Copyright ©2016 Paul F Greig
The Website of Paul and Pam Greig - Queensland Australia
Calliope River Camp -  Central Qld - 2017
The Website of Paul and Pam -
Queensland, Australia.
 
Our first trio for 2020...and its July!!
The worldwide spread of the Corona Virus put the knockers on any trips early in 2020...we were are not able to get away until July!.
The initial plan is a trip of around 5 or 6 weeks....from home to Elliot Heads, up the coast to Calliope, turning inland and west as far as Barcaldine..then south to Augthella, to Mitchell and south to St George before driving east to home.
Note....just a few days into the trip and the plans go out the window!.
As stated above we had been looking foward to Elliott Heads, a favourite seaside location. However, we rang EH to see if we could secure one of our preferred sites, sadly we were told that there were just 4 sites available, and not the one we wanted!. EH caravan park is a big park and for it to be chocka-block conjures up pictures of sardines....a reroute occured, Elliott Heads forgotten.
It is now evident that due to overseas and inter-state travel restrictions many folk are opting to stay within Queensland, we hear most coastal tourist spots are very busy and we are noticing many caravans on the roads.

So, the first section of this trip will change, with Elliott Heads gone we will look elsewhere.

Benarkin. So far the trip has been good, our first night was spent at Benarkin, a free camp on the site of old railway yards. Benarkion was once a thriving timber town but today not much there at all....the only remaining shop is a small convienence store. Blackbutt, a bigger town with most facilities just a couple of kilometers away. (Blackbutt showgrounds is a place we have often stayed at)


























Wooroolin. From Benarkin a drive up the Burnett highway, through Kingaroy, to Wooroolin, another once busy railway town, this time with grain as its mainstay...the original grain sheds remain but the last train left in the 1990's.
A couple of nights in Wooloorin, very quiet there, some 9 other RV's shared this large grassy free camp at night.


























Biggenden. From Wooroolin north through Wondai to Ban Ban Springs....usually with bubbling water but dry now. Our next stop was two nights at Biggenden, yet another old rail town...$5 a night here and the camp is right in town...Mt Walsh overlooks Biggenden...the weather here was excellent but sadly not to continue.
North X West trip.
First trip following the easing of covid-19 restrictions...July 2020  (While it was supposed to be 'post covid' the situation in Victoria  and the antics of the 'Botox Girls' changed all that and the possibility of restrictions being applied again resurfaced a week after we left home!, time will tell.)
Benarkin...First Settlers campground, our first campsite on this trip.
Wooroolin free RV camp...the old railway yards.
Biggenden RV camp...$5 per night...more old rail yards, long disused.
And me looking at the impressive Mt Walsh overlooking the town.
Maryborough showgrounds....a place we have often stayed. Campers would be hard pressed to not find a site with both power are water...there are zillions.
Sadly however, there is a 48 hours stay limit in the showgrounds, a council 'Community Ranger' told me the local caravan park owners insist in this, this is despite the towns parks charging $35 a night, against $22 at the showground.
The inclement weather, and the time limit, put the knockers on us doing much sightseeing around Maryborough.






















Gin Gin. Following our 2 day stay we decided to brave the Bruce highway (this major inter-city highway has a poor safety reputation, it is very busy and just two lanes for much of its length) and head north to Gin Gin showgrounds, we will see the fine weather return in Gin Gin...or so is the plan.
Our original route from Biggenden was on to Elliott heads near bundaberg, as mentioned earlier EH was out, another route change and we are off to Maryborough Showgrounds!.
Our site in the Maryborough showgrounds....the sky now clouded over.
Gin Gin showgrounds....a lot of room here, resident caretaker too.

The old Wooroolin train station
Today and as it was 100 years ago.

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An interesting day trip from Gin Gin was to the town of Mt Perry situated in the Great Dividing Range around 50 kms away....go to 'Side trips page' for more...or click here

Another route change! While in Gin Gin showground we heard that the Gladstone Council were going to close Calliope campgrounds, where we had intended to stop at next!. The reason, we were told, is due to convid-19 and as the campgrounds have no caretaker there is no-one to record contact details.
We have instead now decided to visit Lake Awoonga, about 150km north of Gin Gin.
Tonight, July 26th, we had a sudden and unexpected storm....it lasted just a few minutes, right on dinner prep time...spuds in the frypan...the first indication was a drop in temperture and the trees on the hillside nearby started to gyrate!...strong winds gusts started, then heavy rain, here I was hanging onto the awning with grim death..as quick as it came it went....but left a sodden trail behind....luckily, no damage except my newly worn clothes, I was soaked, cold too!.

