SATURDAY 20 MAY LONGREACH
The rain mostly cleared overnight, though the sky was still grey. I really did not expect that we would be getting these wet spells up in these parts, at this time of year.
After breakfast, drove to the main part of town, where we visited the newsagent, butcher, bakery and Tourist Centre.
Then we went to the Stockmans Hall of Fame, where entry cost us $17 each. Visiting this was the main reason we decided to stay in Longreach.
Longreach town started as a camping spot for drovers moving stock, by a long reach, or waterhole, on the Thomson River. In the 1970’s, an Australian artist, Hugh Sawrey, had the idea of establishing a tribute to the outback pioneers, settlers and battlers. The concept was shared by other prominent Australians, particularly the legendary RM Williams. The successful fund raising efforts of the founding group must have caught the imagination of Australians in general. Thus, this museum was built and opened in the 1980’s.
The Sydney architect who designed the buildings took as his theme the curved water tanks and silos of inland Australia. The building certainly stands out in the otherwise unremarkable approach to town!
We browsed displays for a while, then bought lunch at the cafe there – pie for John, quiche for me – and very nice too.
Then we did more wandering around in the exhibits. It was all awesome, excellent, huge, comprehensive – and so much better than I’d anticipated. The name is somewhat misleading – it was really about so much more than stockmen. It was a commemoration of life in our rural areas in past times.
As we followed the suggested route through the place we were taken from the actual formation of the continent, then founding by Europeans and the very early years, into multiple displays featuring the pastoral era of the 1800’s, then the 1900’s.
There was a full sized replica of a settler’s hut and a hawker’s wagon.
We were really taken with a display showing all the different types of wire used on properties – not something I’d ever thought about before, despite experience with same, growing up on a farm.
The amount of information, everywhere, was incredible. By about 2.30, our brains could handle no more. This was clearly not uncommon, because check out passes were available, to enable one to return the next day!
We went back to the van, on the way extending our stay another night.
Watched Kieran Perkins swim in the 1500 metre Olympic trial, on TV. Impressive.
Tea was broccoli soup, made using a packet base. It was much nicer than it sounded! We had sausages from the local butcher, also good, with bacon, tomato and egg.