It’s a long way to the top, Day 74 – Getting excited about wool scouring

Day 74 Monday Aug 18th 2014 Blackall to Charleville

Mist rises off the Barcoo in the early morning and I can barely contain my excitement about being here.

Birds paddle about the mist on the waterholes of the Barcoo.

A visit to the Blackall Wool Scour which is Australia’s last steam driven wool scour proves to be both educational and entertaining. Fat fluffy sheep and goats roam the lawns in the sun. Our elderly guide is a most laconic, laid back woman with two Jack Russell terriers in tow she shuffles about spouting facts and figures with not a shred of emotion. “That’s the boiler there of course it’s got ‘oles in it.” Part way through the tour her mobile phone rings, she returns from answering it. “People ring at unconvenient (sic) times, sometimes it’s important, sometimes it’s not, that was important, they would grade the wool and put it over there …” “That’s the office there, of course it wasn’t always there, it (the office) used to be where the kangaroo factory is.” Assisting our guide is Bob who runs the steam engine. Bob is also a man of few words and little emotion. The wool scour is awfully interesting and when Bob fires up the engine pulleys and belts are moving about all over the shed. The large tin shed still smells of wool and outside the empty sheep yards attest to what once went on here. We later realize that quiet old Bob was part of the lobby group that went to Canberra to obtain the funding for the town to restore the building.

Off we go once more on our way through grasslands and gidgee scrub to Tambo where we stop for a quick sambo, by the park. The further south we go the larger the trees are. Prickly pears are appearing. We intend to stop at Augathella (the town where they made the movie Smiley back in the fifties) but at $30 for a very ordinary park we make a quick decision and push on to Charleville.

The traffic is quiet and the road surface is good. Thankfully, there are no ‘roos about and we roll into the Bailey Bar caravan park around 5:00pm.

Travelling Kms: 303Kms

2021 Note: The Blackall Wool Scour is still up there as one of the best tours that we’ve done.

The prickly pear is a cactus. Roos, well we normally don’t travel in the late afternoon as this is kangaroo feeding time and the last thing you need is a kangaroo embedded in your front end.

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