Roma is a town, locality and the administrative centre in the Maranoa Region, Queensland, Australia. The town was incorporated in 1867 and is named after Lady Diamantina Bowen (née di Roma), the wife of Sir George Bowen, the Governor of Queensland at the time. At the 2016 census, Roma had a population of 6,848.
Roma is in the Maranoa district of South West Queensland, Australia, 515 km (320 mi) by rail WNW of Brisbane. It is situated at the junction of the Warrego and Carnarvon highways. It is the centre of a rich pastoral and wheat-growing district.
Prior the European settlement the Aboriginal peoples of the Mandandanji Nation occupied this region.
Roma was named after Lady Diamantina Bowen (Contessa Diamantina di Roma), wife of the first Governor of Queensland, George Bowen, in 1867. In 1863 Samuel Symons Bassett brought Queensland's vine cuttings to Roma and established the Romaville Winery and a century later, Roma was the site of Australia's first oil and gas discoveries.
Captain Starlight, a cattle rustler, was tried and acquitted in the Roma Courthouse in February 1873. No successful conviction for cattle rustling has been made in Roma.
Roma State School, the first school in Roma, opened on 21 March 1870 and closed on 31 December 1986.
St John's School was established by the Sisters of Mercy in 1881.
The Roma State College opened on 1 January 2006 as an amalgamation of Roma Junior School and Roma Middle School, and the addition of a new senior component.
Roma has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:
- 75 Arthur Street: State Butchers Shop
- 42 Bungil Street: Roma Government Complex (former Roma State School)
- 38–44 Hawthorne Street: Hibernian Hall
- McDowall Street: Roma Court House and Police Buildings
- 86 McDowell Street: Hunter's Emporium
- 77 Northern Road: Romavilla Winery
- Warrego Highway, Bungeworgorai: Mount Abundance Homestead
- Wyndham Street: War Memorial and Heroes Avenue
Roma has a humid subtropical climate, which gets enough precipitation to avoid the semi-arid climate. Its location on the far south of the Carnarvon Range at an elevation of 299 metres above sea level means that it is cooler and wetter than the plains to the south and west, while being warmer and drier than areas to the north and east.
Temperatures in Roma range from 34 °C in summer to 20 °C in winter and winter minimums can drop below freezing; however, it seldom gets colder than −3 °C. Rainfall is mild and distributed fairly evenly throughout the year, with an annual average of 587.9 mm (23.15 in), however it peaks in summer due to frequent showers and thunderstorms. Roma is usually too far inland to experience the influence of tropical cyclones and monsoonal rain depressions, however there are exceptions, and these systems have caused significant flooding in the town.
Extremes have ranged from 45.8 °C (115.2 °F) to −5.8 °C (23.4 °F).
|Climate data for Roma (Roma Airport 1985–2014)|
|Record high °C (°F)||45.8
|Average high °C (°F)||34.3
|Average low °C (°F)||20.9
|Record low °C (°F)||11.2
|Average rainfall mm (inches)||71.5
|Average rainy days (≥ 0.2mm)||6.6||7.7||4.5||3.8||4.8||4.8||4.2||3.7||4.3||5.7||7.4||8.2||65.7|
|Average relative humidity (%)||34||41||34||33||37||41||38||31||27||28||32||33||34|
|Source: Bureau of Meteorology|
The town is situated on Bungil Creek, a tributary of the Condamine River. In March 2010, Roma experienced its worst floods in over 100 years. Flooding also occurred in April 2011, a year of record rainfall in Roma. In early February 2012, Roma was devastated by its worst floods in history, eclipsing the level reached in 2010; 444 homes were inundated, twice as many that were flooded in the two previous years.
Having experienced three successive years of flooding, in May 2012, one insurer, Suncorp, announced it would not issue new policies to Roma residents, unless action was taken to mitigate the flood risk in Roma.
Industry and economy
Roma is the major provisional centre for the Maranoa District, South West Queensland for government and industry business. It is on the western fringe of the Surat Basin energy / resources boom.
The Maranoa's agriculture industry is worth approximately $620 million annually, 64.3% being generated from crops. 58.7% of businesses in the Maranoa are in the agriculture, forestry and fishing sector, which employs 32.7% of the region's workforce. 2005 was a record year for Roma saleyards processing 390,000 head of cattle. Roma is home to the largest store cattle saleyards in the Southern Hemisphere. We sell heaps and offer tours on saledays, which are Tuesday (for the big sales) and Thursday (for the fat cattle)  Forestry plantations include Hardwood and Cypress Pines. Roma and the Maranoa region is home to Australia's most active native Cypress Pine sawmilling.
Oil and Gas
In 1906 natural gas was used for lighting in Roma. The industry has expanded as more reserves were discovered.
Origin Energy's Spring Gully Coal Seam Gas Development is about 80 kilometres (50 mi) north of Roma and its projects include an 87 kilometres (54 mi) gas pipeline to Roma's neighbour town of Wallumbilla to connect with the 434 kilometres (270 mi) Roma-to-Brisbane gas pipeline hub there. Origin Energy is proposing Spring Gully Power Station as an $870 Million, 1,000 MW power station that will provide electricity to South-East Queensland. With a base at the Spring Gully CSG site, the power station will have the benefit of being close to the source of gas and able to use the waste-water left over from the other CSG operations.
Santos GLNG, is developing CSG fields in the district and is undertaking the project on behalf of a joint venture arrangement with Santos Limited, Petroliam Nasional Berhad (PETRONAS), Total, and Korean Gas Corporation (KOGAS). The projects are spatially intensive and include production and monitoring wells, underground gas storage, injection wells, fixed above-ground gas field facilities, water management infrastructure, and above and below-ground gas and water pipelines.
