Merry Christmas from our family to yours. I'm so thankful for your support this year. I've appreciate your feedback and comments as we take our road trip around Australia.
The Longreach Stockmans Hall of Fame was one of the items at the top of our bucket list as we prepared for our Austerity Road Trip of Australia.
The Stockmans Hall of Fame begins before arriving inside, when we got to meet the stars of the show.
There is so much to look at in this place. If you don't get to see everything in one day, there's another day tomorrow. Just arrange a pass to return before leaving.
Such a lovely natured border collie, in my mind she was one of the stars of the show. She was so eager to please her master, she wanted to hop in to help.
Each time Geoff went to leave, she'd grab his attention. When I came in for my shake hands, she just lay down and wasn't interested at all.
We slotted into the 11am show. And we learnt more than just about stockmen and the animals that support them in their work.
Did you know that the country folk acknowledge a fellow motorist on the road (even if they don't know them), with a lift of the pointer finger off the steering wheel. No one replies back, the closer you get to the city, and when they do, the drivers think, "another stockman". So we got into the swing of it, lifting our forefinger, and receiving the reply as we traveled through the Outback.
I hope I'm not boring you too much with the show. I know we kind of see farmers at work in NZ everyday we're on the highways and byways, but this blue heeler was amazing. His job was to shepherd the sheep, keeping the stockman on point (in the lead at the front). As he walked this way and that she was flat tack keeping those sheep in order. She just didn't stop. And yes, he let us into the secret truth about the blue heeler - they've tested the DNA and there is a bit of Dingo in them. The stockman believed that was what gave the blue heeler the tenacity to keep on working.
To be honest, we learnt heaps and the animals performed so clever tricks as well as showing how a working dog, stock and stockmen work, but we were a bit disapointed in the show. And some of that might come from our own backgrounds. I don't want to put anyone off seeing the show. It was priced right and there's a lot of work goes on behind the scene's to pull the show together. They say not to work with kids and animals, so under that proviso it was pretty good.
There was audience participation - always good.
After the show, there's the opportunity to meet the stars.
The Hall of Fame was absolutely wonderful. It was such a great idea to honour the pioneers of Australia, not just the people who were famous, or held high office, but the people who worked the land. The people who went before. There are so many people, we would needed to have been here for a week. I decided to follow the women of the outback. I would have struggled, just with the heat, dust and flies, let alone the distances from neighbours, doctors and just supplies - no supermarkets to "pop" down to.
From architecture to art, our visit here was one of the highlights of our road trip into the Outback of Australia, and helped us fall in love with this very special part of Aussie.
... here's the art.
So what is the Stockmans Hall of Fame? Is it a museum? An art gallery? A recording of social history? Music? The Flying Doctors? The indigenous people?
It's a big yes to all of those things. But it is much more than that.
I hope you'll add this place to your bucket list. I'm so glad we did.
I'll leave you with some close up detail of the mural...
One of the resident brolgas visited for breakfast. Didn't realise the smell of wholegrain cereal could travel far.
these birds are huge, about the size of a female emu. One of the trillion roosters that wander around has photobombed but it gives you an idea of size. This bird has no fear. We made a quick dash inside and he thought he'd follow.
Just out of Longreach the stage coach lurched, just about unseating me and my fellow traveller.
I hooked my arm around the back of my seat at the same time he did. "I'm not getting fresh" he said, "it's more a matter of staying on board"
The noise of the team ahead and the wind and dust didn't allow for much conversation and I just quickly nodded, to scarred to even flash the smile that makes babies cry. Our coach rolled on in the heat and the dust.
I turned around and glanced at my husband riding shotgun up front. It was unlikely his shooting skills would be needed, but with rumours of duffers working in the area, all precautionary measures needed to be taken.
We met the Cobb & Co stage coach heading in the opposite direction. After a brief discussion on the road ahead, the drivers noticed huge black clouds building.
No one wants to get caught in the rain on these roads, so the drivers hightailed it back to town.
If my seat was precarious before, it was nothing compared to a team of five at full gallop. We clung for our lives.
Funnily enough my seat seemed really stable now, as we trotted into town. So much so, I was able to take some photos.
And that was just a small part of our days entertainment with the Kinnon Family.
You may recall a week or so ago when we stopped in Augathella, I mentioned Smiley. This was the home of the little boy who inspired the writings of Moore Raymond. The book was heralded as Australia's answer to Huckleberry Finn.
Smiley in the first movie was played by Colin Smith, who was later drummer for the Bee Gees.
Filming for the Smiley films was completed at Campden Park Station, just out of Longreach. .
We were treated to the second movie, "Smiley Gets a Gun" with popcorn included. Our day wound up with the Harry Redford Tent Show, near where it began with a Devonshire tea, so long ago..
The Kinnen Family have certainly worked hard to bring the history of the area to life and provided an entertaining day. Some of it you'd never get anywhere else.
Imagine the nightmare of health and safety in New Zealand getting an authentic attraction like this up and running.
