via Roma, Miles and Chinchilla

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June 15th 2010
Published: June 15th 2010
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Roma's an interesting town, big substantial buildings on the main streets, lovely Queenslander homes on large blocks. Besides being a rural town, it also has gas and oil - in fact they have The Big Rig Centre there which explains all about it but we decided not to visit it - maybe next time.

We continued east along the Warrego 'Highway', hardly deserving the name as it is a two laned bumpy road, in need of upgrading. It's qute busy with cars, trucks and road trains. We stopped at Miles for lunch - a pleasant little town, then drove around the next town, Chinchilla - 'the Campdraft Capital of Australia'. Chinchilla was a surprise as it was quite a big town. After looking around Chinchilla, we drove on to Dalby, where we are staying tonight. On the way there are endless paddocks of cotton and wheat as well as silos and a large cotton ginnery, as they call it. There is coal mining here too, not too popular with locals as it has only been here the last couple of years and good farmland is being undermined.

The fun thing about travelling is coming across the unexpected! We noticed a hall, built 1936 to celebrate the Cactoblastis Caterpillar, in a little town called Boonarga, just past Chinchilla. This demanded a closer look! Governor Phillip introduced cochineal-infested prickly pear cactus to Australia for dye for his men's uniforms and around the mid 1800's, this rather popular plant had found it's way to the Chinchilla area. In no time it had taken over the land in an area the size of the United Kingdom in Chinchilla and most of rural Australia and it seemed that nothing could eradicate it.

Enter Mr. Alan Dodd who went to Sth America to have a look at a the Cactoblastis Caterpillar and he brought back 3000 eggs to breed them. In 1925 these had increased to 100,000 and were released around the country, the first being at Chinchilla. By 1932 the prickly pear was considered destroyed and the cactoblastis was considered not a threat to any other plants in Australia. In celebration, the Cactoblastis Hall was built, dedicated to the insect! I still noticed the odd prickly pear around the area but no doubt they're under control.

We were surprised with Dalby - it's quite a big town - KFC, Hungry Jacks, McDonalds,
The School of Arts Hotel, RomaThe School of Arts Hotel, RomaThe School of Arts Hotel, Roma

I imagined someone saying 'I'm off to the School of Arts' and fooling someone into thinking they were studying hard!
Big W, Millers - progress of a kind! Once we'd set up in the caravan park we walked into town - the first shops we've been to for awhile, and had a cappuccino in the mall. Civilisation ... or is it?

Additional photos below
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Bottle trees, RomaBottle trees, Roma
Bottle trees, Roma

They planted Queensland bottle trees along Roma streets - each dedicated to a soldier who served in the First World War
and they call this a highway!and they call this a highway!
and they call this a highway!

narrow and bumpy - the Warrego Highway

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