The new VIC, Library, coference centre and Coffee Shop in Thargomindah

The new VIC, Library, conference center and Coffee Shop in Thargomindah

Thargo just never seems to look back, its workforce works mainly for the local council or one other entrepreneurial business in town and it’s a little town that just keeps growing and growing in both size and population.

The streets get bigger, the footpaths get wider, more and more lovely little houses get built, there are 2 caravan parks, a pub, a motel and restaurant, the community centre, a Toyota dealership, a roadhouse and lots of other businesses.

The new Administation building is taking shape in Thargomindah

The new Administation building is taking shape in Thargomindah

 

And now the Bulloo Shire is building a new Administration building and has just recently completed the new visitor information centre, library and coffee shop.  Another 25 blocks of land are also to be developed and put up for public tender in the near future.

Coffee shop for Thargo

Coffee shop for Thargo

It is an interesting town where visitors can see lots of dogs, horses, some nice old buildings, a demonstration at the older town bore, have a great coffee at the new shop OR one of the best burgers you’ll ever eat at Fergies Roadhouse!  The locals are generally friendly and helpful, showing typical outback hospitality to nice visitors.

A great feature of the town is also the colourful display of flowers in the middle of the streets and around some of the buildings.

The visitor info centre has plenty of comfy chairs!

The visitor info centre has plenty of comfy chairs!

The VIC is a bit light on for info still but I was told they are waiting for some more shelving to arrive so as to put more stuff out.  A little observation from me, the girls at this new center were lovely and obliging but they all would look soo much better in some sort of uniform! NOT cut off jeans, T shirts and thongs.  Just a bit smarter to reflect their surroundings.

 

The most important bit of water infrastructure a station can have.

The most important bit of water infrastructure a station can have.

As you would be aware water is vitally important to us who live in the more arid parts of Australia.  I know it’s important everywhere, but city people do tend to take water for granted except when water levels in dams start making the nightly news.

Not only do we need to take particular care of our stock watering points but our bore water needs special consideration if it is going to do the job domestically too.

The capped  artesian bore situated at our Shearers Quarters was put down in 1962 , the depth is 368 meters , it comes out of the ground at 47 degrees at a rate of 79,200 gallons per day with a pressure of 51.5 PSI.  I know the mixture of imperial and metrics is quaint, but that’s the way it is!

Now in summer that’s way too hot to comfortably have a shower under, so there is a big roll of poly pipe, full of water, underneath the Shearers Quarters that is then attached to two cold taps in one bathroom.  So the first ones to have a shower do get a nice cool one, subsequent bathers will find that the water gets hotter as the pipe refills constantly.  During winter, guests at the Quarters are asked to water the lawn before having their showers!  It gets the water moving through the pipes so they can then enjoy the therapeutic benefits of the 47 degree hot artesian water.

It’s a different story at the homestead which is a mere 1.5 kilometers from the bore.  Water to the house is piped up from the bore in more poly pipe which is buried in the ground about 2 feet down.  During summer the water is far too hot to shower in despite  the pipe being buried, so we have a 500 L cold water tank with a pressure pump attached to it so we can have a cool shower.  In winter we have a solar hot water system because as the pipe is buried the water is cold!  In winter only.  Also in summer when I need lots of water for my garden I find that I have very little pressure or water as the cattle in the next 2 paddocks are slurping away at the water in the troughs.

The outback would be a ghost place if anything were to happen to spoil or contaminate the water of the Great Artesian Basin.  Not only would there be considerably less water for the kangaroos and wallabies, the sheep and cattle industries would be decimated and places like Kilcowera would be unviable and not worth living on.  Hundreds of thousands of people wouldn’t  have jobs as many outback towns depend on the water from the GAB as well.

Mustering at Kilcowera

August 17, 2013

Hereford cattle at Cardenyabba Lagoon

We start our next round of mustering on the first of September, what a great way to to get into spring!  The helicopter is booked, the musterers are booked, the plane and bikes are ready to go –  horses too.  This muster is really about trying to find all the naughty little weaners who did not stay in their new paddocks when they were put into them in April, they went everywhere!

Yarding up cattle at Kilcowera Station.

Yarding up cattle at Kilcowera Station.

Outback Beds

Outback Beds

 

I thought you might like to know a little about Outback Beds an organization that we are members of!

Outback Beds consists of a network of owner-operated farm stays and accommodation throughout Outback NSW and southwest QLD. It was formed in 2002, the Year of the Outback, which was also a time of drought. The general aim is to bring together people who have a vision for diversified use of the land and to offer travelers an authentic Outback experience.

