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A Brief History of

For thousands of years the Widgee area was home to the Kabi Kabi aboriginals of the Wide Bay region, with one tribal group, the Kaiabara, particularly associated with Widgee. Unfortunately, the advent of European settlement resulted in much friction between the local aborigines and the settlers early on, finally resulting in the local tribes being driven from the area. Their former presence is marked today by a number of bora rings and by many of the local place names.

The first European settlers arrived in Widgee in the late 1840s following William Tooth and Company's successful tender for two runs in the area. Tooth and Company's Widgee Station was renowned in its early days for the quality and quantity of beasts fattened in the area, and for the exploits of the local horsemen. The tradition of horsemanship lives on today in the annual Bushman's Carnival held each May.

Independent selectors began to settle in and around the Widgee district from 1870 onward. The growth in the local population resulted in calls for the establishment of a school, and Widgee Provisional School was opened in 1892 on a site near Station Creek. The opening of the school helped foster a community spirit, with dances and cricket matches organized on a regular basis. 

The community continued to grow following the resumption of Widgee Estate by the government, and the throwing open of the land for selection in 1911 and 1912. Times were hard for the initial settlers. Droughts, as ever, and uncertain markets for produce, made it difficult for settlers to become established. Most new settlers opted for dairying, and a regular cream run on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays took the local produce to Woolooga railway station for shipment to Brisbane. 

The first Widgee Campdraft was held on Easter Monday 1921. The campdraft is now an annual event and an important component of the Bushman's Carnival.

Three years of local fundraising enabled the hall to be opened in March 1923. Following the closure of the first school at the end of 1921, classes were resumed in the hall from mid-1923. It was not until 1938 that a new, permanent state school was established at the present site. St Vincent De Paul church was also opened in that year.

Today Widgee is a thriving community, with a wide range of industry and social activity.

The information used to compile this brief history of Widgee is drawn from "Widgee: the Development of a Community" by J Dale and M McCarthy, published by Widgee State School, 1992.