Proston is located 40km north-west of Wondai and on Saturday, September 30 it will be holding three different events that will offer visitors unique insights into the town’s history.
Proston began its life as a railway construction camp in 1917 when a school was opened, but it only really began to grow in 1923 when it was connected to Murgon by a railway branch line.
Shortly before after the railway arrived a tea room opened in the town, and cattle yards, a hall and a hotel were erected soon afterwards.
A butter factory opened in 1934, and by the outbreak of WWII there was an electricity-generation company, a cinema, a cottage hospital, a sawmill, a cash and carry store, a hairdresser, a baker and several tradespeople working in the town.
A railway sleeper mill opened in 1950 and there was a buoyant dairying industry in the district which led to the creation of a show society in 1958. The local school grew in the 1960s when smaller surrounding schools were closed and children bussed to Proston.
However, between 1954 and 1976 Proston’s population fell by 44%, reflecting the decline of dairying, the closure of the butter factory and the loss of sleeper cutting. The railway was finally closed in 1993.
Today, Proston’s population has rebounded to its post-war level, helped in part by the nearby Lake Boondooma and in part by its attractiveness to new residents seeking a quiet country town lifestyle.
A department store (NB Inspirations) opened in Proston several years ago and was recently joined by the Jacaranda Tearooms, which have restored another traditional enterprise absent from Proston for many years.
On Saturday, September 30 Proston is inviting former residents and first-time visitors alike to come explore the town’s history and learn more about life in rural Queensland.
The day’s events wil kick off at 10:00am with the re-dedication of the Reinke Scrub Conservation Park at Weir Road in Proston.
Members of the Reinke family eill be returning as special guests and Paul Forster, the Chief Botanist at the Queensland Herbarium, will be giving an overview of the significance of this precious remnant of vine scrub.
Scouts will be providing tea and damper, and because parking is limited guests should meet at the Proston P-10 school in Rodney Street to car pool (don’t forget to BYO chair and hat/umbrella).
After this, the Jacaranda Tearooms will remain open until 1:00pm for anyone wishing to purchase a light lunch before joining The Heritage Trail Walk, which will take place in the main business precinct of the town.
Visitors who’d like to join this free walk should meet at the Cultural Centre in Rodney Street at 2:00pm for an entertaining and insightful three-hour walk that will explore the history of Proston’s CBD buildings and the recollections of residents.
And after this – at 5:30pm – the last event of the day will be a “Fire The Brand” campfire evening at the Overnight Campground in Railway Park.
Families will have the opportunity to immortalize their family brand into timber that will be used to produce seating at the campsite, using a gas branding furnace that will be on hand.
A brand identifier board will record the brand and owner for future local history reference, and this informal evening will also share memories and personal histories of brands and branding. A BBQ dinner will also be available for purchase at this event, which will run until about 8:30pm.