$9 a week camping; you can't get better than that. Come with us to Isisford in Queensland

Monday, Sep 07, 2009 at 00:00


We drove into the wide street of Isisford and were greeted by other caravanners as we stopped. “I’m going to pay for another week” one man said “Been here for three weeks already, but at $9 per week you can’t get better than that.”Note that while the daily fee of $2 per pay applies, the weekly amount has risen to $10.

This small outback town that invites visitors by providing cheap camping along the Barcoo River both in town and at Oma Waterhole fifteen kilometres from the town.

Oma waterhole is known for good fishing for Yellowbelly, with an annual competition being held there each July. All amenities are provided in the town for campers including a dump point and hot showers. As the sites along the river are on the black floodplain clay, a hard parking area is provided near the Shire Office for campers to move to if it rains.

The Outer Barcoo Interpretation Centre features Isisfordia Duncani, a 95 to 98 million year old fossilised skeleton of a crocodile one metre long. Named after its discoverer, former Deputy Mayor of Isisford Ian Duncan, the first fossils of Isisfordia were found in the 1990s in a dry creek bed on the outskirts of town. This was a significant discovery on a world wide scale. Isisfordia is the oldest known ancestor of the modern crocodilians throughout the world.

A complete animal was discovered with the exception of the front portion of the skull. In 2005, paleontologists discovered a complete skull from the same species which differed from the original specimen in size only, enabling them to create a complete picture of the animal. The discovery of the fossilised remains led paleontologists to believe that modern crocodilians first evolved 30 million years earlier than previously thought, and here in what became Australia.

Clancy of the Overflow Hotel in the wide main street features Jackie Howe memorabilia. Jackie Howe was a record breaking shearer in the era of blade shears.

We then went to Isis Downs station twenty kilometres to the east of the town to see the unusual 52 stand circular shearing shed. This shed was completed in 1914 to replace the 100 stand shearing shed which burnt down in 1912. It is believed that 450,000 sheep per annum were shorn with blades at Isis Downs. Station owners contracted a Melbourne Engineer to design the new shearing shed. The shed was hot with no breezeways so shearing plants had blowers incorporated to cool the shearers.

Due to the curved design of the shed, each stand has an individual shearing plant, rather than a number of stands being driven by a shaft from one power source.

The original power supply for the shed was from a steam powered generator burning scant timber and was later replaced by a diesel powered generator.
In its heyday of the wool era, Isis Downs resembled a small village with staff cottages. There was even a school on site. The last 10,000 sheep to be shorn in the shed were shorn and sold in 2004, marking the end of 138 years of sheep farming on the station. Only cattle are now run on this large former sheep station.

Read more detail about this trip and see all the photos in our 2009 travelogues

Red desert dreaming

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