Blackall and the Woolscour

August 1, 2017

If you are venturing up through the heart of Queensland, then you may find yourself passing through Blackall.

Blackall Black Stump

Blackall Black Stump

With a population of 3,000, this quiet country town is nestled on the banks of the Barcoo River with trees down the centre of the main street, lots of old-style pubs and a lazy air that’s quite contagious. Check out what vehicles are available if you are still looking at your options for this trip.

Blackall is popular for its birdlife and for a chance to spot Pale Headed Rosellas, Wedge Tail Eagles or Yellow Rumped Thornbills, take a stroll along the shady walking path beside the Barcoo River starting at the striking sculpture ‘The Eagle and Nest’, made from railway dog spikes and timber from the old bridge.  The Visitor Centre (145a Shamrock Street) has a brochure of all the local birds, if this interests you.

Blackall is in proud possession of a rather unlikely attraction…. The Black Stump. Don’t worry, there’s a story! The Australian colloquialism, ‘Beyond the Black Stump’ refers to a metaphoric point beyond which everything is remote and uncivilised. This saying, combined with the fact that the stump was used for surveying purposes (as a make-shift stand for the surveyors’ theodolites) when Qld was being mapped in 1887, gained the stump local notoriety as being validation that everything to the west of Blackall was officially ‘Beyond the Black Stump’.

You can find the Black Stump behind the Blackall State School (once the site of the original Astro Station used for surveying purposes and was established back in 1887) on Thistle Street.

Strangely enough, this town has not one, but two famous stumps to check out!

There’s also the fossilised tree stump, located on the main street running through Blackall (Landsborough Highway) off Short Street.  It’s a Conifer, believed to be 1,000,000 years old! The wood has been preserved by opalisation and silification and is either of the Mesozoic Period or the Tertiary Period.

Sheep at Blackall WoolscourIf all this timber has tired you out, you may like to drop into the Blackall Aquatic Centre (two blocks from camp) to rest, relax and revive in the hot artesian spa with its therapeutic qualities and relaxed quiet outdoor surroundings.  There is also a 50m Olympic size pool set in beach style surrounds. Cost $2 for campers and closes at 17:00.

Also, while you are in Blackall, you may like to check out the Woolscour, a historic wool washing plant and Australia’s last operational steam driven wool washing plant.  This process, which had once been done by hand, involves putting the greasy wool through a special scouring solution, drying the cleaned wool, then pressing it into bales.  It was a laborious, back-breaking process, so when the wool scour was built in 1906, it was considered a miracle of modern technology!  The Woolscour was made possible by the adjacent artesian free-flowing bore providing an inexhaustible supply of hot water, which you’ll get to see in action.  The Blackall Woolscour operated until 1978 and inspires some serious respect for the pioneers behind this remarkable engineering feat!

Blackall Woolscour

Blackall Woolscour

They also do bush dinners on selected nights during the week – check out their website for more information. Judging from the smells coming from the kitchen, you would want to plan your campervan visit to Blackall to include this!

Blackall has a fabulous caravan park where they often do a camp oven roast for the guests with entertainment which always creates a fun night.  For those preferring to freedom camp, there is a nice spot at Douglas Ponds Creek, which is 23 km N of Blackall.  Enjoy a relaxing campfire with some of the other travellers and if you’re lucky, be treated to a stunning outback sunrise in the morning.

If you are planning your trip and would like to find out more information on vehicle hire and great rates, get in touch with us now, we’d love to hear from you.

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