The Queensland Stock Route Network
Approximately 72 000 kilometres of Queensland’s roads are declared as stock routes. Together with dedicated reserves for travelling stock, they make up the 2.6 million hectare Queensland stock route network (SRN).
The SRN is primarily used by the pastoral industry as an alternative to transporting stock by rail or road, and for pasture for emergency agistment and long-term grazing. It is used by utility companies to provide powerlines, pipelines and telecommunications; and by the community generally for road transport, and recreational and other purposes such as beekeeping.
The Queensland SRN is also highly valued for its environmental values and iconic cultural heritage, which are recognised nationally as being of significance.
About Queensland's Stock Route Network
Stock routes have been integral to Queensland's rural history for more than 150 years and have been celebrated in the writing of Henry Lawson and Banjo Paterson. The stock routes evolved in conjunction with early colonial exploration and the pastoral occupation of land, as settlers drove stock along corridors that followed river systems, Indigenous trade routes and trails.
For this reason, much of the stock route network contains significant cultural heritage, including stock yards, wooden farming equipment, old bridges and pontoons, windmills, Chinese market gardens, grave sites, camp sites, scarred and carved trees, and rock shelters. The Combo Waterhole at Winton is thought to be the location of the story that inspired Waltzing Matilda.
Between the 1860s and 1890s, established stock routes were recognised and dedicated as roads.
Stock route use declined in the 1950s and 1960s with the introduction of road improvement schemes that made road transport a more convenient and efficient way to transport stock. In more recent times, however, high fuel prices and continuing drought has meant that the SRN has provided both a cost-effective alternative for transporting stock, and vital pasture for emergency grazing.
The stock route network also has significant environmental value, in part because its unique interconnectedness and geographical extent allows for the movement of wildlife. Many stock routes are in highly cleared landscapes and are adjacent to waterways, providing habitat for threatened species. The Enhancing Biodiversity Hotspots along Western Queensland Stock Routes report identifies 47 biodiversity hotspots on Western Queensland stock routes and other sites of high nature conservation and geological value.
- Difference between stock routes and roads
- Reserves for travelling stock
- Downloading documents
All stock routes are roads but not all roads are stock routes.
Roads—whether surveyed or unsurveyed—are areas of land dedicated for public use. The term includes: a street, esplanade, reserve for esplanade, highway, pathway, thoroughfare, track or stock route; any part of a road; and a bridge, causeway, culvert or other works in, on, over, or under a road.
The term 'road' does not only refer to the carriageway; it encompasses the entire area of land set apart for road purposes—from property boundary to property boundary. The road corridor ('road reserve') in rural areas generally varies in width from 60–1600 metres, and might not have an asphalt carriageway.
'Stock routes' are corridors on roads, reserves, pastoral leases and unallocated state land along which stock are driven on foot. A stock route may be either a road that is declared to be a stock route under the Land Protection Regulation 2003, or it may simply be any route that has customarily been used for walking stock. Stock routes have no separate title or tenure from the underlying road reserve, and the same roads are used for walking and agisting stock, and vehicular transport.
A road may be dedicated either as State land (under s. 94 of the Land Act 1994), or freehold land (under s. 51 of the Land Title Act 1994); and may be closed either temporarily, or permanently (under the Land Act 1994). If a stock route's declaration is removed, however, the road remains but is no longer referred to as a 'stock route'.
The ownership of roads rests with the State; however, their management, control and regulation lie with the relevant local government, unless the road is a State-controlled road under the Transport Infrastructure Act 1994 and administered by the Department of Transport and Main Roads.
A 'reserve for travelling stock' is a reserve under the Land Act 1994 (PDF)* designated for travelling stock purposes. Reserves for travelling stock include:
- camping and water reserves
- pasture reserves
- trucking reserves.
Reserves for travelling stock are managed as part of the network, with most under the management of local government as trustee.
View a map of the declared stock routes (PDF, 607K)* across Queensland.
A Queensland Stock Routes and Water Points map, which identifies watering points throughout the Queensland SRN, can be purchased from a Department of Natural Resources and Mines regional service centre. Call 13 QGOV (13 74 68) for your nearest centre.
Anyone considering using the stock route network or following the map should contact the appropriate local government to confirm:
- permit requirements
- condition of the stock routes and water facilities
Contact the relevant local government for stock route permits, water facility agreements and general stock route enquiries.
For all other enquiries, contact:
Stock Route Management Unit
Phone: (07) 3330 6170
Fax: (07) 3330 6236
If you have difficulty downloading any of the documents or would like a copy sent via mail, email Stock Route Management Unit or phone (07) 3330 6170.
* Requires Adobe Reader
Last updated 9 November 2012