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Queensland

Last but Not Least

After leaving Alice Springs, we got on the Barkly Highway to head to Queensland. This was our last state in AU to visit; we would be spending about 11/2 months here. It was about this time that we started hearing about a cyclone forming off the coast of Queensland, so a lot of this part of our trip was figuring out where to go and when. Our ultimate goal was to reach Cairns, and then the Great Barrier Reef.

Barkly Homestead

The Barkly Tableland is made up of rolling plains covered with Mitchell grass. It runs from the eastern part of the NT into western Queensland. It is one cattle station after the next and supposedly, has some of the best cattle grazing country in AU. The Barkly Homestead is the only stop between the Stuart Highway and the border of Queensland. It was probably one of our favorite roadhouses of the trip.

Our first sighting of a black cockatoo was at the Barkley Homestead. Black Cookatoos are only found in Australia; there are 5 species and several subspecies. This is a Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo.

Our first sighting of a black cockatoo was at the Barkley Homestead. Black Cookatoos are only found in Australia; there are 5 species and several subspecies. This is a Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo.

The Barkly Homestead logo.

The Barkly Homestead logo.


The Barkly Homestead is not only for travelers like us, but it also provides groceries, gas, restaurant/bar etc for all the stations in the area.

The Barkly Homestead is not only for travelers like us, but it also provides groceries, gas, restaurant/bar etc for all the stations in the area.


It was 237 miles from the Barkly Homestead to the Queensland border, and another 13 miles to the first town, Camoooweal. Queensland uses pictures on most of their "attraction" signs to show you what you are going to see. They also have trivia questions to keep you awake; the answers are displayed a few miles down the road. These are just a couple of differences we noticed when crossing over to QLD.

It was 237 miles from the Barkly Homestead to the Queensland border, and another 13 miles to the first town, Camoooweal. Queensland uses pictures on most of their "attraction" signs to show you what you are going to see. They also have trivia questions to keep you awake; the answers are displayed a few miles down the road. These are just a couple of differences we noticed when crossing over to QLD.

Hughenden

We will remember this small Queensland town, which is located on the banks of the Flinders River, for two thing: dinosaurs and windmills. Hughenton and the town we stayed the previous night (Richmond) are part of what they call the Outback Dinosaur Trail. Outback Queensland was once part of an ancient inland sea, and because the area is so barren now, the dinosaur bones are easier to find. Several small towns in this area have been able to capitalize from these discoveries; each town has their own unique attraction. In Hughenton, the star is "Mutt" the Muttaburrasaurus, which was found near here.

It is here that we also learned about the Great Artesian Basin; it provides the only source of fresh water through much of inland AU. The majority of the basin is in QLD, but there are also much smaller areas located in NSW, SA, and NT. With the discovery of the basin came the drilling of bores and the need for windmills. The most common kind you see is a Comet; a local man installed 700 of the windmills in the outback over a 40 year period. Today some are still used for grazing areas, but most stations etc. use solar power.

This is a replica of a Muttaburrasaurus langdoni. It was named after the town Muttaburra, and the for local grazier (Doug Langdon) who discovered the skeleton in 1963. This one "guards" Hughenton, but it was probably not fierce enough to do so, as it was thought to be a plant-eater.

This is a replica of a Muttaburrasaurus langdoni. It was named after the town Muttaburra, and the for local grazier (Doug Langdon) who discovered the skeleton in 1963. This one "guards" Hughenton, but it was probably not fierce enough to do so, as it was thought to be a plant-eater.


This Comet Windmill is on display in Hughenton. They are still making these Comet windmills; the company has been in business for over 130 years.

This Comet Windmill is on display in Hughenton. They are still making these Comet windmills; the company has been in business for over 130 years.

These two Comet Windmills were donated to Hughenton for the "Centenary of a Federation Celebration", in 2001. The windmills pumped water at the Bogunda Station for over 45 years. They are 20 ft in diameter.

These two Comet Windmills were donated to Hughenton for the "Centenary of a Federation Celebration", in 2001. The windmills pumped water at the Bogunda Station for over 45 years. They are 20 ft in diameter.

