This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.


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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.


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2000 Travels May 20

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!

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The distinctive architecture of the Stockmans Hall of Fame

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.

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Settler’s Hut replica; from an era when nails were not always available

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.

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The wire display

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.