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Outback Mates. ISSUE1 / May 2017


Exploring the regions where the giants once roamed


Awesome caravan parks and local hotspots

There’s a beer in there: Top pubs of Outback Qld

ROAD TRIPPIN’ From Mount Isa to Birdsville


Calendar of events NOT to miss


Meet Tania Kernaghan

CONNECTING REGIONAL QUEENSLAND With 24 Rex destinations in Queensland, holiday options with Rex Airlines are almost as endless as the vast blue Outback Queensland skyline. Discover Queensland the quickest way with Rex Airlines.

EXPLORE QUEENSLAND QUEENSLAND with with Oaks Oaks Hotels Hotels & & Resorts Resorts IfIfyou youlove loveroad roadtrips tripsand andwide wideopen openspaces, spaces,Oaks Oaksisisthe the perfect perfectaccommodation accommodationchoice choicefor foryour yournext nextadventure! adventure! With Withspacious spaciousfully fullyself-contained self-containedapartments apartmentsininall allthe thekey key destinations destinationsacross acrossQueensland, Queensland,there’s there’sno noreason reasontotolook look anywhere anywhereelse. else.


Head west to explore the gemfields Head west through Emerald and Clermont to try your hand at fossicking the sapphire fields, rest your weary feet or take a dip in our pool at Oaks Middlemount or continue your trek north to Oaks Moranbah.


Stay at one of Gladstone’s iconic pubs Positioned in the main street, Oaks Grand Gladstone has quiet apartments with views of the marina and direct access to the iconic Grand Hotel - it’s the best of both worlds. Middlemount

Go platypus spotting in Mackay Walk the banks of Broken River to spot the elusive platypus just outside of Mackay and stock up on supplies and have a good night’s sleep at Oaks Rivermarque before hitting the road once more.



Visit Australia’s largest single drop waterfall near Townsville Travel through the historical Charters Towers and visit the largest single drop waterfall in Australia, 268m high Wallaman Falls before heading into Townsville. Stay in the heart of the action in Palmer St, with Oaks Gateway on Palmer before heading north again.


Port Douglas from the rainforest to the reef Travel through the Atherton Tablelands and complete the journey with a scenic cable car tour to Kuranda, before exploring Mossman Gorge & the Daintree, then finally back to Port Douglas to rest, recover and experience the incredible Coral Sea.

Port Douglas

contents O U T B AC K M AT E S M AG A Z I N E


50 The First Stockmen Stockmen have played a pivotal role in Outback life since the early 19th Century, their bond with the bush and the animals that they moved through it inspiring many a story and no doubt, many tall tales. BY RILEY PALMER


14 Cover Star: Tania Kernaghan In the wake of releasing another album, we catch up with country artist, presenter, speaker and all-round lovely gal, Tania Kernaghan, and find out what she loves about Outback Queensland. BY MICHELLE HESPE

18 Outback Queensland's Pubs



An awesome caravan park can make or break your Outback adventure. So we've pulled together some beauties to make sure you know where to go and what to expect.


Pubs are often the backbone of communities in the Outback. So make sure you stop, pull up a stool and get to know the locals over a cold frosty brew and a great yarn or two. Or four...

24 In the Footsteps of Dinosaurs Dinosaurs endlessly fascinate people. What most people don't know, is that in Outback Queensland you can step back in time and explore what those great mysterious creatures left behind. BY CARLA GROSSETTI

REGULARS 5 On our Ed's letter page, we'll have a great prize to give away every issue, so write to us, tell us your thoughts and WIN! 7 Want to know what's happening across Outback Qld? Here it all is in our Events Calendar 12 Every month we'll review a great place to stay in Outback Queensland. Check it out. 56 The plight of our beloved bilby 64 Try our Outback Qld QUIZ 

32 Road Trippin' from the Isa to Birdsville Wide open plains and endless blue skies, red desert that streteches on forever .... and a road that runs through it. Who doesn't love the idea of a road trip from Birdsville to Mount Isa? Get out there! BY LEE ATKINSON A U T U M N / W I N T E R 2 0 17


The Aboriginal Artists Project combines the fashion accessory designs of Catherine Manuell with the artworks of many wonderful women artists from remote Australian communities. Shown here is the Bush Yams artwork by Evelyn Pultara from the Utopia region of Central Australia. A percentage of the proceeds from the sale of these products goes directly to the artists.

Call us on 03 9486 4066 for help or a little personal service, or email:

Letter from the Editor. Welcome to the first edition of Outback Mates magazine. We are so pleased that you can now enjoy this magazine while travelling through Outback Queensland. With this in your hands and your Outback Mates card in your pocket, we know that many exciting adventures lie ahead of you. Through this collection of stories, we’ll continually strive to bring the characters and the wonderful places in Outback Queensland to life. We’ll also delve into some of the region’s history, and explore the rich culture and fascinating heritage that makes Outback Queensland so unique. As our first cover star, country crooner Tania Kernaghan states with pride: “There's no place in the world like Outback Queensland.” We sincerely hope that by the end of your journey, you’ll be feeling the same way. Maybe you’ll read a story about a certain place that will send you off on a road less travelled, and before you know it, you’ll be looking up at the stars, wondering how you came to be there. Maybe you’ll run into some of the locals that make Outback Queensland such a welcoming place. Don’t rush off, as we’re sure they’ll want to share some interesting yarns. And if you have a story to share with us, please drop us a line, as we'd love to hear from you. Happy travelling!

Ed's letter

Outback Mates. EDITORIAL Editor: Michelle Hespe Editorial Assistants: Carlie Mitchell and Sally Bird Designer: Shane O’Brien Sales Executive: Vimla Naidoo CONTRIBUTORS Lee Atkinson Carla Grossetti Riley Palmer THIS MAGAZINE IS PUBLISHED ON BEHALF OF OUTBACK QUEENSLAND TOURISM ASSOCIATION

Please direct enquiries into Outback Mates loyalty cards or Outback Mates Magazine to Social Media & Research Co-ordinator, Sally Bird:


HERO PRINT 122 Euston Road Alexandria, NSW, 2015 PLE . VEL . PEO K QLD : TRA



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2017 ISSUE1 / May

DINOSAURIES DISCOVER regions the Exploring giants where the d once roame

Michelle Hespe, and your Outback Mates team.


Tell us a travel story, send us a poem or inspire us with your witty or wise words, and you could win this beautiful trolley set Catherine Manuell Design. Email our Assistant Editor, Carlie Mitchell on: carlie.mitchell@ Good luck!

PARK LIFE: avan car Awesome local parks and hotspots

There’s a e: beer in ther

of Top pubs Outback Qld

IN’ ROAD TRIPP Isa From Mount to Birdsville


of events Calendar s NOT to mis



Meet Tgahnaia n Kerna

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Getting off the beaten track ... Mobile phone coverage in Outback Qld is limited, with no mobile coverage on most outback roads. Telstra and Optus mobile networks are supported in some areas. For other locations, check your network to see whether they offer coverage or ask staff at a Visitor Information Centre. Internet is available in some places. 'Stay on Track Outback' ensure that those going off-road feel safer in remote locations.

This competition opens on 20/05/2017, and closes 20/10/2017. The GM of the Outback Queensland Tourism Board, Peter Homan, will have the final say on the best letter to the editor, and no correspondence will be entered into. Please send entries via email only to: with ‘Letter to the Editor’ in the email title. The prize will be sent to the address of the winner upon the close of entries, and the address specified must be within Australia. The Catherine Manuell Design Airport Trolley set is the one featured here (the A U T and U M Nit /W I N T E Rfor 2 0 17 5 design cannot be changed), retails $450.

Events Calendar

Outback Queensland is bursting at the seams with unique (and some downright wacky) events and festivals. So why not plan your next adventure around some of the events we've listed here for you. You'll not only meet many other travellers and locals, you'll have bucketloads of fun. To check out all of Outback Queensland's Eventures, visit: www.outbackqueensland.


Watch the action at the Roma Races on June 24. For more information, visit:


This four-day country music festival is held at Wandilla Station near Eulo, which is a working sheep and cattle property. Celebrating its 10th year, the festival is a big drawcard for families, and in true blue Outback style, everyone is made to feel welcome.


Now in it’s 8th year, The Theodore Trail Ride attracts more than 600 competitors and 1,200 spectators. With a strong family focus, it attracts riders as young as four years old to try out their skills in the hills. 'Tapped at the Crac' is the theme this year, and it will once again be hosted by Gyranda Station, Theodore.


Enjoy an exciting weekend in the Flinders Shire atop Porcupine Gorge near Hughenden. Categories include the Open Mens and Ladies, Over 50s and Under 16s, Under 12s and an Under 8 section for boys and girls. The overall winner will take home a perpetual trophy!

April–Aug '17

What's on in the Outback

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Events Calendar

23 June—1 July

4—6 July


Inspired by the Sundance Film Festival, Winton is quickly becoming known as the ‘Hollywood of the Outback’. Sit under the star-studded night sky in the open-air cinema (one of the few left in Australia) and enjoy a range of films, including premiers, the latest Australian films, and Outback inspired classics.


Voted as Australia’s favourite event in 2016, the Big Red Bash is Australia's most remote music festival. It's the experience of a lifetime, as you can watch some of Australia's best-loved country and rock musicians perform on the edge of the majestic Simpson Desert. It's three jam-packed days of awesome music and fun.


Camels reign supreme in Bedourie. Watch six great events great among hundreds of excited racegoers. Amongst the novelty events such as the ‘old farts’ and ‘old boilers’, you’ll watch the amusing pig races, lively music and wood chopping. Know a foodie? Tell them about the traditional oven cook-off, where you can bake your own delicious bread.

3—6 August 15—16 July


Biloela will soon be whirring with the sound of engines as the town celebrates Australia's pioneering spirit at the Queensland Heritage Park. The two-day event will see exhibitors come together to host a working rally showcasing unique vintage machines and collectables.


Get yourself to the largest rodeo in the Southern Hemisphere. Since 1959, this legendary event has showcased non-stop rodeo action and entertainment over three great days in Mount Isa. Tell your mates about the behind-the-scenes tours for an extra special rodeo experience!




Cowboys, bull riders, shearers and stockmen all congregate for this jam-packed program. Enjoy country music, live entertainment and a great carnival atmosphere. The Bill Johnstone Memorial Duathlon (2km run, 20km bike ride, and 2km run) will be held on Sunday morning.


In the land of the legendary Min Min Light is Australia's longest camel race. For the 1500m cup final, you'll be cheering at the sight of the camels as they come hurtling down the red dusty outback track. Get ready for live entertainment, yabby races, colourful markets, fireworks and childrens entertainment.


Watch the streets of Cloncurry come alive as you dance the night away at the Bushman's bash, unwind with a bev at the bush poetry and watch over 400 competitors battle it out at the rodeo. Remember to take the kids along as this community group event invites you along to the Teddy Bears Picnic, street parade and other great entertainment.

25—27 August DROVER’S CAMP FESTIVAL As a festival rich in heritage, you'll learn nothing short of Australia's iconic droving history. The event creates an opportunity for all to meet and greet real outback drovers (always interesting characters with yarns a-plenty) who love sharing their fascinating experiences and unique way of life with all who attend.


The Windorah International Yabby Races are continually held on the Wednesday night prior to the iconic Birdsville Races. Held outside the Western Star Hotel, punters are drawn from around the globe to cheer on the speedy blue-clawed crustaceans. Be sure to tell your mates about it!

Events Calendar


Join crowds of 6,000 race-goers on the edge of the Simpson desert in Birdsville for the 'Melbourne Cup of the Outback'. Attracting attention from around the world, this two day event offers quality entertainment and horses from all over Australia.


