We have stopped in Barcaldine, Qld and chat to a couple who tell us that we should stay the night in ‘Barky’ as there is little to see in Blackall apart from the wool scour and that the free camp would be too wet from all the rain.
But we had been intrigued by the humorous brochure for Blackall so we turn south. Through 100kms of gidgee (or Gidyea) scrub to Blackall and what a charming little town it is. There are avenues of bottle trees and lots of green grass. We set up at the free camp on the Barcoo River and pay our $8 donation to the town. The river bank has dried out sufficiently well. We wander about town looking at the gardens and statuary. There’s even a statue to the local shearer Jack Howe who holds the record for having sheared 321 sheep in 7 hours and 40 minutes with hand shears. Now that would hurt.
We walk into the famous Barcoo Hotel and are warmly greeted by the locals. We finish the day with dinner under the stars thankful that we didn’t take the advice of the nice folks in Barky.
And the ditty that stirred us on to visit Blackall is from the Tambo Regional Council tourist brochure:
“A popular girl of Blackall
Wore a newspaper dress to a ball
Her rig-out caught fire
And burned her entire, front page,
Sporting section and all.”