Billy Moore may have been born in Tenterfield but there was never any doubt he belonged north of the border.
The Maroons stalwart charged down the players’ tunnel towards the footy field in Game One of the 1995 State of Origin Series roaring that now infamous cry, “Queenslander!”
Almost 25 years later, more than 40 Wallangarra State School students, dressed in the state’s synonymous colour, called out the same cry to pay homage to the NRL legend and to celebrate their small Queensland town – the third most southerly in Queensland.
Funded by the State Government’s Works for Queensland (W4Q) program, a new larger than life Queenslander sign was inspired by Moore and is aimed at improving entry signage into Queensland at the New South Wales border.
“Wallangarra local and footy hero Billy Moore coined the term a long time ago and we all know what it means – Queensland is a wonderful place to live and visit and there’s something special about being Queenslanders,” Southern Downs Mayor Tracy Dobie said.
Born in Tenterfield, Moore grew up in Wallangarra and was schooled in Stanthorpe before representing Queensland and Australia in rugby league in the 1980s and 90s.
Minister for Local Government, Racing and Multicultural Affairs Stirling Hinchliffe said the State Government was pleased to be able to provide funding for the project.
“The Palaszczuk Government is proud to back regional communities through our $600 million Works for Queensland program, which has supported more than 14,000 jobs right across Queensland,” Mr Hinchliffe said.
The $150,000 project will also mean improvements to the travel rest areas near the existing Wallangarra and Tenterfield train sign including additional landscaping, picnic shelters, barbecues and seating.
“The Queenslander sign was a priority project of Wallangarra’s Urban Design Framework and Council secured funding through Works for Queensland to build the sign on the border to celebrate community spirit and proudly welcome visitors to our region, to Queensland’s beautiful Southern Downs and Granite Belt.” Cr Dobie said.
“It is unique, fun and vibrant and a wonderful addition to our tourist attractions.
“Improvement to the area will encourage visitors to the region to stop in town and there have already been a number of tourists who have stopped to have their picture taken with the new sign.
“Its completion could not have come at a better time with the maroons beating the blues in the first game of this year’s State of Origin series.
“It was wonderful to be able to share the new Queenslander sign with some very excited and proud Wallangarra State School students once it was complete.”
Cr Dobie said new urban design frameworks are also underway in Leyburn and Maryvale.
“These frameworks are about enhancing our region and building upon our small communities’ existing character to ensure the Southern Downs and Granite Belt continues to be one of the best places to live, work and visit in Queensland.”
The new Queenslander sign was unveiled last week and an official opening will be hosted in the near future.