West of Eidsvold on the Eidsvold Theodore road, the small town of Cracow appears, approximately 485 km north-west of Brisbane. Claims abound how Cracow got its name - from the sound a whip makes i.e. 'Cracko' or after the Polish city of Kraków.
In 1875, gold was discovered by fossickers and then the discovery of a nugget in 1916 by an Aboriginal man. In 1931, the Golden Plateau Mine was established and operated continuously until 1976. At the peak of gold mining in the town, businesses included five cafes, a barber shop, billiard saloon, two butchers, a picture theatre and a soft drink factory. The closure of the mine led to many deserted houses and shops and Cracow became what is known today, as a 'ghost town'.
Fred Brophy's Boxing Troupe
Today, locals estimate the population to be around 30 with the only operating business being The Cracow Hotel, owned by Fred Brophy. Fred and his famous Boxing Troupe toured the countryside for many years. Fred also owns the Kilkivan Hotel, west of Gympie. A country style meal and yarns around the bar at night are a good way to get to know the locals.
Residents travel to Theodore or Eidsvold for work. We met John, originally from Ipswich, Queensland. John fell in love with Cracow and now says he would never leave.
Cracow attracts many tourists including 'grey-nomads' on their trek around Australia. Cracow Mining Heritage Centre supplies powered camping sites free of charge with toilet and shower facilities. The centre also has a museum full of interesting displays and stories to read. A video showing how gold was found in Cracow runs for approximately 10 minutes.
Buildings from yesterday-year stand devoid of paint, yet names on the buildings are etched into the wood preserving the history to this day. One would not be crazy for thinking or visualising John Wayne riding on horseback down the main street of the town.
In 2004, Newcrest Mining re-established gold mining in the town; the townsfolk hoping gold can once again bring the town back to its former glory.
Queensland is a beautiful State, however there is so much we do not know about unless we are prepared to travel. Cracow is one of those treasures on our historic timeline.
I was reading your article on the Town of Cracow
Just a little bit of history for the town it was my grandfather Aboriginal man Johnny Nipps who found the gold in Cracow not once but twice back in 1931. It's a shame that he's name is not displayed on the walls of the Keeping Place and some history of this man, after all he saved the station and the Cracow family and showed the prospected Charles Lambert and party were to find the gold
So in fact he found gold but was not allow to reap the rewards of it.