Boonah via White Swamp

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Sign for Historic Area of White Swamp, an area in New South Wales near the Queensland border. Once a village containing two general stores, a post office, school, cemetery, and a timber mill, but is now all but disappeared

White Swamp is an area in New South Wales, near the Queensland and New South Wales border. White Swamp was once a village containing two general stores, a post office, school, cemetery, and a timber mill. The timber industry ended, and White Swamp disappeared from the maps, with the exception of White Swamp Road and a graveyard.

In 2006, NSW Government reinstated White Swamp as a rural place. White Swamp Cemetery was restored in 2000 replacing the timber post and wire fence with a steel fence. White Swamp gets its name from the white flower head of the foxtail grass which was prevalent in the valley.

The road where the brown sign is located is Head Gate Rd. It is a gravel road that quickly brings you to the Queensland/New South Wales border crossing, and the border fence. The fence was built when the colony of Queensland separated from the colony of New South Wales in 1859, stretching 346km from Point Danger to the junction of the Dunmaresq and Tenterfield Rivers.

The border was proposed to be across the 29′ south latitude all the way across, where the western part of the border is today. This would have put the border on the coast somewhere between Ballina and Evans Head. NSW was not happy to lose so many of the already established farming lands north of the proposed border, so the wonky border we have today was surveyed and agreed to between the states. From the junction of the Dunmaresq and Tenterfield Rivers, the border follows the Dunmaresq River to near Goondiwindi, then the Macintyre River until it joins to the Barwon River, which it follows until it reaches the 29′ south latitude.

The border fence is still an agricultural quarantine border, and you cross a cattle grid at the fence line. I remember the first time crossing the border here, before Queensland had fixed speed cameras, seeing the camera box pointing directly at the border crossing. Even on a dirt road there are already speed cameras in NSW. It isn’t a speed camera of course but monitors for cattle being transported over the border.

Continue following Head Gate Rd all the way to the end. You will cross the Koreelah Creek, then shortly come to White Swamp Road. Just before getting to White Swamp Road, you come down the hill to Koreelah Creek, then driving along it before crossing over. At White Swamp Road, turn left to head towards Boonah. There is a yellow sign to point you in the right direction.

The gravel road returns to bitumen shortly later, but only lasts for a short way. Near the end of the bitumen is the white sign “Historic Area of White Swamp”, just before a dry causeway. The land is open here, and there is a nice view of Wilsons Peak. We didn’t notice any other signs and hadn’t known at the time the history of White Swamp, so we didn’t see or look for the graveyard.

Keep following White Swamp Rd. It eventually enters Koreelah State Forest, and to another border crossing with a camera, and then onto Carneys Creek Rd. Instead of following Carneys Creek Road out to Boonah Rathdowney Rd, we turned right at Fletcher Rd then left onto Burnett Creek Rd to go passed Maroon Dam, as we were heading towards Rathdowney back to Flanagan Reserve where we were camping.

The drive is a nice alternative to the steep descent at Treviot Gap, and some nice country scenery, although it is a longer drive. Knowing where the graveyard is to be able to stop and have a look would be good to add more to driving this way.

The marker for this destination has been placed at where the brown sign is located, rather than the destination itself, as it is more of a drive than a destination. If the gravesite is located then it will be shifted to there.

To get there:

Brown sign for Boonah Via White SwampFrom Teviot Falls, head towards Queen Mary Falls for 5.9km. Turn left into Gate Head Rd, where the brown sign is.

From Queen Mary Falls, head towards Carrs Lookout, and follow Spring Creek Road for 15km, passing Carrs Lookout on the way. Turn right into Gate Head Rd, where the brown sign is.

Cost: Free

Hours: Anytime

Toilets: No

Bins: No

Tables: No

Seating: No

Water: No

Food: No

Playground: No



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