Western Downs area



Located 20 minutes west of Toowoomba, Oakey offers teachers and their families the perfect place to grow, with a real country experience and genuine country hospitality. This great little town has a big heart and prides itself on being friendly and welcoming to newcomers. You’ll find everything you need in the town including grocery shops, restaurants, cafes, newsagents, hairdressers, post office and much more.

Learn more about what it’s like to live in Oakey on the Toowoomba Regional Council website.

Oakey State School offers students and teachers a supportive and future-oriented learning environment sustained by quality teaching practices, experienced staff and modern, well-resourced facilities. Teachers at the school incorporate the best of traditional, well-proven techniques with up-to-date, modern practices and resources. Their Special Education Program (SEP) offers an alternate learning program for children from within the school, and others throughout the Oakey Cluster.

Oakey State High School is a rural school with great student and staff spirit and a wonderful sense of community directed at getting the best outcomes for the young people of Oakey and its surrounding districts. Its staff are passionate about catering for the individual needs, abilities and interests of our students and provide a disciplined and focused learning environment.

Oakey fun fact

Oakey is the birthplace of Bernborough, one of Australia’s most famous racehorses who competed from 1941 to 1946. You’ll find a life-size bronze statue commemorating Bernborough located outside of the council centre in Oakey.


Head north-west along the Warrego Highway from Toowoomba and you’ll stumble upon the vibrant regional hub of Dalby. This pretty little town in the Western Downs comes complete with wide streets, manicured gardens, an attractive park in the centre of town, a bustling main street and a welcoming community. It’s also a great place to get back to nature, with pleasant picnic spots beside the river and its proximity to the pristine Bunya Mountains National Park and Lake Broadwater Conservation Park. On your weekends, take a drive to explore your new local area with the Bunya Mountains Drive, Lake Broadwater Drive, Warra Drive and Dingo Barrier Fence Drive. Check out the Southern Queensland Country website for 10 other things you can do in your spare time when you teach in Dalby.

To find out what it's like to live in this community, check out the Western Downs Regional Council's welcome to Dalby guide.

Dalby State School and Dalby South State School are the 2 local primary schools in town. Both schools support students from Dalby and surrounding areas and provide quality learning experiences for their students. Their teachers and school leaders set high standards and are passionate about ensuring that the Prep to Year 6 students of Dalby are set up for success as they enter their secondary schooling.

Dalby State High School is recognised as one of Queensland’s most innovative and progressive secondary schools. This reputation comes from a stimulating, well-ordered, safe and supportive environment. The school boasts a Trade Training Centre, Languages Centre, science block, dramatic arts space and a farm (known as the Bunya boarding campus), which provides students a high-quality and modern teaching and learning experience for its students and teachers. In 2018, they were nominated for the Showcase Award for Excellence in Rural and Remote Education. Learn more about their nomination for their work at the Bunya campus on YouTube (transcript).

Dalby fun fact

Originally home to the Barungam Aboriginal people, the town was named as The Crossing in 1841, as the point where Myall Creek could be crossed. It was then renamed as Dalby in 1853 by the surveyor, Captain Samuel Perry, allegedly after the tiny village of the same name located on the west coast of the Isle of Man, off the northwest coast of England.


 Dalby photo gallery


Half an hour north-west of Dalby is the small community of Jandowae, a charming town filled with classic Queensland architecture, heritage shop fronts and friendly locals. There is a lot of support within the community and a strong community spirit, making it a great place to live and teach for both singles and families. The town is surrounded by some of Queensland’s richest and most productive agricultural land, where you’ll find wheat, sorghum, oats, barley, sunflower, safflower, millet and linseed being grown.

For more information about living in Jandowae, including things to do in the local area, check out the Western Downs Regional Council's welcome to Jandowae guide.

Jandowae Prep–10 State School supports students from the local town and the surrounding farms. The school has built an inclusive and compassionate community of teachers, students and parents which provides the ideal environment for fostering individual strengths, meeting student needs and challenging the abilities of each student. In addition to ensuring that teachers at the school gain the latest in professional development, the school has fostered a team approach to teaching to ensure the best educational outcomes for each student.



Jandowae fun fact

Jandowae is located at the start of the second longest man-made structure in the world, the Wild Dog Barrier Fence, (also known as the Dingo Fence). Erected during the 1880s to keep dingos out and protect sheep flocks, the fence stretches 5,614km, ending west of Eyre Peninsula on the cliffs of the Nullarbor Plains. It passes through Queensland, New South Wales and South Australia and at one stage, stretched up to 8,000km long!


What do fishing, fossicking and fruit festivals have in common? You can find them in the Western Downs town of Chinchilla, located 80km west of Dalby and 300km west of Brisbane. Known as the Melon Capital, Chinchilla produces approximately 25% of Australia’s watermelons, rockmelons and honeydew melons and is famous for its biennial festival celebrating this important industry. There are a range of other local events held here throughout the year, including races, an annual show and camp draft, all of which are prime opportunities for you to soak up the country atmosphere. While you’re there, try your hand at fossicking in Chinchilla, with petrified wood in abundance, much sought after by lapidary enthusiasts for its quality and colour.

Check out the Western Downs Regional Council's welcome to Chinchilla guide for everything you need to know about living in this colourful town and watch the video (transcript) to hear from Kate who moved her family to Chinchilla in 2018.

Chinchilla State School is a vibrant and prosperous school with great students, staff and parents. The school has a strong focus on literacy and numeracy, with teaching and learning supported by a support teacher as well as a guidance officer and student support committee. The school grounds and buildings have been revitalised recently to ensure a modern teaching and learning environment.

Chinchilla State High School’s motto, ‘Learning together for a happy and productive future’, underpins a positive school culture that has been forged upon a strong sense of community support and high standards of uniform and personal discipline. Staff members at the school are enthusiastic in their work and there is a strong focus on student wellbeing and a supportive school environment. The school is proud of its history of academic achievement, social connection and student development. They recognise that this would not have been possible without the local people, teachers, staff and students who value education as an enormous benefit to individuals, society and to the country and look for teachers who exhibit this ethos so that they may continue this legacy.



Chinchilla fun fact

Chinchilla won a national competition in 2018 to create the Next Big Thing as a new tourist attraction. Their 8-metre long watermelon was installed later that year.​

 Chinchilla photo gallery


Soak up the chorus of birds as they fly across the candy-coloured skies of sunset, while the sun slowly dips below the horizon, illuminating the water of Tara Lagoon. If you’re after dreamy sunsets, then Tara, at the start of Queensland’s Sunset Way and only 3 and a half hours from Brisbane, should be on your radar. As a new teacher in town, you’ll fall in love with the warm, friendly atmosphere and welcoming locals who are always happy to stop and chat. There are plenty of opportunities to get to know them better too, with a range of recreational activities available (tennis courts, golf course, bowls club and a swimming pool) and community events (including sheepdog trials, sheering competitions, rodeos, country show, race meetings and the annual camel races) offering you the chance to become more involved in the local community. If you’re interested in making Tara your next home, check out this local’s guide on the Experience Western Downs website for more.

The local school, Tara Shire State College is at the heart of the community and offers a seamless education for local students from Prep to Year 12. Staff at the school are passionate about providing quality learning experiences that are relevant and appropriate to their students. Thanks to local community support, approximately one third of senior students undertake a school-based apprenticeship or traineeship across a broad range of industries. All students benefit from a range of extra-curricular activities, including sport, instrumental music, agriculture, camps and eisteddfods.

Last updated 13 April 2023