Monthly Archives: October 2022
On the way to Lightning Ridge
From Nindigully we made the short hop to Thallon, a big wheat and grazing area. Not a lot at Thallon these days. The main building is the Francis Hotel which is also the Post Office, Information Centre and the agent for a few other services.
The hotel also has two murals of the Northern Hairy Nosed Wombat on their water tanks. These icons are critically endangered but were once common around here.
Now we are seeing a few murals on this trip, but we enjoy them nonetheless. I suppose they can get a bit tedious though! So here, just for a change is Thallon’s big thing…..a big hairy nosed wombat!
The big mural in Thallon is on the GrainCorp Silos. The mural is easily seen coming into town, dominating the skyline.It depicts the Moonie River, a sunset background with sheep grazing. Pretty spectacular.
Next town along the way and further west is Dirranbandi. Stopped here for morning tea and had a look around their attractions. These included a great cut out of horses of the Australian Light Horse brigade, which made the last cavalry charge at Beersheba towards the end of the First World War. The General that lead the charge later acquired a property at Dirranbandi and grazed here until he died in 1939. Our towns out west certainly search far and wide to pick up and promote historical slices for their tourist propaganda!
Further along was a lunch stop at Hebel, right on the border with NSW. Few live here, but there is an old historic hotel/motel and opposite a general store and caravan park. Homealone enjoyed the ‘home cooked pie’ whilst Allthego settled for the Border Burger.
From Hebel it is 65 km or so to Lightning Ridge down the Castlereagh Highway. All day we have been travelling in a light sporadic spitty drizzle, enough to hassle the windscreen wipers. So it is good to finally see the welcome to Lightning Ridge display of the Barrel of Dreams, I think that is what it is called!
Nindigully is 160km west of Goondiwindi beside the Moonie River, 50km south east of St George. This area in southwest Queensland is known as the Maranoa. It is pretty flat country with many creeks and rivers criss crossing the landscape. Plenty of agricultural pursuits here, wheat fields very green after the recent rains and the cotton fields in fallow pending planting out for the next crop.
We left Millmerran in fine sunny weather, Allthego had an early morning walk down to Back Creek which flanks the town and floods low lying areas in the town. It was running strongly under the road bridge.
On the way to Goondiwindi we took a back road to check out the Millmerran Power Station. An impressive enterprise that provides 15% of Queensland’s power needs. There is an evil coal mine next door that supplies the fuel to produce the power. Water for the station comes from recycling Toowoomba’s sewage plant output via a 58 km pipeline from the plant. It is apparently quite an efficient and clean technology coal fired power station. Not sure what the future holds for it in the age of renewables.
Eventually , we get back onto the Gore Highway and reach Goondiwindi a little later than planned. This is normal for us though and we hasten west to the Pub, stopping for some tuna on crackers beside an old railway station at Toobeah (“two-beer”). There is one pub and a general store here, it would be a good spot to free camp for a night on another western trip in the future.
The pub at Nindigully is a Queensland icon. It was established in 1864 and is the longest continually licensed pub in the State. It sits perched above the Moonie River, free camping sites stretching out between the river and the pub. Several hundred people could camp here, particularly for the annual pig races. The river is full of water and cascading over the weir below the hotel.
The pub is also known for its Road Train burger, 5.5 kg beef patty and all the trimmings plus chips. Only $100 but we did see it feed a table of 6 with left overs. Seemed like a meat loaf in a big bread roll. Another option is a 1.5 kg steak sandwich, more than enough for the two we saw dive into it.
Homealone and Allthego avoided these and each settled for a more manageable rib steak. Service was unashamedly slow, it was about an hour and half before the food arrived! There was quite a crowd.
Nindigully’s other claim to fame is as the location for the 1999 film Paperback Hero, the big boomerangs from the film remain perched in the grounds. It was one of Hugh Jackman’s first film roles.
After the excitement at the Pub it was back to the van for a relatively early night and to prepare for moving on in the morning to Lightning Ridge. There was general concern around about approaching storms and whether the road further to the south will be open. We will see what happens in the morning!
On the way south, sort of.
After the Eels devastating loss in the 2022 GF Allthego and Homeslone are setting off on a short trip out west to Nindigully, then down to Lightning Ridge in NSW and back to Brisbane via the Wurrumbungles.
Allthego has consigned his Eels guernsey to the back of the cupboard and is hoping that they will get another shot at the Premiership inside the next ten years or so!
We have chosen a somewhat different route south this time, rather than going via Warwick to Goondiwindi we have headed out past Toowoomba on the Gore Highway. This takes us past Pittsworth and Millmerran on the way to Goondiwindi. Some great murals on the Moore transport terminals near Pittsworth, an elderly Indigenous mural the standout!
Murals galore in Millmerran, the water tank particularly good.
Bit of angst out this way about the Inland Rail project. This area of the Darling Downs is a floodplain of the Condamine River, a tributary of the Darling River. The line is in the course of early earthworks that cross about 19km of floodplain on banks several feet high. Billboards say a 19 km dam, some locals want it moved to someone else’s backyard. Doesn’t look likely!
One of the attractions out this way is a bi annual Camp Oven Cooking Festival, plus C&W music and other things country. Plenty of food it seems, demonstrations etc. This could be a future must do, next one is 2024.
We are holed up for the night in a free camp on the outskirts of Millmerran, seems to be a truck route. Head off tomorrow for Nindigully.