Places of Interest

The history of UQ Gatton dates back to 1897, when the Queensland Agricultural College (QAC) opened as a combined agricultural college and experimental farm. This concluded a 20-year debate by farmers and politicians on ways to boost agricultural production in Queensland.

Guests at the opening ceremony and special luncheon on Friday, July 9, 1897 would have marvelled to know the College would metamorphose to a high school, U.S. Army General Hospital, college of advanced education and finally a Campus of The University of Queensland.

In addition to reading below about the many places of interest the Campus offers, Schools and Community Groups are welcome to book a tour of the campus.

UQ Gatton Farms

The University of Queensland Gatton Farms is located on the UQ Gatton Campus 80 kilometers west of Brisbane. The farms cover 1064 hectares and includes a dairy, piggery, poultry unit, sheep and goat herd, horticultural fields, plant nursery, post-harvest facilities, research laboratories and greenhouses, and an extensive range of plant and farm machinery. UQ Gatton Farms is spread across two locations. The main area of activities is on the Gatton Campus with another farm, Darbalara located 10 kilometers from the main campus.  Darbalara is 184 hectares in size and will be the home of the School of Veterinary Science Droughtmaster herd. This site will be used by the School as the beef cattle teaching facility from Semester 2, 2015 along with other grazing and crop production.

The Campus is located in the Lockyer Valley which is a highly fertile horticulture area.  We experience a subtropical climate with relatively long hot summers, and short, mild winters with occasional frosts. Rainfall is summer dominant with 65-70% of the total rainfall occurring in the October to March period. The average annual rainfall to the area is approximately 780 mm making this the driest part of the South East Queensland region.

Central Walkway

This walkway is also known as the Avenue of Palms. Before 1969, it was possible to turn off the Warrego Highway and drive straight through the middle of the campus to the Lawes railway siding.

The road that existed here before the walkway was topped with sandstone from the campus quarry. This quarry is still a landmark of the campus between the Inner and Outer Ring Roads, just west of Morrison Hall. In fact, all of the early roads built on this campus were topped with sandstone from this quarry. The use of coarse sandstone to top the roads was a great way to minimise erosion and keep the dust down.

The Canary Island Palms that line the walkway were planted in the mid 1920's. They framed the road perfectly when the Duke of Gloucester drove up between them to officially visit the campus on December 4, 1934 and are still a magnificent feature of the walkway.

In 1969, the campus underwent its most extensive restructure to date with the closure of the road and the development of the central campus precinct. The entire redevelopment took three years to complete.

Dining Hall

The new Dining Hall was the first major building constructed after World War II and replaced the previous two dining halls. But it nearly didn’t happen. In 1964, whilst under construction, half of it collapsed! As it slowly fell to the north, workmen installing the roof had no choice but to ride it down and jump clear at just the right moment.

Past students tell of the rules associated with eating in this hall during the 60s and 70s. On Sundays, white shirts and College ties were compulsory. Other days, you could leave the tie off, but the shirt had to be collared.

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Environmental Park

The Environmental Park encompasses Lake Galletly and Lake Lenor, and provides:

  • A natural outdoor teaching and research space;
  • Improved aesthetics at UQ Gatton Campus;
  • A facility that promotes the reputation and integration of the University into the community;
  • A cultural link between teaching and learning and the local ecology; and
  • A habitat for a range of native animals.

The Environmental Park includes two bird hides, walking tracks, boardwalks and importantly a range of plant species to provide different habitats for fauna endemic to the region.

Greening Lockyer, a partnership of Powerlink and the Councils of Gatton, Esk and Laidley were the major sponsors of Stage II of the Environmental Park.

Lake Galletly was created in 1980 specifically as a habitat and haven for waterbirds. It is named after Jim Galletly, a former student in the 1940s who later spent thirty-three years employed as a member of the staff. The lake was constructed under Jim’s direction by students studying the Wilderness Reserves and Wildlife program. The most important part of the lake’s design is the island in the middle. The water around the island provides a barrier against feral cats and other predators allowing the birds to nest and breed in relative safety.

Before the construction of this lake a small earth dam existed in this location. This too was the work of Jim Galletly. Way back in the 1950s he carried out surveys and designed a drainage system that would take excess rainwater away from the main campus. He also designed and installed drainage in the paddocks to prevent them becoming waterlogged in times of high rainfall.

Lake Lenor is named after Jim Galletly's Wife.

Bird Species

Farm Square

The first part of Farm Square to be built was the western wing in 1899. The stables were open on both sides with a tramline running up the middle. Be sure to take a look in the western wing. The tramline and the fodder truck that ran on it are still there.

Also, be sure to look up at the ceiling and see the fodder chutes at both ends of the wing. In the early days, fodder was stored in the roof. When these chutes were opened, fodder fell down into the truck. This was then easily transported to the stables by pushing the truck up the tramline. Mangers were fitted with hinged feed boxes that would revolve into the corridor to allow them to be filled with ease.

In 1900, the eastern side of the complex was built opposite the western wing. A year later, the southern wing was built joining with the eastern and western sides. Finally, the northern wing was built in 1904 and hence the building became known as ‘Farm Square’. Former student, Ron Swanwick, describes it by saying, “if it was in a South American setting, it would have been ideal for conducting executions by firing squad.

