The Bjelke-Petersen family may have been responsible for putting the town of Kingaroy on the map. Jules Lund visited Australia's peanut capital to find out more about it.
The Peanut Van
Robbie and Chris Patch have been selling locally grown peanuts in every-which-way you can imagine since 1969. Robbie is a self-confessed authority on the subject and was happy to tell Jules a thing or two.
The peanut is not a true nut it is actually a legume which self-pollinates so just one plant is necessary for production. Peanuts grow well in local red volcanic soil which lies up to 100m deep and contains all the minerals peanuts love. People come from near and far to purchase everything from raw peanuts to delicious peanut ice-cream.
Kingaroy's first hotel, the Carollee Hotel, was built in 1904. It was destroyed by fire and rebuilt in 1913 and today the Federation-style building stands with just minor changes to its exterior.
They serve huge country pub meals for just $10 and while you are having a drink you can taste a great range of local peanuts, flavoured with lime and chilli or hickory smoked. If you fancy a stop-over there are 14 rooms for rent.
Home for over 80 years to the Bjelke-Petersen family, Bethany Farm's claim to fame might just be Lady Flo's pumpkin scones. That all came about during Sir Joh's 19-year reign as premier of Queensland. When people visited, Sir Joh always asked his wife to whip up a batch of her scones to enjoy with a cup of tea. True country hospitality.
Visitors are still welcome at the farm which is now run by John Bjelke-Petersen. Before his life in politics, Sir Joh was a pioneer in the peanut growing industry and son John will tell you about his farming and political careers during one of the farm tours. You even get to visit the office which has lots of memorabilia and photographs.
If you would like to stay, there are four cosy, modern cottages high on Bethany Farm's hill. They are private and have wide views across Kingaroy and up to the Bunya Mountains.
Cottages are self-contained with lounge/dining room, reverse-cycle air-conditioning, fireplace, modern kitchen and a barbecue is available. Queen bedrooms are separate and there is a fold-out sofa for an extra guest.
Sir Joh's young grandson, Sam, has a pet rock business which has become an attraction in its own right. He is certainly showing the Bjelke-Petersen entrepreneurship!
The Kingaroy Peanut Festival is held every August.
Kingaroy, a 2.5-hour drive north-west of Brisbane.
The Peanut Van is open from 8.30am to 5.30pm every day.
Bethany Cottages start at $120 a night twin-share. Breakfast is included. Romance packages include accommodation, champagne, chocolates and deluxe breakfast basket. Ninety-minute tours, including afternoon tea, are $10 per person. They run twice a week on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 2pm or other times for groups with prior arrangement.
Virgin Blue has flights to Brisbane.
One-way fares from:
- Sydney $85
- Canberra $119
- Hobart $139
- Melbourne $139
- Adelaide $150
- Darwin $199
- Perth $299
There are limited seats which may not be available at peak times or on all flights. Fares quoted are one-way booked on the Internet. An extra $15 will be charged for phone bookings. A credit card surcharge of an additional $2 per person per one-way flight is applicable. Fares are correct at April 9, 2009 and are subject to change.
Prices correct at April 9, 2009.
For further information
Ph: 136 789
The Peanut Van
77 Kingaroy Street
Ph: (07) 4162 8400
4 King Street
Ph: (07) 4162 1055
Mt Wooroolin Lookout
Mt Wooroolin Street
Bethany Farm Cottages and Tour
218 Peterson Drive
Ph: (07) 4162 7046
Lady Bjelke-Petersen's pumpkin scones
1 tablespoon butter
¼ cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup of cold mashed pumpkin
2 cups of self-raising flour
Beat butter, sugar and salt with electric mixer. Add egg, then pumpkin and stir in flour. Turn onto floured board and cut. Place on tray on top shelf of 225-250°C oven and bake for 15-20 minutes.
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