There is a lot to do in Longreach so make sure you allow plenty of time to fit it all in!
Our first stop was the QANTAS Founders Museum which celebrates our national airline’s humble beginnings. This was one of the main things we wanted to visit whilst in Longreach. I can tell you it was worth every kilometre we travelled to get here. The tour of the Boeing 747 and walking out on the wing was just spectacular. Not to mention all the information contained in the museum itself. I personally think that this place should be on everyone’s bucket list! The kids and Brenden really enjoyed taking in all the information on the planes and the extraordinary history of QANTAS.
There is so much to see and learn about at the QANTAS Founders Museum that you can actually return another day with your ticket which is what the Brenden and the kids did whilst I spent some extra time at the Stockmans Hall of Fame.
STOCKMANS HALL OF FAME
For me the highlight of our time in Longreach was finally getting to visit the Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame and Outback Heritage Centre. As I grew up on a farm I have always had an interest in all things to do with rural Australia and the Hall of Fame certainly didn’t disappoint.
Opened in 1988 it was the vision of Hugh Sawrey and other outback icons like R.M Williams. It is an imposing building and as you drive in the middle of the driveway is dominated by a large bronze statue, ‘The Ringer’. A fitting tribute to the stockmen of outback Australia.
Once inside the Hallof Fame the first section of the museum is dedicated to our early explorers and early settlers. As you move through the displays you are given a glimpse back into the pioneering days of the Australian Cattle and Sheep industries. From the replica slab hut to wool-presses, saddles, drays, and stories of the characters that shaped the outback it is an impressive display which you cannot help but admire.
I was particularly moved by the many pictures and stories of our ‘Unsung Heroes’ a special tribute to the ordinary working men and women of the Australian outback. I particularly loved the following poem:-
TO DICK STIRLING
When the tales, they are all written
And the stories told of old
Gathered from campfires of mem’ry
Ere the embers have grown cold
When vagrant winds of ‘bygone’
Waft lost hoofbeats down the years
Let him just but live in memory
He needs, but not, the tears.
When the mustering days shall live again
From Gulf to sunset’s glow
From lands north-west of Murrinji
To high peaks white with snow
Proud amongst the men who rode there
Forever scrolled his name
That time and men forgot him not
In the ‘Stockmens Hall of Fame’
E JAMES FITZGERALD ©
In the evening we went for a sunset cruise on the Thomson River which was then followed by dinner and entertainment. Run by local tourist organisation Kinnon and Co I would have to say that it was one of the best evenings I have ever had. The scenery on the cruise was magnificent as were the colours of the sunset.
We were returned to the river bank just on dark and just in time for dinner. Dinner consisted of a delicious beef stew (not possum as they laughingly suggested), apple pie and custard, followed by damper and billy tea. We were then entertained by Scotty The Barefoot Poet who recited several poems during the course of the evening. Some were funny but many were very moving and all epitomised the strength and spirit of our early pioneers of the land.
I would highly recommend this tour to anyone who is visiting Longreach. In addition to the Sunset Cruise Kinnon and Co offer a number of other outback experiences. These include a Stagecoach Tour, station experience and accommodation and don’t forget to drop into the Station Store for some authentic outback shopping.