Corfield & Fitzmaurice Store, Winton

News of the day

Longreach Leader, Wednesday 2 December 1936, page 67

Amongst the big stores of the west of Queensland, Corfield & Fitzmaurice Ltd. is probably the most famous and one of the oldest. Wherever the old hands meet a mention of "Corfields" throws their minds back to the pioneering days of last century. Mr. Corfield and his partner Mr. Fitzmaurice arrived with their teams from Charters Towers on the site of what was to be Winton at the end of October 1878, and he found a man named Bob Allen and another Tom Lynett there before him and the first store was a skeleton shed covered by tarpaulins. Corfield then secured wool loading to take to Townsville, where he arranged for further stores and returned. When he had made Winton again, Fitzmaurice left for Townsville to bring back other stores, also his wife and child. Fitzmaurice, in Corfield's absence had sold all the first lot of stores, except the grog, and as the bad characters of the place threatened to take it, Corfield sold it to Allen the publican, who jumped at the chance to secure a supply.


The current 1916 building is the latest in a succession of Corfield and Fitzmaurice stores on the same site which established the main street of Winton.

The first pastoral run in the area was taken up around 1866 and the first lease was granted in 1873. Robert Allen, who also acted as an unofficial postmaster, had established a store and a basic hotel at Pelican Water Hole in 1876. This area proved to be subject to flooding, so when a site was surveyed for a township in 1878, a place about a mile away was selected. It was called Winton, after Allen's home in England. William Corfield, who had been in the carrying business since the mid 1860s, formed a partnership with Robert Fitzmaurice to set up a store and hotel in the proposed new town.

"Corfield and Fitzmaurice" remained a general store and warehouse supplying the surrounding area with a diverse range of goods and almost anything could be ordered through them. Orders were despatched to Brisbane and returned via rail or road. The store proper housed grocery, household goods and drapery sections and sheds to the rear of the store held liquor, grain and farming implements. A sample room was also provided in one of these sheds where commercial travellers could display their goods. Corfield and Fitzmaurice became a well-known and important store in the area and shopping there was also a social occasion for families from outlying areas.

The Corfield and Fitzmaurice Store ceased trading in 1987. In April 1994 the building reopened as the Corfield and Fitzmaurice Winton Tourism Development Centre Association. It is used to display and sell locally-made craft items and features a display based on the store's history. The store was entered on the Queensland Heritage Register in 1992


Discover more