I have recently participated in a tagalong of motorhomes as we made our way to Blackall in Queensland for our Solos Rally. I started my journey to catch up with the tagalong in Melbourne on the 13th April 2019 and it finished at the Blackall Solos Rally on the 10th May travelling just under 2,500kms.
This poem is about some of our adventures along the way. Sometimes there were only a few of us and in other places the group grew to just under 100 motorhomes and campervans. You can probably imagine it was a lot of fun!
The aborigines have their Rainbow Serpent that travels across the land
And it gathers tales and legends of inland seas and sand,
And lofty mountain ranges and fertile camping places,
And they tell the stories of its way in dance and painted faces.
The Solos have their tagalong that travels across the land
And it gathers tales and legends of their happy nomad band
That met the Man from Snowy River and in Wagga Stoned the Crow
And everywhere it travels, the stories tend to grow.
I caught up with them at Wyalong out at the Poppet Head Mine
Where they started their morning with yoga, and then danced in a line.
At Bogan Weir we dressed the part in our daggiest bogan wear,
Then it was off to dusty Nakadoo and a wonderful campfire there.
The camp was split in Lightning Ridge and our growing tribe was scattered
But we made the most of the tourist sites and saw the ones that mattered.
Some of us went to the opal fields and dined at the Pub in the Scrub
While others enjoyed Mel & Suzie’s place and savoured their camp oven grub.
We camped along the Minor Ballone just out of Dirranbandi
And discovered the showers at the truck stop, and boy, did they come in handy!
The bakery was popular, with vanilla slices and pies,
The coffee was good and the jam drops were huge so we feasted with more than our eyes.
Each night we entertained ourselves with happy hour till late
Gary would often bring out his guitar, and Jean would bring us all up to date
With what was planned for tomorrow, and “Will we go to the pub for tea?”
Ad the numbers would be counted to warn the next town what they might see.
The cook at the Bollon Hotel walked out when he heard there’d be 80 or more
But the publican rallied the staff around and provided food galore,
So we all turned up in our Op Shop Glam looking so gorgeously fine
And the locals came out to gawk at us – and we drank the pub out of wine!
Well, the word got passed on the bush telegraph of this mad solo crowd on the move
So Wyandra planned a night on their town and the locals all got in the groove
They bought in food and closed the road so we put on our dancing shoes
But what the pub forgot to do was buy in more supplies of booze!
So the pub ran dry by half past five, they were out of bubbles and wine
But how could anyone get upset when they’d looked after us so fine.
Our travelling band was rolling along with Charleville our next port of call
And a fancy dinner was held in the Bush Camp and more fun was had by all.
See, we all wore our undies as ‘overs’, like Clark Kent when he becomes Superman,
And just like super heroes, raised money from an auction we ran.
On our last big night together, the sausage sizzle added some more
$500 was raised for the cancer ward, now that’s worth raising money for.
The muster begins on the weekend and our tagalong comes to an end
We’ll have one final night in Tambo, camped out at Stubby Bend
For months we have travelled together making memories and friendships to last
Thanks to Jean and her Adventure Team, this whole journey has been a blast.
Were all doing the Aussie Salute, waving away the sticky little bush flies! They just don’t leave you alone here in Blackall.
We’ve bought every fly net available in town and they’ve had to bring in more supplies. People that swore they’d never be seen dead wearing a fly net are sporting them like the latest fashion statement.
I absolutely swear by my ‘fly ointment ‘ that I bought in Alice Springs in 2015. A little dab around the ears and the flies literally buzz off!
And the gifts for the volunteers at our rally here was this very handy little fly switch.
Everyone is doing the Aussie Salute!
Now I find out from Wikipedia that it is also called the Barcoo salute! Where are we? At Blackall on the Barcoo River! We’re in the thick of bush fly country!
I was fortunate to attend the Man From Snowy River Festival at Corryong this year. The Festival is inspired by Banjo Paterson’s poem, The Man From Snowy River and now the Festival has inspired me to write about my experience there. I’ve called it The Corryong Sound!
The Corryong Sound.
The sound of the whips as they flick and they crack,
The whinny of horses that are camped out the back,
The smoke from the campfires that light the campground
And line dancing music, it’s the Corryong sound.
The cooking of damper, each one its own taste
Some made with cheese, and others port laced.
The rain’s getting heavy and sogging the ground
And I’ve looked for a raincoat – there’s none to be found!
So it’s out with the brolly to view the events
And feel sorry for campers who are only in tents.
