Sunday, 1 May 2016

Outback Road Trip Part 2

This post has been a long time coming.  I didn't have any internet access for the last 8 days of our trip, so I'm writing this after our return.

In my last post I left off as we were entering the town of Cunnamulla in South West Queensland. It's a pretty little town which was once the centre of a thriving agricultural area, but like a lot of outback towns is in decline.  The purpose of this visit (and Charleville too) was to find out more (and we did!)about 3 Carter brothers, Charles, Joseph & Dipper Carter, who settled here in the late1880s.

The Cunnamulla Fella
This statue in front of the visitor centre at Cunnamulla pays tribute to ringers (stockmen).  Australians will recognise the name Slim Dusty.  He was a country singer, and made the song "Cunnamulla Fella" popular.  If you haven't heard it, you can listen to the clip here.

I went to the Uniting Church in Cunnamulla on Sunday before we left there.  The Anglican and Uniting Churches have combined forces and two services per month are held in each church.  The minister was telling us about his 2 week trip to the outlying stations in his parish (he has 400).  This time he went north west almost to the border of the Northern Territory conducting baptisms, weddings and services at each of the stations along his route.

Charleville was much bigger.  On our first afternoon, we wandered around the Graham Andrews Parklands.  We were treated to an amazing areal display of about a dozen Black Kites, dancing, swooping and weaving in the sky just above our heads.  Absolutely awesome!

Two of the Kites
This flock of geese came flying in while we were there.  A total circus when the kids arrived to feed them.

We paid a visit to the Royal Flying Doctor Service, and watched a plane set off for one of the regular clinics the service conducts in outback regions.

I'd been to the RFDS centre in Broken Hill years ago.  One of the displays shows the medical kit which most outlying stations have.  When someone is ill, they call the RFDS and a diagnosis is made via radio and witht he aid of the charts etc. in the kit.  Then the patient is instructed on which of the medications to use.  If necessary, a plane is dispatched to collect the patient to be taken to the nearest hospital, usually hundreds of kilometres away.  The centre really gives you a feel for the isolation of some of the outback stations. 
This building also housed the School of the Air until recently.

School of the Air was run from this desk
The museum in this town was well stocked, and the volunteers on duty that day were very well informed.  This ambulance took my fancy.  It was designed to run on train tracks, which are far more reliable than roads in the outback.

Rail ambulance
I found this sewing machine fascinating.

Charleville has a wonderful Cosmos Centre Observatory with 4 large telescopes.  The night we went we saw not just one planet, but 3 - Mars, Neptune & Saturn. Brilliant view of the rings around Saturn.

Another attraction is the Bilby Centre.  Bilbies are very cute; they are small, desert dwelling, nocturnal marsupials and are an endangered species. You can read up on them here (and make a donation too if you wish).  I took a heap of photos, but in the dark the flashless photos through glass are poor quality.  This one is one of the best ones.
On the road again we headed east towards the coast.  We stopped at Morven because the museum there came highly recommended.  It was fantastic!!  And well worth the visit.   A highlight was a display of about 25 miniature buildings which depicted the early years of the village. 

Commercial Hotel

Camp - loggers or settlers
Look at the detail in this model of a Pit Saw
In the grounds of the museum stands a rare example of a hut made from kerosene tins.  Although they were quite common during the Depression years most have either been demolished or they've rusted away.
Hut made from Kerosene tins, Morven, Qld
If you look closely the you can make out the name of the manufacturer on some of the tins.  They are Spartan inside, and the best you can say for it is that it would keep the weather out (if there were no holes in the tin!)
Interior of the kerosene tin hut.
Leaving the museum, I spied these fellows in a tree.  They are Apostle Birds, commonly called "Lousy Jacks".  Aren't they cute all clumped together?  You can find out a bit more about them here including a link to sound tracks of their call, which is a strange, raucous chattering.
The highway east took us through Miles (we clocked up 2000km about here), Roma and Dalby and then we diverted to Jandowae, to take a look at the start of the Dingo Fence.  The Dingo Barrier Fence is 5,614 kilometres long running from here in Queensland to the Great Australian Bight in South Australia.  It is the longest man made structure in the world, first proposed in 1948, to protect stock from dingoes (indigenous wild dogs).

We drove along it for a short way, but then turned around to head for Bell.  And that is where I'll finish off this post.


  1. Hi Dasha what an interesting post,i love the hut made out of kerosene tins,amazing,thankyou for sharing my friend xx

  2. thanks for sharing an interesting trip. how fun

  3. Sounds like a very interesting trip! Neat antique sewing machine!

  4. Looks like you had a really interesting time. Yes I like the sewing machine too - will show it to Irene!

  5. Fascinating Dasha - the hut made from cans is amazing! Love your bird pictures and the little Bilby is so cute. xx


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