Gatton is the largest town and business centre of the Lockyer Valley. It is a progressive and vibrant town centred around primary production and agriculture. Officially gazetted in 1855, Gatton has a culturally diverse population of approximately 7,000 and enjoys a laidback, country lifestyle. The town is dependent on the local farming community, supplying machinery, parts, irrigation equipment as well as essential products and services.
For the visitor, Gatton has everything required for a comfortable stay. With three major supermarkets, a busy main shopping district, various dining options, sporting facilities, parks and reserves, Gatton is a convenient base to explore the surrounding area.
In November 2009, Gatton's Lockyer Valley Cultural Centre opened to the public. A purpose built facility, the centre houses a library, art gallery, cafe, function and conference rooms, Visitor Information Centre, the Lockyer Legends Hall of Fame and the Queensland Transport Museum. Located on the bank of beautiful Lake Apex, take a stroll on the circular walking track to experience a wealth of bird life, the Dry Rainforest arboretum and the Lights on the Hill Trucking memorial. A short walk from the Cultural Centre is the Gatton and District Historical Society Museum. The museum village is open every Sunday between 1.30pm and 4.00pm or by appointment.
Gatton has a rich agricultural heritage which is reflected in the University of Queensland's Gatton Campus. The college opened in 1897 as the Queensland Agricultural College, concluding a 20-year debate by farmers and politicians on ways to boost agricultural production in Queensland. Guests at the opening ceremony would have marvelled to know the college would metamorphose into a high school, U.S. Army field hospital, college of advanced education and finally a campus of The University of Queensland. Located only 5km from Gatton, the campus is recognised for excellence in teaching and research, as well as being home to heritage listed historic buildings.
One intriguing chapter in Gatton's history is the infamous 'Gatton Murders' or 'Gatton Tragedy'. On Boxing Day, 1898 the worst crime perpetrated throughout any of the colonies of the day was committed. The victims, 29-year old Michael Murphy and his younger sisters Norah, 27 and Ellen, 18 were found brutally murdered in a field two kilometres from town. Well liked and popular, the sibling murder was a national sensation. Many articles and books have been written offering various theories, however no perpetrator has ever been convicted of the crime. The graves of Michael, Norah (Honara) and Ellen (Theresa) Murphy can be visited at Gatton cemetery.