There are no disclosure clauses. The danger is laid out plainly for those taking the coach ride and by agreeing to have your photo taken with the coach, you agree to knowing the risks and will take the ride anyway.
Our day wound down quietly out at the Apex Park just outside of town, roosters, brolgas and all.
Our days are starting earlier as our bodies sync in time with daylight hours. In the middle of breakfast we received a text from fellow travellers Rolanda and Mark from Travellers Nest. They were heading through Barcaldine in 45 mins.
It was a quick pack up and we joined them for coffee in a delicious bakery, nestled between the Butcher and the Supermarket.
We swapped stories and had a great catch up. While we were chatting, Geoff spotted a good deal for steak so we all went in to investigate.
We left with a large fillet of sirloin vacuum packed in 2cm thick slices along with a half a lamb leg roast, filling the freezer once again.
In the butchers are beautiful photos of the Outback, as it turns out they're from Boulia where the butcher hails from. After chatting with him, we are going to consider doing a loop to Mt Isa through Boulia.
We paused for an hour in Ifracombe. A wonderful explanation of the finding of water and facts about the huge underground resource.
Of interest is the Mile long display of early farm and roading equipment all beautifully and brightly painted up.
Included in the offering is a bottle collection.
I used to collect teaspoons but with a change to a minimalist life style I don't "get" multiple collections. Plus I have nowhere to store extras, living in a Motorhome. However, the above photo kind of explains it.
Some of the bottles are quite unique.
We continued west to Longreach. Each town we arrive at, we go to the information centre. This one is the first I've wanted to photograph. It's very cleverly done.
We might be in the Outback, but we sure aren't alone. This is Apex Park a bush camp (less of the bush and more of the dust) which is our home for a few days.
What is the attraction of a preserved tree in the Outback town of Barcaldine?
The Tree of Knowledge is a ghost gum tree, self seeded and the settlement of Barcaldine built up around it. The Tree has given shade to Aboriginal wanderers and early pioneers as they explored and settled the west.
It was a meeting place for the Salvation Army and became a gathering place for the shearers when the "rich pastoral owners" decided to cut back the shearers wages and change their conditions. The shearers invited the Station Owners to a meeting to discuss the situation "in a fair and liberal spirit" but not one of them turned up. So the shearers continued the meeting and instead formed what was to become the Shearers Union, Carriers Union and even an Employers Association "to help prevent strikes".
Unionism spread like wildfire via bush telegraph with shearers wanting better conditions and employers wanting conditions to be reduced to reflect their declining land valuations and profit.
There were no winners.
This huge timber structure was created to protect the tree.
Over the years Tree has become a symbol of struggle and striving for a fair go.
When the Salvation Army met under the tree it was known as the "Alleluia Tree".
Ironically, as Adam and Eve found out by eating the forbidden fruit of the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, enlightenment and conscience come at a price.
The above information has been gleaned from the Legend of the Tree Brochure
The Tree survived two termite infestations and an insect attack with the intervention of man. And it was at the hand of man the tree was poisoned in 2006, by an unknown person.
My photos do not do this Memorial justice.
It was also suggested that visitors take a pub crawl of the pubs in town. We found an affinity with this pub.
It turned out to be an interesting visit to Barcaldine, with street Art, street instruments and a historic building walk. Mr S was even enticed to display his xylophone skills.
We ended the day drinking in the stars at a bush camp just out of town.
The old Radio Theatre, now restored and offering movies Friday to Sunday.
To finish, a selection of some of the street art...
It's official. We are now beyond the Black Stump. As it turns out there is actually a specific black stump, not just any old one. The surveyors used the black stump to set up their theodolites on, as it was more solid than their tripod. The black stump was used to work out the distances for the towns.
The real stump was eventually burnt, but has been replaced with a petrified stump. However, the Coolabah tree depicted at the time is still in what is now the Blackall School grounds.
I've gotten ahead of myself. Our first point of call this morning was a walk along the Coolabah Walk on Tambo to the Quantas crash site. Their squeaky clean record was tarnished in 1927 when the pilot mistook the rugby field for the airport runway. He and his two passengers perished.
We took a stroll by the Dam. It used to be the towns water supply, but let the town down in drought.
We wandered the town. Which phone was your earliest memory of a working phone? Mine was the big heavy black one. Tambo didn't get an automated phone system until 1984. The town was also a repeater station for the telegraph system.
We loved this wee town with its green grass and the fragrance of the roses wafting up as we walked by.
The towns fire engine with its white wall tyres had been beautifully restored. Equally interesting is the building it's housed in.
Art Gallery to Teddies
No photography is allowed in the art gallery. I was totally taken with a display of a home like no other. Lovingly created by an artistic couple. I'm saying no more except it really is worth a visit and sit down on the sofa. The story that's told is beautiful.
Famous worldwide, are Tambo teddies. I was originally interested in purchasing a bear. Yes they are special and unique bears and really worth a look, but I couldn't justify spending over a hundy on a soft cuddly bear.
Time to move on to Blackall and the celebration of an Australia hero, VC and Military Cross for battles fought in Belgium and France.