There’s a chill in the air, and the atmosphere’s damp
It’s not the best weather to enjoy a bush camp.
But the company’s friendly and the programme is good
And the truck comes around every day selling wood
And they’re re-enacting Jack Riley’s great ride
That chased the rogue colt down the steep mountainside
Where he ran with the brumbies, so wild and so free
But this kind of life was not meant to be
He was cut from the run and forced to the stockade
And this story was how Riley’s legend was made
Then Banjo related the story in rhyme
And the legend lives on long after the time
That the word went around that the young colt had gone
And the horsemen had gathered to chase him down.
Now each year in Corryong there’s a great celebration
Of the ride that has captured the heart of the nation.
It’s open for all, we’re all welcomed to town
And the campground’s abuzz with the Corryong sound
Of whip cracking, whinnying, country music and fun
So for four days we’ll party until the Festival’s done.
I’m still on the Victorian Silo Art Trail but this time I’m in North Eastern Victoria, roughly in the area from Benalla to Yarrawonga and bordering the High Country.
I based myself at Broken Creek Bush Camp, about 15 kms to the west of Benalla (more about that at the end of the blog).
There’s double value at Goorambat because not only are the silos painted but the little Uniting Church has a beautiful mural behind the altar. As part of the 2018 Wall to Wall festival, Goorambat silos were painted by famed iconic Melbourne Street artist Dvate, and Sophia at the Uniting Church was painted by Adnate.
Continuing along the Devenish Road we do in fact arrive at Devenish which features my favourite silos on this particular trail. The artwork is of both a First World War nurse and a modern day combat medic.
The Devenish Silosartwork was unveiled on Anzac Day Eve 2018 and coincides with the 100 year centenary of the end of the First World War. Fifty young men and women from the Devenish community enlisted in military service for the First World War.
Well here is a bonus I didn’t expect! The little town of St James is in the process of joining the Silo Art Trail and I happened to pass through when artist, Tim Bowtell, was working on his massive painting of G.J Coles, who opened his first store in the area which grew into the huge Coles Supermarket chain.
I’m not sure what he has planned for the adjoining silos but he is working on them until the end of April so if you are in the area pop along and see him at work.
Tungamah was the first of these north eastern Victorian towns to sponsor Silo Art and here it is the last on my trip along the Silo Art Trail.
I’m so sorry that Tungamah doesn’t promote itself apart from the silos because it was a pretty little town with some wonderful historical buildings, green parks and gardens and well maintained homes. It is nestled on the banks of Boosey Creek and you can camp there, only a short walk to the General Store and pub. It’s a place I’d like to go back to and explore further.
The Broken Creek Bush Camp is a fabulous place to base yourself to view this particular Silo Art Trail but personally I don’t need an excuse to go back there – the hosts, the facilities and the size of the place make it a winning combination for a few days camping. It’s $7.50 per person per night, $1 for a shower, there is a massive camp kitchen and water and toilets are available. There is no power for RVs but there is power in the camp kitchen if you need to charge up the phone or computer. Friday night is pizza night and Doc and Cathy, the hosts, will be selling their delicious wood fired pizzas for $10. Yum!
A couple of weeks before arriving in this area I went to Rochester, which also boasts Silo Art. This was very special to me because the Motorhoming Club I belong to (CMCA – Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia) has a chapter called the Kingfishers and it is my home chapter. The Azure Kingfisher is our symbol as depicted on this silo.
Well, I’ve seen the Silo Art of Victoria! There is so much more to look forward to in other parts of the country and I know they will become magnets that will draw me in their direction. I look forward to you joining me on that journey, too.
I did some serious wandering during the last half of 2018 – and I may have been lost occasionally – but I justify that by saying I find a different way :)!
From my base at my nephew’s home in Bundaberg I looked at my options to arrive in Mudgee for a Solo Traveller’s Rally that I was attending in late September. One option was a pretty straight line south – a total of about 1150 kms.
But I found the other option a lot more interesting! I had nearly 3 months, after all! 🙂
This was a fabulous trip out to Western Queensland and New South Wales. The map shows my campsites and the times I stopped in caravan parks. As many place names aren’t on the map, my stopovers included Moura, in Queensland, where I camped at the Dawson River campground for about a week while I waited for a new tyre to arrive and be fitted. I did a really good job shredding one as I was coming into a little town called Banana of all places. What’s the saying – If you’re going to do something, do it well? I did! It was no hardship being at this camp ground, though, which had toilets, water and hot showers all for a donation to keep the facilities serviced. Moura has a mural on their water tower and as I left to head further west I came across the first cattle I saw on the long paddock. The drought situation only worsened!
