This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.


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2013 Travels July 20

SATURDAY 20 JULY     TAMBO TO BARCALDINE     222kms

We got away, as normal, at 9am, after I’d phoned and booked us into a caravan park in Barcaldine.

The road – the Matilda Way – between Tambo and Barcaldine was atrocious. There were long sections that were extremely bumpy and bouncy. It was worst on the sections of Mitchell grass plains, not as bad on the rises. I seemed to remember from our times further north, that Mitchell grass grows on cracking clay soils – guess the seasonal expansion and contraction of these played havoc with the road structure.

Despite John dropping the speed to under 60kmh, I was having to brace myself not to get bumped up out of my seat, and was really expecting something major on Bus to break, at any minute, Like the suspension! The roadworks certainly needed to extend to this section of road, pronto.

We were passed by some caravans that were heading south. They were clearly having difficulties towing straight on the bouncy sections.

The summer coastal floods and road closures of the past couple of years, had caused much heavy truck traffic to divert to this highway, and that had certainly added to the road deterioration.

Whilst we’d been at Evening Star, we’d been told that the Roma-Charleville road was also bad.

North of Blackall, the road was somewhat better.

We refuelled at Barcaldine, at a small Mobil servo on a side street, that was cheaper than the one on the highway, and without the queue. $164.6cpl.

The annual goat races were happening at the Showgrounds. That was, apparently, a big event in the district, and there was quite a crowd, lots of noise – and lots of goats. I could see some motorhomes and caravans parked in clusters around the grounds – a cheap camping area. Today’s events would be quite an interruption to a quiet stay at the local showgrounds!

When I’d phoned to book us in to the Barcaldine Tourist Park, I’d explained, as I normally do, about the length of Bus and the need to park the car as well. They had allocated us a shaded site, with room to park the car behind Bus – but it was right next to the highway! We just hoped there was not too much truck traffic during the night. The park was just after the 60kmh zone started, and trucks were either changing down gears, or still changing up after turning onto this road. $28 a night.

Squeezed in beside the highway at Barcaldine

After we’d set up, I took the car down the street and managed to buy the Saturday papers from the roadhouse. Bought some very nice Turkish bread from the bakery, and some dips from supermarket, as well as some chilli and lime salami for (very late) lunch. The bread had some sort of black seeds on top. I didn’t know what they were, but they tasted great. The salami was for John – he wasn’t much impressed with this variation.

Hotels all in a row…..Barcaldine main street on a weekend afternoon

John spent the rest of the day making up for his WOW deprivation of the past few days – back on the internet again! I read the papers, played ball with dog on the dirt road that ran down the side of the park. Amused myself watching the park manager directing newcomers onto sites, some of which were quite small. John had parked close to the garden on our site and there was still only barely room to put the awning out.

We’d been so shook up by today’s awful road that John decided we’d stay an extra night here, before venturing out on the roads again. That was fine by me. Barcaldine was yet another town we’d passed through a number of times but never had time to stop and explore.

I ventured across to the happy hour gathering, which featured tea and damper, and enjoyed chatting with some fellow travellers. John remained attached to his screen.

The late lunch meant a light tea. Toast and chicken noodle soup.

Football was on TV at night.


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2000 Travels May 21

SUNDAY 21 MAY     LONGREACH

Today was S’s birthday, so John tried to phone her, but no one home.

We went back to the Hall of Fame and spent the rest of the morning there. It was just SO good!

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Memorial stained glass window. John is beside it, for scale. Settler’s hut below.

Some of the twentieth century displays covered things like wheat harvesting with the big horse teams – dad would have loved to see this place because it dealt with the life he lived. His early jobs, in Tasmania, involved working with horses. For several years, he travelled annually, to the area around Balranald, in southern NSW, where his employer ran teams of horses pulling the wheat harvesters.

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Travelling hawker’s wagon; they brought goods to remote settlers

After lunch, we drove out to the west of town, to the Thomson River, just for a look at it. People out there were fishing for yellowbelly.

A sign by the road informed us that the Thomson and Barcoo Rivers join near Windorah, to form – a creek! Cooper Creek. They say it is the only place in the nation where two rivers make a creek.

We had noticed, when coming north from NSW, that the Kidman Way in that State, became the Matilda Way in Qld.

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Matilda Highway information near Longreach. Flood debris at sign base

Refuelled Truck – 87cpl.

Later in the afternoon, we went walking along the footpaths, towards town.

Tea was broccoli soup and a Greek salad.