Birdsville is a town that needs little introduction and its appearance on the horizon signified that our journey along the Birdsville Track was coming to an end.
There is much to see and experience in this small outback town, and of course we gravitated to its epicentre, the pub after setting up camp.
After bidding farewell to Mungerannie we continued along the dusty road towards Clifton Hills Station, and Pandie Pandie. Not too far south of Birsdville we crossed the border into Queensland and made our way to the caravan park on the banks of the Diamantina River.
Until 1882, Birdsville was known as Diamantina Crossing and was set up to collect tariffs on goods passing between South Australia and Queensland. A man by the name of Burt opened a store and it was given the name Burtsville, which was subsequently changed to Birdsville.
Of course the town is most famous for its annual race day and the running of the Birdsville Cup in the first week of September, a race that was first run in 1882!
Click here to see where Baz, “The Landy” is today…
Photo: Baz, The Landy
The Birdsville Pub is synonymous with the Australian Outback and has been the watering hole for many a weary traveller, both in days gone by and still today.
And over many years of outback travel we have often gone out of our way to quench our thirst in the front bar of the hotel.
A bar where you can hear the different accents of the many foreign tourists who come to wonder at the splendour of Australia’s Outback mixed amongst the laughter and our unique Aussie Drawl.
TomO is very accustomed to the Birdsville Pub.
Oh, but don’t worry, he is yet to quench his thirst with a beer, perhaps that will come in time, but he has made many friends over the years in the front bar. Plotting adventures with a local boy, playing snooker with the many visiting pilots, and even fallen in love with the policeman’s daughter, at the tender age of three!
And he tells me he is looking forward to this visit…
What do you think he will find this time?
Photo: Baz, The Landy
Whilst it may seem I have disappeared from the face of the earth, rest assure, I am alive and kicking, still larger than life, head-down and exercising…
And I have been preparing the troops, and yes, that would be Janet and TomO, for an upcoming adventure into the Australian Outback.
In about one week’s time we will be pointing ourselves westward towards the Flinders Ranges and the Birdsville Track.
In fact, this will be a sentimental journey, of sorts, for us as Brian, my father, longed to take a trip along the “Track” in the footsteps of Tom Kruse, The Outback Mailman.
Many may recall that Brian passed away last year and so as a tribute to him we are making the journey accompanied by my mother, Fay, the love of Dad’s life for near on 60 years! But he’ll be with us….for sure!
Our trip along the Birdsville Track will take us in the footsteps of the famous Australian Outback Mailman, Tom Kruse.
Tom delivered mail to the many cattle stations along the track in a “Blitz Truck” arriving at Birdsville, in far Western Queensland, before loading up for the return trip to Marree. His story is one of human endurance, courage, and perseverance. Despite facing considerable challenges each and every day out on the Track, Tom got the mail through, a lifeline to those who lived and worked in the area…
Before arriving in Birdsville, we will pass through one our most well-known outback towns, Broken Hill, and visit Wilpena Pound in the Flinders Ranges.
Wilpena Pound is an ancient landscape over 800 million years old, a mountain range rising out of the landscape that has the appearance of being an old volcano. It is also home to the Adnyamathanha people.
After a couple of days resting in Birdsville following our trip up the “Track” we will head towards Innamincka, a small locality that is infamous for being the end of the ill-fated Burke and Wills Exploration.
Passing back down into New South Wales though Wari Gate, we will overnight in Tibooburra and visit the family hotel where the famous Australian artist Clifton Pugh, who once painted a mural on the hotel walls. In fact, he even owned it at one time.
A favourite place we like to visit is Trilby Station. Trilby is a working sheep and cattle property on the banks of the famous inland river, the Darling River, and as usual, we will camp by the Billabong. And whilst in the area we will take the time to revisit Toorale National Park to further our knowledge of Australia’s first people.
And as we make our way back to Sydney via Narromine, Orange, and Bathurst I’m sure there will be plenty of stories to recount from our couple of weeks “Out and About with – The Landy”.
As we tour I will put up some photographs of the Australian Outback, perhaps just to whet your appetite for a visit, Downunder!
So keep you eye out for those…
Photos: Baz, The Landy
Hey Baz…what’s with this “Baz, The Landy” thing?
Didn’t your parents like you or something?
It is a question I field every so often…
And yes my parents do like me and in fact my mother, Fay, was only saying the other day…
“Be careful out there Baz, you know I worry”.
Mind you she said that as I was heading to work!
Heaven forbid, if she knew what I got up to when I’m not at work…
But what’s in a name I hear you ask…
Go and grab a cuppa and make yourself comfy on the sofa…
…Crikey, that was quick, you still drinking that instant stuff?
