Home' Caravanning Australia : Winter 2012 Contents 136 • Caravanning Australia • Winter 2012
Thargomindah is located in the south-west of Queensland,
and is just a stone's throw (if you can throw a stone 100
kilometres) from the infamous Cameron Corner. This iconic
outpost is where Queensland, South Australia and New South
Wales meet, and is definitely a place to visit if you want to claim
to be a true outback explorer. Many a tale has been told about
this spot, including stories of standing awkwardly with one foot
in New South Wales, one in South Australia and both hands
in Queensland. Though it makes no difference to your body
physically, it's quite a strange experience to feel split between
In the Cameron Corner Store, the interpretive centre will give
you insight into the various events and markers that have shaped
this area. One such icon is the world's longest fence -- the Dingo/
Wild Dog Barrier Fence, which was initially built to stop the
spread of the rabbit plague in the 1880s, and was then rebuilt to
protect sheep from dingo and wild dog attacks. Cameron Corner
sits at roughly the halfway point along the fence, which runs for
5500 kilometres from the Great Australian Bight to south-east
Queensland through five deserts.
Also at Cameron Corner, you might bear witness to a
small plane landing on the 800-metre airstrip to empty a load
of passengers who promptly make their way to the Cameron
Corner Store for an outback beer and a yarn. Of course, there
are plenty more reasons that people fly into the township, and
you can explore them all in whichever vehicle you've chosen to
tow the trusty van.
Back in Thargomindah, the small population of approximately
230 people will be more than happy to play host, offering
fantastic facilities and plenty of nearby attractions. Though its
name is Aboriginal for 'Cloud of Dust', if you push into the heart
of the cloud, you'll find more than you expected.
Every street in Thargomindah is named after either a resident
or a notable person from the area's history, and the town has
a penchant for giving its people nicknames. Meet the mayor,
'Tractor' Ferguson, and Donald and Shirley at the Bulloo River
Hotel/Motel, who go by 'Duck' and 'Daisy'.
Remarkably, Thargomindah was the first town in Australia
(and only third in the world after Paris and London) to have street
lighting. Why? In the 1890s, an artesian bore was drilled, and
an exceptionally good supply of bore water was struck. This
provided Thargomindah with reticulated bore water, and the first
hydro-electric scheme in Australia, which ran for almost 60 years
before diesel generators came to town.
If you fancy a daytrip from Thargomindah, there is plenty to
get you out and about.
History lovers would be remiss not to visit the 'Dig Tree',
located 311 kilometres west of Thargomindah at Cooper
Creek. Here is where the north-south crossing of the continent
by Robert O'Hara Burke and William John Wills came to an
end after they found their stock camp deserted. The Dig Tree
is where instructions to dig for food had been carved by the
base camp party prior to their departure. Burke and Wills both
perished before help arrived.
If you hadn't felt it before, you're sure to start feeling the
impact of the outback on your mind and body with each site
that you visit. The reality is that it's a harsh place, but its beauty
and isolation make it a place unlike any other, and spending time
out here puts the rest of the world into perspective; this is the
outback frame of mind.
The Burke and Wills reminder of the lack of food and
water available to our intrepid explorers might inspire you to
nourish yourself. If you're not in a hurry, as Burke and Wills
might have been, make your way 140 kilometres north-west
of Thargomindah to Noccundra, where another marker of the
region's heritage waits.
The Noccundra Hotel was built in 1860 within the pastoral
lands of Nockatunga Station. Soon after, the hotel burnt down,
and it was then rebuilt in 1882 into its present form -- a beautiful
old sandstone structure. This building is now all that survives of
the town, and has become a tourist attraction in its own right.
Despite there not being an actual township in Noccundra, the
community is surprisingly strong -- there is a hotel, hall, tennis
court, cricket pitch, cemetery, a beautiful waterhole, an airstrip,
and a racecourse and rodeo ground.
People from all over Australia, and even from across the
world, visit Noccundra for curiosity's sake, and to whet their
whistles. At any given time you will find fishermen, four-wheel
drivers, tour groups, campers, and perhaps even the odd light
aircraft pilot settled in for a drink and a meal. From the sounds
of things, any outback adventurer will fit right in amongst these
You can still view the remains of what was once a larger
town, with ruins of the old Noccundra Store nearby, as well as
graves of some of the locals.
If you're in need of a more bustling pace, head north-east
from Noccundra to Quilpie. By comparison to such metropolises
as Melbourne and Sydney, you wouldn't call Quilpie the big
Waterfall at the Outback Centre. Image © Tourism Queensland
Thargomindah's artesian bore at sunrise. Image © Tourism Queensland
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