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Wildflowers and History #5

Gurulmundi State Forest

After driving for 47 kilometres, we finally arrived at the turn off to Wildflower Road. We’d already found plenty of wildflowers and were hoping to see more.

At first the road passed through open eucalypt forest. In the days before this area was a state forest, timber mills processed cypress pine, ironbark and spotted gum for use on railways and bridges. With the timber cutters long gone the trees now grow undisturbed, surrounded by Mauve Kunzia and Firebush shrubs.

A few kilometres further on the landscape changed, with the forest giving way to a vast expanse of leptospermum bushes, commonly known as tea tree. Although most of the plants had finished flowering, a few bushes were still covered in clusters of waxy white blooms.

For several kilometres we drove beside the Dingo Fence. Built in the 1880s, the 5,614 km fence still protects livestock from wild dog attacks.

A gate marked the boundary of the state forest and the end of Wildflower Road. As always, we made sure to close the gate behind us. We wouldn’t see any more flowers on this day, but there were a few historical sites still to come.

Wildflowers and History #4

Gurulmundi State Forest

I have a namesake – a baby girl born many years ago whose parents liked me and my name. Until we did the Gurulmundi Wildflower Tour, I never knew I also have a floral namesake.

At several sites along the track we came across these information boards, identifying the most common wildflowers.

Even though the signs had suffered from harsh weather conditions the words were still legible.

Imagine my surprise when I saw this plant on the board.

We didn’t have to search long to find the correct tree.

Up close, the long golden flower spikes were beautiful.

I wonder how many people have a person and a plant named for them.

Do you have a namesake?

Wildflowers and History #3

Gurulmundi State Forest

At the 42 km mark of our day trip we came across rusted relics of the past on the side of the road.

The Conloi No. 1 bore and the tank used for storing crude oil pumped from the Surat/Bowen Basin were long ago abandoned, left to decay by the side of the road.

At first glance it seemed there were no wildflowers growing in this parched landscape. But a closer inspection revealed more beautiful blooms growing in the stony soil.

Some were tiny – no bigger than a thumbnail.

The clear blue sky made the perfect backdrop for these scarlet grevilleas.

And way overhead, tufted white blossoms in the highest branches of the gum trees glittered in the glaring midday sun.

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!

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.

22 Stopped In Its Tracks

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 Historical Village

Despite the sign, you don’t need to take care crossing this railway line.

This vintage C17 steam locomotive has been at the village since 1979. The Dalwogan Railway Siding, originally located on the Wandoan Railway Line, was transported to the village when the line closed.

17 Longevity

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 Historical Village

The General Store, like all the other buildings along the main street of the village, dates from the 19th century.

The containers on the shelves inside are also vintage. They might be old fashioned and their contents long gone, but many of these brands can still be found on our modern supermarket shelves.

How many do you recognise?

4 Tradition

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.

Dogwood Crossing@Miles

Miles may be a small town but its community spirit is strong. The local community centre DogwoodCrossing@Miles stands on the corner of Dawson and Murilla Streets, right in the middle of town. The building includes a library, IT centre, art gallery and a small museum.

A beautiful mural depicting Dogwood Creek covers the outside wall along Murilla Street. Painted using indigenous techniques and motifs, the work was in part created by local school students and tells the story of the creek from an traditional point of view.