tortoise logo

Blackall, Qld

S 24°15'32" E 146°13'29

Mon 28 Aug - Tue 29 Aug 2000

[Previous] [Next] [Top of Page] [Bottom of Page] [Index] [Home]
Monday 28th

On the way to Blackall we crossed the legendary Barcoo River previously known to us only through Lawson poetry and flood reports. It is just a trickle at the moment but the road abounds with floodway signs. Obviously it is an all or nothing river.

The caravan park has a camp oven dinner each night so we joined in with a dozen or so others including some we had met before. It was pretty good with damper with golden syrup and billy tea for afters.

Tuesday 29th

In the morning we did the laundry.

After lunch we went out to the Old Wool Scour which is being restored at considerable expense. It was built in 1907 to process all the wool grown in the district from greasy wool straight off the sheep to clean wool ready for carding and spinning. It was closed down in 1978 when the new safety regulations would have required all the exposed machinery to be guarded.

The preservation of this piece of the Australian past is heartening. The machinery was all imported from England and brought from Brisbane port by bullock dray, about 1000 km (600 miles) and its use and maintenance in this place for 70 years is a testament to the skill and ingenuity of the Australian country people of those generations.

There is only one working wool scour left in Queensland (in Warwick) and there is no wool trade through Brisbane any more. All the sheep farmers in this part of the world have to truck their wool clip to Warwick or to one of the NSW scouring plants before sending it on to Sydney for sale. This in a country which, in my youth, lived off the sheep's back.

The town water in Blackall is bore water from the deep aquifer of the Great Artesian Basin about 1000 m (3500 ft) down It come out of the bores at 58°C (135 ° F) and was used without further treatment to wash the wool. People who live here don't need hot water systems because the water from the tap is hot water but they do need cooling tanks for their cold water supply.

Fish 'n' chips for tea. I assumed that the fish would at least be from Queensland but the fisho assured me that they come from South Africa. Oh the scope and scale of globalisation. While the local transport industry complains bitterly about the price of fuel, now around $1/litre ($A4.00 or $$US2.40/USgal), world trade seems immune from any transport costs. My boss at AWA used to say that, while every other manufacturing industry in Australia was subject to international competition, nobody would ever be able to afford to import beer, bottles or bricks into the country. How wrong he was.

[Previous] [Next] [Top of Page] [Index] [Home]
Contact the webmaster
Created by Robin Chalmers on 28.08.2000 and last revised 30.08.2000