|2nd September, 2013
We arrived in Quilpie last Friday and booked into the Channel Caravan Park and were quite surprised when the manager said that the park was owned by the Costello’s. We didn’t get any family discount though.
Each site has a concrete slab, power, water, a space to park the car and individual dump points. First time we’ve seen that, we usually have to go hunting for one at the showgrounds or some place around town and not every town has one either. Still we manage.
The camp kitchen is fully equipped with everything you could want and they also have three artesian spas, at a temperature of 35 degrees. They also have an historical area detailing the Costello and Durack families and their contribution to the settlement of the area.
Covering a total area of 67,482 square kilometres, primary industries play a huge part in the economy of the area. Quilpie is situated on the Bulloo River and one of the main attractions is Lake Houdraman.
We took a run out to the lake to have a look and if it hadn’t been for the very hot weather we would have camped up out there for the week instead of in town.
The bird life is unbelievable; you even see emu wading up to their bellies in the water and some of the biggest pelicans we have seen yet.
There are numerous murals in town, some at the cenotaph depicting all faces of conflicts that Australia was engaged in and even more on the town common depicting life in Quilpie and surrounding areas detailing the evolvement of the area over the years. They are all very well done and quite interesting
We spent a quiet weekend with me trying to keep out of the heat and Rob deciding to go for a paddle out on the lake.
We went for a drive out along the Dowling Track to Toompine, the pub without a town.
It is along the Dowling Track that Australia’s first opal mine was registered in 1871 and also where Queensland’s largest opal, the “Huns Head” was discovered in 1972 and weighing in at 15.75kg or 35lb.
On the drive out to Toompine, some 80ks south of Quilpie, we passed through properties that were named early in the pioneering days of the area.
One in particular is Moble Station where John Costello established his first property within the Quilpie area in 1865.
Jones Paddock on Moble Station was where the Durack and Costello women camped for nine months while the men travelled south for supplies.
Arriving at the Toompine Hotel we got to talk to a couple of the locals, well nearly locals, Toompine has a population of TWO.
They even have state of the art accommodation for those who imbibe just a tad too much.
The original pub burnt down in 1891 and the current pub was built in 1893 and was once a Cobb and Co changing station.
The town once boasted not only houses but a butchery, watchmaker and jeweller as well as other businesses in and around the pub.
The drought in 1900 devastated the whole area and people left the land in droves and even though the drought finally finished in 1902 a revival of the population didn’t occur.
After a lunch of home-made pie and chips and of course a light ale, we took the drive out to look at the Toompine Cemetery. The shingle over the gate says Cemery but I haven’t been able to find out why. There are supposed to be about 14 graves in there but from the ones that were obvious only four had any inscriptions, two of those being of young children.
We couldn’t help but notice how spring has “sprung” here in the outback. The Mulga gums are sporting their cream feathery clusters of flowers and gum nuts and the salt bush is putting on a display with its canopy of yellow flowers.
Not to be outdone, the native tea tree is being weighed down with its profusion of white and pink waxy flowers. It is truly a nice time to be out here……………….just wish it wasn’t so darned hot though.
We made a detour to go and have a look at the view from Mt. Baldy but as it was so hot and such a steep climb we opted to stay in air-conditioned comfort of the truck. A wise decision I thought. LOL
Kangaranga Do. Quilpie’s street party.
There was quite a good turnout for a little country town. It was good to see everyone from the baby in the stroller through to the great grandies and all in between getting out there and having fun.
The local school teacher, 20 years in Quilpie (he didn’t look old enough), doubles as the Fire Chief, who was giving demonstrations of what can happen when you put water onto a fat fire (as opposed to a skinny one you might say….. LOL), the entire police force was in attendance, all two of them and the ambos and paramedics, one of those, mixed in with the cow cockies and jackaroos. Everyone making it a great social occasion.
The children, of various ages and both boys and girls, put on a dancing display much to the delight of some very proud parents.
The pre-school was selling recipe books, just all the basic good old fashioned type of thing, so of course I just had to have one. You don’t count the multitude I have at home, this one was a must have, after all it has country basic stuff in it …. Well doesn’t it … LOL . Besides that it was for a good cause.
We went to the races, not your normal races mind you, JACK RUSSELL RACING.
The whole darn thing was over before it began; boy can those little buggars run. They auctioned off the dogs just before the race and the proceeds go to various charities in the town.
Good food, good atmosphere and well behaved people. Although there was plenty of alcohol available I didn’t see one person who “went over the top”.
Well done Quilpie.
A trip out to the cemetery is on today’s agenda. It’s right out the back behind the airport. There are many new graves out there and a few older ones. We found two pertaining to Costello’s but they only dated back to the 1960’s. No Dudrack ones that we could find.
I was very taken with a couple of them, the inhabitant must have been like me and wasn’t partial to the heat because they had strung some shade cloth over the head of the grave. Very considerate of them I thought.
On the way back into town we called in at the airport to have a look at the Amy Johnson memorial. She landed here on her solo trip across the Pacific way back when.
It was then on to Saint Finbars’ Church to have a look at the opal encrusted altar, lectern and font. Pictures don’t do it justice.
The street scape really shows what is important to the town with their statues along the median strip.
We are headed to Charleville tomorrow, Thursday to see Erin and have the truck serviced.