Lake Awoonga now...up near Gladstone....here we were obliged to fill out a two page form, convid rules, we were told....we had to jot down where we had stayed during the past 14 days!, establishment name and address, where we were going to, our email address, mobile number, DOB. God!...the park manager was surprised when we informed him that this was the first time we had been asked for this information, since leaving home.

Our trip up was good, well as good as the Bruce Highway allows, in some places it is really shocking, it seems road repairs are hit and miss, a couple of shovels full of bitumen here and there...and this a major intercity highway!...the weather however was great, warm and sunny, when we got here we were able to lay out all our Gin Gin wet stuff, shoes, fold-up chairs etc, in the sunshine.
The trip up was not without controversy however; you may recall our little side trip to Mt Perry and the drive through the tunnel.... I made mention that the tunnels existence was primarily to service the copper mines of Mt Perry...you may have also seen the Main Roads Dept. 'Trivia' signs along the Bruce, asking simple questions like "What was the name of the First Prime ministers dog?', the trivia is supposed to make us safer drivers. So, when this question came up we knew we were on a winner; "What is mined at Mt Perry?" 'Copper' was shouted out!...the answer 2 km further on: Gold!!.
I did however get the next one right: the states flower?: Cooktown Orchid ....I actually said 'Cooktown Orchid' on the CB and got congratulations from a passing truckie, but no prize.


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Our site (#9) at Lake Awoonga Caravan Park, we even have a lake view!. (you can see blue water to the right).
Update July 28th
The caravan park at Lake Awoonga is a gem...level sites, everything we need. We had planned on a trip to Gladstone (30 km) today (Tuesday) and to have fish and chips there but we see on Google that the fish and chip shop at the marina is closed Tuesdays!...maybe tomorrow. Today was spent in washing and cleaning things.

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The kangaroo and wallaby population at Lake Awoonga is large...having a 'no domestic pets' rule probably helps...the wallabies are of the Pretty Face variety.
Goovigen was originally established as a supply depot for the railways and was named for the local Aboriginal word for box tree, a species of Eucalyptus.
Goovigen Post Office opened on 1 July 1927 (a receiving office had been open from 1925)
At the 2006 census, Goovigen and the surrounding area had a population of 287.
Our reason for visiting Goovigen was to stay in the Sports Grounds, $10 per night, visited once before, some years ago.
The town itself is pretty much dead now....no shops at all exist here...even the pub is closed....the sign at the sports grounds asks visitors to pay as the money is used to 'improve' the grounds...I think it has been  a long time since any sport was played in Goovigen sports grounds.
Despite all this the camp is  a popular one for travelers, it allows caravaners to camp for up to 7 days...power and water, there are six good slabs here, power points to each one, toilets and showers too.
Some randon shots below, I took while we were here.
Some recent attempt to tidy the town up....a little park, well presented.
The Sports Grounds...opposite the police station.
Below...our site in the sports grounds...six slabs here, we got in early and had a choice...but by early afternoon all were taken.
The original Goovigen 'shopping centre'...all closed now
The Goovigen hotel (left) is a disappointment....the original beautiful old wooden pub, (above) long ago burnt down, replaced by a concrete block monstrosity!....probably not too much of a loss that it is now closed down.
A Goovigen sunset.
A postscript to our stay at Lake Awoonga.....the first five days were great, on the Friday however a group of Motor Cyclists arrived, rough looking buggers too...they were accompanied by a utility filled with food and drinks....despite there being a 'no noise after 9:30pm' sign the loud music and drunken yelling went on until after midnight, fortuantely the ruckus was not close to us and whilst we heard it going on it didnt bother us much....not so for many other residents...the manager did nothing at all.
Next, another disappointment; with weekend visitors arriving they were being packed in....the manager actually boasted to us that he would sometimes 'fill the carparks' with campers....sadly we will not be in a hurry to return to Lake Awoonga...especially for a week end.
While we were staying at Lake Awoonga we took a day trip to Gladstone....you can follow a link here.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The old picture theatre in Goovigen, a local, has lived here 63 years, remembers seeing the last film here when he was 16 years old.
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Help!!...if you see any issues, errors, broken links etc on this website or should you wish to simply send us a note please click here. Thanks
Help!!...if you see any issues, errors, broken links etc on this website or should you wish to simply send us a note please click here. Thanks
Help!!...if you see any issues, errors, broken links etc on this website or should you wish to simply send us a note please click here. Thanks
Help!!...if you see any issues, errors, broken links etc on this website or should you wish to simply send us a note please click here. Thanks
Help!!...if you see any issues, errors, broken links etc on this website or should you wish to simply send us a note please click here. Thanks
Duaringa is a tiny settlement of less than 500 people which came into existence as a base camp for railway workers. Today few people stop as they pass through the town on the Capricorn Highway. However there are two natural attractions: the unusual "Budgeroo" trees in Mackenzie Park which flower during the spring and were used extensively by the local Aborigines and a very persistent colony of flying foxes who have been moved a number of times but keep coming back to Mackenzie Park. We will see if we can find this tree later, I think the fruitbats have moved on.
Mackenzie Park is also the location of a RV free camp (donation), it is very popular with caravaners, there might be 40 RV's there any day of the week, clean toilets and showers are available.

