CELEBRATING DROVERS AND QANTAS
Trip Start Oct 05, 2009
325Trip End Oct 31, 2013
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Where I stayed
free camp on Thompson river
JOURNEY: Ilfracombe to Longreach 28 kms
WEATHER: Hot and sunny
Another iconic destination for Kath!! Just had to visit the Stockman's Hall of Fame.
After an inspection of the Longreach Caravan Park, which was nothing special for $25 pn we checked the free camp just 4 kms out of town and decided to camp there after our day in town.
It was a very hot day and our first stop was the information centre where the lovely Donna gave us a full run down on the town and its attractions.
Population is about 3,000 and the industries are sheep, cattle and tourism, with tourism increasing with the establishment of the Hall of Fame and the Qantas Museum. The main street has fairly robust shopping with an obligatory RM Williams store.
The Kinnon and Co had a big range of tours including one on a Cobb & Co horse and buggy around town, some paddle steamer trips on the Thompson River and a station store and Bush Cafe. We watched the Cobb & Co saddle up but felt disinclined to take any tours.
Longreach was settled in 1892 when the railroad reached the town and the name "long reach" came from the long-reach or waterhole on the Thompson River where the drovers would rest and water theuir cattle before heading further out. The areas abundant grasslands fed millions of sheep whose wool made a lot of farmers rich in the early years of the 20th century.
The Stockman's Hall of Fame is a tribute to the area's pioneering history- to the drovers, aborigines, explorers and settlers. We judged it a little predictable but spent 3 hours there regardless.
Our preference was for the Qantas Founders Museum built around the 1922 Qantas original hanger- Longreach became the centre of Qantas beginnings in 1921 and the museum tells the story of those early aviation days with an interesting array of film, original photographs and artifacts.
Strange to see the big 747 jet parked just off the highway, now decommissioned and donated by Qantas to the museum; you can also view Australia's first international jetliner, the 707.
These two places filled our day and it was 5.30pm when we reached the Thompson River free camp and easily found ourselves a place to camp; our friendly neighbours were from Ardrosan on the SA Yorke Peninsula.
It was a quiet and uneventful night but Sheila awoke early morning with toothache so Kath swung into action searching for a dentist- there is one and a Skype call to the surgery got us an appointment after a cancellation so we left the van at camp and trekked the 4kms to town- a bit silly really as it was hot already at 9am and we underestimated the time the walk would take.
But all ended well and Sheila is taking antibiotics for what seems to be a re-infection of a toothe treated in Adelaide.
We wandered around town after a tasty BLT sandwich at "Drawn In Cafe" but missed the gallery, closed today and the Powerhouse Museum, open 11am to 1pm! So we settled into the cool airconditioned library to await the late afternoon shade to walk the 4kms back to the camp.
Fortunately the temperature dropped as the sun set and the almost full moon made a lovely impact on the evening sky.
Boiled eggs and a delicious salad finished the day and again it was a quiet restful night.