My first caravan park stay was at Rolleston to do the washing and also catch up with a travelling friend, Rosanna, who I had met at Boulia in 2013. Other stopovers were Emerald, Jericho, Barcaldine, (to see the Tree Of Knowledge) and then Longreach where I indulged myself with some touristy things which were the subject of an earlier blog called A Tourist in Longreach.
My friend, Rosanna
Community coffee van in Rolleston
Tree of Knowledge
Enjoying the sunset cruise
All the tin mugs lined up for billy tea
After a few days on the Barcoo River in Isisford I made my way to Yaraka and a catch up with a friend I hadn’t seen for 35 years. That is also the subject of an earlier blog – Yaraka the End of the Line?
I had a wonderful week with Gerry (pictured above) and her husband Chris, who are the publicans at the Yaraka Hotel- and Chris does a fabulous trip up Mt Slocombe at sunset, which is not to be missed. Then –
Blackall – claims the original Black Stump of the Australian outback and is the venue for our Campervan & Motorhome Club of Australia Solos Rally next May
Tambo – home of the world famous (and very expensive hand made!) Tambo Teddies
Thargomindah – where Brutus pulled up on the side of the road and refused to go any further until he was rescued by my favourite mechanic, Johnno, from Cunnamulla, who worked his magic and Brutus hasn’t looked back since.
Cunnamulla – home of the Cunnamulla Fella and, as I said, the best mechanic in the world (in my humble opinion)
Barringun, on the border of Queensland and New South Wales,where the old pub burnt down and there is now a pop-up pub
Bourke – a nostalgic visit to the place I first visited in about 1970 with my then husband, Rex, whose family owned the North Bourke Hotel – another pub that burnt down, although some years ago now
Trangie – who would have thought a little place like Trangie would make it to my list of memorable places, and it was a caravan park to boot. But Andrew, the host, made it a wonderful week, made even better by my sister joining me there
A couple more lovely bush camps and it was time for the rally in Mudgee. I was pretty busy with committee work throughout the rally so didn’t get to enjoy a lot of the activities but there were about 300 motorhomes and a similar amount of people who attended and the program was chock full of activities. At the Poet’s Breakfast I recited my newest poem, Dry as Dust, for the first time. It was written as a reaction to the devastating drought throughout Queensland and New South Wales. Absolutely heart breaking scenes for mile upon mile of travelling.
With the rally over I was off to my next house sit in Casino, looking after a little dog for a fellow Solo when she went overseas. It was only a couple of weeks but gave me a great opportunity to see some of the New South Wales coast, an adventure I hadn’t had before.
I got more – and also less – than I bargained for! The rain came down in torrents for days, making it impossible to enjoy all those beautiful coastal towns along the way. It also backed up in the gutter around my pop top and seeped into every cupboard just like house gutters overflowing into the eaves and ceilings …. what a mess. Sodden toilet rolls, wet clothes, and, disaster – my deck of UNO cards got soaked and stuck together. Well, they went straight into the bin and onto the “things I want for Christmas” list! (Thank you Marion for my new cards)
The weather was fabulous after I left Casino so I really enjoyed the coastline, fell in love with Nambucca Heads, caught up with a mad bunch of Solos in Buladelah, had new curtains made for me in Maitland by Solo friend Ros, travelled with fellow Solo Lynn for a few days through Gunning and Jugiong, stayed with my cousin Gretchen in Wagga Wagga and finally arrived at Lee’s home in Albury, the site of my last house sit for the year. And then it was off to my sister’s home in Nagambie, Victoria, for Christmas and New Year.
We also shared an adventure when a winemaker friend of Marion’s asked if we’d like to go to McLarenvale in South Australia to pick up a couple of barrels of wine. This was known as the Two Tarts Wine Run and was shared with a concrete meerkat from the garden next door! I wrote about it in my blog The Travelling Tales of Monsieur M Kat.
I’m exhausted just writing about all the places I went to this year ….. this blog has made me realise what a lot of ground I covered! But none of this was done in a hurry and I loved every minute of it – well, almost ….. I could have done without all that rain. Oh, and it would have been better if Brutus hadn’t broken down but the upside of that is I found a mechanic who finally got him running better than ever before. For the first time in 3 years he hasn’t got a miss in the engine so that’s a win! Unfortunately, Cunnamulla is a long way to go for a car service 🙂
For those interested here is my Expenses Summary. My only income is the Aged Pension which is just under $24,000 a year. Thank goodness I had managed to save some of that to meet unexpected car repairs. But I’ll have to cut back on the Coffee and Cake I think!