Duaringa is located 718 km north-west of Brisbane via Rockhampton and the Capricorn Highway. It is 112 km west of Rockhampton and about 140 km from our last stop, Goovigen.
News too that a 'weather event' is headed our way, storms expected tomorrow....the red and black soils around here are notorious and a possible side-trip to the Blackdown Tablelands National Park may not happen.:(
 
Update August 5 2020. (Day 17)
Duaringa's Mackenzie Park is the location of the RV campground....its location on the Capricorn Highway makes it ideal for a caravan stop-over, typical of this kind of campground it will almost empty out completely each morning and fill up again in the afternoons.
A huge area, any grass mostly gone, red dust abounds. Clean toilets, hot showers and good drinking water however. Before leaving home we had heard that finding a place to free-camp will be difficult due to the increased number of RV's on the road, at this point in this trip we have not found this at all, the lady in the Duaringa Tourist Information Centre confirmed that there actually seems to be less caravans this year, compared to previously, and in her opinion, due to the covid-19 border restrictions.

On our previous vist to Duaringa's Mackenzie Park some years ago the landscaped park, above left, had a water feature, the surrounding trees home to  alarge fruitbat colony..not this time. The lady in the Tourist Info Centre (above right) was very knowledegable and directed us to the famous Budgeroo (below)
The famous Queensland Budgeroo tree, famous in that it is known to only grow in the Duaringa/Dingo area of western Queensland. Of the Stringy Bark family it is very different to another Budgeroo that grows in Victoria....a close-up of the bark above right.
And where to next?...click here.
Emerald is a rural town and locality in the Central Highlands Region of Queensland. As at June 2018, Emerald had an urban population of 14,119. The town is the headquarters for the Central Highlands Regional Council.
It was our home for four days. We stayed at the Emerald Cabin and Caravan Tourist Park.
While in Emerald we took a side trip tp Lake Maraboon...follow the link here.
Various views around the caravan park.
 
Bogantungan.
A small town around 100km west of Emerald, our home for the night in a freem camp alongside the old railway station....Bogantungan owes its existence to the railway.
Between 1880 and 1883, during construction of the line across the Drummond Range, Bogantungan was the terminus for the central western railway. It was declared a town on 7 February 1881. During the early 1880s, Bogantungan had 28 hotels, several churches, numerous businesses and sporting clubs and a racecourse.

It was also close to the site of one of our worst train disasters;

At 2.30 am on 26 February 1960 as the east-bound Midlander passenger train made its descent, it crashed while crossing Medway Creek, 1.5 km west of Bogantungan. One of the pylons of the bridge over the creek had been damaged by the impact of a 12-ton tree washed downstream by floodwaters and gave way as the train passed over the bridge. A large number of children were in one carriage that plunged into the creek. Two children could not be saved. Altogether seven people were killed, three crew and four passengers. Many more people were injured.

