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McKinlay is named for the nearby McKinlay River—itself named for its European discoverer, the Scottish explorer John McKinlay who passed by the area in 1861. Gold was discovered in the area in 1872 and a letter receiving office was opened in 1883. The town was surveyed and allotments sold in 1888. The offices of the Shire of McKinlay were located in the town until 1930 when they were relocated to Julia Creek. Mackinlay Post Office opened on 1 April 1894 and was renamed McKinlay in 1909.
Courtesy of Wikipedia