DAY 4. Town 8: I could only visit one “I’ve been everywhere” town today because of the increasing distances between locations. So today, I ventured from Goondiwindi to St George before finally reaching Cunnamulla.
This journey soon turned into another venture into the outback. As each kilometre from Goondiwindi passed I could feel the civilisation I am so used to gradually being replaced with red sand, gum trees and bitumen. St George was a pleasant town to pass through with Queensland hospitality being very noticeable. I would encourage anyone to walk into the Westpac branch where by the greeting you would think you were royalty or that you were their only visitor for 6 months (the latter may have been true!).
After St George I decided to stop at the very small place (I call it place as it was not big enough to be a town) of Bollon. At Bollon, after using the ‘facilities’ I proceeded to the stores to grab some lunch where I had the fortune to meet the friendly Debbie behind the counter. Debbie went on to inform me that Bollon is famous for Sheep Shearers and that her husband was the holder of a world record in this activity. Apparently there are not many sheep in Ballon with the workers travelling up to 600KM to find a sheep to fleece. Debbie’s fair was basic – meat pies and the like but this did not stop me being impressed with the friendly service and the cruet on the table made from oil cans.
Shortly after Ballon I was blown away by seeing my first ever emu in the wild along with its baby. Then, shortly after this initial siting I had a whole family cross the road in front of me. A bit later I noticed some wild goats and then had two kangaroo cross the road again before me. Amazing.
Goodniwindi to St George is 200KM and St George to Cunnamulla a further 289KM. Whilst this is a long drive it was made a bit longer because of a puncture en-route midway between St George and Cunnamulla. After passing over a cattle grid I heard a bang and a few minutes later the tyre warning light light up on the dashboard. I slowed down to check the tyres and indeed heard some hissing, but decided to go into a state of denial initially and turn the radio off just incase this was where the sound was coming from. No, I had a puncture and could then see the tyre deflate before my eyes.
I was a disappointed to have the puncture as I had just stocked up on bananas and 20 litres of water on the basis that if I were prepared for a disaster it would not happen. As it was, I guess a puncture is a minor inconvenience. I changed the tyre in the 40 degree heat before continuing on to Cunnamulla where I got the tyre fixed for a mere $25 – bargain.
So, Cunnamulla (which means “long stretch of water”) is a town with a population of around 1200. On walking down the high street it becomes apparent the town has had more prosperous times as it generally looks a bit tired. I pop into the Tourist Information to ask for my must see destination and top of the list is the bronze statute of the Cunnamulla Fella and the historic Post Office. The statue was apparently created in 2004 to personify a character from a Slim Dusty country song. The Post Office dates from 1890 and is on the site of former Cobb & Co stock yards.
I then popped into the Tourist Shop and ask for a post card and a bottle of water. Fortunately the same lady runs the small grocery shop some three doors down so we walk around to get the water. I imagine she keeps fit.
Perhaps more impressive than all of the man made features was the outback sunset. At around 7pm I headed just out of town just as the sun was setting and was rewarded with a priceless display of a red sun melting into the red sand and trees.
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