After a great few days exploring Roma, Charleville and Blackall we headed to Longreach. Longreach is located in Central Queensland and is well over a 1000 kilometre drive from Brisbane. But it is just over a 200 kilometre drive from Blackall, so easy to do in one day.
We broke up our journey with a short stop over in Barcaldine. Barcaldine is home to the Tree of Knowledge Memorial. The Tree of Knowledge is the historical site of the 1891 Shearers Strike. The original tree was poisoned in 2006. In it’s place, this unique memorial was built, utilising some of the original tree branches. It is like a giant wind chime made of wood and was fascinating to stand underneath it.
Longreach is not a large town by any stretch of the imagination. But when it comes to things to see and do, it has a lot to offer.
Number one on everyone’s list should be 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 Museum that one day might not be enough to see it all.
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 including R.M Williams. It is an imposing building and the entrance is dominated by a large bronze statue. Titled ‘The Ringer’ it is a fitting tribute to the stock men of outback Australia.
Once inside the Hall of 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’. Beautiful tributes to the ordinary working men and women of the Australian outback.
THOMSON RIVER SUNSET CRUISE
One of the best things to do when in Longreach is one of the many experiences offered by local tourist business Outback Pioneers. Founded in 2006 by the Kinnon family, they have grown to be one of outback Queensland’s biggest attractions.
We chose to do an evening Thomson River Cruise, which was followed by an outback dinner and poetry. It was so peaceful cruising down the river and watching the spectacular 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. After dinner we were treated to apple pie and custard, followed by damper and billy tea.
The highlight of the evening though, was definitely Scotty The Barefoot Poet. Scotty 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. His ability to recite so many poems from memory and with such feeling was incredible.
I would highly recommend this evening to anyone who is visiting Longreach. It was a very worthwhile experience that we all enjoyed.
WHERE TO STAY
There are only two caravan parks in Longreach. We stayed at the Longreach Tourist Park which is the larger of the two parks. It has cabins, powered and un-powered sites and some ensuite sites, as well as two swimming pools, three amenities blocks and an on-site restaurant.
We loved our time in Longreach and it is definitely somewhere that we will return to in the future.