Winton to Jolly Swagman Billabong
01.08.2012 - 02.08.2012 25 °C
We fuelled up and departed Winton at about 9.00 am and reached some lovely looking hills and a rest area near Amelia Downs Station.
Not long up the road we saw a paddock full of sheep – there must have been well over a thousand of them but they ran away when we pulled up to take a photo. This was pretty close to Bendemeer Station.
We drove on till just 16 km short of Kynuna and turned down a dirt track for 8 km to Combo Waterhole Conservation Park. There were some cattle on the way which were quite happy to just stand on the track and not move for us.
When we reached the parking area we had lunch then did the 2.6 km walk through the scrub and Mitchell Grass to the Billabong where the Swagman of Waltzing Matilda fame drowned while trying to escape being caught by Police after being suspected of stealing sheep.
I found a freshwater mussel and Pommy Bob held it for a photo before returning it to the water so that it could breed up a new batch.
The English gentleman travelling with us came across some footprints in the track which he suggested were Dinosaur prints. We think we were able to convince him that they might have been kangaroo prints.
Hiroe offered the ghost of the swagman food and drink while we were out there but he didn’t appear to take it. We were all disappointed.
We returned to the highway and back for 1.5 km to a rest area for the night.
We had a noisy night last night – many trucks coming and going and 2 even parked very close to us. When we got up and I went outside the van I noticed that one of Hiroes thongs was missing – Some animal must have carried it away during the night.
After a long discussion on where we would go and where we would stay for the next 5-6 days we drove into Kynuna to have a look at the Blue Heeler Pub. We couldn’t go in even though it was after 10.00 am and the sign at the door said that “Opening hours at the discretion of the Publican”.
We continued on towards McKinlay having lunch there. We parked in front of the Walkabout Hotel at McKinlay and we took a stroll right through the town. It has a population of 20 which includes 2 children who are the offspring of the Librarian. They attend Cloncurry School some 90 kms away.
There are some quite old buildings here, most of them uninhabited. There is even a small lockup at the back of the Police Station.
The town is named after the explorer, John McKinlay who was sent out to try to find the missing explorers, Burke and Wills who it was found had perished near the Cooper Creek.
There is a sign as leaving McKinlay which says “Uneven Surface, Reduce Speed Next 27 km” – What do they think we have been on since leaving Roma some 1021 km. This must be the worst road in Australia. Queensland road builders must go to a special school to learn how to make them so bumpy.
We have camped for the night just 60 km SE of Cloncurry in a huge rest area.