Gracemere is a town and a locality in the Rockhampton Region. At the 2011 census, Gracemere had a population of 8,401.
Gracemere is approximately 9 kilometres west of the city of Rockhampton. Because of the proximity of the town to Rockhampton, Gracemere has become a dormitory town, with many residents commuting the short distance to work in the city.
The area was first explored by Europeans in 1853, when the Archer brothers arrived looking for pastures for their sheep. They settled by a small lake, originally called "Farris" or Padgole lagoon which was named Gracemere in 1855. The name Gracemere comes from "Grace", the name of Thomas Archer's wife and "mere" which is a Scottish term for lake. They also located a suitable landing point for supplies on the nearby Fitzroy River, which later became Rockhampton.
In July 1855, Charles and Thomas Archer with around 30 other people including four Native Police troopers, four Aboriginal men from the Burnett River and their wives, left the Archer's Eidsvold pastoral station in order to construct the Gracemere run. The Commissioner for Crown Lands in the Leichhardt region, William Wiseman, joined them to help locate the most appropriate area, and in August 1855 they determined the area next to the current Gracemere lagoon was best. The local Aboriginals led by "King Harold" wished to obtain peaceful conditions with the Archer brothers and in return for allowing the indigenous people to live in the area, the Archer brothers utilised Harold's people to aid in forcibly "restraining the outside blacks" who were resisting British occupation.
> Gracemere State School opened on 20 February 1871.
> Waraburra State School opening on 27 January 1987
> St Paul's Catholic Primary School opening on 27 January 1988.
Gracemere has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:
> 234 Gracemere Road: Gracemere Homestead
Gracemere, as a commuter town, has a relatively low level of industry compared to Rockhampton. Grazing, particularly of beef cattle, has long been the significant industry of the area. The Gracemere Saleyards, located on the western side of the town, is the largest cattle sales facility in the Southern Hemisphere, and has recently undergone a multimillion-dollar upgrade.
A new shopping centre, Gracemere Shoppingworld, located just off the Capricorn Highway has just opened with Woolworths and Best and Less operating as the anchor stores along with up to 20 speciality stores. Gracemere is rapidly expanding with around 10 new housing estates under construction.
There are three schools servicing Gracemere. They are all primary, one Catholic and two public. These are St. Pauls Gracemere, Gracemere State School and Waraburra State School. Currently, all high school students travel by a free bus service into Rockhampton to continue their senior education.
The Rockhampton Regional Council operate a public library in Gracemere at 1 Ranger Street. This library opened in August 2017. It was welcomed by local residents as Gracemere was formerly in the Shire of Fitzroy which had no public libraries.
The Gracemere branch of the Queensland Country Women's Association meets at the Guide Hut in James Street.
As a dormitory town, most Gracemerians either drive a private vehicle or catch a bus to the city. The bus service, Youngs Bus, operates hourly between the town centre and South Gracemere. Traffic can peak at around 8:00 in the morning, with traffic being banked up for around 1-1.5 kilometers on weekdays. Infrastructure problems are now becoming a reality for the small town and surrounding Capricorn Highway towns.
This has resulted in constant roadworks and upgrades of the highway road quality. This mass influx of vehicles has resulted in a proposal for a new western bypass for Rockhampton, to send vehicles right to the northern suburbs, avoiding inner city congestion and delay, as this is where many Gracemerians work.
> Anna Meares
OAM and twice gold medallist at the Commonwealth Games and Olympic Games
> Kerrie Meares
Twice gold medallist at the Commonwealth Games for cycling. She is the older sister of Anna Meares