Driving the Beef Road

Queensland Road Trip, May 2022

Let’s go on a road trip! Come with us to Townsville and west on the Savannah Way to Karumba on an adventure in far north Queensland.

Leaving Townsville, we began the long trek west to the Gulf of Carpentaria. The first 134 kilometres of the journey were on the Hervey Range Developmental Road, a wide two lane highway in excellent condition. 

It wasn’t always so good. Just past Stockyard Creek, we came across a memorial and plaque commemorating the completion of the road in 2005. 

In 1864, when Townsville was a new settlement, a rough track was forged west from the coast up and over Hervey Range to Georgetown. 

In the 1960s the Federal Government devised a plan to seal the roads right around the country of most importance to the burgeoning beef industry. Being the most direct route from the Gulf and Burdekin districts to Townsville, Hervey Range Road was included in the plan and construction started in 1971. 

When the Beef Roads Scheme finished in 1975, 120 kilometres of the road were still unsealed. In the early 1990s work began once more and the road was finally completed in 2005.

We were glad the road up the range was not still that rough dirt track from 1864.

Note: The name for the range and road is Hervey Range or Hervey’s Range, depending on which map I’ve looked at. I’ve chosen to continue using Hervey Range. 

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