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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.

3 Lost and Found

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 Creek 

Old shoes, each without a partner, adorn this tree beside Dogwood Creek. There must be a few people walking around Miles with just one shoe.

 

2 Beside the Water

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 Cemetery

In the soft light of late afternoon it’s beautiful down beside Dogwood Creek. Tall trees cast long shadows across the water and birdsong fills the air. It’s easy to understand why the first residents of Dogwood Crossing chose this peaceful spot as the final resting place for their departed loved ones.

The information sign at the old cemetery tells another story. People had no way of knowing how high the creek would rise in heavy rains and, despite its location up the hill, the cemetery was regularly flooded.

It’s a long time since anyone was buried at Dogwood Cemetery. Those who lie here are left in peace and solitude, surrounded by the bush – until the rains come again.

1 What’s In A Name?

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 Creek

Welcome to Miles! Located in the Western Downs region of Queensland, this town of around 1,700 has a rich history of agriculture and mining and has been a transport hub for the south west since the days when Cobb&Co coaches passed through. With the state capital Brisbane being 341 kilometres to the east, you might think the town was named because it’s “miles from anywhere”. But the town of Miles wasn’t always called Miles.

When the German explorer Ludwig Leichhardt passed through this region in October 1844, he named the waterway Dogwood Creek after noticing a lot of dogwood trees growing nearby. In 1878, as workers on the new railway line from Brisbane to Roma built a bridge across the creek, a settlement was established to support them. They called it Dogwood Crossing.

Nine years later, the town changed its name to Miles to honour William Miles, a local man with an illustrious career as a pastoralist and, until his death in 1887, a Member of State Parliament. At the peak of his career he served as Minister for Railways, overseeing the construction of a new railway station in the town.

A highlight for William Miles must have been his journey to the 1876 International Exhibition in Philadelphia, USA where he enthusiastically organised the Queensland exhibit.

The river which flows just outside the town is still known as Dogwood Creek, but no one today would ever say they’re going to Dogwood Crossing!