The Tree of Knowledge Festival, now known as the TOK Festival, is held annually to celebrate the historical events that occurred in and around the Tree of Knowledge in Barcaldine in 1891.
In 2017 it will be held over six days and six nights from 26 April through to 1 May and will see the biggest program offered since the festival began in 2007.
The 2016 Festival celebrated 125 years since the 1891 shearers’ strike, focusing on the significance of the milestone for Barcaldine and the labour movement in Australia. The Premier of Queensland, Annastacia Palaszczuk travelled and stayed in town, Bob Hawke, past Prime Minister of Australia and many others with an interest in labour politics, attended the May Day Celebrations.
The 2017 festival program features concerts, dances, street theatre, writers’ panels, film festival, comedy sessions, acoustic jams, social dialogue and debate, circus performances and workshops, late night cabarets, parades and special events including the signature parade event, a reenactment of the 1891 Torchlight March.
This year, the new venue for the festival is the TOK Precinct. Queensland Rail have agreed to lease the now unused old ticket office of the Railway Station and the grounds behind the station for the Festival. For the first time, all events on the program will be held in the immediate vicinity of the Tree of Knowledge memorial in the railway reserve.
Within the TOK Precinct you will find markets, food and drink stalls, side shows, street performers, circus acts, the strike camp camping ground, bars, workshop sites, music and dance performances.
The festival appeals to a diverse audience of all ages. Visitors include those who take the opportunity to ‘go home’ to Barcaldine – the ex-pats, tourists travelling through the district at the start of the outback tourist season, and of course, locals and their families from across the nearby area.
The festival is a place you can learn about the significant history of the town and the 1891 events, experience and learn about the area’s Indigenous people and their culture, and immerse yourself in a central western Queensland way of life.
Barcaldine is a place where history inspires, the town shines and memories continue to be made.
We hope you will join us.
TOK Precinct map.