Rego & Insurance (inc Roadside Assist)
Food & Drink Expenses
Groceries, Butcher etc
Coffee & Eating out
Hair, chemist, makeup, clothes, shoes etc
Gas Mobile Phone and Internet
Touristy things gifts, newspapers, lotto, subs
New porta potti, new laptop, new curtains, fridge repair, etc
People often ask in Facebook Forums “Can you live permanently on the road on the pension?” Answer is “Yes!” My lifestyle has certainly changed – I value things of little monetary value, my pleasure comes from the places I go and the people I meet. It’s a simple life and one I thoroughly enjoy.
I also began another blog in 2018 called The Daily Snail. So far it hasn’t been quite daily, but it gives me the opportunity to do short posts about where I am or interesting things I have seen. It takes the pressure off these ‘bigger than Ben Hur’ blogs on The Snail Trail. I hope you have a look at it and click on follow for more regular updates from me.
Xmas photo at my sisters with her dog, Jack Russell
Have you seen the bumper sticker that says “Not all who wander are lost” ? How true that is for me and my lifestyle!
My wandering this year took me a distance of 11,572 kms, spending a total $2536.45 on 1745.6 litres of fuel (ULP). Age crept up on old Brutus the Beast and he also cost me about the same amount in repairs and maintenance ($2,591.75) but I have to say that he hasn’t missed a beat since Johnno in Cunnamulla gave him a thorough tune up. (Well, we did have a bit of a hiccup in Mudgee but that’s another story!)
In January I ‘wandered’ from Bundaberg to Bingara – a distance of just over 1100 kms – to look after a dear little dog, CJ, while his owner went overseas.
I loved my time in Bingara looking after CJ and I met some lovely locals that I enjoyed Wednesday coffee mornings with and also Aqua Aerobics at the pool next door.
I took a different route back to Bundaberg, covering some roads I hadn’t been on before.
Cotton fields at Jimbour, Queensland
Statue in Texas, Queensland
Campground Jandowae, Queensland
There was time for a quick trip to Gladstone to catch up with a friend I used to play trivia with before I was due back in Bundaberg for my next house sit. What a contrast Gladstone is – from smoky industry to pristine bush and beaches.
By the end of April I was back to Bundaberg for my house sit that took me through to almost the end of June. I looked after 2 dogs – a rottweiler and pomeranian, and 3 cats, one of them being a 5 week old kitten. What a time waster that little kitten was, but I sure loved her, little Daisy Mae.
After a couple of days at home with Simon & Sandy I was off to the Sunshine Coast to house sit for relations, Larissa, Walter and their 3 boys. They have a beautiful property in the hinterland and I had cats, dogs, chooks and sheep to feed. It’s here I had a disagreement with a ram and ended up with a black and blue thigh where he butted me to the ground! I called him Rambo after that and kept my distance! The other animals were a lot friendlier.
View from my bedroom window
Guinea Fowl roosting
In this first 6 months I spent a total of $141 on accommodation – caravan parks, showgrounds and freedom (donation) camps.
My next 6 months took me much further afield and was one of the most enjoyable trips I have done in my 5 years of travelling…… but more about that, and a further breakdown of expenses, in Not All Who Wander Are Lost – Part 2.
Stay tuned ….
DISCLAIMER: The motorhome in the featured image is, unfortunately, not mine – but I did take the photo 🙂 Perhaps a bit of wishful thinking??
Beyond the black stump, the Never-Never, the back of beyond, the back of Bourke, the outback. These are all Australian expressions to indicate that point in the countryside that is the perceived boundary of civilisation. Wikipedia defines it as
…. the name for an imaginary point beyond which the country is considered remote or uncivilised, an abstract marker of the limits of established settlement.
The origin of the expression, especially in its evolved use as an imaginary marker in the landscape, is contested
I’ve spent a rainy afternoon in the library at Nambucca Heads researching all about the Black Stump, and I’m going to share that research with you in this blog …..
but I know the true story!