19—23 September

Sept– 10 Sept



No other Australian species has its own National day. The Bilby festival hosts a range of festivities to create awareness about this precious marsupial. This includes the Fur Ball, live music and fun children’s entertainment throughout the weekend.


Head to Bullo Park for the Pride of the West Festival. Watch two-hand cutting and enjoy some bootstomping live music. Head to the track on Saturday for a great day of Outback racing, with all races featuring station horses and local riders.


This action-packed threeday festival includes great rodeo action, horse racing and sheep racing. Take part in the iconic Jackie Howe Blades & Blisters Challenge, take on a BBQ cook-off, or check out the local art and photography competition for some artistic inspiration.

Find some of Australia’s quirkiest, most amusing events at the biennial Outback Festival in Winton. Enjoy the mayhem of the Australian Dunny Derby (Did someone say DIY portable outback racing loos?) test your toughness in the Outback Iron Man, or dine under the stars at this wonderfully wacky five-day event.


Held on Lake Moondarra, this event is brimming with classic entertainment for all. There are over 20 fishing prize categories, a dragon boat regatta, a beach volleyball competition, yabby races and an awesome fireworks display to top things off.

Sept–Oct '17

1—2 September

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The 5-star treatment Monday to Friday for breakfast. Room service is available for breakfast daily and dinner Monday to Saturday.

If central accommodation, five-star luxury beds and chef-prepared meals are what you need when you roll into town, then look no further than Longreach Motor Inn. Step into your spacious air-conditioned room, kick off your shoes, sink into your bed for a well-earned rest and enjoy complimentary inroom tea and coffee. Queen and King Executive rooms include comfy bath robes, a stocked Mini Bar and Espresso coffee capsule machines. Select from a range of room styles suitable for singles, couples, families and corporate guests. To keep you entertained, all rooms feature free Foxtel and WIFI. The onsite Harry’s Restaurant and Bar is a local favourite, offering mouth-watering, contemporary Australian, chef-prepared meals. Dishes are created using fresh, seasonal produce that can be expertly matched with wine from Harry’s Bar. Finish off your meal with a fresh barista-brewed coffee from the bar. Harry's is open Monday to Saturday for dinner, and 10


If you want to make the most of the outdoors, then you’ll love the handy barbeque facilities and outdoor pool. Grab a couple of good steaks from the local butcher and toss them on the grill for a great taste of the Outback. The saltwater pool and sauna are always popular with visiting families looking for a place to chill with the kids in the afternoon. Two passionate local couples – Tanya and David Neal, and Judy and Damien Kennedy, operate Longreach Motor Inn. They love to get to know their guests and to share information on what to see and do. As a long-term operator, they have built up great relationships with local attractions and tour operators, so speak to the friendly reception team for tour bookings and attraction passes. If you’re arriving in Longreach on the Spirit of the Outback, it’s only a short walk across the road to the Longreach Motor Inn. Guests arriving by QantasLink at Longreach Airport can pre-order a complimentary shuttle pick up and drop off. Free undercover parking is available for travellers arriving in their own vehicle. Outback Mates travelling to Longreach are assured of a warm Outback welcome at the Longreach Motor Inn, with some exclusive offers for room upgrades and dining packages. To access these deals, head to their website and enter the promo code MATES. Alternatively, give the friendly team a call and they’ll be happy to assist you.

Australian Stockman’s Hall Of Fame and Outback Heritage Centre would like to offer members of Outback Mates a complimentary refreshment and Stubby cooler when purchasing a Dinner and Show ticket. P: (07) 4658 2166 E: MUSEUM@STOCKMANSHALLOFFAME.COM.AU W: WWW.STOCKMANSHALLOFFAME.COM.AU A: LANDSBOROUGH HWY, LONGREACH QLD 4730

Review: Bonus Downs

Welcome back to Earth. TAKE A JOURNEY back in time. Then sit back, watch a sunset, and appreciate a truly remarkable part of Outback Queensland. Lyle and Madonna Connolly (right) are extremely passionate about their property, that keeps some of the regions' remarkable history alive. It's a special place where people can go to relax, explore, and appreciate the beauty of Outback Queensland, past and present.



Review: Bonus Downs

“It feels like you’re a world away from anything else at Bonus Downs, but Roma is under two hours away, and it’ll only take you seven hours to drive from Brisbane." AT BONUS DOWNS FARMSTAY in Outback Queensland, guests are taken on a journey into the rich, colourful history of this special region — a place where they can experience true outback mateship and genuine country life and hospitality. The experience that Lyle and Madonna Connolly provide for their guests is truly authentic, as they can sleep in the property’s 100-year-old Jackaroo's Quarters, treading the same timber floorboards as the hard-working shearers of the past. The lounge and dining room in the Jackaroo's Quarters is a wonderful place for family and friends to gather around an old table that has witnessed hundreds of years of yarns. Or guests can take a seat in front of the open fire-place with a hot cuppa, and listen to Lyle recount entertaining stories of the property and life on Bonus Downs. The Quarters are self-contained or you can book full catering, and rest assured that today, there is air-conditioning to keep the heat at bay. If you have a caravan in tow or would like to camp on the property, there are powered and unpowered sites, and Madonna and Lyle love hosting large school groups, where the kids can all bunk down in authentic Shearers' Quarters and enjoy a hearty homemade breakfast. On the Historical Tour, Madonna takes guests on a trip into the past, guiding them through the old homestead, the Jackaroo's Quarters and the shearing shed, wrapping up with morning tea served on the expansive veranda. A full-day tour takes in an adventure around the property, and an authentic Billy tea and delicious damper feast in the prehistoric Ooline Forest. Bonus Downs boasts a picture-perfect dam and the surrounding scenery is a photographer’s dream. Recently, plentiful rain has attracted an abundance of bird life and given the landscape a boost of vibrancy. Sundowner Dinners are held on the banks of the dam. Imagine a spit-roasted country style dinner with local vegetables and salad, complemented by a lovely glass of wine or a cold beer? All enjoyed while watching pelicans gliding past before a majestic sunset and the silhouetted bushland.

The property is also a children’s paradise: there’s usually a fresh litter of working dog puppies to melt your heart, there's farm animal feeding to be done, a friendly family pony to meet, canoeing on the dam, and bicycles if the whole family wants to head out for a ride. It feels like you’re a world away from anything else at Bonus Downs, yet Roma is under two hours' drive away, and it’ll only take you seven hours to drive in from Brisbane. There’s even an airfield if you choose to fly in. Tours occur twice a week and must be booked. Visit: P: (07) 4623 1573 Address: 4566 Mitchell-Bollon Road, Mitchell, QLD 4465

Sundowner Dinners are held on the banks of the dam.

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Outbac 14


Cover Star

MICHELLE HESPE catches up with country artist, presenter and speaker, Tania Kernaghan in the wake of her releasing her seventh album, All Australian Girl.

ck Star A U T U M N / W I N T E R 2 0 17


Cover Star

Country crooner

Tania Kernaghan has fond memories of growing up in Albury with her tightknit family, watching her mother wrap bundles of 50 records in tissue paper, to be sent off to record stores around the country. The records were those produced by her father, highly lauded country music artist Ray Kernaghan, who started his own record label, KCR Records, under which Tania now sells her own music. “I love supporting the Australian music industry," Tania says. “People often ask if I'm going to go to the US or launch my work elsewhere, but I'm so happy with my career and my music being here in Australia, in the place I love more than anywhere else in the world. I’ve travelled around the world and I know that I live in the best country in the world.” Tania is highly renowned on the country music scene, with a swag of awards to her name including four Golden Guitars, and she’s also adored for being such a down-to-earth Aussie woman who is extremely proud of her roots. So some people might assume that the title of her new album: All Australian Girl, is a reference to herself. “The title of this album is actually for all of the remarkable women I’ve met over the years,” she clarifies. “The girls working out on their farms and in stock camps, those girls working in the small town pharmacies and in nursing homes taking care of our elderly — the album was written for those girls. I'm so lucky to be able to sing about this beautiful country and I love honouring Australia and its people through my music.”

Tania spends a lot of time on the road and staying in the Outback, and it never ceases to amaze her how the Australian spirit shines through, even during some of the toughest droughts. “Aussies are different. They are there when the chips are down,” she says. “They roll up their sleeves and make things happen. Through disasters and hard times, Australians, especially those from the bush, pull together. They never stop supporting one another.” Tania not only continually performs around Australia, visiting towns large and small, but also works as a keynote and motivational speaker for corporate and charity organisations, is a patron to Riding for the Disabled, and a proud supporter of Angel Flight Australia. She’s also a television presenter on Channel 10’s caravanning and lifestyle program, What’s Up Downunder. As if that’s not enough to keep this woman busy, her love for Outback Queensland recently led to Tania becoming a board member on the Outback Queensland Tourism Board. “There's nowhere on Earth like Outback Queensland,” Tania says. “Not only in terms of its landscape, but the events are so unique — from the Mount Isa Rodeo and the Birdsville Races, to the Dunnie Derby in Winton, the events are just incredible, and they bring the community together. And you know what you’re in for when you go to them too! Look at the Dirt & Dust Festival in Julia Creek – it is what it is and it’s so much fun. You know you’re not going to wear your white linens and a fancy hat to that one!” she says, laughing at the thought. “It’s the people that make Outback Queensland so special. I haven’t been anywhere else in the world where

Getting off the beaten track ... One of Tania's favourite places is the top of Big Red — the famous sand dune in the Simpson Desert.

Tania with Cunnamulla Fella, QLD



Cover Star

“The first time I went out to Big Red and stood on top and looked out across that huge red land, I wanted to cry. They weren't sad tears ... I was just so overwhelmed. "


the people welcome you with such open arms, even if you’re a complete stranger. They treat you just the same as their friends, they welcome you and want to share yarns.” She pauses and sighs. “And the landscape! It’s an elixir for your mind, body and soul.” Ask Tania where she’d take a busload of her friends and family, and she gets so excited at the thought, she lets out a squeal of delight. “Where to start?” she cries. “Maybe we’d start at the Birdsville Races and then head up through Boulia, making sure we visited Big Red in the Simpson Desert. Then we’d cruise through Winton, Longreach, Blackall and Barcauldine. We couldn’t miss Mount Isa and Longreach…and you know what? I’d take a month to do it and we’d watch the stars every night. I’ve never seen stars like the ones you see in Outback Queensland. Standing out there, it feels as though you could just reach out, pick a star out of heaven and make a wish on it.” She pauses again, has a think. “And when everyone climbed off that bus at the end of the trip, they’d say that it was the best thing they’ve ever done in their entire lives!” The songs on Tania’s latest album swing between being fun and upbeat, to poignant and sentimental. As Tania said, the title song, All Australian Girl is for all of the women out there working on the land, in the towns and in the bush, so she likes to tell a story that encapsulates her message. “A mayor out there was really down, as the drought had been going on for so long. He’s lived in his small town all of his life, and he knows how the drought can affect families and communities,” she says. “But you know what the locals always say out there? ‘Someone down the road is worse off than us’, and they keep moving and helping one another. That’s what it’s all about. There’s always rain at the end of a drought. It might be five, ten years that the drought goes on for, and sometimes it can feel like your darkest hour, but then there’s light at the end of the tunnel.” Listening to the song, it’s obvious that Tania strives to create music that not only shines the light on country folks’ experiences and their day-to-lives, but that also give people joy and hope. “And this mayor, he’d go to bed at night and lie thinking – how is he going to make ends meet? That’s how the fellas think out there,” she continues. “And it’s the strength of

his woman that makes the difference. Their love gets them through. There’s always be enough love to get them through.” By the time my chat to Tania is drawing to an end, my head is bursting with wild landscapes and characters from Outback Queensland. I’m ready to jump in the car and drive until I am out there, under those stars. I say this, and she smiles. “It’s the wide open space, the fresh air, the long sunsets and the beautiful night skies," she says. "It’s so good for your soul. The first time I went out to Big Red and stood on top and looked out across that huge red land, I wanted to cry. They weren’t sad tears — I was just so overwhelmed by it, how big and beautiful it was. Outback Queensland can affect you like that. I need to get back out there.” ’ MORE INFO AND TOUR DATES: visit:

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Top Outback Pubs

Visit Outback Qld’s top watering holes. PHOTO BY GUY WILKINSON

WHO DOESN’T LOVE AN AUTHENTIC OUTBACK PUB EXPERIENCE? Having a yarn and a laugh over a beer at the bar with a local, tucking into some top pub grub, and laying your head to rest in a place where the past is almost palpable.