A departmental inquiry into the accident was held in March 1960 and the coroner’s inquest into the seven fatalities was held in June 1960. In March 1961, three men who were passengers on the train were awarded the Queen’s Commendation for Brave Conduct for “courage and resourcefulness” during the rescue effort: Lawrence Murray (posthumously), (Lawrence was an aboriginal railway fettler, he died of a heart attack following the crash), John Bennett and Alan Streeter.
See more of my visit to the rail disaster site  here.
 
 
Bogantungan township....and our site on right...not much now but, hard to believe, there were once 28 hotels here!.
The old, now disused Bogantungan station and refreshment rooms....the station is now a museum but there is no information on how to see inside.
A 104 year old water tank remains...a memorial to the 1960 rail disaster sits next to the railway station too.
Jump here to read of my visit to the crash site.
Jericho
About halfway between Bogantungan and Barcaldine sits the small town of Jericho...oddly enough on the River Jordan....our stop was in the showgrounds, we shared it with many other caravans. Jericho showgrounds is a nice enough place...we decided to stay hooked up to the van, we have seen the 'sights' of Jericho previously...we had a couple of days to fill before our booking in Barcaldine....book reading time.
 
Barcaldine
Some 90 km west of Jericho is Barcaldine, commonly known as Barcy or Garden City of the West.
Barcaldine has an interesting and famous history.  The name Barcaldine originates from the Oban region in Scotland and is pronounced bar-call-din.
Barcaldine is home to the Tree of Knowledge, the reputed birth place of the labour movement in Australia.  The Tree grew outside the Railway Station for about 180 years until 2006 when sadly, it was poisoned by an unknown culprit.  The famous tree has been preserved and placed under an award winning structure that gives the illusion of a canopy over the Tree. 
 

Our park, one of three in town is very popular, vans were queuing to enter.....as usual they try to squeeze caravans in, this often results in less room that one would like.

There was an interesting happy hour presentation, a bush poet and a gifted gituarist playing Slims' songs, a well equipped camp kitchen too.
The Tree of Knowledge was a heritage-listed tree in Oak Stree, it was poisoned and killed in 2006 by persons unknown. It was a 200-year-old Corymbia aparrerinja ghost gum. It was added to the Queensland Heritage Register on 21 October 1992.

The town was the headquarters of the 1891 Australian shearers' strike and the tree was the site of the 1892 reading of the Labour Party manifesto leading to the formation of the Australian Labor Party.
The photo below on the left is how the tree was prior to its death and how we remember it on our first Barcy visit.
On the right we see the external memorial to the tree, locally nic-named the 'Tank Stand' it is actually very good.
Inside the 'tank stand' artist has hung wooden 'tree branches' which give the illusion of a living tree....at night the tree takes on a different view...coloured lighting abounds...sadly few visitors realize it is lit at night...even the original root ball can be seen through perspex windows set in the ground. (Below)
The memorial was designed by Yepoon architect Brian Hooper.
The photos of the Tree of Knowledge were taken on previous visits, interesting to note that in the photo where the 'Artesian Hotel' can be seen in the background with the missing letters on the sign...that photo is about 4 years old...the letters are still missing today!.
Ilfracombe
90 km west of Barcaldine sits Ilfracombe
Ilfracombe is located 28km due East of Longreach on the Matilda Way and was named after a small town in Devonshire, England. Ilfracombe was founded in 1891 as a transport hub for Wellshot Station, which at the time held the largest number of sheep on any station in the world.
Ilfracombe was to be our home for two nights, we planned to do a day trip into Longreach rather than stay in that town as we had not heard encouraging reports on the caravan parks there.
Ilfracome is home to the 'Machinery Mile'...an amazing collection of old trucks and machinery that sit beside the highway for a mile west of town.
 
