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Published: July 17th 2021
Our journey today was from Barcaldine to Middleton. We have decided that we will come back to both Winton and Longreach in a few weeks time and in doing so, hope to avoid some of the school holiday/tourist rush and be able to book into the dinosaur exhibition (Winton) and Stockman’s Hall of Fame (Longreach).
Middleton is somewhere between Winton (where we refuelled) and Boulia. Just outside of Winton we turned off the highway for our first single lane outback road, sealed for the moment. After the recent rain super cell the edges of the road looked to be heavily rutted in places, but were surprisingly firm – two wheels off for approaching cars and all wheels off for approaching trucks/road trains.
Part way along, we stopped in a layby and went for a wander amongst the low-lying salt bush. John made the “find of the day” when he spotted a good sized piece of timber which will do nicely for underneath the van’s jockey wheel – our impromptu sand filled ice block just didn’t make the grade!
Middleton is definitely in the middle of nowhere. Once a thriving locality, it was
the Last Post of 9 Pillars on a Cobb & Co route covering 240miles in its day (384km) tracking from Boulia to Winton – in its heyday it would take 4 days each way to complete and operated between 1895 – 1915. Nowadays it is a convenient stop over for travellers on their way through the Queensland outback. Across the road from the bush camp there is a shanty pub where the wine of the hour comes from a cardboard box, a glass of which will set you back $7.50 – mind you, it was a heavy cut glass, but I’m sure not crystal.
It was our first proper starry night. We stood outside after dark in awe of the wondrous display. The Milky Way was clearly visible and we felt quite insignificant in the grand scheme.
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