You see, when I was a little girl, a long, long time ago, our family lived in country Victoria. Over the back fence of our house there was a vacant block of land and in the middle of the trees there was a burnt out tree stump – The Black Stump. Even as a six year old I knew that if I went past that stump I would be lost in the never-never and no-one would ever be able to find me again. So Wikipedia and all my other information sources have got it all wrong …. but this is what they say anyway!
Blackall, in Queensland, claims the original black stump.
Read all about it!
And here’s the iconic ‘stump’ at Blackall ….
And an artist’s interpretation of the origin of the Black Stump.
Mural depicting the origin of The Black Stump, Blackall, Queensland
Historically, though, the black stump was referred to in a land dispute in 1837 around the Woolloomooloo area of Sydney, so you can see this predates the 1887 claim of Blackall.
The term “Black stump” was used as land markers on a surveyors plan and was first referred to as a boundary marker in a New South Wales court case involving a land law dispute.
….. The case refers to vacant land at Woolloomooloo where a surveyor had difficulty in ascertaining the boundaries “…and he pointed to some old stumps, which he said had been marked…..he said it ran to a black stump beyond the line, which he said had been marked…; utmost extent claimed by defendant was the black stump of which I have spoken...
As a traveller of the highways and byways of Australia there are rest stops near several Aussie towns called The Black Stump. Here’s one at Coolah, in New South Wales.
The Black Stump, Coolah, New South Wales
Coolah is one of several towns to claim bragging rights as the home of the legendary Black Stump. It was here that the colloquial saying ‘Beyond the Black Stump’, meaning ‘beyond the limits of civilisation,’ is said to have originated.
Supporting Coolah’s claim is a document showing land boundaries declared by Governor Darling in 1826. This boundary line passes through the centre of a property known as ‘Black Stump Run’. The local Aboriginal Gamilaraay people were said to have called the area ‘Weetalibah-Wallangan’, meaning, ‘the place where the fire went out and left a burnt stump’. Information from Visit NSW
At Mundowran, in Queensland, there is also a rest area known as The Black Stump ….
The Black Stump, Mundubbera, Queensland
Approaching Mundubbera, from an eastward direction, a large Rest Area emerges on the northern flank of the Burnett Highway. The Rest Area signage reads:
“The Black Stump
Gateway to Mundubbera”
Directly under the signage, a concrete black stump is situate.
My grisliest find about the origin of the phrase, the black stump, is this tale from Merriwagga in the Riverina area of New South Wales.
The village of Merriwagga and nearby community of Gunbar, in the Riverina district of New South Wales, have strong claims to the origin of the expression ‘black stump’. Gunbar cemetery is the burial-place of Mrs. Barbara Blain, the woman whose accidental death in March 1886 possibly gave rise to the term.
When her husband returned to camp after a day’s work he….
found Mrs. Blain had been fatally burnt, probably after her dress had caught alight from the flames of the camp-fire. ……. an inquest into her death was subsequently held. James Blain apparently stated that when he found his wife she “looked like a black stump” . A watering place near where the tragedy occurred – roughly halfway between Gunbar and the village of Merriwagga – became known as Black Stump Tank.
The Black Stump Picnic area at Merriwagga has a waggon and memorial stone, with an inscription which explains the details of these events.
The Black Stump, Merriwagga, NSW Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons
The Black Stump has also been immortalised in literature.
In 1956 British novelist Neville Shute published “Beyond the Black Stump”, a novel set in the 1940/50s, contrasting the social mores of a still remote Western Australian sheep station and a small town in Oregon, USA, which still thought of itself as a frontier town despite the Cadillac dealership and the fast food joint.
Robbery Under Arms, a fictionalised work by Rolf Boldrewood first published in 1888, refers to the Black Stump as an actual place “within a reasonable distance of Bathurst” and known to everybody for miles around. Boldrewood says it “had been a tremendous old Ironbark tree- nobody knew how old, but it had had its top blown off in a thunderstorm, and the carriers had lighted so many fires against the roots of it that it had been killed at last, and the sides were as black as a steamer’s funnel.”
And when you don’t have a Black Stump to claim, be like Boulia in Western Queensland and create a whole new myth with a Red Stump.
This really is the end of civilization!
So there you have it! The story of the Black Stump that’s put out to the world when the truth is the real Black Stump was over the back fence in Bittern, Victoria in the early 1950’s.
Not only is Yaraka the end of the line, it has disappeared off the map! I’ve been searching for a map to show you just where it is and Google has decided Yaraka is to be a secret. Fortunately, Wikipedia recognises the name and puts it in its place!