Top Outback Pubs

Birdsville Hotel

Can you name a more iconic outback pub? Built in 1884, The Birdsville Hotel is a destination itself, standing on the edge of the Simpson Desert. Attracting visitors from across the globe, everyone wants to tick off having a beer at The Birdsville Hotel. The pub has its fair share of history, having endured floods, fires and cyclones, and it plays an important role in the settlement of Outback Queensland. The Birdsville Hotel offers modern and comfortable accommodation, traditional pub food, ice-cold beverages and even a quality wine list. Whether you’re here for one of Birdsville’s iconic events or not, all year round you can take away the colourful outback stories and a true outback experience. And after all, how many pubs can you park both your car and plane in front of?

What to do nearby:

For a small town, Birdsville has plenty on offer. Watch the sunset from Big Red or take the family down to the Birdsville billabong to see the local wildlife. And if you haven’t indulged in a camel pie before, there’s no better place to try one for the first time, than the Birdsville Bakery.

Address: Adelaide Street, Birdsville, 4482, Qld Phone: (07) 4656 3244 Website: >

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Top Outback Pubs

The Opal Fossicking trip from Yaraka Hotel takes you through the spectacular scenery and into the heart of the Yang Yang Ranges. Or, get a feel for Hotel Corones' glory days on the Historical Tour, and hear the tales of the pub's past.

Yaraka Hotel The small town of Yaraka is located about 220km south of Longreach and is nestled against the Yang Yang Ranges, giving it a spectacular postcard-worthy backdrop. The warm Outback hospitality of the familyrun Yaraka Hotel is unmissable, just like the 360-degree views from nearby Mount Slowcombe. Enjoy great home-cooked meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner, seven days a week. The beer is cold, the bar is lively, and the small and friendly team are always up for a yarn. The Yaraka Hotel has air-conditioned, budget accommodation, or for those with a campervan or caravan, powered sites are available for $3 a night only 100 metres from the pub. Don’t miss out on the Yaraka Hotel Sunset Trip to Mount Slowcombe, with the cost only being a donation to the Yaraka School Fund or the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

What to do nearby:


Trips can be arranged from the pub, taking you through the spectacular scenery and into the heart of the Yang Yang Range and taking you to sites including Magee's Shanty which is the rumored location of where Banjo Patterson wrote A Bush Christening. Both tours take about 3.5 hours, and are $25 per person. Outback Mates deal: 20 percent discount on the pub’s history tours and 20 percent off the fossicking adventures. Address: 9 Jarley St, Isisford. Phone: (07) 4657 5526 Email:




Top Outback Pubs

Corones Hotel, Charleville After opening in 1929, the heritage-listed Hotel Corones still stands proudly today. The iconic outback pub has a hotel, motel, bar, bistro, bottle shop, dog wash and laundromat. Get a feel for the pub’s glory days on the Historical Tour, and hear the tales of the pub's past, as told by a guide from Charleville’s Visitor Information Centre. Enjoy an afternoon tea of scones, cream and jam after the tour, or head to the pub's bar, which has a Roman mosaic floor and stained glass windows. The hotel has a range of accommodation options to suit all budgets, including 35 hotel rooms located upstairs, via the impressive silky oak staircase. Stay in one of the standard or heritage hotel rooms, or an original VIP heritage room that includes an en suite, kitchenette and private balcony. Ground floor motel rooms are also available. Outback Mates Deal: Pay for 3 nights and the 4th one is free. Address: 33 Wills Street, Charleville, 4470, Qld Phone: (07) 4654 1022 Email: Website:

What to do nearby:

Charleville School of Distance Education runs tours every weekday, giving visitors unique insight into this different way of schooling. Learn how the school operates and sit in on a lesson with a teacher while they teach their students on air. Tours begin at 10am and cost $2. Address: Parry Street, Charleville, QLD, 4470 Phone: (07) 4656 8999 Email:

Did you know ... In 1902 Charleville was the location of an unsuccessful attempt by Clement Lindley Wragge to fire cannons into the clouds in order to break a drought. The cannons used remain on display.

Educating outback children ... Students at the School of Distance Education in Charleville complete their education through daily use of online resources supplied within the Learning Place, telephone and video conferencing 'on-air' lessons, email and through materials sent via Australia Post. A U T U M N / W I N T E R 2 0 17


Top Outback Pubs

Walkabout Creek Hotel


While travelling along the Matilda Way, you can’t drive past McKinlay’s famous pub, The Walkabout Creek Hotel, without stopping in for a cold one. Originally known as the Federal McKinlay Hotel, you would recognise this pub from Crocodile Dundee, the movie featuring Paul Hogan that put Australia’s Outback on the map. If you’re a fan of the film, check out the Crocodile Dundee memorabilia, and grab a photo with the weathered cut-out of Mick Dundee inside. Grab a beer, one for you and one for your mate, and enjoy the local hospitable atmosphere at this landmark hotel. For overnight stays, air-conditioned rooms, powered and unpowered sites are only a hop, skip and a jump away. ’

Where to next? ... The Shire of Mckinlay covers an area of 40,880 square kilometres, and has been a local government entity since 1891. The shire incorporates McKinlay, Kynuna, Julia Creek and Nelia. McKinlay is also home to Queensland's smallest library which also incorporates a tourist centre. It is open 10am-2pm on weekdays, from April to September.

Julia Creek is one of the many locations that athletes from all over Australia head to when competing at the annual Julia Creek Dirt n Dust Festival.



Outback Mates Deal: Three nights accommodation for the price of two Address: Middleton Street, McKinlay, QLD, 4823 Phone: (07) 4746 8424 Email:

What to do nearby:

While in McKinlay, visit McKinlay’s ‘Crafty Old School House’ located in Wylde Street. Out front is a sculpture of a Coolibah Tree locally handcrafted from vintage metal objects collected from the local stations. Or, if you like to check out mining sites (and the massive machinery that keeps them rolling), 87km south of McKinlay, the South32 Cannington Mine is the world’s largest and lowest-cost single mine producer of both silver and lead. Opened in 1997, Cannington was the supplier of silver for the Olympic Games medals in Sydney in 2000, and again for the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

h c a e r g Lon Welcome to

Outback Sunsets Endless Skies Friendly Locals Stockman & Shearers Warm Hospitality Timeless Landscapes

Where your adventure begins

Visit the Longreach Visitor Information Centre: 99A Qantas Park Eagle Street, Longreach QLD. Ph: (07) 4658 4150

Speaking of dinosaurs, what's up next? In the next edition of Outback Mates we'll feature a story on Australia's latest dinosaur museum, the Eromanga Natural History Museum, which opened it's doors in 2016 and has Australia's largest dinosaurs on display.



Outback Adventure

Make tracks to the

Dinosaur Trail Connecting the dots on the Dinosaur Trail in Outback Qld is a great way to clearly imagine their existence, writes CARLA GROSSETTI.

A U T U M N / W I N T E R 2 0 17


Tours operate daily and bookings are essential. Combination tour packages are also available.

P: (07) 4658 3737 E: Sir Hudson Fysh Drive, Longreach

Outback Adventure

Although dinosaurs

disappeared from our horizons long, long ago, the discovery of hundreds of intact dinosaur bones in the otherworldy landscape of Outback Queensland has made it easier to clearly imagine their existence. IN 1999, THIRD-GENERATION GRAZIER DAVID ELLIOTT was going 'flat-out' on his motorbike while mustering a mob of sheep on his Outback Queensland property near Winton. It was here, while jouncing over the parched, gouged earth, that Elliott almost hit what he thought was a giant clump of rocks. Those rocks turned out to be the fragmented femur of an 18m-long four-legged sauropod estimated to be about 95 million years old. It was an incredible discovery that changed the course of Elliott's life.


"I WAS IN THE RIGHT PLACE AT THE RIGHT TIME," says Elliott, now 59, who, together with his wife Judy, 54, devoted the subsequent two decades to setting up the Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum (AAOD). While the discovery of dinosaur bones in Outback Queensland was nothing new (an Austrosaurus was found north of Winton in the 1920s) it took Elliott's second discovery — of a new cretaceous dinosaur — and years of painstaking work by hundreds of volunteers to put the local dinosaur trail on the map. In doing so, Outback Queensland has become a destination in its own right. In 2005, when Elliott was again mustering sheep on his property, about 177 kilometres northwest of Longreach, he discovered a new genus and species of sauropod on his Belmont property: the Savannasaurus elliottorum. Over the next fortnight, 17 pallets of rocks containing bones were recovered. It took a further ten years to chip all the rock off the bones to reveal the

fossils and piece them together to produce what was to become one of Australia's most complete sauropod dinosaur skeletons. Finding these fossilised remnants of the past in Outback Queensland has allowed the Elliotts to literally dream big: the museum has since grown from a temporary fossil preparation facility in a shed to the most productive fossil preparation facility in the Southern Hemisphere. As part of the Q150 Celebrations, funding was sourced to build the first stage of the Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum – a fossil preparation facility – which opened 24km out of Winton on top of a large mesa called 'The Jump-Up', in 2009. A new Reception Centre was completed in 2012 and, in April this year, Dinosaur Canyon, a new attraction featuring life-sized bronze dinosaurs, opened. Construction on an additional multimillion dollar museum is set to get underway by 2022. 
"When we built the museum we wanted it to be on 'The Jump-Up' because the top of it represents the Earth’s surface as it was 30 million years ago," Elliott says, going on to explain that 'jump-up' is the Aboriginal English term for a mesa.
 "The Jump-Up is in itself a monument to natural history, and we decided to give it that name in recognition of the Indigenous connection to the land," he says. Elliott describes the Museum’s dinosaur fossils as national treasures, and wants to see the museum become an international centre of excellence focused on conserving and promoting Australian Natural History.

A U T U M N / W I N T E R 2 0 17


Outback Adventure

Dinosaur Stampede National Monument at Lark Quarry Conservation Park

Did you know? Scientists have recognised, by studying dinosaur skeletons that their pelvic (hip) bones resemble either those of lizards or of birds. Thus, scientists divide dinosaurs into two categories based on these bones: Saurischia, for lizardhipped dinosaurs, and Ornithischia for birdhipped dinosaurs.