Many past students recall Farm Square as the nerve centre of the campus when it was the Queensland Agricultural College. It was the assembly point where students would gather on a Friday to consult the rosters listed on the notice boards for the following week's classes, what they would be doing and where they were supposed to be.

In 1986, Farm Square underwent major renovations. Horse washing facilities were installed and the entire roof replaced. But the most dramatic change was the demolition of the northern wing and its replacement with the concrete structure you see today. Many people are still upset by what they see as the destruction of a significant heritage building. They believe the whole feel of the place has been irreversibly damaged. You be the judge. Regardless though, what is left of the original building is stunning enough to impress even the harshest critic.


A student who attended the Campus during the 1960s tells the story of a very unusual flag which was hoisted up the flagpole each Monday morning. At that time, the Campus ran on two timetables: the ‘Week A” timetable, and the ‘Week B’ timetable. Lectures and activities were held at different times and venues depending on what week it was. In order that students wouldn’t forget where they were meant to be, a flag printed with the letters ‘A” or ‘B’ would be flown from the flagpole, so there was no excuse for turning up at the wrong place!

Donated to the Campus by the Bundaberg Branch of the Old Boys Association in 1935, it proudly stood in front of the Foundation Building for its first fifty years. Now guarding the Avenue of Palms, the flagpole has held its present post since 1985.

Foundation Building

It’s August 22, 1896. A single stump is set in a paddock, and history is born. Today, this stump still supports the Foundation Building.

July 9, 1897, the Foundation Building waits in anticipation to meet her first students as a train pulls into Lawes Railway Siding carrying twenty three young men. But it’s work before pleasure and ploughing needs to be done. At lunchtime they finally meet. The verandah is their classroom, their dorms are upstairs and down while the Principal worked above.

The students move out in1932, to Pitt dormitory (completed in Mid 1932) and Thynne (completed mid 1933).

Then it’s March 1942, and the US Army requisitions the Campus to be a General Hospital. The Foundation Building becomes the Headquarters and staff are given one day to pack up and move out. Whne the Americans leave in July 1944, it is administration staff who move back in and stay until 1976.

Today, standing as a testament to the vision of her creators, her legacy continues as an elegant conference and function centre. If the spirit of UQ Gatton Campus has a face, it is the Foundation Building.

Hinwood's Mural

The significance of the Queensland Agricultural College to the development of agriculture in Queensland will never be forgotten, for now it is set in stone.

It was 1987, this Campus was turning ninety and Australia’s Bicentenary was just one year away. Acclaimed artist, Rlhyl Hinwood, had been commissioned to design and carve this amazing sculpture to recognise both of these significant milestones in Australia’s history. Entitled ‘The Adaptation of Agriculture in Queensland’ this work of art is often the backdrop for family photos when graduating students celebrate their achievement.

Unveiled on July 24, 1987, by the Governor of Queensland, Sir Walter Campbell, this sculpture uses finely crafted imagery to tell the story of the important role this Campus has played in the development of agriculture, animals studies and horticulture in Queensland as an educational institution.

Rlhyl’s work is famed throughout Australia and other stunning works she has accomplished can be seen in the Great Court of the University’s Campus at St Lucia in Brisbane.


The Foundation Building's little sister, the Principal's Residence was born in 1897. Built specifically to house the principal, she has become acquainted with eight of them over her years.

But like most buildings on this Campus, necessity has forced her to wear many hats. When World War II came to Gatton, and the Campus became a general hospital, she was used as offices for the senior medical staff. But when they left, she went back to housing the principal, in fact, after the War, the same principal stayed for 29 years.

Yet she must have missed caring for the sick and injured, because from 1973 to 1981 she became the new student hospital.

However, the world was about to change again. Queensland’s first female students to live on an Agricultural College Campus needed somewhere to sleep, Now she wasn’t just part of history, she was making history! Since then, thousands of female students have earned a tertiary qualification on this Campus.

Morrison Hall

For many ‘old timers’ this building will always be the Old Shelton Dormitory. From 1936, she housed fifty six strapping young larrikins every year for over fifty years.

Imagine the practical jokes she has seen! A bed gently carried down the stairs at midnight to give the occupant a rude awakening in the morning. A broom handle thrown into a transformer from the veranda and blacking out the whole campus. She has seen it all.

But she has also seen misery. From 1942 to 1944, Shelton Dormitory was the hospital ward for wounded American troops fresh from the Coral Sea. The nightmares of War replaced the sweet dreams of students.

Then, after the Americans left, for the next forty eight years War was exchanged for dancing, boxing, recreation and the return of good times. The final student moved out in 1992 and Shelton Dormitory was renamed Morrison Hall. Even though she lives on as the home of student services, she must still miss the fun filled spirits of those strapping young larrikins.


The UQ Gatton Museum has fascinating photographs and artefacts on display featuring the development of the Campus and community under its identities as the Queensland Agricultural College, Queensland Agricultural High School and College and since 1990 as The University of Queensland, Gatton Campus.

