Roma is situated 480 kms west of Brisbane and is the administrative centre for the Maranoa Region, Queensland. It is one of those country towns I’de heard of but had no interest in visiting.
The town was incorporated in 1867 and is named after Lady Diamantina (née di Roma), the wife of Sir George Bowen, the Governor of Queensland at the time. Currently with a population of over 6,000 Roma is big enough to provide plenty of choice for all the essential services with a smattering of the arts and culture and a strong connection to heritage.
It’s a Cow Town with the largest store cattle saleyards in the Southern Hemisphere. This means you can get a good steak at any pub in town. Don’t dis this : most of our better quality meat is exported overseas. It may also account in part why so many of my female millennial friends make the journey west all frocked up for the picnic race meetings and the annual rodeo.
Believe it or not, the saleyards are a popular tourist attraction and a visit is highly recommended. I loved it – who ever thought that you’de ever hear such a statement?
The other big tourist attraction is the Big Rig and Oil and Gas Museum. Bizarre, granted, but a fascinating history of our Natural Gas and Oil industries. It’s well worth paying extra for the guided tour or to the evening light show for all the fascinating tidbits.
Who knew you could sell tickets for this kind of venture?
Roma’s War Memorial and Heroes Avenue are Heritage listed. Residents planted a Bottle Tree for each of the local lads who died during World War 1, and Heroes Avenue is lined with 140 trees, each bearing a soldier’s name.
Attached to Roma’s Library is a delightful Art Gallery which is well worth a visit, and as per usual in a country town, the clothing shops sell quality over quantity.
Also add the Bush Gardens to your Must Do List. The garden is 14 hectares wide and contains many species that Roma is famous for such as the Mulga, Coolibah and Brigalow.
My visit coincided with the last legs of this years winter mouse plague. All I can say about this is that you don’t understand the situation until you’ve experienced it. Nothing quite says Good Morning like greeting the day with half a dozen dead mice at the front door.
I’m looking forward to a return to Roma for the races. Guess I’m just over the rodeo stage of life …….and the mouse stage.