Roma, situated in southwest Queensland has an average annual rainfall of 600mm. A bore was first drillled into the Great Artesian Basin during the drought in 1900 to replenish the town’s water supply. Drillers found water, gas and a small amount of oil. Roma is known as the birth place of Australia’s oil and gas industry. See Roma Gas & Oil History.
Today Roma’s main industries are cattle, crops and gas. The conventional gas industry has depleted its resources of natural gas and gas companies are now extracting coal seam gas. This gas is piped to Gladstone where it is processed into LNG (liquid natural gas) for export.
2 Riggers Road, Roma
Roma proudly displays the history of Australia’s early gas and oil exploration at The Big Rig, a tourist information centre on the outskirts of town. Drill rigs, steam engines, pumps and trucks from different eras are on display. The Big Rig was started by volunteers but has since been taken over by the local council. A Night Show is held every evening, weather permitting.
Warrego Highway, Roma
Roma Saleyards is Australia’s biggest cattle selling complex with a record sale day of just under 14,000 head. Cattle sales are held every Tuesday and Thursday starting at 8am from April to October and Tuesdays only from November to March.
The Roma Saleyards Interpretive Centre is open every day, including weekends, between 8am and 5pm. On Tuesdays from 8am until 11am, retired cattlemen volunteer their time to answer visitors’ questions about the saleyards and the cattle industry. Free tours of the facilities are available on these days starting at 8.30pm. Ph 07 4622 8676
Roma’s Wyndham and Bungil Streets are lined with 93 hardy native bottle trees (Brachychiton rupestre) – each a memorial to a local World War I soldier. A cairn, located outside the Post Office near the corner of McDowell and Wyndham Streets, lists the names of the soldiers. It is believed that the first tree was planted outside the Post Office in 1918. This tree is now known locally as the Tree of Knowledge. Bottle trees are for sale throughout the town.