This journey begins at Blackall. It is located on the Matilda Highway, as is Barcaldine 107 kilometres to the north. Aramac is another 67 kilometres north again, but it is suggested that you loop back to Barcaldine to head west to Longreach along the Matilda Highway.
There are references to that famous Australian song, 'Waltzing Matilda', along this route, particularly around Kynuna where Andrew Barton 'Banjo' Patterson penned the words. 'Waltzing Matilda' has become the unofficial national anthem and was used to engender patriotism from the time of the Boer War. The music was adapted from an old Scottish song by Christina Macpherson, daughter of the owner of 'Dagworth' Station where 'Banjo' was staying.... more
The region was also home to the development of Australia's first airline, Qantas, as well as the Flying Doctor Service. The importance of the grazing and mining industries to Queensland's economy is also apparent on this journey, which ends at Mount Isa. The contribution of local communities to supporting the Empire during WWI is evident from the number of memorials along the way, most notably at Blackall, Barcaldine, Aramac, Winton, Cloncurry and Mt Isa.... less
|Duration||5 Days||Itinerary Type||Land
|Distance||1004 Kilometres||Itinerary Route||One Way
|Mode of Travel||Car||Level of Difficulty||Unrated|
The Blackall War Memorial and the CWA's Memorial Chair are situated in Memorial Park. Take the Evora Road north for 4 kilometres to the Blackall Wool Scour, the only steam-driven scour incorporating a shearing shed left in Australia. Artesian water was sourced to wash the wool. Check the availability of a bush dinner at the wool scour, held monthly between May and September, and consider an overnight stay in town.
Barcaldine 107 kilometres to the north eclipsed Blackall as the main regional town after the railway opened in 1886. Barcaldine then became the centre of local government. The 1912 Barcaldine Shire Hall in Ash Street overlooks the beautifully sculptured WWI Memorial Clock at the Beech Street intersection. Memorial gates were installed at the shire hall after WWII. Drop in at the tourism office beside the windmill.
Travel north to Aramac, and visit the war memorial at the intersection of Lodge and Gordon Streets, and the nearby ANZAC Memorial Park, dedicated in 1949 with gates bearing the names of those enlisted in WWII. The tourism office is nearby. Visit the Tramway Museum, showcasing the light-rail that operated between Barcaldine and Aramac from 1913 until 1975. Stay overnight or return to Barcaldine.
Spend the morning at the Barcaldine Workers Heritage Centre before travelling west to Longreach. Numerous attractions include the Stockman's Hall of Fame, the Qantas Hangar and the Qantas Founders' Museum.
Lieutenant Hudson Fysh and Lieutenant Paul McGinness, pilots who received their wings during WWI, founded Qantas. Both were Gallipoli veterans. McGinness trained as a pilot with Royal Flying Corps and was a member of the First Squadron of the Australian Flying Corps in 1918. Fysh joined the unit shortly after. Both were decorated and both returned to Australia on the same ship in 1919. By November 1920 they had established the Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services Ltd. using war disposals aircraft.
Visit the Longreach War Memorial in Anzac Memorial Park, a landmark structure in the town honouring those who served from the Longreach and Ilfracombe Shires.
Other attractions in Longreach include the Powerhouse Museum and the School of Distance Education. Maybe take a ride on a Cobb & Co coach through the town or into the scrub. As there is so much to see and do here, an overnight stay is recommended in one of the many hotels, motels, holiday parks or cottages.
The Matilda highway follows the railway line from Longreach to Winton, where citizens enthusiastically embraced the war effort in August 1915. Less than a fortnight after the declaration of war, a public meeting was held in the shire hall forming a patriotic fund and calling for volunteers. By the end of the war, 518 citizens of this small town had served in the war, 92 not returning. The 13 tonne granite memorial located on Vindex Street is a dramatic reminder of the sacrifices of those who served.
Winton is home to a number of tourist attractions including the Waltzing Matilda Centre, the rebuilt North Gregory Hotel where the first public performance of the song occurred, the open air theatre and the Age of Dinosaurs Museum. Lark Quarry is about 100 kilometres to the south. If you take this option you may like to choose a farm-stay or return to accommodation in Winton.
Travelling north-west on the Matilda Highway, the small town of Kynuna is about two hours from Winton. Kynuna began as a Cobb & Co staging post. It is more famously linked to Waltzing Matilda. The Combo waterhole, where the legend of the swagman in the billabong originated, is only a few kilometres south of the town. Stop for refreshments at the Blue Heeler Hotel.
The next town along the route is McKinlay. The Walkabout Creek Hotel was featured in the original Crocodile Dundee film.
Cloncurry is a major outback town, based around grazing, copper and gold mining, transport and mining services. Founded on the 1867 discovery of copper, Cloncurry has been very influential in shaping Australia's history as the birthplace of the Royal Flying Doctor Service and the destination of the first Qantas flight. It is situated at the junction of the Overlanders Way from Townsville to Mt Isa and the Matilda Highway which heads south to Cunnamulla. Visit the Qantas hangar, the John Flynn Place Museum and Gallery, and the Cloncurry Unearthed Museum.
The Cloncurry War Memorial on the corner of Sheaffe and Scarr Streets references both WWI and WWII service personnel.
Mount Isa is another 120 kilometres west of Cloncurry. Mount Isa Mine is the world's largest producer of copper, silver, lead and zinc. It has grown from a small mining settlement of the 1920s to a major administrative, business and education centre, as well as the chief cattle trucking depot for the region. Flanked by the Selwyn Ranges, on the banks of the Leichhardt River, Mount Isa is a welcome oasis in the outback and a haven for those who love the outdoors.
Mount Isa has a range of war memorials, with its cenotaph located in George McCoy Park on the western bank of the river. 10 local men are mentioned on the plaque. WWI predates the town and these men were mostly stockmen working in the region.
Now the largest municipality in the world, the Isa, has an amazing array of things to see and do for the visitor - from the Hard Times Mine Tour, the Isa Experience Gallery, Outback Park, the Riversleigh Fossil Centre, The Kalkadoon Tribal Centre and Cultural Keeping Place, and the Art Gallery. Also worth a visit is the School of the Air, the Underground Hospital and Lake Moondarra.
|Start from:||Landsborough Highway, Blackall QLD 4472, Australia|
|End at:||98-100 Ash Street, Barcaldine QLD 4725, Australia|
|Duration:||1 hour 8 mins|
|Start from:||98-100 Ash Street, Barcaldine QLD 4725, Australia|
|End at:||82 Galah Street, Longreach QLD 4730, Australia|
|Duration:||1 hour 9 mins|
|Start from:||82 Galah Street, Longreach QLD 4730, Australia|
|End at:||65 Vindex Street, Winton QLD 4735, Australia|
|Duration:||2 hours 0 mins|
|Start from:||65 Vindex Street, Winton QLD 4735, Australia|
|End at:||55 Scarr Street, Cloncurry QLD 4824, Australia|
|Duration:||3 hours 44 mins|
|Start from:||55 Scarr Street, Cloncurry QLD 4824, Australia|
|End at:||Diamantina Developmental Road, Miles End QLD 4825, Australia|
|Duration:||1 hour 26 mins|