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When the area around Gladstone was settled in the 1870's, two towns were established - the private township of Gladstone east of the railway line and the Government township of Booyoolie to the west. When the two officially merged in 1940 the unified town took the name Gladstone.
Gladstone was notorious as one of a couple of places where a major problem with the Australia rail network was most apparent. Due to lack of cooperation and foresight the states laid different gauge tracks when building their rail networks. This caused great inconvenience when the lines met, as they did at Gladstone. Three different gauges, narrow, standard and broad, all came together here in one siding. Today, train spotters come to see this unusual occurrence, as it is possible to see all three lines side by side at the railway yards.