He adds that he feels very proud of the contribution he has made to Australian paleontology, with his discoveries shedding light on global sauropod evolution. Mayor of Winton Shire Council, Butch Lenton has supported the Elliotts' vision from the get-go, and he confirms that visitor numbers to Winton have been steadily rising since it was dubbed the Dinosaur Capital of Australia in 2007. "What David and Judy have done at the Australian Age of Dinosaurs is unbelievable. They've brought these incredible stories to life and the passion they have to make it all work is amazing. Although the museum is about looking at the past, it is very much about our future — about getting people to Outback Queensland," says Lenton. When visitors come to Winton, they are also guided to the Dinosaur Stampede National Monument at Lark Quarry Conservation Park, which has the only evidence of a dinosaur stampede on the planet. They're also encouraged to tour along the Dinosaur Trail linking the triangular swathe of country between the townships of Winton, Hughenden and Richmond, where some of the world's most amazing fossils are still being found.

Dinosaur Canyon

Welcome to the

A place of simple pleasures and ancient places. Make sure that the Sandstone Wonders is a part of your Queensland Outback adventures and you’ll leave with memories that will last a lifetime. Ph: (07) 4992 9500

Outback Adventure

Lenton describes the Dinosaur Trail as an exciting, world-class attraction that gives visitors a big reason to stay in the region for much longer. "The Museum, which also manages the Dinosaur Stampede at Lark Quarry Conservation Park, is really impressive., but what we are also seeing is that the local characters with their unique stories are proving to be a big part of the attraction of Outback Queensland," he says. One of the most compelling reasons for stopping by the Museum is that visitors can participate in a Dig-ADino experience alongside professional paleontologists. Retired teacher Maxine Macmillan, from Brisbane, has been volunteering at AAOD for the past 15 years. The 69-year-old describes going on a dig as "seeing the country's bones". Macmillan has enthusiastically immersed herself in the Prep-A-Dino experience so many times that she is now an honourary technician. She describes the process of using the pneumatic tools to remove rock from the fossils as meditative. "It blows me away, uncovering something that has been buried for 96 million years. I'm in awe of the whole place. I come up every year with my husband and two friends and the scenery is gorgeous as well," says Macmillan. "Outback Queensland has become our second home, and it's not all about the dinosaurs. Along the way, we've really got to know a lot of the locals and we now feel like a part of the family," says Macmillan. The steady, painstakingly precise work by volunteers who pay a small fee to prepare fossilised bones for display in the museum, is integral to the museum's success. And bit by bit, it's helping make the prehistory of our continent a much less abstract notion. In the past eight years, around 150,000 visitors have explored the other-worldly landscape around Winton, and Elliott says it's been "an honour and a privilege" to support the local economy and give back to the community. "We are proud to say that visitors once travelled through Outback Queensland to reach somewhere else. Now they come here to delve into Australia's natural history," he says. ’

“The steady, painstakingly precise work by volunteers who pay a small fee to prepare fossilised bones for display in the museum is integral to the museum's success." 30


Outback Adventure

Other Dinosaur Discovery experiences in Outback Queensland Eromanga Natural History Museum

The Eromanga Natural History Museum is discovering new Australian dinosaurs in an area of Australia where they have previously never been found. Australia's South West Queensland's Channel Country is home to Australia’s largest dinosaur fossil discoveries, the 95 million year old Eromanga dinosaurs. (07) 4656 3085

Riversleigh Fossil Centre The Riversleigh Fossil Centre at Outback at Isa educates visitors about fossils extracted from the nearby Riversleigh Fossil Fields. Now a World Heritage Area,

the fossil fields are home to one of the most significant fossil deposits in the world. (07) 4749 1555

monsters come back to life. www.kronosauruskorner. (07) 4741 3429

Flinders Discovery Centre Kronosaurus Korner

Visiting Australia’s premier marine fossil museum, Kronosaurus Korner, is an unforgettable prehistoric adventure, where you can see some of the most awe-inspiring marine creatures such as ‘Penny’ the Richmond plesiosaur – Australia’s best vertebrate fossil, ‘Krono’ Kronosaurus queenslandicus, a 10-metre, giant marine reptile and ‘Wanda’ – Australia’s largest fossilised fish. The museum offers audio guides, starting with a presentation where you can step back in time and see prehistoric sea

Boulia Marine Reptile Display

Set in the grounds of Boulia's Stonehouse Musuem is an extensive vertebrae and invertebrate fossil display originating from the Boulia area. A 100-million-year-old Plesiosaur fossil, one of the largest and best-preserved found in Australia, is a recent new addition to the collection. The Loch Nesslike reptile was discovered by the late Dick Suter, who stumbled across it by accident, uncovering more than 80% of its skeleton, which would have once measured up to 12 metres.

In Hughenden, visit “Hughie”, the 7-metre-tall Muttaburrasaurus, the star of the museum who was cast from the bones of the famous Muttaburrasaurus, found about 50 years ago. The Flinders Discovery Centre is also home to an impressive fossil collection and an information centre. (07) 4741 2970

(07) 4746 3386




Beyond the Birdsville Track. LEE ATKINSON follows the siren call of the mysterious Min Min lights on a road trip from Birdsville to Mount Isa




Getting off the beaten track ... Lake Moondarra is an artificial lake on the Leichhardt River, 16 km downstream from Mount Isa. The lake includes picnic areas, pontoons, a ski jump and water sports facilities. The lake is popular with birdwatchers, sailors and anglers, as it's stocked with barramundi and sooty grunter. The Lake Moondarra Fishing Classic has been held there since 1999.

A U T U M N / W I N T E R 2 0 17




or bakery in Outback Queensland, and before you know it, you'll be deep in conversation with a local or another traveller. But here's some advice: be careful who you talk to, because a chance encounter can have long-lasting effects.

TWENTY YEARS AGO, SITTING AT THE BAR in Winton’s Gregory Hotel, I met Gloria Hitson — a bush poet who freely admitted to being Winton's own Annie Oakley. A born storyteller, this petite self-educated mother of eight left school before she learnt to read or write and had a variety of careers as a 'roo shooter, publican and smallbusiness owner. For the next hour or two, Gloria enthralled me with stories of how she could skin and bone a kangaroo in three minutes, and about her life as a bush publican in the tiny town of Boulia, where they never closed the doors. "We took the doors off the hinges and left the pub wide open,” recalled Gloria. “If anyone wanted a beer, they'd wake us up or find us out the back.” But it was her stories of midnight encounters with Boulia’s mysterious Min Min lights that really captured my imagination. These floating balls of light are said to follow travellers for kilometres before disappearing. According to the legend, anyone who chases the light and manages to catch it will also disappear, although where that would leave Gloria, who confessed to having tried to shoot them on several occasions, I’m not sure. Fast forward two decades and Gloria’s stories of those supernatural orbs were still swirling around inside my head. It was time to head West to see if I could see them for myself.

Adventure Begins: Birdsville

One of Australia’s most legendary outback towns, Birdsville, is most famous for the September races when thousands of people arrive in town for one of the Outback’s biggest parties. For the rest of the year the pub, built in 1884, is the community hub where people gather for cold drinks, great food and to collect local knowledge on road conditions and swap travel tales, because it doesn’t matter how you got to Birdsville, it will have been an adventure. The Warrego Way from Brisbane, via Roma and Charleville (around 1570km) is sealed for most of the way, but if you don’t mind a bit of dust and are coming from the south, the 520km Birdsville Track is one of Australia’s most iconic outback tracks. It was established during the 1880s as a stock route, and back then, it would take about a month to complete. Today the track is nowhere near the horror stretch it once was, but it's still a favourite with four-wheel-drivers. Birdsville sits at the eastern edge of the Simpson Desert, the largest parallel sand dune desert in the world. The biggest dune of all – the 40-metre-high Big Red – is only 37km from the pub and makes a great day trip. You could also spend a day yabbying and birdwatching at Birdsville billabong, but whatever you do, don’t leave town without trying one of the bakery’s famous curried camel or kangaroo and claret pies.

Birdsville to Boulia


It’s around a four-hour drive to Boulia through the Channel Country, a landscape of dry watercourses and sand dunes baking beneath a big sky that that dwarfs everything below it. When it rains the channels form shallow rivers and billabongs that stretch as far as the eye can see, attracting great flocks of waterbirds – pelicans, ibis, herons, spoonbills, egrets and brolgas. Apart from a few sections that are dirt, most of the road is sealed, although it is a remote and rather lonely trip, punctuated only by the ruins of long abandoned homesteads. The tiny outback outpost of Bedourie, with its hard-to-leave artesian spa baths, is a welcome distraction half way. In Boulia we head straight to the Min Min Encounter




Visitor Centre to watch a 45-minute show recounting the legends of the lights, and learn that the only real thing that anyone knows about the strange phenomena is that they are indeed a mystery, although plenty of theories abound. Depending on who you ask, the lights are clouds of bioluminescent insects, flocks of fireflies, foxes eyes, fluorescent gases, Aboriginal spirits or even UFOs. That night I peer in vain into the inky night sky, marvelling at a million stars, but there’s not a floating ball of light in sight. Boulia’s Tourism Officer, Shelley Norton, tells me the locals have a saying: “You can’t look for the Min Min, the Min Min looks for you.” Seems they are right. >

Cool down while in town ... You might be in a remote part of Outback Queensland, but in Boulia there's a stateof-the art Sports and Aquatic Centre. The $4 million complex has a 25-metre pool, a splash pool perfect for the kids or the less mobile, a multi-purpose court, gymnasium, tennis courts and two squash courts.

The locals have a saying: "You can't look for the Min Min, the Min Min looks for you." Seems they are right.

Mystery of the Min Min Tall tales or truth?

It was shortly after the Min Min Hotel was destroyed by a fire around 1912, that a stockman had one of the first experiences with the Min Min Light: “About 10:00pm, I was riding to Boulia and passed close to the Min Min graveyard. The night was somewhat cloudy. All of a sudden I saw a strange glow right in the middle of the cemetery. It got bigger until it was the size of a large watermelon. I couldn’t believe my eyes as I watched it hovering over the graveyard. I broke into a cold sweat as it started coming toward me. It was too much for my

nerves. I dug the spurs into my horse and headed for Boulia as fast as I could go. Every time I looked back the light seemed to be following me. It only disappeared out of Boulia.” Then in rapid succession came two more reports to substantiate the stockman’s story. A woman and her husband reported seeing a mysterious light which intensified in brightness and moved away from them. They were strangers to the area and had never heard of the Min Min Light, so they were curious rather than fearful. Another stationhand had seen the light rise out of the old hotel graveyard, bounce

through the air for a considerable distance and then suddenly disappear. Many more sightings of the Min Min Light have followed since these initial few, starting the legend of the mysterious lights that has never been solved. To preserve the history and myths surrounding the Min Min Light, the Boulia Shire Council created the Min Min Encounter Centre. Drop in and enjoy a 45-minute show introducing you to characters like Gunna and Bluey who have seen the light. Then join Trish McGreil and her husband Ian on the porch of their station

house, and be entertained by their stories about the lights, and some of the possible explanations.


