Corner Country, Outback Australia
For the traveller, Thargomindah and the surrounding area offers wonderful National Parks (Lake Bindegolly NP and Currawinya NP), friendly farm stays, unique birdlife, amazing geomorphology of ancient landforms including massive sand dunes, historic pubs, and carpets of outback wildflowers after replenishing rains.
Ideally located above the Great Artesian Basin, Thargomindah is the site of Australia’s first hydroelectricity scheme utilising the high-pressure artesian bore water which was able to supply the town’s electricity needs until the 1950s. Thargomindah was established in the 1870s as a service town for the surrounding stations like Bulloo Downs, Durham Downs and Thargomindah Station. It also became an important transport hub for the movement of the wool clip from south-west Queensland to the riverboat port at Bourke for transport down to Wentworth and then onto Echuca or Adelaide. The road is sealed to Thargomindah and continues west to Noccundra, the Burke and Wills dig tree and then on to the tiny town of Innamincka.
The Burke and Wills 'Dig Tree', 300 km west, tells a story of explorer misfortune, bad luck and bad timing. It was under the shade of this Coolabah tree on the Banks of Cooper Creek that the explorers established their Base Camp in November of 1860. Burke and Wills continued on the quest to reach the Gulf of Carpentaria and left a small support group behind with supplies for their return from the 1,300km trek. Those left behind waited, dutifully for months and departed when they assumed the Burke & Wills party had perished.
The expedition, less one, arrived at the tree marked ‘dig’ the day after the waiting party left. Although they found the stored provisions, they were unable to find the rest of their party and finally died of starvation. Their graves are about 320kms north-west of Thargomindah and are 25kms apart. Thargomindah, the headquarters for the Bulloo Shire, is an outback town where the pace of life is mellow. Sparsely populated with just 220 people in a shire with an area of 73,000 km, it’s a reminder that Australia has a vast interior.
See the newest attraction, the Hydro Power Plant and Display Park and the century-old artesian bore. Also, take the new Bulloo River Walk and visit Leahy Historical House. Thargomindah has a beautiful new Visitor Information Centre complete with the best coffee shop in SW Queensland as well as the beautifully restored old hospital which has a wealth of information on the history of Thargomindah and its early day inhabitants. Facilities in Thargomindah include a General Store, Post Office, Pub, Caravan Park, Motel and Restaurant, and a Garage for all things mechanical. Eftpos is available as is internet access and mobile phone coverage on the next g network and with a Telstra phone.