Works of Art

When you traverse the roads less travelled there is so much more to see.

Over the last four blog posts I have showed you the landscape and incredible beauty of outback New South Wales & Queensland. Today’s post is the last one about our travels and it is dedicated to the colourful and creativeness of the residents of these areas. Without their “out of box” thinking none of these artworks would have got off the ground. I love that rural towns find their identity and bring it too life through sculptures and murals, some on a very grand scale.

This is Stanley, an emu designed by John Murray who welcomes drivers into Lightning Ridge, NSW. He stands 18m (60ft) tall and his body is made from a VW Beetle.

The Knot-a-saurus is found in the remote town of Eromanga, QLD. It was commissioned to be part of the 2014 G20 Summit in Queensland and then gifted to Eromanga Natural History Museum.

Maybe you need to see it from this angle to get the full understanding and scale of this sculpture.

Dinosaurs I hear you thinking? Yep!

This was an amazing place to visit. Significant paleontological discoveries of Australia’s largest dinosaur “Cooper” a Titanosaur, were made on a property not far from Eromanga. Cooper is estimated to be over 95 million years old. The work that these people are doing is unbelievable, chipping away millions of years of dirt to reveal dinosaur bones, one millimetre at a time. The process is painstaking and extremely time consuming, but fascinating to see and well worth a visit.

The very quirky Corrugated Iron Church is in Lightning Ridge, NSW, an opal mining town. This church was built in 2000 for the movie “Goddess of 1967” and was subsequently purchased privately for it to remain in the town. 

Utes in the Paddock is an ongoing art installation on a dirt backroad near Ootha, NSW, made up of sculptures and works of art involving Holden Utes. At the moment there are about 20 decorated utes. Artists are varied, but all have the charm & quirkiness of Aussie humour. Here is just three:

Emute by Peter Browne.
“Like kangaroos & echidnas, the presence of emus is a sure sign you’re in the bush. Comical looking creatures, their balding heads with oversized eyes, top necks that seem to stretch too far above bulbous bodies…”

TribeUte by Lewis Burns.
“The traditional symbols used in Aboriginal art across the country tell stories of the land and tribes, and depict our culture and our being…”

Clancy Stops the Overflow by Peter Mortimore.
“Our most celebrated stockman comes to the rescue again this time preventing a disastrous waste of valuable Bundy…”

The newly completed painted water tower in Coonamble, NSW. A huge 26m (85ft) high mural by John Murray, Bob Barrett and Sooty Walsh finished July 2017. It really stops you in your tracks as you are driving through Coonamble with its colourful beauty.

And last, but certainly not least the Weethalle Silo Art Project. This was only finished a couple of weeks before we arrived. This breathtaking mural was painted by Mongolian-born muralist Heesco Khosnaran and measures 31m x 21m (100ft x 70ft). It is spectacular! The detail in such a huge mural is incredible.

The idea of decorating silos, which store grain, with artwork is likely to continue across rural Australia after successful projects in both South Australian & Victoria through The Silo Art Trail. These huge murals are drawing tourists to small rural towns that are otherwise doing it tough. The flow on effect of tourists to those communities is huge.

And so ends our journey. I really hope you have enjoyed your look around some of outback Australia and it inspires you to take the road less travelled when you are planning your next holiday... in whichever country you are.


Beautiful Scenery

In Queensland’s Central Highlands is Carnarvon Gorge,
a spectacular oasis in a semi-arid region.

The 35-kilometre gorge was created by water erosion through the soft sandstone over millions of years.

 Spectacular walking tracks that took your breath away...

 ... as did the 11.5km we hiked.

And the locals are really friendly.


Station Life

Like most farmers we love visiting other farms, particularly those that are so different to our everyday.  So whilst we were in central Queensland Shandonvale Station gave us the opportunity to experience a taste of outback station life.

And what a unique experience it was.

Spending the night in the beautifully restored 100 year old shearers quarters was unforgettable.

The 15,000 acre station is remote.

At the moment the station has 3,000 dorper sheep and use donkeys to protect them from wild dogs.

Lambing in a drought can be tough. They were bottle rearing 28 lambs when we were there. This little guy we picked up when out checking the water troughs.

Camels are used as a natural way to combat Prickly Acacia, a weed that was taking over.

Being remote the owners need to be as self-sufficient as possible. Duck is sometimes on the menu.

A beautiful reprieve from the somewhat harsh environment.

And time to sit back and enjoy. What’s not to love!


Jump-ups & Lookouts

Jump-ups (small hills) randomly dot the landscape in outback Queensland.
(Hoover mouse over each photo for location)

Fittingly named. 

From the top, the town of Quilpie off in the distance.

Jump-ups are a feature of the Channel Country & Mitchell Grass Downs.

Swanvale jump-up was extra large.

A mountain range, part of the Great Dividing Range.

Sometimes we had company,

most times we had the lookouts all to ourselves

to watch the sunset across the flat landscape.


Outback Roads

So what do a couple of farmers who are long overdue for a holiday do for some time away?

Contrary to logical thinking of putting ones feet up at the beach and taking it easy, we drove 5400kms (3355miles) through western New South Wales and outback Queensland… just to have a bit of a look around.

Over the next few days I’ll give you a taste of what we saw.

Today it is all about the roads we travelled.
We were actually surprised as to how good the roads were.

You have to watch out for road trains & caravans

planes coming in to land

emus, kangaroos, pigs, camels, goats, sheep, cattle….

or nothing at all.

The ride can be smooth…

or sometimes a bit bumpy…

but always beautiful.