A U T U M N / W I N T E R 2 0 17



A bucking good time in Mount Isa It’s an easy 300km drive on bitumen to Mount Isa, where the atmosphere is completely electric. It’s rodeo week and the Mount Isa Mines Rotary Rodeo is the largest and richest rodeo in the Southern Hemisphere. Don't be fooled — it’s not just about the bucking, riding and roping – there are mardi gras parades, fashion festivals, market stalls, carnival rides, bush poet breakfasts and country music concerts once the sun goes down – and the whole town gets into the rodeo spirit with special events and shopfront decorations. Even Fred Brophy’s boxing troupe is there – the last of the country’s travelling troupes. "It's an Australian tradition," says Fred, who first got into the ring for his father when he was just five years old. "When we go it will be a bit of Australia that is gone," he laments, telling me that that each year the crowds get bigger. "They know it's their last chance to see a real bit of history," he says. Once the rodeo is over, we head underground on a Hard Times Mine tour riding a steel cage down into the purpose-built mine museum beneath the centre of the city. We also visit the underground hospital. Built during WWII but never actually used and then closed up for decades, it's been restored by volunteers and kitted out with all the latest in medical technology – or what was the latest in 1942. I may not have seen the Min Min lights on this road trip though western Queensland, but I found plenty of things that you just can’t find anywhere else. ’ MORE INFO: Birdsville to Mount Isa via Boulia is 685km. The famous Fred Brophy's Boxing Troupe





If touring Australia’s vast desert interiors, isolated inland lakes or extensive national parks network interests you or maybe your just looking for that little bit of ‘reassurance & knowledge’ when taking your own vehicle into these areas, then Adventure Australia Treks & Tours can assist you. Our tours are exciting and our touring vehicles are the best in the business and are designed to provide comfort, safety and accessibility to remote areas off the beaten track. Adventure Australia operates in a specialised small group format, providing guided passenger and tagalong tours for singles, couples, friends and corporate clients. Our guides are experienced and passionate and will leave you feeling informed, safe, comfortable & content. Don’t miss our daily Birdsville Tours including ‘dinner under the stars’ bookings through the Wirrarri Visitors Centre.


5 day Birdsville to Birdsville Fortnightly, April - July

BIRDSVILLE TRACK - LAKE EYRE EXPLORER TOUR 6 day Birdsville to Coober Pedy May - August


8 day Coober Pedy to Alice Springs May - August


7 day Alice Springs to Birdsville May - August

Get in touch with us today for complete itinerary, departure dates and all prices: Adventure Australia Treks & Tours address: Billabong Boulevard Birdsville Qld 4482

e: p: 1300 GO AATT (1300 462 288) m: 0409 279 898


Birdsville, Bedourie & Betoota Bookings at Wirrarri Visitor Centre Daily April – September A U T U M N / W I N T E R 2 0 17 37 #birdsvilleandbeyond

Top Caravan Parks

Caravan Parks of Outback Queensland HIT THE ROAD and get ready for some real adventure, a peaceful night's rest, great food, and some of the friendliest folks you’ll find, in Outback Queensland’s caravan parks.



Top Caravan Parks

Charleville Charleville Bush Caravan Park & Cottage Charleville Bush Caravan Park & Cottage is just two kilometres from the town centre. Set on 40 acres catering for non-smokers only and no pets, this park offers sparkling clean modern amenities, great laundry facilities and 32 spacious drive-thru powered sites. Enjoy sitting around the campfire with fellow travellers with a slice of damper, interesting and informative talks, Sunday night pizza or perhaps try your hand at camp oven cooking. There is one fully self-contained cottage with its own campfire. You’ll need to stay a few nights to enjoy all there is to see and do in this great Outback Queensland town.

Outback Mates Offer: Free* 'Check Out Charleville' Town Tour* Address: Frawley St, Charleville, QLD, 4470 P: 0428 545 200 W:

Nearby Attraction: Charleville Bilby Experience The Charleville Bilby Experience is a must-see when you’re in Charleville. Learn about this iconic endangered marsupial, the challenges it faces and about the fight to save them. Have a unique experience and get up close with a bilby in the keepers arms or check out the presentation and guided tour of the bilbies in their railway station home. Open: 11am–6pm Tuesday to Saturday, 3pm-6pm Sunday and Monday. Address: Historic Charleville Railway Station, King St, QLD 4470

Birdsville Birdsville Caravan Park If you’re heading to the iconic Queensland town of Birdsville, enjoy the breathtaking scenery from the Birdsville Caravan Park. The caravan park is right in town, on the edge of the billabong and within walking distance of the hotel, bakery and Visitor Information Centre. Spot over 100 species of birds from one of the four deluxe cabins along the billabong, 49 cabins on Graham Street, 54 powered sites or 30 acres of camping space. Bring a chair to the communal campfire at the end of the day to share your stories amongst other guests, or enjoy organised entertainment by your hosts. Address: Florence St, Birdsville, QLD, 4482 Outback Mates Offer: Stay for three nights and receive the next night for free* P: (07) 4656 3214 W:

Nearby Attraction: Big Red The 'Big Red' is the name of The Simpson Desert’s tallest sand dune, which stands at 40 metres high. It provides a real challenge for any 4WD enthusiasts out there.

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Top Caravan Parks

Quilpie Channel Country Tourist Park & Spas If you’re heading along the Adventure Way, rejuvenate yourself in Quilpie at the Channel Country Tourist Park & Spas. Enjoy good old country hospitality at this pet-friendly accommodation and recharge by taking a dip in one of the artesian spas.. Whether you’re staying in one of the air-conditioned ensuite cabins or setting up home at a powered or unpowered site, in season you can enjoy bush poetry around the campfire amongst other travellers. If you're in need of free Wi-Fi and a good happy hour after fossicking for opals, this is the right place for you.

Nearby Attraction: Eromanga Natural History Museum Visit ‘Cooper’ — Australia’s largest dinosaur at the Eromanga Natural History Museum, a 110km drive from Quilpie. It houses unique Australian megafauna and microfauna with world-class fossil preservation. Open: 9am to 5pm, 7 days a week Outback Mates Offer: Gift shop discount* 1, Dinosaur Dr, Eromanga QLD 4480 P: (07) 4656 3084 W:

Address: 21 Chipu St, Quilpie, Qld, 4480 P: (07) 4656 2087 W:

Longreach Longreach Tourist Park All travellers are welcomed at Longreach Tourist Park, whether you have the smallest tent or the largest RV. Roll out your swag and sleep under a star-studded Outback sky or sleep in air-conditioned comfort in double bedroom luxury villas. Cool down in one of two pools and make use of the multiple barbeque areas and fully equipped camp kitchen. Otherwise, take a break from cooking and enjoy a lovely night out on the deck of the Woolshed restaurant. Check out the calendar to see which live entertainers will be playing during your stay. Address: 12 Thrush Rd, Longreach, QLD, 4730 Outback Mates Offer: Enjoy a free glass of wine or soft drink* at the Woolshed Restaurant P: (07) 4658 1781 W:

Nearby Attraction: Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame Visit Australia’s premier outback heritage institution to learn about the history of some Australia’s greatest explorers, stock workers, pastoralists, and Aborigines. Don’t leave Longreach without seeing the Outback Stockman’s Show and then tuck into some spit roast meats over an Outback Queensland dinner. Museum open 9am – 4pm daily Address: Landsborough Hwy, Longreach, QLD, 4730 P: (07) 4658 2166 Outback Mates Offer: FREE* Stubbie holder or Cap W:



Top Caravan Parks

Roma Big Rig Tourist Park, Roma The Big Rig Tourist Park is conveniently located between Roma’s premier tourist attractions and the main shopping district. Just metres from the Park you will find the Big Rig Parklands, Adungadoo Pathway, Visitor Information Centre and Big Rig Oil Patch and Night Show. Within 500m there are a range of outback pubs and restaurants, all offering great country hospitality.

Address: 4 McDowall St, Roma, QLD, 4455 P: (07) 4622 2538 W:

Nearby Attraction: Big Rig Night Show Experience the history of the search and discovery of oil and gas in Roma. Settle back and relax under the outback skies as you are taken on a fascinating journey to meet the locals and learn of the entertaining trials and triumphs of early industry men and women in Roma. Between April and September the Big Rig runs nightly at 7pm, and tickets can be pre-purchased at the Visitor Centre. Address: 2 Riggers Rd, Roma QLD 4455 P: (07) 4622 2325 W:

Mount Isa Discovery Parks, Mount Isa You may be in the Outback, but you can still have the luxury of a river view at Discovery Parks Mount Isa. Set on the Leichhardt River in Australia’s Rodeo capital, enjoy all that Mount Isa has to offer in a cabin, powered site with an ensuite, or a long-term van site. Make use of the barbeques, swimming pool, camp kitchen and laundry after an adventurous day out. Discovery Parks are Australia’s largest owner and operator of lifestyle holiday parks. Address: 185 Little W St, Winston, Qld, 4825 P: (07) 4743 4676 W: queensland/mount_isa

Nearby Attraction: Hard Times Mine (Outback at Isa) Transition into a miner as you put on your hard hat and overalls and descend underground at the Hard Times Mine Tour.. Explore the history of mining with an experienced miner guide, and try your hand at the air-leg drill while feeling the earth rumble below. Tours run seven days a week and bookings are essential. Address: 19 Marian St, Mount Isa, QLD Outback Mates Deal: Free museum pass with underground tour P: (07) 4749 1555. W:

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Roadtrips Top Caravan Parks

Biloela Discovery Parks Biloela Nearby attractions: Kroombit Tops National Park

Biloela is only two hours from Gladstone and Rockhampton and is a gateway to the Outback. For those who enjoy getting back to nature, Discovery Parks Biloela offers grassy, shaded areas for campers and powered and unpowered sites for caravans. For those looking for some extra comfort, spacious and fully selfcontained cabins are available, featuring large verandas that are perfect to view the local surroundings from. The park is located near many great restaurants, cafes and shops.

Get in touch with nature at Kroombit Tops National Park situated close to Biloela and Calliope in the Sandstone Wonders Region. See if you can spot the endangered Kroombit Tinker frog, hike for the spectacular views or take a photo with "Beautiful Betsy" who crashed into the park over 20 years ago! PH: (07) 4992 9500 W:

Address: 1/31 Valentine Plains Rd, Biloela, QLD, 4715 P: (07) 4992 2618 W: biloela

Cloncurry Discovery Parks Cloncurry It's now your turn to find the beauty of 'The Curry' just like Burke and Wills did in 1861. A part of the Discovery Holiday Parks group, all travellers can enjoy an Outback Queensland experience at the Discovery Parks in Cloncurry. If you’re in need of a break from camping, stay in one of the modern motel rooms or cabins, which include a kitchenette and private veranda. Otherwise enjoy a powered or unpowered site and make the most of the facilities including the camp kitchen, barbeque, pool and laundry. Address: 57 McIwraith St, Cloncurry, QLD, 4824 P: (07) 4742 2300 W: queensland/cloncurry

Nearby Attraction: The John Flynn Place Museum & Art Gallery Cloncurry is the birthplace of the Royal Flying Doctor Service, which was launched in the 1920s by Reverend John Flynn. The John Flynn Place Museum commemorates the Australian visionary where you can learn the story of Flynn's flying doctor experiments and the pioneering of his outback radio communication dream. Address: Corner of King and Daintree Streets, Cloncurry, QLD, 4824 W:



Top Caravan Parks

Barcaldine Barcaldine Tourist Park Take a break in the Garden City of the West as you embrace this historic town in Central Queensland. Enjoy Barcaldine in an ensuite cabin or on one of the powered or unpowered sites in this well-maintained, friendly park. Every afternoon between May and September from 4pm onwards you can enjoy free billy tea, damper and great entertainment. If cooking isn’t your forte, be served up a camp oven stew followed by golden syrup dumplings with cream and icecream. There’s a large camp kitchen, free WiFi, TVs in rooms, a kiosk and a book exchange.

