A visit to Thargomindah will help you see outback Queensland in a whole new light.
Thargomindah is a small town with a big history. When exploring this community in Bulloo Shire, you will learn more about Australia’s Indigenous and pastoral past. For those wishing to discover lost stories and ancient sites on their outback trip, Thargomindah is the place for you.
Prisoners and plants on the heritage walk
The best way to see the town and explore the many historical attractions that make this area so unique is on a self-guided heritage walk.
On this experience, you will pass many important sites including the Hydro Power Plant. Constructed in 1898, the plant was the first of its kind to be built in Australia, and the third in the world. It uses water pressure from the Great Artesian Basin to produce hydroelectric power, and kept Thargomindah’s street lights running until 1951 when diesel was introduced.
The next stop on your historical tour will be the Old Thargomindah Hospital, which is made from mud bricks that were moulded from soil on the banks of the river and left to dry in the sun. During the drying period, plenty of local animals left their mark on the bricks, and can still be seen even now. The hospital operated until 1975, and today hosts tours for curious visitors. Be warned, many locals believe a ghost walks the halls, said to be the spirit of the old Matron who died under mysterious circumstances.
Continuing along your track, you will come across the Cobb & Co river crossing. During the 1800s, Thargomindah was the stopping point for Cobb & Co coaches servicing rural communities in Hungerford, Wompah, Toompine and more. The stone crossing was used as the main entrance into town until 1929 when a more modern bridge was built.
Fun fact: It used to take carriages around 5-6 days to make the journey from Thargomindah to Cunnamulla. Now, it takes about 2 hours!
Finally, the heritage walk wouldn’t be complete without a stop at The Old Jail. Most inmates here were charged with cattle or sheep rustling. Here, you can experience what it feels like to be ‘locked away’ and interact with the lifelike figures as they share their stories.
The prehistoric past of Currawinya National Park
Only a short drive from Thargomindah is the popular Currawinya National Park, which sits on the land of the Budjiti people. The park has a long Indigenous history, and also played an important role in 19th and 20th century pastoral history. Visitors should head to the Caiwarro Homestead, where the remains of buildings, machinery and a levee bank shed light on what it was like to live in the area during the 1800s.
There are plenty of other things to see and do while at this beautiful national park. There’s lots of wildlife to spot, including fourteen threatened plant and animal species, as well as plenty of opportunities to try canoeing and kayaking. Plus, heading along The Granites track will take you to a stunning outcrop of ancient rocks dating back to 310 million years ago. The Granites are a great place to watch the sunset over the red outback.
The story of the Burke and Wills Dig Tree
This attraction is a bit of a drive from Thargomindah, but makes for a great day trip.
The Burke and Wills Dig Tree is a Eucalyptus tree believed to be around 250 years old. In 1860, an expedition of eighteen men, twenty camels and twenty tons of provisions set out from Victoria to Queensland. Reaching the dig tree, they built a stockade camp, where many men remained when Burke and Wills decided to continue exploring further North. Unfortunately, they ran into trouble, but on returning to camp found that the other men had left. At the Dig Tree, these men had buried supplies in case Burke and Wills ever returned to the site, with instructions to dig carved into the trunk.
To learn more about things to do in Thargomindah and the Bulloo Shire, click here.
For a complete list of Australia’s most iconic outback destinations, click here.
Travel to Thargomindah
Rex flies to Thargomindah. Book your flights here and check out the route map below.