There is a freedom camp at the Fisherman’s Park at Surat on the Balonne River where a gold coin donation for your stay buys the local fishing club fingerlings (baby fish) for future release into the waterway. There are a lot of vans when we visit and quite a few look settled in for a long stay, I’d say that it is a popular spot with the fishermen.
It is only a short walk into town and we immersed ourselves in the history of Cobb & Co. After being founded during the Victorian gold rush and 70 years of operation throughout Victoria, NSW and Qld, Cobb & Co coaches made their final run from Surat to Yuleba in 1924. And unless you’re a caravanner I’ll bet you hadn’t heard of either of those towns before! I really wanted to learn more about coaching because Woody’s great great grandfather ran a coaching business in South Australia in the 1840’s.
Cobb & Co used to run their teams 25kms before changing the horses for fresh ones at a staging station. Hence the name Stage Coach. These staging or changing stations were usually homesteads. A team was generally made up of 5 to 7 horses. When trucks came into use one truck replaced 50 fifty horses and no doubt ruined a good little side income for the homesteads that had been providing not only stabling and grooming but meals, accommodation and comfort for dusty bone shaken passengers.