perceived as a benefit the new owner of Dulacca Station.

In any case, W.M.Miles is remembered as an outspoken, unusually honest and hard working politician, so he is a good person to be commemorated in a town’s name.

Early Industries and other developments

Dairying was the main industry in the early years of closer settlement. A Butter factory was developed in 1911. Timber was also important with the railway creating a demand for timber sleepers. In the early 1900s Chinese gardeners were farming vegetables. Electricity was generated at the Butter Factory and supplied to locals from 1937.

When the town ran out of surface water in 1948 it was the spur for the creation of the Gill Weir in 1949. In 1980 the Dogwood Weir was built.

Mines

The Miles area is part of the Surat Basin Mining boom. Below the ground there are mineral deposits which are now being examined and extracted by mining companies.

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