A workshop in Blackall and another spread between Longreach and Winton saw us load up the truck and head off to central Queensland for six weeks. The country was incredibly green after all the rain and flooding. Many roads were still closed and venturing off the bitumen was a slippery, muddy exercise.
Silos on the road to Roma
This old pub at Wallumbilla looks less than inviting soaked in rain and surrounded by mud, but the local graziers couldn’t be happier.
Retirement green confusion – Morvan.
Early morning – Morven waterhole
Disused railway crane – Morven
Camping out of Tambo was a little tricky – where there wasn’t grass there was thick, sticky mud.
Sunrise through a layer of fog, Tambo
Union Hotel Blackall – still sells cold beer, but not much else
The weekly cattle sale in Blackall saw some fat’ healthy cattle, happy sellers and not so happy re-stockers.
Lisa and Bruce, from one of the big sheep stations out of Blackall, invited us out to see the end of the shearing.
These guys work flat out, fired up by loud, fast music, high demand and and a competitive attitude.
Shearing their way through several thousand sheep is hard, back breaking work.
Ancient Technology from the Isisford Picture Theatre.
Drowned caravans camped in the Barcoo River, Isisford. Ignore the locals at your peril.
An empty paddock next to the old Langenbaker House in Ilfracombe made a great place to paint
DC3 at the Qantas Museum Longreach
Retired Catalina at the Qantas Museum
Before the workshop in Winton, Dianne and I went out to the clay pans at Bladensburg to find a painting location
Willy Mar’s old market garden store, Winton
We painted Willy Mar’s old truck (now up on blocks next to his old market garden and store.
We spent a morning in the old Bladensburg woolshed painting the ancient wool press.
This was the demonstration painting I did. (Couldn’t help using Phthalo Green!)
Looking west towards Winton – an unusual sea of lush, green grass
At the Winton Dinosaur Centre, volunteers work tirelessly separating rock from fossil to reconstruct the skeletons of dinosaurs.
After the Winton workshop Dianne and I headed back out to Bladensburg to camp and watch the sun go down.
Heading east, we found this lake with amazing sunsets and fantastic birdlife.
Our camp, just visible from the top of a nearby hill
The Blackall workshops are always a lot of fun. We get to meet people from surrounding sheep and cattle stations and local Blackall residents in the first workshop then folks fly in or drive from all over the place for the second workshop.
This year we left a couple of weeks early so we could visit Mt Moffat on the way west. Mt Moffat is part of the Carnarvon National Park. It connects to the head of Carnarvon Creek at the western end of Carnarvon Gorge and extends south.
Similar eroded, pale sandstone to Carnarvon Gorge is found throughout the Mt Moffat section. Access is by 4WD – there are some deeply rutted tracks, sandy sections and steep climbs up onto the plateau.
There are interesting sandstone formations and many escarpments and rock faces with aboriginal art work.
Confusing sign if you don’t read English!
We camped at Dargonelly Rock Hole. It was the only water source in the area, so animal and birdlife was pretty spectacular particularly early morning and late afternoon.
On top of the plateau the view stretched out in all directions. The plateau is over 1200 meters above sea level – the highest plateau in Queensland. We drove up to the head of Carnarvon Creek, where the track winds through a forest of giant Mahogany trees.
Small slab hut on the road into Mt. Moffat
We were lucky enough to arrive in Blackall the night six musicians, all from different countries, were performing at the Living Arts Center where we were staying. It was amazing how well such a diverse group of musicians could all blend perfectly into music from any of the six countries. It was great to meet these musicians and hear their stories.
Old River Gum late afternoon – Tambo
We had a couple of days between the two Blackall workshops, so drove out to Yaraka – the last town on the railway line before it closed down in the 1990’s. Below is the small settlement of Emmet along the same defunct railway line.
Lost Chev – Yaraka
Sunset on Mt Slowcombe near Yaraka
I love visiting the Blackall wool scour. It closed down years ago but has been kept in running condition as a tourist attraction. It looks like something from a horror movie. Everything is belt driven, powered by a steam engine. Over a kilometre of leather belts keep everything moving. With all this mechanical movement there is barely a sound – it is all so well built and maintained.
Heading home we passed the Roma sale yards where one of the weekly cattle sales were in progress. It’s an amazing event. Road trains arrive from near and far, cattle are unloaded, auctions take place then cattle are re loaded and delivered to the successful bidders. The auctioneers speak their own language at a speed only understandable by those in colored shirts and big hats. It really is a spectacle.