Yaraka is a small town in Central West Queensland, Australia. It was the terminus of a branch railway line. It is located 220 kilometres south of Longreach, 165 kilometres west of Blackall and 100 kilometres south of Isisford.Wikipedia
Yaraka is no secret to ‘grey nomads’ though, it’s a place that is mentioned around the campfire where tall tales and true are shared. What makes Yaraka so special? Why the Yaraka Pub of course!
But it’s never about a building is it? It’s the people that make this place memorable. Now I have a confession to make before I wax lyrical about the people…. Chris and Gerry, the publicans, are old friends of mine. As a matter of fact I was their bridesmaid 40 years ago in 1978. Then about 35 years ago our lives went in different directions and we lost touch with each other. What a wonderful reunion we’ve had! And in a bar, of all places (hehehe)
The Yaraka Hotel is much more than a good place for a reunion though. This tiny town, with a permanent population of 12 people, is full of community spirit. While I was there the Dubbo South Rotary Club brought the participants in their Expedition Outback rally to Yaraka – 130 people turned up and the ‘town’ catered for them, both dinner and breakfast. Some achievement by such a small group! The rally was supporting the Pink Angels for their Yaraka stopover and they dressed for the occasion.
There were swags and tents and all sorts of vehicles set up in the campground out the back of the hotel which has plenty of room for campers. There’s also a spot provided by the Longreach Council where, for $3 a night you can hook up to power with facilities including toilets and hot showers. (They collect the fees at the pub)
Apart from my wonderful catch up with Gerry and Chris, another highlight of my visit was the bus trip to Mt Slocombe that Chris does in the evening, just in time to catch the sunset and the changing light over this magical landscape. Chris is passionate about the area and conveys this to the group as he talks about its history and the things that make Yaraka such a special place.
This photo shows the tiny township of Yaraka viewed from Mt Slocombe nestled at the foot of the Yang Yang Ranges.
If you would like to know more about the history of Yaraka this link will fill you in on the details, particularly why it is known as the End of the Line – a grand plan literally stopped in its tracks!
As more properties erect dog proof fences they are gradually restocking the land with the sheep that made Yaraka so prosperous in the past and moving away from the cattle that replaced them.
Yaraka – on the outer Barcoo, where the preachers are few….. A few kilometres west you’ll come across Magee’s shanty, immortalised in Banjo Paterson’s poem The Bush Christening
This excerpt from The Visit Longreach Visitors Guide sums up Yaraka pretty well –
Yaraka is truly the hidden gem of Outback Queensland with a fascinating history, breathtaking landscape and locals that will make you fee like you’ve found home all over again.
And I guess that’s why so many travellers make their way back to Yaraka time and again – just like I’m going to do!
Augathella, Thargomindah, Eromanga, Yaraka –
I’ve been out in Western Queensland, travelling on and off the tar.
Where everything is dry as dust, both the locals and the land,
They haven’t lost their Aussie humour, but they could do with a hand.
At Isisford and Blackall, Windorah, Quilpie, Tambo
If they can’t keep their stock alive they’ll pack up and they’ll go.
The drought is devastating as it sucks the country dry
And the wind blows off the topsoil, and the wild dogs multiply.
So they’re building dog proof fences to keep wild dogs at bay
And they’re hoping this will keep their stock alive another day.
A farmer told me recently he’d lost seven hundred sheep
And that was just one pack attack, it’s enough to make you weep.
The long paddock is well stocked with beasts grazing the stubbled ground
And stockmen and their horses and their dogs move them around,
I’m not sure where they’re taking them, there’s no relief in sight,
There’ll be many miles to cover before they rest up for the night.
Cunnamulla, Eulo, Toompine and on to Bourke
This drought’s affecting everyone, not only those the land they work.
The little towns are dying, although they’re struggling to the end,
And shops are closing one by one without a local spend.
The “nomads’ keep their hopes alive as they buy their fuel and food
Any dollar spent in town can only do some good
So on your travelling adventure to our outback Aussie land
Spend up in little country towns, it’s a way to lend a hand.
And leave a little something in the RFDS tin
Or other outback charities, it’s a chance for them to win.
Too many farms have closed their gates, they’ve just packed up and gone
Where they’ve farmed for generations is worth nothing but a song.
Longreach, Winton, Isisford, Jericho and Jundah
Aussies need to band together, stop these towns from going under.
So while we all appreciate a cloudless, clear blue sky
Think of the west that needs the rain to put an end to this long dry.
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.
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.