The groundbreaking study, known as the Roma Managed Aquifer Recharge Study, is the first of its kind in Australia. It is also considered experimental in nature as the risks are largely unknown. The Roma CSG Field pilot trial (Hermitage) Stage 4 is in operation (Completed Q4 2012) and Roma CSG Field (The Bend) Stage 4 operation is due to commence Q3/Q4 2014. The project will allow for the injection of up to 24 ML/d of treated coal seam gas water into the Gubberamunda Sandstone aquifer for up to 20 years
In 2010, a SANTOS project study investigated the possibility of introducing treated CSG produce water into Roma's existing underground aquifer which supplies the town's water needs, including drinking water  Water bores have been shut down and hence been restarted at nearby Wallumbilla due to methane being detected in the Gubberamunda Sandstone aquifer (2014). Bore water for the town is obtained from the Artesian Basin.
Roma has a relatively low unemployment rate of 2.9% in 2004.
McDowell Street looking east, 1915.
However, only 68.5% of the people living in Roma are employed full-time, with 21.9% working on a part-time basis only.
4ZR is Roma's local radio station, broadcasting on 1476 AM. The Western Star is Roma's local newspaper.
Local tourist attractions include the Big Rig and Oil and Gas Museum, Romavilla Winery and Roma Saleyards. The winery is the oldest in Queensland. To the north of the town is Carnarvon Gorge in Carnarvon National Park. Over the Easter period, Roma holds an Easter in the Country event. The Roma Show is also held around Easter.
Hotels, pubs, and churches feature prominently near the centre of town. The ten hotels are within easy walking distance with most adjacent to another hotel. St Paul's Anglican Church which is part of the Anglican Diocese of Brisbane, is a copy of a 13th Century English Church in the shape of crucifix.
Roma has a range of facilities open to the general public. These include a public library, swimming pool, golf course, bowling green, Bassett Park showground, visitor information centre and a number of sporting clubs and civic facilities.
The Roma Public Library is situated with the Roma Community Arts Centre located at 38-44 Hawthorne Street and is part of the Maranoa Regional Council Library Service. The Maranoa Regional Council Library Service is part of the Rural Libraries Queensland service with online resources and library collections found at the Rural Libraries Queensland sebsite. Public WiFi is provided.
The Roma branch of the Queensland Country Women's Association has its rooms at 57 Arthur Street.
The Roma Airport has regular flights from Brisbane.
There are two schools in Roma, one is a state government run school called Roma State College, the other one is a non-government religious school called St. John's School.
Roma State College
Roma State College is a government primary and secondary (Early Childhood-12) school for boys and girls (26.5655°S 148.7781°E). In 2017, the school had an enrolment of 871 students with 86 teachers (76 full-time equivalent) and 59 non-teaching staff (45 full-time equivalent). The college operates from three separate campuses:
- Junior Campus at 28 Bowen Street (26.5736°S 148.7875°E)
- Middle Campus at Cottell Street (26.5655°S 148.7781°E)
- Senior Campus at Timbury Street (26.5670°S 148.7792°E)
A special education program embracing the full range of disabilities is available at all campuses.
St. John's School
St John's School is a Roman Catholic primary and secondary (Prep-12) school for boys and girls at Bowen Street (26.5724°S 148.7808°E). In 2017, the school had an enrolment of 697 students with 61 teachers (55 full-time equivalent) and 27 non-teaching staff (19 full-time equivalent).
'Cities' is a rugby league team that plays in the Roma and District rugby league football competition. Both their B grade and A grade sides recently enjoy back to back premierships with the a grade side winning undefeated in 2017, Darren Lockyer was once captain of this team, and it was in this team that he was then scouted for the Brisbane Broncos. The 'Roma Tomatoes' mixed-gender Touch Rugby team was founded in 2009.
Roma has a rugby union team which compete in the Darling Downs Rugby Union competition, against such teams as the University of Southern Queensland Rugby Union Club, Toowoomba Rangers Rugby Union Club, Toowoomba City Rugby Club, Roma Echidnas, the Condamine Cods, the Dalby Wheatmen, the Goondiwindi Emus, the Warwick Water Rats and the University of Queensland Rugby Union Club (Gatton Campus).
During World War 2, Roma was the location of RAAF No.22 Inland Aircraft Fuel Depot (IAFD), completed in 1942 and closed on 29 August 1944. Usually consisting of 4 tanks, 31 fuel depots were built across Australia for the storage and supply of aircraft fuel for the RAAF and the US Army Air Forces at a total cost of £900,000 ($1,800,000).
- Arthur Beetson, Australian rugby league captain and an "Immortal"
- Willie Carne, Australian rugby league international
- Albert Fuller Ellis, phosphate prospector
- Malcolm Farr, Political journalist and commentator
- Wally Fullerton-Smith, Australian rugby league international
- Ray Higgs, Australian rugby league international
- Patrick Holland, novelist
- Darren Lockyer, Australian rugby league captain
- Fabian "Fabe" McCarthy, Australian rugby union international
- Ray Meagher, actor, and amateur rugby player
- Russell Lynch,known to be Alfs(Ray) first victim
- Dominic Miller, Australian legendary folklore hero and lead singer of Rocketsmiths
- Bruce Scott, politician
- Brent Tate, Australian rugby league international
- Levi Richardson,Australian legend not known for playing football