Saturday 11 May 2019

Blackall to Longreach

We started off the next day by having a look around Blackall.  The main tourist attraction is the Wool Scour, but as we had visited it last time we were here, we didn't bother this time.

This interesting building, just around the corner from the caravan park, was the Masonic Lodge in its early life.  It is now a cafe.

You can buy this lovely home for $380,000.00 - one of the more expensive in town.

You know the expression "Beyond the Black Stump"?  Well, this is a model of the black stump, which sat on this exact spot, and was used as a surveying mark, hence beyond the black stump.

There we are, with our nose just beyond the black stump.

We went for a wander up and down the street and there were lots of these signs and posters, all different.  I'm guessing they asked the public for photos, as they were so diverse.  It was fun looking at them all.

Every town seems to have at least one mural.

The buildings weren't as grand here, but still interesting.  "60 and Better - for healthy living" had a little craft shop and there were  group of people inside doing some craft work.  So many of these small rural towns have an aging population, so this was good to see.

As we have driven along we have seen several large communication towers.  Communications are such an important thing in these remote places.  You get phone and internet connection in each town, but it only lasts for about 5kms out of town.  Internet for outlying properties is all via satellite.

Our next town was Barcaldine.  We were impressed by the lovely green park that ran right along the main street.

There were huge percussion instruments along the way.  Of course Mick had to play an original composition.

And another one.

Pubs dominated the streetscape.

There were five in two blocks.

Down near the Information Centre is a huge Comet windmill.  It only needs 3km of wind to run it.  Windmills have been so important with all the bores.  

In front of the Railway Station is this unusual structure.  It wasn't here last time we were through. 

A bit of history.  In 1891 the shearers went on strike.  It ended up with some shearing sheds being burnt and non union labour being brought in.  Eventually, they gave up and went back to work with lesser conditions.  Thirteen ring leaders were tried and gaoled.  As a result they realised that they needed political clout to have any chance to get better conditions for working people and after a meeting under the tree of knowledge in front of the Barcaldine Railway Station they started the Australian Labor Party.

When we visited in 2003 the tree was still alive, although it looked rather sick.  It died in 2006.

The dead tree is now there surrounded by this amazing structure.  All the hanging pieces are wood.  

Back on our walk we fell in love with the mural at the library.

The next little town we visited was Ilfracombe.

The main reason to stop here is to see the Machinery Mile.  We visited last time and had to stop in again.

There is a huge line of old machinery, tractors, trucks, graders, you name it.

There are some really old and interesting things featured.  This was for excavating tanks and dams.

This one is a 1917 Ruston Kerosene Tractor.  There are only three left in the world.

In the middle there were a couple of buildings.  This one set up as a cottage museum.

Another had a huge bottle collection and gun collection.

The third featured an Australian Light Horse display.

It really is worth stopping and having a look at it all.

By mid afternoon we had arrived in Longreach and parked our van at the home of Mick's cousin and his family.  It was lovely to catch up with them.


Maria said...

Boy you've travelled through and visited many towns since I visited on May 7th....
Beautiful old buildings, machinery and murals.....
We've travelled through those towns but sadly didn't take the time to see all you have posted ..
Happy Travels...

Jenny said...

So interesting! As I was reading about the shearers going on strike and starting the Labour union, it was just like the miners who went on strike in Blackball, down in the West coast of New Zealand. This is where the NZ Labour Party was formed, way back in the day. The early workers had quite a tough time with work conditions.
As always, such a lot to see in these small towns. But looking at the size of the pubs, they must have been very busy places in their hey day.

kiwikid said...

I wonder how all those pubs keep going? Do they rely on the tourists these days? So interesting tomtravel with you and see what the small places have to see. The machinery mile looked interesting as did the tree where the Labour Party started from.
Love the library mural too 😊. Hope you enjoyed Micks original composition!!