Porcupine Gorge National Park

The first national park in Queensland that we visited was Porcupine Gorge NP. They call it AU's Little Grand Canyon"...perhaps that might be a bit of a stretch, but it was really nice. Here, it was the Porcupine Creek (instead of the Colorado) carving a chasm through layers of multi-colored sandstone, and leaving a pyramid shaped monolith rising from the gorge floor. There is an 8 K race through the gorge every June.

The first Porcupine Gorge vista is from a viewing platform.

The first Porcupine Gorge vista is from a viewing platform.


We hiked down into the Porcupine Gorge; our walk ended at the Pyramid.

We hiked down into the Porcupine Gorge; our walk ended at the Pyramid.

The Porcupine Creek, which runs through the gorge, was pretty tame; it is filled with rock pools for swimming.

The Porcupine Creek, which runs through the gorge, was pretty tame; it is filled with rock pools for swimming.

If you look carefully, you can see the dingo that we spotted along the Flnders Highway, after leaving Hughenton.

If you look carefully, you can see the dingo that we spotted along the Flnders Highway, after leaving Hughenton.

Charters Towers

Charters Towers is about 83 miles inland from the coast of QLD. On our first visit we were trying to beat Cyclone Debbie to the coast, and then head in the opposite direction. On our second visit, we were avoiding the damage/ongoing flooding along the coast caused by Cyclone Debbie.

Charters Towers is one of the most beautiful smaller cities that we have visited in Australia. What makes it so pretty is all the preserved Victorian buildings. When gold was discovered here in 1871, it quickly became QLD's second largest city at around 30,000. I guess it's no surprise that there were several bank buildings built, and even a regional stock exchange. Charters Towers was even called "The World" by the locals. They felt that everything one might desire was there, so why travel.

Today it is considerably smaller ( about 8,200 ) than in gold rush days. Gold mining was revived outside of the town in the 1980's but education is the largest employer. There are numerous state and private schools here. It is a popular place for boarding school students who do not want to move to bigger cities.

The Wherry House was originally the Bank of New South Wales, built in 1889.

The Wherry House was originally the Bank of New South Wales, built in 1889.

The Australian Bank of Commerce was built in 1891 but ceased being a bank in 1931.

The Australian Bank of Commerce was built in 1891 but ceased being a bank in 1931.


City Hall, built in 1891, was once the Queensland National Bank.

City Hall, built in 1891, was once the Queensland National Bank.

In order to raise capital for the deep gold mines located here, AU's only regional stock exchange was built in 1890.

In order to raise capital for the deep gold mines located here, AU's only regional stock exchange was built in 1890.

This is part of a huge mural on one of the buildings in town; it depicts life in the gold rush era.

This is part of a huge mural on one of the buildings in town; it depicts life in the gold rush era.

Towers Hill

We went up to the Towers Hill Lookout, which sits at 1,500 ft above sea level. In addition to providing a panoramic view of Charters Towers and the surrounding area, a lot of important things happened on this hill.

🔹Local folklore has it that an Aboriginal boy named Jupiter, first discovered gold at the foot of Towers Hill, in 1871.
🔹It was predominately a mining site with at least 30 vertical shafts and tunnels through the hill.
🔹The Pyrites Works site was important in the evolution of gold extraction techniques in QLD.
🔹The first reservoir was located here, and has helped supply water to the town since 1880.
🔹The "Magnetic Hut" was built here in the 1980's to measure the earth's magnetic field.
🔹Since 1962, Towers Hill has been part of a worldwide network of seismic stations to detect the earths motions.

These bricks are part of the ruins of a chimney at the Pyrites Works on Towers Hill. The chimney was destroyed during WWII for navigational purposes.

These bricks are part of the ruins of a chimney at the Pyrites Works on Towers Hill. The chimney was destroyed during WWII for navigational purposes.

This grass has taken over Towers Hill. There are 29 bunkers here that were used to store explosives for the RAAF/ USAAF during WWII.

This grass has taken over Towers Hill. There are 29 bunkers here that were used to store explosives for the RAAF/ USAAF during WWII.


Charters Towers obtains it's water supply from the Burdening River; the water is held in the two reservoirs located on Towers Hill.. The silver one was built in 1880.

Charters Towers obtains it's water supply from the Burdening River; the water is held in the two reservoirs located on Towers Hill.. The silver one was built in 1880.

Posted by Charedwards 16:29

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