Anyway, you see Australia is a diverse country, the driest continent on the planet in fact, but despite this the colour of the outback is spectacular. An endless blue sky kissing the dry, cracked, red earth of the outback in the far off distance…
From the Channel Country, a vast expanse of the Queensland Outback, an area that has spawned more yarns and tall stories than a Friday night at the pub.
A place where the country unfolds to the horizon, featureless apart from the Mitchell Grass that stretches as far as the eye can see, swaying in a light afternoon breeze, mesmerising the senses as you squint to see through the heat haze.
To the deserts of the central region, the Simpson Desert, where the sand dunes cut their way across the salt pans, never ending until you reach a famous oasis on the desert’s fringe, Birdsville and the Birdsville Pub.
And what about up north, strewth, it has got to be some of the best country in the world, a place we call the Gulf Savannah, a place that is thick with red bull dust until the summer monsoon floods the land, quenching the parched earth, breathing life into the flora and fauna that inhabits the region.
Did I ever tell you about Lawn Hill Gorge?
If you never visit anywhere else in our neck of the woods then be sure you make your way up there. We visit as often as we can, there is something refreshing about being up in The Gulf, a place that rejuvenates your soul.
Take a refreshing swim in the spring-fed gorge and don’t worry about the freshies. You know, the fresh water crocodiles, they’re mostly harmless, not like their saltwater cousins, you’ll be right if you leave ‘em alone.
And its worth knowing that just to the south of the gorge is the World Heritage listed Fossil Mammal site, Riversleigh. It is one of the most significant fossil mammal deposits in the world and the richest known in Australia.
I must say, there were a few old fossils running around the gorge last time I was up there, and TomO, the cheeky little fella, reckons one of them was his Dad…
Anyway, I was telling you about how I got the name “Baz, The Landy”.
Well you see, travelling around this great country of ours is all good and well, but to get into some of these remote areas you need a vehicle that can take the pounding that the corrugations on the outback roads can dish out.
If you can call them roads, sometimes there isn’t one.
A vehicle capable of taking all the gear and toys you need to play in the outback.
Our choice of vehicle is the trusty Landrover Defender. They get called many things, a ‘Fender, the truck, some will even say a box of trouble on wheels.
In fact we’ve got two of them and they go by the names of “The Landy” and “Red Rover”...
We designed “The Landy” with long-range remote area travel in mind when we rebuilt it in 2006. It was a stock standard Landrover Defender 130 until we set to work on it.
Equipped with long-range fuel tanks it can travel up to 1,800 kilometres without being refuelled. That’s a long way I hear you say, but mate, let me tell you, the outback is a long way from nowhere.
It carries an inflatable boat and outboard motor for travelling on our inland waterways, and it even has a long-range radio that could put you in contact with someone on the other side of Australia, if you wanted to…
Hey, check out the roof, its got a roof top tent that we can take, if we don’t want to tow our T-Van camper trailer.
I always promised Janet a penthouse to live in…
And it’s even got a fridge to
keep Janet’s wine cool store perishables.
I could rave on about it for ages, but I think you’ve got the picture by now and it has served us extremely well and will continue to do so whenever we venture west of the Black Stump.
“Red Rover” is my stock standard Defender 110 that I rebuilt a few years back and serves as my commute vehicle. It looks splendid in fire engine red and I proudly park it at work, down amongst all the Mercs and Beamers in the car park.
Yep, it makes the trip across the Sydney Harbour Bridge each day and I even gave it a bit of a wrap in my blog some time back, Red Rover – Tale of a Landy Make-over.
But don’t go thinking it is some show pony, far from it, it gets Out and About frequently, and I can’t keep Janet out of it…
Wasn’t I telling you about how the name “Baz, The Landy” came about?
Well, every four-wheel drive vehicle I’ve ever owned has been a Landrover Defender, so it seems inevitable that someone was going to end up calling me Baz, The Landy.
Besides, how would it be if I was called “Baz – The Red Rover” – strewth, you might go thinking I was out of some kids fairy tale book, or worse…
But getting back to our island continent, Australia, it isn’t hard to ramble on a bit about how fantastic this country is, you know, the one hidden in the summer for a million years, so why don’t I just leave you with this video that our tourism gurus’ put together to the music of one of our greatest musicians, Iva Davies and Icehouse…
And hey, if you’re ever out here visiting make sure you give “The Landy” a wave if you see it go past, we’re a friendly bunch and I’ll even stop and have a yarn with ya!