Rich in history, Winton was originally known as Pelican Waterhole and was first settled in 1875. The town is best known as the place that AB (Banjo) Paterson wrote Waltzing Matilda in 1895, whilst at Dagworth Station outside Winton. The first performance of the ballad was reported to be at Winton's North Gregory Hotel on 6 April of the same year.
Winton is recognised as the 'home' of Australian bush poetry, hosting the annual Bronze Swagman Award, one of the country's most prestigious literary awards. Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Service (Qantas), Australia's national airline was formed in Winton in November, 1920 and its first board meeting was held in the Winton Club on 21 February 1921.
Winton is famous for its water supply which thrusts its way to the earth's surface from three artesian bores, all around 1,200 metres deep emerging at a temperature of 83 degrees Celsius. The water is sourced from the Great Artesian Basin which provides water for most of Australia's Outback.
Winton is in the centre of Matilda Country, a diverse region in which vast Mitchell Grass plains are broken by magnificent coloured gorges, ridges and jump-ups. Visitors to the region will be amazed by the vastness of the plains and the undulating nature of the landscape. There is a wide variety of animal and bird life in the area, generally best seen around dusk and dawn on minor roads and tracks.
Day trips from Winton take visitors to Opalton, one of the oldest opal fields in Queensland; Combo Waterhole, where the swaggie of 'Waltzing Matilda' fame reputedly met his fate; the vintage sandstone homestead of Old Cork Station; and Lark Quarry, where 93 million year-old fossils capture a dinosaur stampede.
There is a coach connection from the Spirit of the Outback to Longreach, servicing Winton.