Above, Our shady site in the Ilfracombe caravan park, a tad 'squashy' but we were only to be there two nights....and to the left a shot of 'Machinery Mile'...an interesting collection for sure.
This old 'road train' was towed behind a petrol engined 'prime mover' and would take all day to get from Ilfracombe to Barcaldine (70 miles) but it was unique in that each trailer had a driven axle...in 1919!..view under to right.
And a modern road train, many of which are on the roads out here.
I hear a train a coming..........and a Special train it was!
An interesting collection of guns and military memrobilia displayed also. I was a little amazed that there appeard to be no security present, just a thick glass window, it is likely that all the guns had been made inoperable, there were no signs to say so however.
The little Ilfracombe post office claims an amazing fact....on April 1 1910 Bill Gillespie placed some Royal Mail in his truck for delivery in Isisford, 90 km south, it was to be Australia's very first delivery of mail by motorized transport.
One memory we have of a previous visit to Ilfracombe is to view a sunrise...one can stand here and turn 365 degrees and see little but flat country with the ocassional small tree....to watch the sun pop up over the horizon is a spectacle....perhaps similar to watching Uluru or a sunset at Burleigh...hope to do that shortly here...
A perfect clear morning, the sun popped up at 6:46am, a whistling kite flies over, a small goods train flew by too.
And today, we leave the caravan behind in Ilfracombe for a day trip to Longreach....see this here
Isisford
Less than 100km due south of IIfracombe is the tiny town of Isisford...near Isisford is Oma Waterhole, a camping area on the banks of the Barcoo river..this was to be our home for a couple of nights.
No TV, no mobile, magic,...15km west of Isisford,along a road of dusty corrugations.
The Oma waterhole is a camping area controlled by the Longreach Regional Council, there are many camping sites spread over a 2 km length of the waterhole, we selected one that looked directly over the water...albeit slightly muddy looking. Our nearest neighbours 200 meters away, during one evening sitting sipping wine by the campfire we were rewarded with a mob of wild goats that walked nonchalantly by on the other side of the Barcoo, nights were as dark as the ace of spades but in the morning some more rewards...an echidna waddled from his hole, just outside our window....a gaggle of Fairy Martins played their games chasing bugs on the water surface, quickly dipping down to the water but not getting wet....two Brolgas strolled by, a mob of Roo's in their winter coats..all in all well worth the $5 per night fee. Toilets, drinking water and hot showers are available too. For more info on this delightful location copy and paste the link below.

https://www.outbackqueensland.com.au/attractions/oma-waterhole/
Oma waterhole is supposed to be good for fishing...Yellowbelly's apparently....a corrugated iron Yellowbelly in Isisford tells all visitors anyway....Our campsite at Oma Waterhole on the left.
A couple of views of the Oma waterhole morning and evening.
Me, fishing for Yellowbelly's (fortunately, meat in the Waeco!) a view from our campsite and our campfire.
Some wild goats on the other side and the dusty road out.
 
Blackall was our next stop.
Blackall is located on the Barcoo River along the Matilda Highway it has a population of around 1800 people. Blackall is named after Queensland's governor Sir Samuel Blackall. Local legend says, "anyone who crosses the Barcoo River 10 times is here to stay."
The first artesian bore in the outback was drilled in Blackall in 1885 and today visitors can rest, relax and revive in the natural artesian waters at the Blackall Aquatic Centre’s thermal spa and swimming pool. We really enjoyed the 32 degrees in the spa pool.
Interetsting to note too that homes in Blackall don't have hot water systems....The town is supplied with water from the Great Artesian Basin. The water is pure, uncontaminated and ideal for drinking. (We detected a slight sulphur odour) This water flows from the basin under its own pressure and bores are usually drilled to a depth of 2500ft (800m). The water temperature in Blackall is 58 degrees Celsius, therefore a means of cooling water is more important than heating. Even our washing machine had hot water today!


Blackall is also the home of the Black Stump which was used for surveying purposes and permanently marks the original Astro Station established in 1887. Anything west of this point is said to be ‘beyond the black stump’. We must say here though that we have been in many Australian towns that claim to be 'beyond the black stump'

Also interesting is the Blackall Woolscour, the last remaining steam operated wool washing plant in Australia. A living museum with a direct link to Australia’s pioneering era. Operating from 1908 until it closed in 1978, the scour played a large part in the lives of many Blackall families. A guided tour is very interesting.
 
