Birdsville is a small town located in the Channel Country of Central West Queensland, Australia. It is 1,590 kilometres (990 mi) west of the state capital, Brisbane, and 720 kilometres (450 mi) south of the city of Mount Isa. Birdsville is on the edge of the Simpson Desert, approximately 174 km east of Poeppel Corner and the climate is very arid. At the 2011 census, Birdsville had a population of 295, but the current population is a little over 100.
The Birdsville Hotel, adjacent to the apron of Birdsville Airport.
Birdsville was known as Diamantina Crossing from 1881. There are a number of different theories as to the origin of the name. One is that the name derives from the prolific bird life in the district. The other is that a store was established by Percy Bird and George Field and they called it Birdfield. However, in 1882, G. and R. Wills, of Adelaide, misaddressed a consignment of goods as going to Birdsville and that name stuck. Another is that a man named Burt established a store and called it Burtsville which corrupted to Birdsville. Whatever its origin, by 1882, the name Birdsville was in common use and was formalised at the proclamation of town in 1887.
Birdsville Post Office opened on 1 January 1883.
Birdsville was located at the border of South Australia and Queensland to collect tolls from the droves of cattle being moved interstate.
Many of Australia's pioneering European explorers travelled through the Birdsville district well before the town was gazetted. Monuments to acknowledge the feats of Captain Charles Sturt, Burke & Wills, Cecil Madigan and others are located throughout the town.
Birdsville had a population of over 300 at the turn of the twentieth century. It had three hotels, a cordial factory, blacksmith store, market gardens, police and customs facilities but after Federation in 1901, the tolls were abolished and the town fell into decline to about 50 people throughout the 1950s. Livestock trade kept the region alive and in recent times tourism has joined cattle as the major industry in the area.