Wildflowers and History #2

Gurulmundi State Forest

If there hadn’t been an information sign we would have passed by Gurulmundi without even realising it was there.

A section of disused track and a raised bank where the platform once stood are all that remain of the railway siding on the line between Miles and Wandoan. Nothing is left to show where the tennis courts and state school, which closed in 1965, were located.

The hall looked derelict, although the sign told us it’s still used for country dances.

It was fortunate that we spotted the sign and stopped to look. There may not have been much left of Gurulmundi but we did find more pretty wildflowers by the side of the road.

Wildflowers and History #1

Gurulmundi State Forest

The self drive trail through Gurulmundi State Forest was described as a wildflower tour but, according to the brochure, there were historic sites along the route as well. We added plans for a day trip through the forest to our Miles itinerary; after plentiful rainfall in spring the native flowering plants would surely be in bloom and a history lesson is always interesting.

We headed out of town on the bridge over Dogwood Creek and turned north onto the Leichhardt Highway. We passed the site of the old Dalwogan railway siding, now in the Miles Historical Village, and crossed, for the first of several times, the Dingo Barrier Fence.

The sign at the Gurulmundi turnoff pointed the way ahead.

After 30 kilometres we stopped at L Tree Creek, named after the trees marked by the explorer Ludwig Leichhardt in 1844. We couldn’t find any of Leichhardt’s trees but we did spot some bright red flowers along the creek bank – our first wildflower sighting!

Up the hill away from the creek we found more. The crimson blooms of hundreds of kalanchoe plants dotted the landscape, from the edge of the road far off into the bush.

A little further on crimson was replaced by gold. Spiky shrubs, their branches crowned with clusters of tiny yellow flowers, flourished in the stony soil on both sides of the road.

We hadn’t yet entered the state forest and already we’d found some beauties and our first historic site. With 13,000 hectares of forest still to explore we were confident there would be more.

31 ln the Bush

I’m joining Becky in her October Square Photo Challenge over at The Life of B. The rules of the challenge are simple: most photos must be square and fit the theme word Past. Look for #PastSquares. This month we’re travelling back in time in the western Queensland town of Miles and surrounds. We’ll explore the local area and join in the festivities at the Miles Back to the Bush Festival.

Gurulmundi State Forest

We’re back where we started, joining the explorer Ludwig Leichhardt on his expedition in 1844.

L-Tree Creek is named for the markings left on some of the trees by the expedition party when they camped here. We looked for marked trees without success. We didn’t put in too much effort – it was a hot day and we didn’t want to walk through the bush and risk coming across a snake.

The explorer’s life is not for me!

30 Keep Out

I’m joining Becky in her October Square Photo Challenge over at The Life of B. The rules of the challenge are simple: most photos must be square and fit the theme word Past. Look for #PastSquares. This month we’re travelling back in time in the western Queensland town of Miles and surrounds. We’ll explore the local area and join in the festivities at the Miles Back to the Bush Festival.

Gurulmundi State Forest

The Dingo Fence is 5,614 kilometres long and is one of the longest man-made structures in the world. It starts at Jimbour on Queensland’s Darling Downs and ends on the cliffs of the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia. The fence was built in the 1880s with the aim of protecting farm stock by keeping dingoes out of the south-east part of the country.

The Queensland section of the fence is 2,500 kilometres long and is maintained by a team of 23 who regularly check for damage or deterioration. This part of the fence runs through Gurulmundi State Forest, north of Miles.

29 Discarded

I’m joining Becky in her October Square Photo Challenge over at The Life of B. The rules of the challenge are simple: most photos must be square and fit the theme word Past. Look for #PastSquares. This month we’re travelling back in time in the western Queensland town of Miles and surrounds. We’ll explore the local area and join in the festivities at the Miles Back to the Bush Festival.

Columboola

An old homestead, long ago left empty, still stands on a grazing property near Columboola. Once a wide veranda with a bullnose roof would have shaded the front of the house.

28 Hear The Bells

I’m joining Becky in her October Square Photo Challenge over at The Life of B. The rules of the challenge are simple: most photos must be square and fit the theme word Past. Look for #PastSquares. This month we’re travelling back in time in the western Queensland town of Miles and surrounds. We’ll explore the local area and join in the festivities at the Miles Back to the Bush Festival.

Condamine

In 1867 a Condamine blacksmith, Samuel William Jones, created a new version of a cow bell suitable for the conditions of outback Queensland. Made from pit saw blades, the bell had a unique sound which carried up to 11 kilometres. Stockmen droving cattle or teamsters with bullock teams could easily locate beasts set free to graze in the bush overnight.

An oversized replica bell in the park in Condamine honours Samuel William Jones.

Two more plaques tell the history of this small western town.

A collection of original Condamine bells is displayed at Dogwood Crossing@Miles.

27 In Flood

I’m joining Becky in her October Square Photo Challenge over at The Life of B. The rules of the challenge are simple: most photos must be square and fit the theme word Past. Look for #PastSquares. This month we’re travelling back in time in the western Queensland town of Miles and surrounds. We’ll explore the local area and join in the festivities at the Miles Back to the Bush Festival.

Condamine River

Most of the time the Condamine River looks serene. It flows for 500 kilometres from the Border Ranges in south east Queensland through fertile farmland and dense bush to the northern Darling Downs before joining the Darling River. The river is a vital link in the massive Murray-Darling Basin, which covers one million square kilometres of eastern Australia.

The western Queensland town of Condamine is one of many through which the river passes on its long journey. The height of the bridge over the river on the road into town gives an indication of what happens when it rains.

A flood marker in a park beside the river indicates the highest water levels during the worst floods on record.

A nearby memorial pays tribute to those who have served their community during disastrous floods, and also to those who have been lost to the river.

26 Up High and On the Ground

I’m joining Becky in her October Square Photo Challenge over at The Life of B. The rules of the challenge are simple: most photos must be square and fit the theme word Past. Look for #PastSquares. This month we’re travelling back in time in the western Queensland town of Miles and surrounds. We’ll explore the local area and join in the festivities at the Miles Back to the Bush Festival.

Miles Airport

Three vintage aircraft commandeer the skies above Miles Historical Village during the Back to the Bush Festival.

Later we visit Miles Airport to see the planes up close on the tarmac.

L to R: Texan Harvard SNJ Trainer, CA-16 Wirraway, T-28 Trojan

There are no shortage of keen passengers ready to go on a joy flight.

25 From Ancient Egypt to Miles

I’m joining Becky in her October Square Photo Challenge over at The Life of B. The rules of the challenge are simple: most photos must be square and fit the theme word Past. Look for #PastSquares. This month we’re travelling back in time in the western Queensland town of Miles and surrounds. We’ll explore the local area and join in the festivities at the Miles Back to the Bush Festival.

Back to the Bush Festival 2021

This method of turning wood, invented by the Egyptians, was used from ancient times up until the advent of electricity.

The operator works the machine with a foot treadle

which pulls down the overhead lever,

turning the timber on the lathe. The wood turner carves the timber using a hand held chisel. Ingenious!

24 Blowing Off Steam

I’m joining Becky in her October Square Photo Challenge over at The Life of B. The rules of the challenge are simple: most photos must be square and fit the theme word Past. Look for #PastSquares. This month we’re travelling back in time in the western Queensland town of Miles and surrounds. We’ll explore the local area and join in the festivities at the Miles Back to the Bush Festival.

Back to the Bush Festival 2021

Out on the arena, this vintage tractor chugged around in circles all day. Driven by steam, the tractor towed a couple of flatbed wagons and a very rusty water tank.