Top...Blackall woolscour to left, a bit of history well worth visiting and on the right...the 'fair dinkum' black stump.
We stayed in the Blackall Caravan Park.....our site to the right.
Above, some scenes around the Blackall Caravan Park.
And around town.
Perhaps one of Blackall's better known sons would be Jackie Howe. Jackie was a gun shearer and, despite the passage of time, his record, using blade shears stands today: on nearby Alice Downs station in October 1892 Jackie sheared 321 sheep in 7 hours and 40 minutes. Jackie also once owned the Universal Hotel here in Blackall. Jackie died in 1920.
Sidenote, the current world record, using electric shears is 497 ewes in 8 hours set in April 2019  by Bunbury (WA)  shearer Louis Brown.
Augathella
Can you get any more 'Australian' than this?; we are just off the Matilda Highway, alongside the Warrego River, a short walk to a town park dedicated to Meat-ants and in a location made famous by that most best known Australian of all times, Slim Dusty...we are of course in Augathella.
We are sharing the Augathella RV camp with perhaps 15 other caravans, motor homes and campers yet there is room for 7 zillion more. Had a beer over at the Ellengowan pub yesterday, a 150m walk away. (Note Augathella was originally named Ellengowan...Augathella is said to mean Camp by Waterhole in local indig language). Interestingly, here in the RV park some locals have set up a small stand selling fire wood...'genuine Gidgee, $8 a bag'....the 'stand' consists of an old fridge laying on its back, bags of the wood all around it, inside the fridge sits an open plastic bucket, 'Change' written on the lid, inside a handful, maybe $30 or $40 in one and two dollar coins. Later in the day a local called by to drop off more wood, I, of course, chatted to him.."Has anyone ever stolen money form here?' I asked, 'No' he said 'But since early July I have put over 400 bags of wood here and 8 were stolen' he said.."And that was on Saturday nights so probably  some drongo from the pub'..he added.
We had a Gidgee Gold camp-fire last night, another memory of Slim.
Brilliant sunny conditions yesterday again but that wind, though moderated some, still coolish, sitting in the sun, out of the wind, summer-like.
Photos to come.
 
Above. Augathella is a neat little town, a welcome sign and the police station and post office in the main street, conveniently named Main Street.
Above. Our site in the RV park, we were very lucky to get this site....some green grass and the full sun from first thing to the very last.
Above and below....the Warrego River, just bulldust at the time sits beyond a levy bank next to the RV park (old railway line)...I took a walk along the dry Warrego, saw a wallaby and an old truck.
Above, Augathella was the fictional town portrayed in the Smiley movies and some impressive murals on the public dunnies.
Above, another of Augathella's claim to fame is a town park dedicted to insects!, no bull, Meat Ant Park!. And below...the park is not just for show....some very important information to be read.
And below, the towns water tower has been very impressivly painted, but try as I might, I could not find any reference to the artist.
Mitchell is a town and locality in the Western Downs district of the Maranoa Region. The town services the local area, a cattle and sheep farming district. In the 2016 census, Mitchell had a population of 1031 people.
With washing needing to be done we stayed in the Major Mitchell caravan park for a couple of days.
Of all the caravan parks we have ever stayed in the Maj. Mitchell Caravan Park in Mitchell would have to have the worst possible design, it was very obviously designed by someone who had no idea about caravan life at all!...our site had an en-suite, like a little shower and toilet hut, the hut contained two rooms, the caravan next us used the otherside of the same en-suite hut, this mean that the two caravans were facing each other....our awning directly facing our neighbours awning!...great if you know the others perhaps, not so great if the 'others' are hearvy smokers, talk loudly on their phones or have one or two yappy dogs....fortuantly our neighbours were not like that at all.
In addition, the drive through sites are far from level, one main attraction for using a drive through site is that you dont have to unhook. Not so here, the slope of the land being such that you either had to disconnect the car and caravan or place large blocks under the wheels in order to get the caravan reasonably level.


 
And below, on the left, the Kenniff Tree...the Kenniff Brothers were local bushrangers, they were said to have held up a hotel in Augathella, they came to grief when the killed a policeman. And on the right...the lower end of Main Street has a row of disused homes....some appear not to have been lived in for quite some time, some have solar panels and dish antenea too!
Below, more Main Street murals and a new picnic table at the campground.
Town limits sign and our carvan park. Our site and a local below.
The Maranoa River, but a series of water holes right now.