Address: 51-65 Box St, Barcaldine, QLD, 4725 P: (07) 4651 6066 W:

Nearby Attraction: Tree of Knowledge Sadly in 2006, the historical site of the 1891 Shearers Strike was poisoned, however this peculiar ‘tree’ (aka sculpture) is now a traffic-stopping memorial. Address: Oak St, Barcaldine, QLD, 4725 P: (07) 4651 5612 W:

Julia Creek Julia Creek Caravan Park No one is a stranger at Julia Creek Caravan Park. Experience the quiet surroundings and friendly atmosphere, across this spacious park only a short walk from town. Stay in one of the self-contained cabins featuring air-conditioning, a kitchen, TV and front deck. Otherwise, there’s plenty of powered drivethrough sites for your motorhome and unpowered grass sites for camping. Tell your mates about the award-winning bush dinner nights every Monday from late April to September where you'll enjoy locally produced meals and great company around the warmth of a campfire. Address: Old Normanton Road, Julia Creek, QLD, 4823 P: (07) 4746 7108 W:

Nearby attraction: Julia Creek Dunnart feeding The Julia Creek area is home to the Julia Creek Dunnart, a rare and endangered Australian marsupial. Head to the Julia Creek Visitor Information Centre to see a daily feeding of a Dunnart. Open 8.30am to 5pm weekdays (all year round), and 9am to 12pm on weekends, May to September. Address (Julia Creek Visitor Information Centre): 34 Burke St, Julia Creek, QLD 4823 Outback Mates Offer: $2 entry to ‘Beneath the Creek’ W:

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Roadtrips Top Caravan Parks

Winton Tattersall’s Hotel and Van Park, Winton Winton is known for its friendly hospitality and big smiles, and Tattersall’s lives up to these standards. The powered spacious sites are a great place to make your home in Winton while you enjoy the towns many famous attractions. Laundry facilities are complimentary and amenities are clean and well-maintained. Head to the hotel for lunch and dinner seven days a week.

Nearby Attraction: Musical Fence Take a quick trip to the Musical Fence to brush up your skills for the next big gig. Located behind the Diamantina Heritage Truck and Machinery Museum, this great work of art was built in 2003 and is the world's first permanent musical fence. Address: 59/71 Elderslie Street, Winton, QLD, 4735 P: (07) 4657 1466 E:

Address: Werna Street, Winton, QLD, 4735 P: (07) 4657 1309 Outback Mates Offer: Receive a pot of Great Northern, or a glass of house wine with every main meal*

Boulia Boulia Caravan Park Kick back on the Eastern banks of the Burke River at the spacious Boulia Caravan Park, with 44 powered and 56 unpowered sites. Three units and one cabin, all with their own ensuites, are available for those after a break from the great outdoors. The park is a five minute stroll from the town centre. Spend your afternoon enjoying the Burke River breeze, spotting the local birdlife or having a go at catching red claw and yabbies. Address: Diamantina Developmental Road, Boulia, QLD, 4829 P: (07) 4746 3320 W:

Nearby Attraction: Min Min Encounter Learn about the history and myths surrounding the Min Min Light at the Min Min Encounter Complex. Take part in the 45-minute show that introduces you to characters like Gunna and Bluey, who have 'seen the light'. Open 8.45am to 5pm Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm weekends (April – September). Address: Herbert St, Boulia, QLD, 4829 Outback Mates Offer: 5% discount when you spend $50 at the Min Min Encounter Centre. P: 07 4746 3386 W:



Top Caravan Parks

Charleville Bailey Bar Caravan Park, Charleville The Bailey Bar Caravan Park is a three-time TripAdvisor customer excellence award winner. They are dedicated to delivering travellers a quality outback experience and genuine customer service. Bailey Bar offers ‘stay n save’ discount vouchers to every customer including fuel discounts. Accommodation options include family sized cabins, units and powered sites equipped with essentials that are perfect for your stay. Make sure to book early at the Baily Bar if you're heading to Charleville during the winter months and don’t miss out on their rolled beef cooked over a wood fired spit with Yorkshire pudding while you’re there.

Nearby attraction: Cosmos Centre & Observatory ‘‘Wow’ and ‘Spectacular’…. are just some of the words you’ll hear at the Charleville Cosmos Centre. Be mesmerised by the beautiful Milky Way, the moon and millions of stars that can be viewed through powerful telescopes. Opening hours are 10:00am to 5:00pm, April to October. Address: 1 Milky Way, Charleville, 4470 P: (07) 4654 7771 W:

Outback Mates Offer: Pay for three nights in a powered site and get the fourth night for free Address: 196 King St, Charleville, Qld, 4470 P: (07) 4654 1744 W:

Cunnamulla Warrego Riverside Caravan Park, Cunnamulla We bet you didn’t think you could have a waterfront site in Outback Queensland? Cunnamulla’s Warrego Riverside Caravan Park is located on the banks of the Warrego River, and provides a tranquil oasis with a wide variety of camping options. Make the most of the location when you throw a line in from your campsite and catch yourself some tucker. If fishing isn’t your cup of tea, put up your feet, enjoy a good book and take in the wonders of the Outback Queensland sunset.

Outback Mates Offer: $21 off powered sites, $14 off unpowered sites for weekly rates Address: 322 Weir Rd, Cunnamulla, QLD, 4490 P: (07) 4655 0097 W:

Nearby attraction: Artesian Time Tunnel Did you know that Cunnamulla stands on the world's largest underground river that flows beneath half of Australia's inland? Or that you can 'step back in time at the Cunnamulla Fella Centre? Join in the wonders and history of the Paroo Shire as the old mine lift takes you on a journey to discover dinosaur caves and an old opal mine. Address: Centenary Park, Jane Street, Cunnamulla, QLD, 4490 Outback Mates Offer: FREE* postcard P: 07 4655 8470 W:

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Roadtrips Top Caravan Parks

Jundah Jundah Caravan Park Opening late 2016, this new caravan park provides travellers with views of the Thomson River and is located close to the Visitor Information Centre, post office and pool. Facilities include over 20 unpowered and powered sites, laundry area and barbecues. It offers the perfect tranquil lifestyle for those wishing for a quite and relaxing outback experience. Address: Dickson Street, Jundah, QLD, 4736 P: (07) 4658 6930 W: accommodation/1-caravan-park-jundah

Nearby attraction: Welford National Park Established as a National Park in 1992, Welford National Park covers 124,000 hectares and is located just 30km southeast of Jundah. Enjoy this land of contrasts and spot the golden-green spinifex, white-barked ghost gums and red sand dunes. Keep an eye out for mulga parrots and yellow-footed rock-wallabies as well. P: 1300 130 372 W:

Thargomindah Explorers Caravan Park, Thargomindah In the heart of Thargomindah, alongside the Bulloo River, you’ll find Explorers Caravan Park. This pet-friendly park is the perfect base camp from which to explore the surrounding regions of the Bulloo Shire. Enjoy one of the 25 powered sites set amongst rows of native flora or enjoy a traditional outback setting in an unpowered site with firewood supplied. Take your furry friends for a leisurely walk along the Bulloo River or catch some big blue yabbies, which you can prepare at the nearby camp kitchen. Address: 88 Dowling St, Thargomindah, QLD, 4482 P: (07) 4655 3307 W:

Nearby Attraction: Burke and Wills “Dig Tree” Take a trip to the Dig Tree located near the banks of Cooper Creek. This beloved tree is believed to be 200 -250 years old and is a great reminder of Australia's pioneering spirit. Address: Bulloo Development Road, Thargomindah, QLD, 4482 P: (07) 4621 8095 W:



Top Caravan Parks

Hughenden Hughenden Allen Terry Caravan Park Your Outback hosts can’t wait for you to arrive at Hughenden Allen Terry Caravan Park. The park offers pleasant surroundings of trees and grassy grounds and is the ultimate base camp if you are off to explore Hughenden’s four nearby National Parks and mountainous volcanic country. Air-conditioned ensuite cabins and single rooms, powered sites and unpowered sites are all available. The camp kitchen features two large barbeques, a fridge, undercover seating, a fire-pit and a TV. Not only is this caravan pet-friendly, it also offers a wash-down area for cars arriving from a dirt track. Address: 2 Resolution St, Hughenden, QLD, 4821 P: (07) 4741 1190 W:

Nearby Attraction: Flinders Discovery Centre Meet the 7-metre-tall Muttaburrasaurus — aka 'Hughie', the star of the Flinders Discovery Centre. Tell your mates about the impressive fossil collection sourced locally and from around the world. Open: 9am to 5pm. Address: 37 Gray St, Hughenden. QLD, 4821 Outback Mates Offer: Spend $60 on souvenirs and get 5% off the total price P: (07) 4741 2970 W:

Blackall Blackall Caravan Park The Blackall Caravan Park offers quality country hospitality and features spotlessly clean amenities, self-contained cabins, grass and slab powered sites, tent sites, well equipped camp kitchens, BBQs, a kiosk and free WiFi. If you’re travelling to Blackall between May and August, feel free to join a delicious roast dinner cooked in an outback camp oven. The authentic camp kitchen is a great place to share drinks and travel stories with fellow travellers and locals. You’ll also be treated to the best damper in the West, served with butter, golden syrup and billy tea. The park is within walking distance to shops, pubs, eateries and the town’s artesian pool and spa.

Nearby attraction: Blackall Woolscour The historic Blackall Woolscour offers a direct link with the country’s pioneering era, and is the only fully intact steam powered wool washing plant in Australia. Tours are available between 9am and 5pm. Address: Evora Road, Blackall, 4472 P: (07) 4657 6042 W:

Address: 53 Garden St, Blackall, Qld, 4472 P: (07) 4657 4816 W:

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Roadtrips Top Caravan Parks

Richmond Lakeview Caravan Park, Richmond The award-winning Lakeview Caravan Park in Richmond is a well-maintained, welcoming outback park with vibrant wildlife and a million-dollar view. Catering for those travelling along the Overlanders Way, this great location overlooks Lake Fred Tritton, which is home to the ‘holein-one’ golf challenge. Facilities include free BBQ areas, a laundry, camp kitchen, car wash facilities and free Wi-Fi. If you happen to be travelling with a furry family member, ask the locals about the pet-friendly park conditions and the great outdoor walking track for a morning or afternoon stroll. Address: 109 Goldring Street, Richmond. QLD, 4822 P: (07) 4741 3772 W:

Nearby attraction: Kronosaurs Korner Kronosaurus Korner is Australia’s premier marine fossil museum, showcasing nearly 1,150 unique fossil specimens from Richmond. Fossils from the area include the 100-115-million-year-old remains of extinct marine reptiles, fishes, ammonites and squids that once dominated Australia’s ancient inland sea. Address: 91/93 Goldring St, Richmond, QLD, 4822 Outback Mates Offer: Spend over $60 on souvenirs and receive a free coffee P: (07) 47 413 802 W:



Top Caravan Parks

Charleville Evening Star Tourist Park, Charleville Situated 8kms from Charleville’s town centre, you won’t miss the brightly painted camper trailer as you turn into the Evening Star Tourists Park on a 33,000-acre working cattle station. Park your van or set up your tent after taking the Warrego Way or Matilda Way, and then head down to the communal campfire to watch the sun go down and sample some freshly cooked damper. Make yourself at home at one of the large powered drive-through sites or in the campgrounds, and you’ll be treated to spacious amenities, a camp kitchen, WiFi and a licensed bar. Guests are welcome to BYO. Address: 818 Charleville-Adavale Road, Ward, QLD, 4470 P: (07) 4654 2430 W:

Nearby Attraction: Royal Flying Doctor Service Visitor Centre Medical supplies and radio equipment have changed dramatically over the years; but throughout it all the Flying Doctor has always made it through. The centres film will introduce you to the long history and vital service to those living in remote areas. Address: Old Cunnamulla Road, Charleville, Qld, 4470 P: (07) 4654 1233 W:

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Overseers of the outback.

