We have arrived in Eromanga after the short drive from Quilpie. Pretty good road coming out from Quilpie, much of it a lane each way. After the turn off to Eromanga there were some lengthy stretches of a single lane down the middle, meaning one has to move on to the shoulders as traffic approaches. Countryside is also a little greener and fresher looking with some water beside the road. Plenty of emus running around, as well as road kill with feathers and bones spread everywhere. The emu population appears to have taken a recent battering.
Just outside Quilpie we stopped at the town opal fossicking area to try our luck among the rocks. After a bit of rock smashing Allthego struck a small rock and lo and behold there was an opal flash to be seen. Nothing to rave about, but in the pocket it went. After a few more hits we returned to the road to Eromanga.
The area around Eromanga is where the south-west oil fields start to make their appearance. Allthego was out this way 30 odd years ago when he was doing some work for one of his old clients who were part of some joint ventures looking for oil. They were successful in finding the Kenmore Oil field as well as a couple of other fields in the area. The Kenmore field is still producing today, although now owned by other parties. We passed by Kenmore Number 9 well beside the road. On the outskirts of the Eromanga township is the IOR Mini Oil Refinery which produces diesel and some other petroleum products from the oil produced from the surrounding oil fields. It was built in 1985 and was at the time also a client of Allthego, it has also now been sold to others.
The oil fields breathed life into the then declining Eromanga township. Today it is dinosaurs bringing tourists and nomads to the town. We had an hour-long tour of the first stage of the museum/research facility which is about 3 km outside town on a bit of a hill which we suspect is above the flood line for the area. The Eromanga township has been known to have had the odd flood or two in the past. Fossils have been found in the area of titanosaurs, these are some of the largest dinosaurs known. The prize specimen is known as ‘Cooper’, a sauropod titanosaur. This is one of those 4 legged varieties, growing to about 35 m in length and 5 m tall at the shoulder, with long necks. They were herbivores and ate enormous quantities of vegetable matter. Cooper would have filled the building we were in. The palaeontologists are still in the process of prepping all the bones found, about half the skeleton. They have one of the fore limbs and one of the rear limbs done and 3-D prints have been made of these, they are about 4 m or so tall, amazing the way this has been done. There were a lot of other fossils in the place on display and we had demonstrations of the prepping process, requires patient and meticulous jig saw puzzle solver type characters for this job.
After the tour we retired to the Royal Hotel for a light lunch and then back to the van for a break before dinner.
Following two nights here in Eromanga our next stop is to be a free camp beside Cooper Creek, not far from Windorah.