Surat...this picturesque little town is midway between St George and Roma on the Great Inland Way.

Steeped in history with links to Cobb & Co and the 'boom time' of the wool-growing industry, Surat is a 'must-see' for any history buff. Here you'll get a taste of life as it used to be. The Cobb & Co Changing Station, the original site of the Cobb & Co Store and a 'drop-off' point for coach travellers and goods, houses a museum of regularly changing displays depicting the lifestyles of yesteryear including a 14-seater Cobb & Co coach.

 
The main street, Burroughs St of Surat....it is easy to see that this town was once grand....sadly, today it is not so grand...still however a proud little town with well kept parks and many facilities for travellers.
The Baloone River flows through Surat, in town impressive parklands are a great place to take a rest from driving.
Above, the old Surat picture theatre...long since used. I stood there and found it not hard to imagine horses and carts, Model T Fords and FJ Holdens parked in front on Saturday nights....a peek inside, the seats still there, even the projector still visible in the loft above.
Above, Fishermans Park...an RV park in Surat, our home for two nights....our site, to the left and a view of the Baloone from the park.
Many Australian country towns lay claim to a connection to Cobb & Co, and rightly so but Surat goes a little better...it was from here, the Surat Changing Station, that an historic event ocurred....in August 14th 1924 the regular run from Surat to Yuelba  commenced....it was to be far from ordinary however as it was the very last run for any Cobb & Co coach in Australia....the horseless carriage age had arrived.

St George is a pleasant rural service centre which is located on the Balonne River with the vast flatlands of the Darling Downs stretching beyond the Great Dividing Range. The town provides services to the surrounding wheat, sheep and cotton farmers, and, in recent times, fruits, grapes, vegetables and beef have enriched the local economy.
 
Above, Victoria Street, the main street in St George.

It is a town located idyllically beside the river and, as Sir Thomas Mitchell wrote about his arrival on the banks of the river on 12 April, 1846:
“At an early hour we soon came upon the river where it formed a noble reach of water. The breadth was uniform, and a vast body of water was a most cheery sight. The banks were 120 yards apart; the course, in general, was very straight, contributing much to the perfection of the scenery upon it. At one turn, denuded rocks appeared in its bed, consisting of ironstone in a whitish cement of matrix, which might have been decomposed felspar. I at length arrived at a natural bridge of the same sort of rock, affording easy and permanent access to the opposite bank, and at once selected the spot for a depot camp, which we established in a fine position, commanding long vistas up and down the river. It was, in fact, a tete-du-pont overlooking the rocky passage which connected with the grass on both sides.”
And below...with a bit of four wheel driving through some deep sand we found the memorial oblisk for Mitchells camp...the exact spot, the plaque said.


Nindigully Hotel
Located 46 km south of St George, with its sawn timber walls and proudly boasting about its its status as Queensland's "oldest pub in its original condition and location", the famous Nindigully Hotel (1864) was once used as a staging post for Cobb & Co when they ran extensive services through central and western Queensland. It was built in 1864 and parts of the original building still remain. The hotel - thought to hold one of the longest continual licences in Queensland (it has been owned by 21 different licensees) - has featured in commercials. It is claimed that the Moonie River, which runs by the hotel, is excellent for fishing. The original 1885 bridge still stands. Accommodation is available in the pub and caravaners can also stay overnight along the riverbanks and use the free showers in the hotel
In St George we stayed in the River Gum Caravan Park....see below, our site on the right.
We have stayed in St George many times previously, this time we went on a river cruise!...and below is a selection of random shots I took on our 'Sunset Cruise' on the Balonne River.
The morning of our final day in St. George was almost perfectly still, I walked down to the Jack Taylor Weir and took a few more photos, above and below.
I found this tree to be interesting, an old gum on the banks of the Balonne, it is said to be a tree from which local natives cut a section from, many years ago, for the fabrication of a boat....the skipper of our cruise boat....lived most of his life in St George can recall when that sign (resuscitation information) was installed, it is slowly being covered.
A large campground sits in front the iconic hotel...its all blacksoil and a place to be avoided if wet. Our overnight site to the right.
Another view of ouir site and on the right what remains of the original road bridge, on our last visit, 4 years ago the bridge was still here, closed but still here, gone now.
Above, the Nindigully Hotel was used in scenes from a 1999 movie, starring Hugh Jackson, some reminders remain.
Left, I took a walk along the Moonie River, found the remains of and old truck....Ford Model A, I think.
Goondiwindi was the town we stayed in next. Sitting peacefully on the banks of the Macintyre River at the junction of five major highways, Goondiwindi is a well-established border town. Its name was derived from an Aboriginal word Goonawinna meaning "the resting place of the birds".
Pronounced 'gun' rather than 'goon', Goondiwindi is an attractive Darling Downs town which has become important because of its unique position at the junction of the Cunningham, Newell, Bruxner, Barwon and Leichhardt Highways on the border between New South Wales and Queensland.