FROM THE EARLY 19TH CENTURY to today, stockmen and women have been integral to Australia’s outback narrative. Words: Riley Palmer



The Way Things Were

History lesson ... From a population of about 150 in 1891, Longreach was approaching 2000 in 1903. By 1896, there were fourteen hotels, a hospital, Catholic, Methodist and Anglican churches, a school of the arts, a pastoral and agricultural society and several clubs and friendly societies.

Jim Hayes is written into history as an endearing fellow, and a self-important one. A stockman throughout the early 1900s, Jim was firmly of the opinion that his type — old cattlemen with an unbreakable bond to the bush and the animals they traipsed through it — were harder and more worldly than other men of the day. WRITER, FARMER AND ONE-TIME BOSS of Jim Hayes, Henry G. Lamond, was once denigrated by Jim, who, in no uncertain terms told Henry that, while he was a “fair horseman”, he wasn’t to compare himself to the likes of stockmen. Fortunately, Henry was a man capable of laughing off such slights, but such was the nature of Jim Hayes. A newspaper article written by Henry in June 1956 paints a vivid picture of the man, who, perhaps because of his regard for his craft, undertook an exploit that in today’s context, seems nothing short of ludicrous. As Henry describes it, in the 1890s a pastoral firm in the Moreton district of southern Queensland owned a number of cattle properties and butchers’ shops. In addition, this same firm owned, or leased, part of Stradbroke Island. Recognising that their stock was losing weight in the process of being droved from their stations A U T U M N / W I N T E R 2 0 17



The Ways Things Were

Outback Stockman's Show: Australian Stockman's Hall of Fame



to the holding paddocks near their slaughtering yards, the owners had the bright idea that Stradbroke Island — with its good grazing land and fresh water — was a far superior location for their bullocks to gain weight (hence maximising the firm’s profits), and also be slaughtered. If only they could get their cattle there. Enter the story of Jim Hayes. Recognising that the most direct route to Stradbroke Island was through the centre of Brisbane — down Queen Street and across Victoria Bridge — Jim more than had his work cut out for him. At that time the law enabled stock to be herded through the city, so long as it was done overnight. So Jim, accompanied by 500 heifers, waited on the outskirts of the city until the stroke of midnight, at which time he led his motley crew across the imaginary threshold demarcating civilisation, and into town. Jim, accompanied by 500 heifers, waited on the outskirts of the city until the stroke of midnight, at which time he led his motley crew across the imaginary threshold demarcating civilisation, and into town. Today Queen Street is an assemblage of high-rise monochrome buildings. It’s where couples meet for romantic dinners, families go to marvel at buskers, the nineto-fivers commute for a day in the office, and city-dwellers return to their apartments at night. And while it hasn’t always signified modernity and consumerism, Queen Street has always been Brisbane’s main thoroughfare. Lit up by streetlights and the hubbub of people going

The Way Things Were

It's hard to know who would have felt more relief after having crossed the bridge, Jim or the cattle. Yet the party's biggest challenge still lay ahead in the form of the water crossing from Victoria Point to Stradbroke Island...

about their daily lives, it’s difficult to imagine Queen Street once upon a time swarming in the dark of night, swelling under the accumulated mass of 500 terrified cattle and a horseman. Of course, Queen Street was by no means the end of the journey for Jim and the cattle, the next endeavour being a very unsteady Victoria Bridge. “In those days, Victoria Bridge used to swing, sway and vibrate when a heavy tram crossed it,” recalls Henry, who then poses the question, “If it used to sway to one speeding tram, what would it have done to the rhythmic tramp of five hundred bullocks?” It’s hard to know who would have felt more relief after having crossed the bridge, Jim or the cattle. Yet the party’s biggest challenge still lay ahead in the form of the water crossing from Victoria Point to Stradbroke Island, a distance Henry estimates at five miles. At this point in time, Jim’s faithful steed was replaced by a canoe and his cattle were forced into the water. From his canoe Jim guided his mob — their hooved legs thrashing wildly below the surface — away from dangerous tides and directed them toward their final destination, Stradbroke Island. Now a popular tourist destination, Stradbroke Island’s scenic headlands and white sandy beaches probably never looked so appealing as through the eyes of those tortured cattle who waited out their days in the island’s pristine wilderness.

Did you know ... A station trainee is known as a jackaroo or jillaroo. With their local knowledge of the land aboriginal stockmen and women were integral to the running of many stations.

History lesson ... A pannikin, quart pot and saddlebag as used by stockmen to boil the billy and carry lunch when riding. Similar ensembles are carried by stockmen and women today, but modern technologies and accessories have certainly lightened the burden.

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The Way Things Were

Did You Know? ... ... that the tiny town of Ilfracombe located just 20 minutes from Longreach is home to an iconic outdoor Machinery Mile pastoral museum and the 'Well Shot Hotel'. As a restored Queenslander, the Wellshot hotel was once a small railway station and now houses a collection of hats and money.

Stockmen and women like Jim Hayes have played a vital role in Australia’s pastoral history. And while droving and mustering on big stations used to mean long days in the saddle — or the canoe as it were — today’s stockmen are adapting to modern technologies which are bringing about change. “You’ve always got to have an open mind to the new ideas and technologies that might help you,” says Rosemary Champion who, alongside her partner Warwick, runs an 18,000-acre cattle property just out of Longreach. “Over the 40 years we’ve been here, there's been a lot of automation,” explains Rosemary, “which is great, because it means we can still manage the property ourselves even though we’re in our mid-70s. For instance, we ride motorbikes now, whereas 40 years ago there were a lot more horses in the industry. Many people also use helicopters, and soon drones will be doing a lot of the mustering.” Rosemary, whose father Sir James Walker was a leading cattleman in the 50s and 60s, has seen the industry change significantly over time. “Even 50 years ago, it would always have been a married couple managing a property,” she says, “A man and his wife. The wife might work in the house, and the man would work outside doing the animal husbandry stuff, and you might have some jackaroos helping out. But today, few people can afford staff, so we rely very heavily on contract musterers, people that fly in and fly out. That’s a big difference.” Another change is that many people buy and sell cattle online as opposed to at sale yards. “Unfortunately, the Longreach Sale Yards have been closed for three years,” says Rosemary. “So, unless we sell them online, we have to take our cattle over to Blackall, which is a three-fourhour trip, or take them 700 kilometres down to Roma.” Just as stockmen like Rosemary and Warwick ogle at the notion of guiding their cattle across five miles of ocean, it’s likely that in a century’s time stockmen and women will be marvelling at our rudimentary motorbikes and drones. However, these stories, and the myriad other which shed a light on Australia’s stockmen and women — the unsung overseers of the outback — are as fundamental to the Australian narrative as the koala and the Southern Cross. Without Australia’s stockmen and women, this country would be a vastly different place. ’ To find out more about Australia’s outback heritage, visit the Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame and Outback Heritage Centre on Landsborough Highway, Longreach, Queensland.



The Ways Things Were

"Just as stockmen like Rosemary and Warwick ogle at the notion of guiding their cattle across five miles of ocean, it's likely that in a century's time, stockmen and women will be marvelling at our rudimentary motorbikes and drones."

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Save the Bilby

Fending off the RILEY PALMER explains how Australia’s bilby needs our help, before it's too late THE ADORABLE BILBY IS SEEN IN CHOCOLATEY ABUNDANCE on Australian supermarket shelves around Easter each year. An Aussie version of the Easter Bunny that is steadily gaining more traction, these chocolate incarnations of the bilby — though cute and delicious — portray what is a vulnerable and endangered species, in a paradoxically prolific fashion.

The bilby, which once inhabited 70 percent of Australia’s mainland, now only survives in the isolated arid and semiarid areas of Western Australia, the Northern Territory, and Outback Queensland. Kevin Bradley, CEO of Save the Bilby Fund, a publically listed charity based in Queensland, reiterates that in the last 200 years, the area occupied by the bilby has contracted by about 90 percent. “We had at least six species of arid bandicoot when Europeans arrived in Australia, and the bilby is the last one remaining,” Kevin Bradley, CEO of Save the Bilby Fund. “The bilby is really a flagship species among our midweight mammals here in Australia; and, considering the pressure that’s been placed on its environment over the past two centuries, we’re very, very lucky to still have it.” Looking at this tiny marsupial’s soft, blue-grey fur, long snout culminating in a pink, hairless tip, and disproportionately large ears, it’s easy to understand why individuals such as Kevin are dedicated to its long-term conservation. Far from just being adorable native animals however, the bilby holds huge cultural significance for the indigenous and traditional owners of the land, many of

More bilby knowledge ... Bilbies live in spiralling burrows which they dig up to 2m deep. This depth helps to keep them safe from predators and also to keep them at a constant temperature of 23°C, as bilbies can become heat stressed. A bilby may have as many as 12 burrows, one for sleeping and the others for escaping from predators.



whom are working in conjunction with scientists and Land Council staff to help track and monitor wild populations. “Operating in isolation is not going to work,” says Kevin. While Save the Bilby Fund is primarily concerned with the conservation and re-emergence of Queensland’s diminished bilby population, the initiative organised the Greater Bilby Recovery Summit which took place in 2015. “The summit saw 29 stakeholders come together from all around the country,” he explains. “Together we formulated the Greater Bilby Recovery Summit Interim Conservation Plan, which was supported by all of those stakeholders, including conservation groups, state and federal government, landholders, and indigenous groups.” Now the chairman of the National Greater Bilby Recovery Team, Kevin plays an integral role in developing the Australian Government’s recovery plan for conserving the bilby. His input in the recovery plan is largely informed by the information that came out of the 2015 summit. As such, one of main objectives outlined in the recovery plan is to reduce the impact of introduced predators, particularly the red fox and feral cats. “Cats have been implicated in 28 of the 30 mammal species that have become extinct in Australia since European settlement,” says Bradley. "They’re an enormous problem and are effectively eating their way across Australia.” Sadly, the impact of these predatory species has only been exacerbated by environmental factors, such as the way fire management occurs in Australia. “If you burn at the wrong time of the year, all of the foliage and all of the grasses get eliminated. The land becomes completely open, so bilbies have to travel further to find food and they have nowhere to hide from foxes and cats.” Another problem with introduced predators such as cats and rabbits, is that they hunker down in bilby burrows, where the latter are either killed, or forced out into unsafe open land. While there are other issues that ultimately need to be addressed to improve the conservation status of the bilby — such as land clearing, overgrazing, and the impact of hooved animals — introduced pests are inarguably the most immediate threat. “One of our main goals is greater landscape control of those predatory species,” says Kevin, “otherwise we’re going to lose a lot more of our animal species. Immediately, that means building fenced areas to keep populations of bilbies secure.”

Save the Bilby

ferals. Already this strategy has seen some success with Save the Bilby Fund completing a predatorenclosed fence at Currawinya National Park in 2002. There are other fenced areas that have been constructed throughout Australia, for instance Arid Recovery at Roxby Downs in South Australia has fenced a total of 123 square kilometres of arid land and reintroduced bilbies. These large-scale projects don’t preclude us from getting involved on an individual level. With various chocolate manufacturers donating towards bilby conservation, perhaps the easiest way to help save the bilby is by switching out the bunny for the bilby at Easter. Another great initiative is National Bilby Day, taking place on the 10th of September this year. The best place to celebrate this iconic day is at Charleville Bilby Experience in South West Queensland, where you can get up close and personal with some of our nation’s cutest little marsupials. ’

“Cats have been implicated in 28 of the 30 mammal species that have become extinct in Australia since European settlement."