OBB is a peak body representing Outback NSW and SW QLD, including the famous Darling River Run and the Dowling Track.  All positions within the organisation are served on a voluntary basis. The yearly AGM, held in the quiet month of February, is a great time for catching up, meeting with old friends and the opportunity to meet new members/friends that come to the meeting. Often there will be industry representatives at the meeting to give members insights, tools and tips about the hospitality business.

The website http://www.outbackbeds.com.au contains much useful information for people contemplating a visit to the outback region. The logo and brand, which features a black cockatoo on a bed-head, and the slogan “Stay in the outback with friends” is becoming well known. OBB are a high profile group and still growing in this, their 11th year in business.

The free Outback Beds Map is very popular and well used by most of the travelling public it is widely available in most visitor info centers, roadhouses, cafes and shops.  OBB also have promotional material such as stickers, pens and pads and polo-style tops, all with the OBB logo.

A recent and most exciting development is that OBB are now partnering with National Parks (NPWS) to promote accommodation in Far West and Western NSW. This will take place in the form of an Outback and Rivers Map. The NPWS 2013 campaign includes this map, which will locate National Parks, accommodation and camping facilities (both within the parks and Outback Beds), Visitor Information Centres and touring routes to link visitor travel in the region.

Outback Beds have won many awards which led to TV commercials and print media advertising.

  • 2005 Department State and Regional Development Business Enterprise Award
  • 2006 Inland NSW Tourism Award winner- Destination and Product Development
  • 2007 Inland NSW tourism Award, Distinction –Destination Marketing
  • 2007 Tourism NSW Distinction –Destination Marketing
  • 2012-Outback Tourism Symposium – Outstanding contribution to Tourism in Outback NSW and in recognition for 10 years in Foundation

OBB have a Freecall number 1800 005 298 where prospective visitors can make enquiries and request brochures and maps.  We love being a part of this network, all members work together to help each other out as well as helping our visitors find another great place to stay while they are in our area.

Members establishments range from fine hotels, a pottery place with accommodation and horse riding, cattle and sheep stations, caravan parks, B&B’s and cottages and cabins.  Truly something for everyone!  Check them out at www.outbackbeds.com.au  and facebook http://www.facebook.com/OutbackBeds?ref=hl#!/OutbackBeds

 

Kilcowera airstrip in Calenso Paddock

Recently, I was on our newest airstrip, the one above, walking up and down the sides poisoning the small mulga trees that were, and are, attempting to take it over again, when thousands of feet above a jet whizzed by.  It got me thinking, all those people up there drinking scotch, coffee, a beer, reading, eating, watching movies, chatting, keeping their kids happy, admiring the flight attendants – does the thought ever cross their minds that down in all that emptiness beneath them, lives are being lived, jobs being done, life and death issues are being dealt with in the small towns and on the stations, that people are earning a living down there in all that nothingness.

I love the fact that Kilcowera is open for visitors so they can see firsthand what it is like to live and work in our fairly harsh environment.  But these visitors usually have some idea about life in the bush already, they have travelled all over Australia looking at, out of the way spots such as ourselves and they keep searching out more places off the beaten track to go to.  The majority of Australians live on the coastal strip and never drive over the big hill and I reckon it ‘s these ones who would be surprised at  how much is going on beneath them as they wing their way over the continent.  Lucky ducks!

Kilcowera airstrip

Just in the last month in my area we have had major bushfires with many spotter planes and water bombers in the sky, the Royal Flying Doctor has been called in to airlift an injured volunteer firefighter ( a young girl ) to Charleville hospital and 2 vehicles have been destroyed in the blazes. Many people spent Christmas day and New years day and all days in between, out in the heat, day and night, 24 hours non stop, trying to stop the fires.

Other people are on the ground on motorbikes and horseback mustering sheep, cattle and goats, the road trains are driving back and forth with their loads of stock or freight for the towns and stations.  There are also hundreds of oil workers in the outback at any given time.

The kids are back on holidays from their boarding schools or hostels, they are on their ponies, or motor bikes or driving around in something on the place, cause all station, and most town kids can drive by the time they are 6 or 7.  And these kids are out helping Mum and Dad with the fencing, mustering, checking the waters, climbing and oiling the windmills, cleaning out troughs and wells, changing tyres and working on the cars and machinery.  There’s always plenty to do.

Spare a thought for all the people down below toiling in their gardens just to make a little oasis in the outback for themselves and their family and all the other inhabitants of the Outback – there is plenty going on down there!  Happy New Year!!

Our house at Kilcowera Station