At the present time (Sept 2020) the Qld Police Service have a covid border check-point set up on the roundabout where the highways meet, all traffic currently being stopped.
We selected the Showgrounds for our stay, originally planned to be two days but extended by another day, we like the showgrounds, spacious sites, green grass, cheaper than the towns caravan parks.


 
Above. One of Goondiwini's famous citizen's.....the race horse 'Goondiwindi Grey', better known as Gunsynd. a racehorse who was bought for a measly $1,300 by 4 partners (The Goondiwindi Syndicate hence "Gun" and "Synd") with the aim of winning a local bush race.  The horse was the subject of a 1973 Tex Morton hit (it reached Number 5) titled 'The Goondiwindi Grey'. In the late 1960s and early 1970s the horse had 29 wins including the 1971 Epsom Handicap and the 1972 Cox Plate. It came third in the 1972 Melbourne Cup.

The recently revamped Victoria Hotel to left and the main street below.

Click here to see our Progress Maps page

Click here to see our 'Side Trips' page.



Click here to see our Progress Maps page

Click here to see our 'Side Trips' page.


Five major highways either start or finish in Gundy, the Newell, the Cunningham, the Bruxner, the Barwon and the Liechhardt. The Newell is  a major interstate route from southern states and it was at the end of this highway that the Qld police set up their covid-19 border control....grab from our dash-cam below.

We stayed in the Goondiwindi showgrounds, below...an excellent choice. Plenty of room, many taps and powerboxes...and $11 per night cheaper than the caravan parks in town.
So...where to next...click here.
Yelarbon...Yelarbon is a rural town and locality in the Goondiwindi Region, Queensland, Australia. It is on the border of Queensland and New South Wales. In the 2016 census there were 364 residents.
Yelarbon is also the location of a recreation grounds where we have stayed on many occasions over the years.
Camping facilities are supplied by local volunteers, powered and unpowered sites, water taps and clean amenities are available.
 
After three days it was time to move on....
Yelarbon got its name from a lagoon nearby, I think it might be spring fed, we have never seen it dry. I is a pleasent place indeed.....some photos I took.
....the old railway station serves as the amenities block, the old jail house is now a museum.
Yelarbon rec grounds, two blocks from the Cunningham Highway, is well known by the caravaning folk. Sadly the current drought conditions have had an effect on the once green oval.
Sheds dotted around the oval contain old railway and farmimng equipment....and below, the Yelarbon silos....local tell us they are attracting a lot of visitors....their creation was not without controvesry however, aggreement on the paintings could not be reached..the council decided...they look good.
While in Yelarbon we took a side trip to Bengalla Reserve....you can follow the link here.
And finally...Nobby......this is our final stop on this trip. We have had a giant meal at the pub and tomorrow we will be home.
"Step back in time" and visit historic Rudd's Pub, the home of Dad and Dave. Rudd's Pub is situated in Nobby, 35km's from Toowoomba and only 2 hours from Brisbane.

There is free camping for motor homes and caravans across the road. You can dine in the Heritage Lounge where folklore says that Steele Rudd sat while writing his famous Australian "Dad & Dave" stories.

Thanks to all who have followed us on this trip...thanks to for the comments etc.
It is unlikley there will be another trip this year...most likely early February 2021...please check back again around Christmas time, may have some idea then.
 
The Nobby pub is one of those iconic places that we should visit...above left and to the right the old Nobby railway station, now a museum and gift shop. The free camp below and our side, beside the railway.
Another view of Nobby pub and the landscaped surrounds.
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