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Birdsville - Channel Country.

Birdsville Hotel.

Brief History.

The Birdsville Hotel was built in 1884 and was a stopoff for drovers taking cattle south to the railhead in Pt .Augusta. At 517 Klms distance lies Maree, the other end of The Birdsville Track in South Australia. A legend of The Track is a man called Tom Kruse. He was employed by The Royal Mail to service The Track, and he did this from 1942 up until 1963. A hard life in temperatures getting up to 50deg.celsius.The Working Museum is a must for the visitor, and a Blue Poles Gallery visit is a treat. If you are lucky enough to be there between August and October, after the seasonal rains, the wild flowers are a wonderful sight to behold.

Big Red, Simpson Desert. Photo by Paul Hanly, 10 September 2007

Just a short drive out of town at Pelican Point , the Billabong is a permanent water source for local wild life. It is amazing that in this inhospitable region the wild life abounds. Diamantina Lakes National Park is a haven for 180 species of birds, 92 types of reptiles and 44 species of mammals. About 35klms. west of Birdsville is Big Red. The first and highest of a chain of sand dunes running from north to south for several 100 klms. Standing 120 feet above sea level it is a remarkable sight. When visiting Birdsville, pop into the Wirrarri Information Centre in the centre of town and see a couple of videos and pick up an info pack.

Interior of Birdsville Hotel.

As remote as you can get, The Birdsville Hotel. Almost 1600 klms.West of Brisbane out on the far west corner of the state, it provides a welcoming haven for the thirsty traveller. Residents only number about 100, but the town plays host to thousands at the end of August and beginning of September every year when the 'Birdsville Horse Races' are contested.

Originally known as 'Diamantina Crossing' Birdsville began with the building of a store in 1882, by the pastoralist Robert Frew who was then the owner of Pandie Pandie Station. It was not long after, that The Royal Hotel was built and continued as a Hotel for a further 40 years.

Another Interior of Birdsville Hotel.
Royal Hotel Ruins.

The Inland Mission secured the lease of the property in 1923 and the building was used as a hospital until 1937,when it was taken over for private residency. The ruins of The Royal Hotel still stand in memory of it's past.

All the buildings were constructed of sandstone as there was a lack of timber in the area. In those early days the population was approx. 100, but increased considerably when local Aborigines began camping on the edge of town in order to procure a living, away from the harshness of The Simpson Desert

Birdsville lies in the far South Western corner of the State of Queensland in Diamantina Shire. The shire covers an area of 95,000 kilometres and is known as the Channel Country. During the wet season the rivers combine into massive floodplains. Although the area is harsh and so remote it is known to be one of the best beef fattening areas in Australia. Cattle stations have been operating in Diamantina Shire since the days of the early settlers.The most famous of these is the Kidman Group , launched by the "Cattle King " Sir Sydney Kidman. Diamantina Crossing lies abour 3 kilometres north of Birdsville and the river flows South West past Birdsville on it's way to Goyder Lagoon in South Australia. The river was named after Diamantina Roma Bowen the wife of the first governor of Queensland.

Channel Country.

Being remote, The Channel Country is sparsely populated by Pastoral Holdings and a few remote settlememts that are connected by roads opened for the movement of beef cattle. Boulia is recognised as the Capital of the Channel Country and lies approx. 300 klms. South of Mount Isa. A further 200 klms South lies Bedourie, The Administrative Centre for Diamantina Shire.

Remote Farmhouse Channel Country.

After the Northern Monsoon Season the Diamantina River combines with the Georgina, Hamilton Rivers and Coopers Creek to flood hundreds of channels on their way to reach Lake Eyre. Massive amounts of water collect in waterholes and get soaked up by the desert sands and miraculously after this annual event, flowers, birds and wildlife appear as if from nowhere.


Boulia is a centre for the wool and beef industry in The Channel Country. Running by Boulia is The Donohue Highway that is part of one of the last great 4 wd. journeys in the world. Starting at Winton, the track passes Boulia on to Alice Springs in The Northern Territory and finally finishes in the Western Australian town of Laverton, 2,800 klms.distance. Visit the Stonehouse Museum and see the Marine Fossil Display and historical artifacts from the area around Boulia.

Out Back Sheds Boulia.

Plenty of good fishing spots to be found at a couple of waterholes and also the Burke River nearby. There is a golf course and an aquatic centre in town,and for those inclined to take a short drive out of town on the Winton Rd. you will come to Cawnpore Lookout. Only one other place on earth has this type of Plateau Remnant Formation and that is in South America. Climb to the top and there is a picnic shelter for your use. Boulia is also famous for it's annual Camel Races in July and it's Easter Rodeo.


Bedourie looks over the Ayres Creek Floodplain. The Royal Hotel built in the 1880's is still operating in the town, while opposite the hotel is 'The Mud Hut.' This old building is believed in bye gone days to be one of the old Cobb and Co. rest stops.

Bedourie Farmhouse.

A visit to Rosebearth Station will take you back in time to see the old Carcory Ruins. Once owned by Sir Sydney Kidman, he abandoned the station in 1906 after finding the area unsuitable for pastoral development. Have a relaxing afternoon at the local Spa and Aquatic Centre.


Stony Point was a place of sanctuary for the Whitman brothers as they were stranded by flood waters in the 1870's. The pair decided it would be an ideal place to build a store and so began the life of this outback town. The town was gazetted in 1880 and renamed Windorah.

Old Station Windorah.

While in the town you can take the Nature Drive to see all the Flora and Fauna of the area. The town hosts the annual Bronco Branding Championships on the 2nd. week in July, followed by the Rodeo on the second week in August. Another event is held on the Wednesday before the Birdsville Races. The International Yabby Races.

Birdsville Web Sites.

birdsvillestudio link button theoutback.com.au link button
Tom Kruse link button desert/culture link button
birdsvilleraces link button birdsvilleraces link button
birdsvilleraces link button
The Bakery.

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