About Us

Your Hosts

Gilberton Outback Retreat is a small family run business, welcoming guests to experience the outback way of life on an 88,000 acre 7th generation family working cattle station.  Rob and Lyn French are the current landholders and your hosts.  We take time to understand our guests and love to tailor your stay to meet your needs.  We take the approach that you will ‘come as a guest and leave as a friend’. 

Our Story

Family history and daily life on a working cattle station…

Our family’s focus has always been on environmental sustainability with looking after the land an absolute priority.   The Martell family ventured to Gilberton in 1869 as teamsters, bringing goods into the gold-fields of Gilberton. They quickly saw the opportunity and opened up a butcher shop, and a pub in partnership with Dixon that they called the Rising Sun.  They also took up the crown land and Gilberton Station was established. Now seven generations later, members of the extended family are still the custodians, looking after country – country they love and cherish. Experience the pastoral history of the French family’s 150 years on Gilberton. Having four generations still on the land working together is a truly amazing adventure.

Due to ongoing drought in the early 2000’s the family decided to diversify into tourism, wanting to develop an authentic, luxurious and intimate experience that showcases the unique blend of a multi-generational working cattle station and nature reserve.  We also want to help educate people about life on the land and the paddock to plate concept.

Our aim is to make your stay the opportunity of a lifetime, where you get to experience life in the outback staying in 5 star luxury.  All you have to do is choose your outback adventure.  We look after the rest! 

Gilberton’s Gold

The history of the Gilberton Goldfield will leave you intrigued about why people would walk pushing a wheelbarrow for 6 weeks just to reach a new town to find the yellow cake (gold). 

So how did it start? Richard Daintree was commissioned by the government of the time to go out and find new goldfields and grazing/pastoral country. In 1868, Richard Daintree camped at Gilberton on a spring, now called Little 8 Mile, for 3 months while exploring the area. During this time he discovered gold and named many creeks and gullies.  He also named Mt Nation, which is in full view of the Gilberton Homestead.

Premature and not wholly accurate reports created a gold rush to the Gilbert River goldfield, becoming an overnight city called Gilberton. Reports tell us that by 1869 there were over 3,000 people living on the goldfields. The recorded amount of gold from the fields was 113.59 kg gold bullion but it is likely that there would have been lot more due to the fact that people were leaving for other new goldfields and the Chinese were selling their gold privately.  For a time, Chinese had to pay £3 for a miners’ right and £10 for business licences, in contrast with Europeans who paid 10 shillings.  So many Chinese were coming to the Queensland goldfields at the time that the Queensland Government introduced a Poll Tax restricting the numbers. The first place this tax was applied was Gilberton in 1870.

The goldfield had another life in 1875, crushing ore to approximately106.90 kg of gold bullion. Mining continued intermittently up until the early 1940’s. In 1914, the government called upon Mr Ball to do a comprehensive report on the mineral deposits of the area to see if it warranted a railway line being built from Almaden-Forsayth onto Gilberton, however this never eventuated.

Our second stay in the retreat.  What a magical place to unwind.  Thank you Lyn & Rob (and family!) for your warm hospitality.  Thanks for sharing this special place with us …. We hope to come back.  Xx

Sonia and Jean-Marc

Cairns, May 2017

Awards and Accreditations

Not enough words in the Alphabet to describe our stay, but here goes …..

Amazingly Awesome

Beautiful Blooms

Casually Calming

Divinely Decadent

Etched Evermore

Fabulous Family

Golden Gains

Happy Hideaway

Interesting Insights

Jovial Jokes

Kangaroos & Kookaburras

Larrikin Lore

Many Moos

Nearly a Nugget

Opulent Order

Peaceful Paradise

Quiet Quintessence

Rustic Realm

Sumptuous Supper

Tall Tales

Utterly Understated

Views, Views

Whiskey & Water

Xtreme Xtras

Yes Ynot

Zero Zebras

Fiona and Kevin Taske

June 2019