More facts about the bilby The bilby is a native desertliving marsupial. There were originally two species of bilby, but one became extinct in the 1950s. The name bilby is an Aboriginal word meaning longnosed rat. Bilbies have a long muzzle and very long ears — apparently hearing is not an issue for them. They are burrowers and can build tunnels with their strong limbs and claws. The female bilby has a pouch which faces backwards so her pouch does not get filled when she is digging. Bilbies are pregnant for 12 to 14 days, which is one of the shortest incubation periods of all mammals.

Bilbies are nocturnal omnivores that do not need to drink water. They get all the moisture they need from their food, which includes insects and their larvae, seeds, spiders, bulbs, fruit, fungi and other very small animals. There is a national recovery plan to help revive the bilby population, which sees bilbies being bred in captivity and introducing them back to areas where bilbies once lived. If you would like to make a donation, visit Or, visit Charleville and book into an a bilby experience. Phone: 07 4654 3057 E:

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3 HOT Camping Recipes

These recipes are fun, delicious and you don’t need to be a great cook to get them right. If you’re the master of the BBQ at home, now it’s time to take charge of the campfire and serve up some Outback treats.

Chilli Campfire Bake A simple take on macaroni and cheese Ingredients A box of elbow macaroni pasta As much chilli as you like A couple of cloves of garlic 1 bag of corn chips A block of cheddar or tasty cheese Salt, pepper and herbs of your choice Method 1. Pour the box of pasta into a large skillet and then sprinkle with chopped garlic, salt, pepper and herbs.

2. Pour 3 cups of cold water into the skillet, ensuring it covers the pasta. 3. Make sure the campfire is nice and hot, and place skillet on a grill above your campfire. 4. Heat mixture up, gently stirring until almost all of the liquid has evaporated. Sprinkle salt, pepper, herbs and chilli into the mix and bring to a simmer. 5. Remove from the heat, top with corn chips and grate cheddar or tasty cheese on top. Delicious!

Some tasty treats to forage for

Here’s some great bush tucker to look out for, to add some zing to your campfire and BBQ meals. Finger Lime As far as flavour goes, finger lime is on par with sour sweets. Inside are little pink beads bursting with citrusy goodness, making them a fantastic accompaniment to just about any dish you prepare on the campfire, but they’re especially good with seafood. Try it with a BBQ'd yabby if you manage to catch one. Recently, demand



for this fruit in Australia and overseas, has gone through the roof, as they are used in a huge range of dishes and celeb chefs are singing their praises. Even the early settlers took advantage of them as thirst-quenchers.

a hit overseas. Famed for its sweet, citrusy scent and taste — it's more lemony than lemon oil, and the lemon myrtle tree grows all over the Queensland coast. It’s a wonderful addition to stir fries and fish.

Lemon Myrtle Lemon myrtle has longbeen loved in Australia, but lately it’s also become

Bush tomato Desert-dwelling Indigenous communities have eaten bush tomatoes for centuries,

and they would also dry the small red fruit so they could be stored and carried with them as a great source of energy. There are over 100 species of wild tomatoes in Australia, however only six are known to be edible, and Kutjera (otherwise known as Desert Raisins) are the most well-known and the most consumed species of bush tomatoes out there.

Honeyed banana & macadamia boats Who doesn't love a delicious desert whipped up around a campfire? Ingredients: 4 bananas ½ cup of chocolate chips A cup of mini marshmallows Macadamia nuts Caramel sauce Honey Method: 1. With a knife, cut a slit down the curved length of a banana, making a pocket. Take care not to cut all the way through to the back. 2. Stuff your banana boat with the

chocolate chips, as they will help pry the banana open. Add marshmallows, macadamias, and then dribble a bit of caramel sauce on top. 3. Place the banana boat on a square of foil, raise the corners and pinch the sides together, creating a foil packet around the it. 4. Place the foil packet in the coals of your campfire and watch it carefully. A bit burnt is delicious, but don’t let it go too far! When removed, add a fresh sprinkle of crushed macadamia nuts and a drizzle of honey. FYI: They aren’t meant to look pretty!

Bacon Billy Damper A fresh take on the good ol' damper that you may see on the road Ingredients 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 red onion, halved and thinly sliced 2 bacon rashers, trimmed and thinly cut 3 cloves of garlic, crushed 1 tablespoon of chilli Jam 3 cups of self-raising flour 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary 1 teaspoon of parsley 1/2 teaspoon sea salt Sprinkle of peppercorns 280 ml beer (room temperature) Method 1: Grease and line the base only of a 1.5 litre billycan with baking paper. 2. Heat 1 tbs of oil in a frying pan over medium-low heat, add onion and garlic, and cook, stirring until mixture is soft. 3. Mix in bacon and cook for 6 minutes or until its golden. Stir in the jam until it lightly caramelises.

4. Add salt, pepper (chilli if you want to spice things up), then transfer to a bowl and allow it to cool for ten minutes. 5. Mix flour, and herbs and spices in a bowl. Make a well in the centre and add beer and remaining oil. Stir firmly to form a soft (it'll be sticky) dough. 6. Tip it all on to a lightly floured surface and knead mixture for 5 minutes, or until its lovely, smooth and elastic. 7. Use a rolling pin (or torch!) to flatten the dough into a 20 x 35cm rectangle. Spread this rectangle with the onion/ herb mixture and then roll it lengthways to make a sausage shape. Holding each end, twist the dough to expose some onion mixture. Shape into a coil and place in prepared billycan. Set aside in a warm place for 30 minutes to rest. 8. Preheat enclosed barbecue on low and place your billycan on a tray, then cook with hood down for 40 minutes or until golden. Dough should sound hollow when tapped.

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A family success WHEN THE OWNERS of the BP Service Station in Longreach purchased their business in 1998, there was one staff member. Now the business has two full-time mechanics, four staff as well as casual juniors. The family, committed to their special part of the Outback, have started a spare parts shop, a bicycle centre, and

a small convenience store with groceries and car accessories. Five years ago, the family also built the Longreach Car Wash with a laser automatic bay, and three manual bays alongside a dog wash. Daughter Melanie runs an accessories shop with pet, phone and car accessories in the town’s Main Street, and

son Ben has a mobile auto electrical business. Ben and his wife Jacey also own the town’s plant nursery - Palm's Garden, which is open 7 days. The nursery in Magpie Lane.



Sandstone Wonders THE HIGHWAYS AND BYWAYS of Sandstone Wonders will fill your days and create some of the most memorable moments of your Outback journey. Out here, the simple pleasures in life are easily found. You’ll meet locals who’ll have you laughing with their cheeky humour and tell-it-how-it-is, no-nonsense approach, and you’ll never be short of a willing word from 60


a friendly stranger on the best places to snag a fish, boil a billy, grab a good feed or camp for the night. Festivals, fishing comps, country races and camp drafts are just a few ways to have fantastic family fun, and if you travel out of the townships, some big adventures await. Out there, you’ll find yourself in an ancient world, where sandstone wonders stand like

fortresses in the sun, lighting up the landscape. Rivers and lakes funnel their way over mountaintops and across the plains, their banks shaded by palms that have been growing for millions of years. Follow them and you’ll find peaceful places, far off from the beaten track.

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Our family looks forward to welcoming you in Longreach

17/4/17 9:40 pm

We’re sure we can help make your trip the best it can be. Anything you need, just stop by and we’ll take care of you. See you soon!

Batteries | Sweets | Drinks | Tyres | Dog Wash | Coffee | Food You need it, we’ll have it. And if we don’t, we’ll order it in. Nothing is too little, or too big to ask for.

Phone us on: 07 4658 1136

Let your next Outback self drive take you to natural hidden wonders


Pulling into Charleville If you're an Outback Mate travelling to the Outback town of Charleville, we’ve taken the hard work out of planning ahead and compiled this list of the town's best experiences.  Visit the Bilby Centre and get up close and  personal with this rare species  Observe the Outback night sky in our  famous observatory with telescopes Take a tour of the top secret, WWII base where 3500 Americans were based from 1942–1946 Book a Sun Viewing Session at the Cosmos Centre and see the brightest star. Then visit ‘Astronomy by Day’ and witness the Cosmos Shuttle, which is absolutely incredible Tour through Historic Hotel Corones

and hear all Harrys’ stories followed by afternoon tea

 Embark upon a town tour of Charleville  and hear the stories of our fires and floods  Visit George at Historic House and see  some of the amazing relics from our past  Purchase a CD from the Visitor Centre and  do your own self-guided town tour Book a Station Tour and see how things operate on an Outback Station Visit Outback Air Tours and do a scenic flight of the area

Visit Donna Reynolds at her stunning art studio, and check out her fantastic style Wander through Graham Andrews parklands and learn about the Vortex Guns Do the Outback Native Timber Walk and discover the native trees of the area Camp out along the river and do a little fishing while relaxing in our town  Discover the history behind an Outback  necessity — the RFDS Visit the School of Distance Education and see how our unique classrooms operate Visit the Weather Station Balloon release, and see where we get our figures from

For more details, ring the friendly staff at the Charleville Visitor Information Centre on 07 4654 7771

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Quiz + Did You Know? 1. How long is a bilby pregnant for?

6. What is mined at Mount Isa?

a) 12-14 days b) 3-4 months c) 7-8 months DID YOU KNOW? The word ‘bilby’ comes from an Aboriginal word used by the Yuwaalaraay people, and means ‘long nosed rat’.

a) Gold, silver and lead b) Copper, lead, silver and zinc c) Opals, lead, silver and uranium DID YOU KNOW? There is an underground hospital museum in Mount Isa that once served many men and women in WW2.

2. Paddle bones of 7. What percentage of which dinosaur were Australia is covered by found on Euraba Station vegetation? between Richmond and a) 14.5 million square km Julia Creek? b) 7 million square km a) Pliosaur b) Ichthyosaur c) Titanosaur DID YOU KNOW? You can dig up megafauna and microfauna fossils alongside dedicated team experts at outback locations including Eromanga, Winton and Richmond.

c) 4.5 million square km DID YOU KNOW? The biggest property in Australia is bigger than Belgium.

3. In what year did Burke and Wills leave Melbourne to begin their fatal expedition?

a) Longreach b) Thargomindah c) Cunnamulla DID YOU KNOW? The Currawinya National Park near Hungerford contains two large lakes that are important breeding and refuge sites for migrating waterbirds.

a) 1860 b) 1879 c) 1901 DID YOU KNOW? Australia is as wide as the distance between London to Moscow.

4. The Simpson Desert is the 4th largest sand desert in the world. How big is it?

QUIZ + did you know

a) 176,500 km2 b) 230,504 km2 c) 413, 897 km 2 DID YOU KNOW? The Simpson Desert is named after Alfred Allen Simpson, an Australian philanthropist and geographer.

5. How big is a young kangaroo (a joey) when it is born? a) 2cm long b) 7.5cm long c) 21cm long DID YOU KNOW? A male kangaroo is called a boomer and a female kangaroo is called a flyer. Correct answers: 1a, 2b, 3a, 4a, 5a, 6b, 7b, 8b, 9c



8. Which Outback QLD town first produced hydro-electric power for street lighting?

9. Which region did explorer Major Mitchell describe as the 'finest and most extensive pastroal region he had ever found'? a) Longreach b) Barcaldine c) Blackall-Tambo DID YOU KNOW? The Flinders River that runs through Porcurpine Gorge near Hughenden is Queensland's longest river!

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Outback Mates Magazine 2017  

The stories delve into the history and heritage of Outback Queensland, while also showcasing its modern-day attractions, such as luxurious o...

Outback Mates Magazine 2017  

The stories delve into the history and heritage of Outback Queensland, while also showcasing its modern-day attractions, such as luxurious o...