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Thargomindah - Capital of the Bulloo Shire

Discover more secrets of Outback Queensland


Let me introduce you to another tiny bush town. Thargomindah is the hub of the Bulloo Shire in the south west corner of Outback Queensland. Like any other township in Outback Australia it has its very own flair and history. That's why I love them all. Aussie bush towns are never boring if you care to discover their secrets.

tree-lined outback town
Main street in Thargomindah

Established in 1874 on the banks of the Bulloo river, the town is 200km west of Cunnamulla on the Bulloo Developmental Road, also called Adventure Way.

In the late 19th century the town was a Cobb & Co. station. From here coaches serviced settlements like Hungerford, Wompah and Toompine. You can still see the stone crossing in the Bulloo river.

Thargomindah was the first town in Australia, and next to London and Paris, the third in the world, with electrical street lighting generated by hydro power, thanks to the water pressure of the Artesian Basin.

Landscapes in the Bulloo region vary and are ever changing from dry red dust to marooned mud. You'll always experience a special Outback feeling. The name Thargomindah is an Aboriginal word meaning cloud of dust. Well, during one of my visits the town was fairly wet, far away from dusty :).
With the trees along Bullo river and lots of greenery within the town, I actually thought it was a fairly "green" Outback village.

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Come and visit one of my favourite towns in Outback Queensland. There is a lot you can do and see, so it is worth to stay a couple of days.

Capital Cities

Accommodation

Special Interests

Rent A Campervan

Points of Interest

Take the heritage walk in town, stroll along Bulloo river, explore the rich history of the region.

  • Leahy Historic House was built in 1885 by John Leahy from local mud bricks. In 1912 well-known pastoralist Sidney Kidman bought the house for his travelling manager.
    Today the house is owned by the historical society and open for the public, It is worth a visit to see the memorabilia.
  • The Post Office opened in 1870 and is one of four remaining mud brick houses. It was destroyed by a storm in 1877. It's interior was burnt in 1952. It still serves as a post office after a turbulent life.
  • The old hospital on the outskirts of town was built in 1888 and served as a hospital for 55 years. Today it is home of the visitor information centre and a small museum.
  • Take the Bulloo River walk from the Coo & Co crossing to the caravan park. Enjoy the old trees and great scenery.

Attractions in the neighbourhood

  • Currawinya National Park - The main attraction in the park are Lake Numalla (freshwater) and Lake Wyara (salt water). The wetlands make the park a great place for bird-watching. The National Park's area was once a grazing property. Relics of buildings and machinery are of interest for those interested in heritage.
    There's a project running to re-introduce the bilby which has nearly disappeared in Queensland.
    Currawinya NP is about 200 km southeast near Hungerford and the border to New South Wales. You better have a high clearance vehicle to explore the park.
  • Lake Bindegolly National Park is just 35 km east of Thargo. It is a place for nature's enthusiasts. Access to the park and its three lakes is only by foot to protect the fragile nature. There's a 9,2 km walking trail along Lake Bindegolly.
  • Take the Dowling Track to Hungerford on the Queensland/New South Wales border. The Royal mail hotel from 1873 still exists and serves the local population of 12. Hungerford is close to the Currawinya National Park.
  • Noccundra is about 145 km west of Thargomindah on the banks of the Wilson river. In the early 1880s a stone hotel was built which is heritage listed today. Enjoy a cold drink in the beer garden or on the veranda before you head out further into remote areas.

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The Hydro Power Plant

The artesian water bore that provided the water power was drilled in 1893. Water pressure was so powerful that the local council decided to build a power plant. Lights in the street went on in the same year.

The hydro-electric power plant continued to supply Thargomindah with electricity until 1951 when it was replaced with a generator driven by a diesel engine.

The Pelton Wheel is a wheel driven by a jet of water from an Artesian Basin bore. It is connected to dynamos by a shaft and uses the energy of the water to provide electricity. As the demand for electricity rises, a valve is opened to increase the speed of the water wheel and when the load decreases, the water is cut.
The original water-wheel was made locally (probably by local blacksmith Joe Hood) to the design of Mr. Holmes, the engineer to the Division board. It is said to have a casing made from a ship's water tank.
(information from the displays in the shed at the town bore)

shed and artesian bore
Hydro power plant

The artesian bore just 1 km outside town is worth a visit. There's a replica of the original shed, and a display of all types of renewable energy. Inside the shed are many original items including a working pelton wheel.

I was very lucky and received a private demonstration how they produced electricity in the early days. It really was a highlight when the water roared through the wheel, and the bulbs went on in the shed.

Accommodation in Thargomindah

The town offers a wide range of accommodation. I really loved my stays at the Explorers Caravan Park.

For more info click the "where to stay" link below.

Quick Facts

Population: 203 (2006 census)
Location: Approx. 1,100 km northwest of Brisbane
State: Queensland
Post Code: 4492
Time Zone: Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST)
Best time to visit:
April to October is the best time to visit to avoid the summer heat.
Facilities:
Thargomindah offers all services travellers need.
historic house
Leahy Historic House
old gum tree
Gnarled gumtree along the Bullo river walk
river scenery
Cobb & Co crossing & the Bullo bridge
artesian bore
The town bore
sunset in the outback
Sunset at the caravan park

For more information to travel in Queensland check the following pages.

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