A mile of machinery and more at Ilfracombe

Sunday, Sep 06, 2009 at 00:00


Twenty five kilometres east of Longreach is the delightful small town of Ilfracombe which is known for The Machinery Mile, where a display of old rural machinery lines the road the entire length of the town.

All displays in Ilfracombe are free to visit. We stayed at the Ilfracombe Caravan Park just because we had heard such glowing reports about this park.

The Ilfracombe Caravan Park is an ideal alternative to staying at a caravan park in Longreach and within easy daily commuting distance.

Being founded within Wellshot Station, the town which formed at the rail head was originally called Wellshot.

Commencing 1898, a large wool scouring plant operated 500 metres away from the railway and the artesian bore water proved ideal for the processing. This was possibly the first wool scouring plant in Australia and in its heyday scoured 16,000 bales of wool each year. Operating until 1966 it was the town’s biggest employer; now all that remains is a heap of white ash.

Wellshot station encompassed over a million acres of Mitchell grass plains between the Barcoo and Thomson Rivers. It was owned by a company holding a number of other stations. Running up to 460,000 sheep, it was considered the largest sheep station in the world. A video of the history of Wellshot can be viewed together with displays at the Wellshot Centre.

The Langenbaker House was brought to Ilfracombe in the 1890's by dray by Harry and Mary-Anne Langenbaker, who were among the town’s first settlers. The house had been moved several times as they followed the rail head where teamster Harry Langenbaker carted produce to and from the rail head. To gain an insight into life in the early days of Ilfracombe the Langenbaker House is now on display being open to visitors by guided tour only with tours departing the Ilfracombe Caravan Park at 9 am.

Amongst other collections and museums in the town, Romani Hall has a display dedicated to the 2/14th Ilfracombe Light Horse Troop.

A plaque outside the Post Office celebrates the first motorised postal service in Australia which went from Ilfracombe to Isisford in 1910.

In 1873 Artesian water was discovered and bores gushed out. Uncapped, they are now a trickle compared to past output. With water sourced from an artesian bore, the comfortably warm water provides water for the swimming pool and spa.

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

Red desert dreaming

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