In 2008, a nine year old boy wrote an essay that was published in the local paper. He asked why Blackall's famous hero wasn't recognised in his home town. This sparked a fund raiser and on 24 April 2009 the bronze statue was unveiled.
Blackalls other famous identity is Jack Howe from a time when Australia grew over 100 million sheep and had around 60,000 shearers. It was Jack Howe who set the record for blade shearing 340 sheep in seven hours and forty minutes. This was from an era when sheep had to be carried onto the board.
There's a 72 hour free park behind Blackall but it was more crowded than crows around a kangaroo carcass, so we slipped out of town to Douglas creek for the night.
When we pulled over during the day for lunch, the temperature rose to 37C. In the breeze it's a more bearable 31C.
There's no doubt about it. We are truly beginning to experience the Outback. I hope you're enjoying the road trip with us.
Weve been finding cellphone cover grest in town, but it fluctuates in between, in the places we are camping from little to no cover. It kept dropping my post. So fingers crossed third time lucky.
Smiley was a popular movie in the mid 1950's, It was based on a little boy from Augathella and now there's even a commemoration once a year when fans get together in town. There wasn't much open today, being Sunday.
Murals have been painted to reflect the way of life in this service town. We topped up our fuel and bought an ice cream to help cool us down as we continued north west.
There's been a wind blowing most of the day and the temperature has been hovering between 29 - 31C reminding us of a good Canterbury nor west day.
Traffic has been mainly Travellers like us and Road Trains.
Mr S and I shared the driving to Tambo which was a bit of a battle with the wind gusts and passing these big rigs.
We pulled over for lunch about halfway, (sandwiches with Charleville Bakery bread). Before we hit the road again, I went to the Lou. Opened the cassette and she blew, wow did she blow. I didn't realise so much liquid could go so far. (I hope you're not having tea as you read this). What a mess to clean before making tracks, after a change of clothes.
Mr S had emptied before we took off and with the hot weather pressure had obviously built up. Yet another learning curve.
Im pretty sure happy hour is going to taste good tonight.
Last night our camp was at the Bushcamp just outside of Charleville. It looks like someone snuck off with the walls to the toilet during the night.
We've arrived safely in Tambo (the GPS setting wasn't quite right but at least we used it.). After it's cooled down a bit we'll do some exploring.
To all you Dads, a very happy Fathers Day.
Morven's Ooline Trees
On the Map it looked an easy drive from Morven to Charleville. When the roadside marker said 20kms to Augathella I knew we'd missed the turn off.
After an early morning walk to see the Ooline Trees in Tregolo National Park, we paused to look at The Shed collection.
The Rabbit Fence was built across the Outback to contain the damage by the introduced European rabbit. These gates crossed the road. Imagine today, the road train trucker stopping to open and shut each gate. A Tui moment?
There were only a few vehicles on the road, mainly road trains and travellers like us.
We eventually arrived in Charleville and visited the Flying Doctors. A really worthwhile visit seeing how the Outback families are provided with emergency care. It was also through the Flying Doctor service that educational input into the family began.
John Flyn was the man with the inspiration and stamina to see the project up and running. He is now remembered as the face on the Australian $20 note.
I love their moto "The furtherest corner, the finest care."
In the early 1900s Charleville became the home of a meteorologist. He visited France and was intrigued with the the method they used to stop the hail getting on the vines.
He thought the guns might have a use in his hometown providing a sufficient interruption to air pressure to encourage rain.
Alas his theory didn't quite work.
To the Stars
Last night we visited the Cosmos Attraction where we were introduced to the Stars, the moon and the concept of distance.
Apparently viewing the constellations works better after a bottle of red.
Its worth a visit, especially for the beginning of the talk.
Lesson learned. We will use the GPS for every road trip now as here in the Outback the distance to the next road is a bit longer than in town.
Our first stop this morning was a sleepy little place called Amby. The only sign of possible life was the barking of an unseen dog.
Amby is of significant cultural heritage for the Aboriginal Scar Trees. There's supposed to be marks in the trees, which are uprooted in a pebble and brick display but the sight of them escaped us.
We continued west to Mitchell. There we dipped into beautiful artesian water at the spa. My hair is so soft after my shower - no conditioner required.
We took out a day pass ( no extra cost) and walked up the road in search of a cafe that had been recommended.
This cafe/bakery is so popular that it's been known to have a que of people waiting to get in at opening time.
Our hot pies were delicious with a light flaky pastry. The huge lamington disappeared easily too. It was so light.
A walk around the town (5 pubs and not many more houses - although to be fair, not all pubs were open) and we were ready to take the waters again. Even with the light breeze 39c water is very warm to stay in.
The town, although not thriving is well cared for and there are mosaics embedded in the footpath.
Our camp tonight is a bush camp just out of town at Neil Turner Weir. We've enjoyed an evening around the campfire with Rolanda and Mark and our new friends we met at the Artisian Spa, George and Judith. George builds a great fire.
Two Kiwi's who have retired early to travel the world. Share our journey with us.