There’s a sign in Isisford that declares the town is not in the middle of nowhere, it’s the middle of everywhere! I like that thinking ….
Isisford is located 1,237 km north-west of Brisbane and 117 km south of Longreach.
As you enter the town, from Ilfracombe in the north, you are welcomed by a giant sculpture of a Yellow Belly fish, with the sign proudly declaring Isisford is the home of the Yellow Belly.
An annual fishing competition is held on the last weekend of July, attracting competitors from all over Australia to catch good old Yellowbelly. This is a great weekend for fishing enthusiasts.
The Barcoo River is the venue for the fishing frenzy but it also offers some wonderful riverside camping. I stopped for a couple of days but could easily have stayed much longer and there were people there who came for a couple of months. I’m not sure if this sign at my campsite was a memorial for someone or to mark the spot for future reference but I was happy to claim it as my own for the time I was there.
You may be familiar with the Banjo Paterson poem of The Bush Christening which starts
On the outer Barcoo where the churches are few
And men of religion are scanty,
But Isisford is also well known for it’s ancient ancestor of today’s crocodilians and the Interpretation Centre shows a short film and has displays of the history of the area.
The Outer Barcoo Interpretive Centre, a museum depicting the evolution of nature from 100 million years ago to the present. The feature attraction is a life-sized replica model of Isisfordia Duncani, who lived around 98 million years ago. He was the evolutionary ancestor of all crocodilians that live on earth today. The Bulldog fish was also found in the area dating back 100 million years ago. There are displays of local fauna, flora, reptiles, birds and fossils that have lived in this region, as well as formation of the Great Artesian Basin and general history of the Isisford area. An audio-visual presentation portrays life in the Isisford area since settlement. The film depicts Isisford as being ‘the middle of everywhere’. The building also houses 60 seat theatrette, cafeteria, local arts and craft displays.
The town itself is typical of many outback towns that has seen a declining population and disappearance of services although there’s still a couple of pubs and the Information Centre serves a decent coffee. Banjo Paterson has certainly made his mark in this town!
For only $3 a night there are two wonderful camps at Isisford. The Barcoo River camp that I stayed at is right on the edge of town and has drinking water, toilet and dump point at its entry. Oma Waterhole is a few kms out of town, also $3 a night. This charge includes the use of showers in the town park.
Isisford might seem like it’s in the middle of nowhere but to the locals it’s the middle of everywhere! To me it’s the perfect place to return to for a relaxing stay on the Barcoo River.