DAY 6. Town 10: Today started in Blackall and finished 393 KM later in Winton passing through Longreach and the only ‘I’ve been everywhere’ town, Morella.
I feel that I am getting the hang of outback motoring. I’ve adopted the compulsory laid back stance and have almost perfected the finger wave to oncoming drivers that is common place (when I say finger, I mean first finger – it is all quite polite and friendly). That said, to really be in the height of outback fashion, I should be driving along with elbow, or maybe an entire arm, dangling from the window, but I enjoy the comfort from the air conditioning too much for that. I’ve also got used to breaking the journey regularly, dodging the dead corpses and negotiating the road trains. Perhaps most surprising, I’m not finding the trips too monotonous although only having one radio channel broadcasting cricket did test this to the limit today.
Before departing Blackall I decided to find the statue of Jack Howe, the chap who sheared a total of 321 sheep in 7 hours and 40 minutes using just hand shears. I then continued on to Longreach where I spent the majority of the day. I have wanted to visit Longreach for some time and I am pleased to report it was worth the wait.
Now whilst there are many attractions to see in the town there were only two I wanted to check out. Firstly to settle my passion for aviation, the QANTAS Founders Museum and then, because of my farming heritage, The Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame.
Most museums in rural Australia are rather basic affairs, albeit with interesting and generally localised content. Here in Longreach these two museums are of the highest standard and would not look our of place in Canberra or any other world capital.
My interest in the early aviation pioneers was well catered for at the QANTAS Founders Museum through displays, artefacts and audiovisual material. The highlight however was the ability to thoroughly explore a couple of aircraft.
The first aircraft examined was the ex-Qantas 747-200 VH-EBQ. It is permanently located at the Museum and with some roof, wall and floor panels removed the tour gives an informative insight into some of the secrets of this magnificent aircraft. However this aircraft is not unlike some you would fly in today, so the more unique fully restored Boeing 707, VH-XBA, the very first passenger jet registered in Australia and Qantas first jet aircraft was more interesting.
The Stockman Hall of Fame is another amazing place to visit. Tributes to unsung farming heroes are all around the museum along with displays tracking the history of farming and exploration in the Australian outback.
Longreach was a bit self indulgent as it is not one of the 93 locations in the “I’ve been everywhere” song so being about 2pm, I decided to move on to Morella, some 90KM away. Morella township is small. Indeed, the only trace I could find of Morella was the Queensland Country Womans Association Morella branch shed. That’s it. I believe the district is surrounding this, but I can only assume it consists of a number of homesteads. The main picture of the top of this page is Morella.
With temperatures in the low 40’s I decided it was time to head off to the nearest town of Winston to find some accommodation from where I am now writing this.
Tomorrow I will be exploring Winston further and bring you the latest update from Boulia regarding the famous Min Min lights. Again, it is not a I’ve been everywhere town – but it is one I simply can not resist visiting. I am so excited about this one…