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Staff & Graduates Club

The UQ Gatton Staff and Graduates Club aims to enhance the social network of all Staff and Research Higher Degree students of the campus community at Gatton. The Club is located underneath the Foundation Building (8118) and membership is $20 per year.

The main functions include evening trading on Fridays, and occasional special events. Venue hire for private/workplace functions can also be arranged.

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Taurudicus is the name of the bull that has been standing out the front of the Animal Industries building at the head of the Central Walkway since 1967. Created by Queensland sculptor Len Shillam and partly funded by the UQ Gatton Past Students Association (which at the time was named the Queensland Agricultural College Old Boys Association), he is quite the literal load of bull weighing in at five tones. Built to approximately 130% life size, he is made of concrete and marble chips.

Taurudicus is symbolic of the scientific advances that took place in the Queensland Beef Industry before 1967, those that have occurred since and those that will take place in the future. Representing a hybrid beef bull, he displays the characteristics of a number of different breeds culminating in a new breed modified by technology and scientific progress.

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Tom Graham Cricket Oval and Grandstand

Like the Memorial Swimming Pool and Lake Galletly, this cricket oval was built by College students. It is named after Tom Graham who was a student here in the 1920s and excelled in the sports of athletics, cricket and football. He continued on at the College after graduation as a member of staff from 1928 until 1934.

War Memorial Swimming Pool

Funded by the College Welfare Fund, which was initiated by the staff in 1944, the hole for the pool was dug by students, staff and volunteers. Many stories have been told over the years of how digging the pool was used as a punishment for inappropriate behaviour. These are true, but in reality, it was more a team effort from all of the staff and students in the early 50s. The actual job of digging the pool was done by shovels, picks and tractor scoops and almost everybody on the campus helped out at some stage.

Originally an Olympic-size swimming pool, it was completed in 1954, but the dressing sheds and grandstand weren't completed until 1959, bringing to an end a project that started thirteen years earlier. As the campus' memorial to World War II, the pool was the venue for the college ANZAC services until 1992.

The pool reverted to 25 metres in 2011, as part of the UQ Sport Gatton Fitness and Aquatic Centre development.

Water Tower

The Water Tower was built in 1928-29 in response to a succession of droughts and the need for a reliable water supply. A weir was built on Lockyer Creek and water pumped into two tanks on the creek bank. From these tanks, water was then pumped up the hill into the Water Tower, which has a capacity of 136,000 litres.

At the time of construction, it was the tallest artificial structure in the Lockyer valley and the only building in Gatton visible from Toowoomba, 60km away.

Wind Tunnel

The wind tunnel is just one of a handful in the world which can handle active ingredient pesticides and the only active one which can handle such sprays for simulated aerial application scenarios. It is used to measure droplet size for diverse spray types from agriculture to vector control, mining applications and waste water treatment, using three different laser measurement systems unique to UQ within Australia (a Phase Doppler, Sympatec laser diffraction and Oxford Laser imaging system). We use a different working section to also measure the drift potential of sprays to show the effects of changing nozzle, adjuvant or application conditions. The advantage of wind tunnels over field studies is that we can control the variables closely and contain the spray while sampling.

The wind tunnel is used to conduct studies for clients within and beyond Australia, particularly the U.S. and we are working closely with regulatory authorities and applicators/ registrants to help optimise the application of sprays to protect crops and human health while also protecting the environment. It is also a regular feature of our training courses for government aind industry with.

Solar Farm

The Global Change Institute is shaping a brighter future for Australia’s renewable energy capability with the construction of the largest solar research facility in the southern hemisphere at UQ’s Gatton campus. The 3.275 megawatt research station is a pilot plant for new and existing large-scale Australian solar projects, and will look at ways to better integrate solar with conventional electricity grids. The project is a collaboration between UQ Solar, US photovoltaic manufacturer First Solar and AGL, and is expected to advance solar generation technologies that will strengthen the industry’s position in Australia’s energy mix.

Geothermal Cooling Tower

The University of Queensland’s (UQ) Geothermal Centre (QGECE) has developed an innovative new cooling tower technology to reduce water consumption and the cost of generating electricity in regional Australia. Remote Australian communities need cost effective small scale power generation options. Small scale thermal power plants (1-10 MW) using renewable sources (geothermal, biomass and solar thermal) could meet this need, and these technologies require cooling towers that work efficiently at small scale without consuming excessive amounts of water.

The QGECE has developed a polymer-steel cooling tower that has a flexible design allowing operation across the range of dry, wet, and hybrid cooling modes. This tower has a modular construction that is easily deployable to remote sites and dramatically cheaper than concrete cooling towers, particularly at small scales. The demonstration unit, built at the UQ Gatton Campus is large enough to contribute to the efficient supply of power for up to 1000 people. The QGECE hybrid cooling tower at Gatton is a world first research facility with profound implications for power generation.

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Walkway Cafe

The Walkway Cafe offers a wide variety of snacks, sweet’s and sit down lunches. Enjoy a cappuccino made to your liking or a cold beverage on a hot day. There are so many delicious treats to choose from, you will be back for your next visit in no time.

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