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History

Prairie State School was opened 14 April 1894 making it one of the oldest schools in Queensland. The township of Prairie is situated on the Flinders Highway about 332 kilometres west of Townsville and 44 kilometres east of Hughenden with a population of approximately 50 people.

The name Prairie would seem to come from the 'prairie-like' setting. The early explorer William Landsborough passed through this area in 1862. He camped by Jardine's Creek (named after the explorer Alexander Jardine), viewed Jardine's Valley and named Tower Hill. The earliest occupants were the Dalleburra tribe and then came the settlers. Many sheep and cattle properties were developed around the area and helped the town to progress. Original properties, which still retain their names, some are Lammermoor, Glendower, Redcliffe, Strathglass and Uanda. In the 1870's, Prairie was a main horse change centre for Cobb & Co. Coaches. The coach line came from Pentland and followed the Christison track to Hughenden.

Prairie is part of the Great Northern Railway Line that links Townsville and Mount Isa. Construction of the line began in 1878 under contract by Messrs Mackenzie and Sutherland. Several hundred men, many whom were Irish immigrants, worked on this line. Some settled in the area and around Prairie on September 6 1887 and Hughenden on October 19 the same year. The opening of the railway line was a great help to the farmers in the transportation of wool.

The Prairie of today is a much quieter place.