The Goondiwindi Grey

Round Australia Road Trip #30

On the last day of our road trip we have to travel a mere 348 km to reach home, but there are still places to see on the way.

Moree, on the northern plains of New South Wales, is the Artesian Spa Capital of Australia. Water from deep underground flows to the surface at a temperature of 39 degrees C. The therapeutic qualities of the mineral rich water are well-known and many visitors spend several days relaxing here.

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We have just one swim in the heated pools at the Qwydir Thermal Pools Hotel and Carapark. There are four artesian pools at different temperatures and we start at the coolest one, 35 degrees and gradually work our way to the hottest.

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Further north, on the New South Wales/ Queensland border is the town of Goondiwindi. The town’s most famous resident, the racehorse Gunsynd, is remembered with a statue on the banks of the MacIntyre River and a museum dedicated to his record breaking career.

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In 1969 a syndicate of four Goondiwindi men purchased the horse for $1200 with plans to race him at local meets. His name was a compilation of Gun, the first syllable of Goondiwindi, and synd, from the word syndicate. It soon became apparent that Gunsynd was destined for more than the local country race tracks and he became known as the Goondiwindi Grey.

Gunsynd went on to become one of the best loved and most successful racehorses in Australian racing history. He won a total of 29 races, including the Cox Plate. He is the only horse to have won the four major mile races on the Australian racing calendar in the one year. He is also the only animal to be named as one of Queensland’s top twelve icons.

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The Gunsynd Museum is located at the Goondiwindi Visitor Information Centre. On display is a collection of trophies, photographs and riding memorabilia from the career of this famous horse.

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It’s also the last stop on the Round Australia Road Trip, as we head north to home.

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36 thoughts on “The Goondiwindi Grey

  1. Such an enjoyable jaunt around with you and Mr ET! The pools look beautiful and I’m sure are a healing experience too. I was just reflecting after the last post that it was as well it was virtual for me as I don’t think I could survive the Australian heat. 🙂 Do you know what that fabulous purple flowering tree is called? [The one behind the famous race horse statue.]

  2. I’m not so interested in the horse as I am in that gorgeous Jacaranda tree! This has been a wonderful trip with you Carol and I am sad that it has come to an end. What am I going to do now?

  3. Goondiwindi sounds very Welsh. Like Pontygwindy. I don’t think there are any hot wells in Wales though. I rather like the idea of relaxing in a natural spa. Luxury

    • It is actually an Aboriginal word and means “resting place of the birds” The MacIntyre River flows through the town so maybe the birds flocked to the water. It’s pronounced Gun-da-wind-e. Tricky.
      The thermal spa is total luxury and if you stay at the caravan park it is free to go as often as you like. Some people stay there for several days.

  4. Love the thermal pools at the Gwydir CP – try to stop in and have a swim when we go past on the 2000km trek up or down from Victoria to Queensland.

    • We do the same. That drive down the Newell Highway is so long, and a nice swim at the end of the day is wonderful. It sounds like you have family in QLD. We are the opposite, we live in QLD and have family in Victoria. We have driven that road many times.

  5. It was quite a trip, overall, wasn’t it? Awesome things you’ve seen. But right now I really fancy immersing in that thermal pool instead of clutching my coffee and listening to the rain pound. 🙂

  6. An artesian basin and hot springs in Australia – it shouldn’t surprise me, but then I find that I really know so little about the country. So again, thank you for the education.

    I wonder whether the English expats in the Victorian era ‘took the waters’?

    And you got me wondering when horses were introduced into Australia. Wikipedia mentions escapee feral horses roaming wild and calls them brumbies. Is that a commonly used word?

    • The Great Artesian Basin is the largest subterranean basin in the world. You can read more about it here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Artesian_Basin
      I don’t know about people in the Victorian era taking the waters, but I can tell you that it is very popular with Australians now. The water is chock full of minerals and is very good for the joints and skin.
      Horses came to Australia with the First Fleet in 1788. Wild horses are known as brumbies and you will see a photo of some brumbies in a post coming up soon. We saw them in the Northern Territory.
      I’m pleased that you are enjoying learning more about Australia. I love sharing the joy of this beautiful country.

        • Oh yes, that’s a dirty word here. Everyone except the government is very concerned about the damage that is being done. The government of course is only concerned with making money and being in league with the mining companies. It would be much better if they spent my hard earned tax dollars on renewable energy. The whole issue makes me very cross. There was a TV program just the other day and a farmer whose property had been invaded by a CSG company showed how the water coming out of the bore could be set alight because there was so much gas in it. It’s a disgrace.

  7. I’ve never come across the term “carapark”. I’m assuming it’s an abbreviation of caravan park. It’s a pity those thermal pools are so far away – they sound wonderful.

    Gunsynd never won the Melbourne Cup and therefore is lowered in the estimation of any good Victorian. 😛

    • Neither have I but it’s definitely a park for caravans and motor homes. There are cabins too. You’re right, Gunsynd didn’t win the Melbourne Cup but he did win all the other important races. He had to leave something for the other horses!

  8. I like the sound of the thermal pools, and spending a day or two there. The jacaranda tree is fabulous to look at, but I also think it has a lovely name. I actually have a piece of furniture at home made from jacaranda wood, which I inherited from an aunt and uncle, and I’ve always thought it was a very exotic sounding word!

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