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.
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.
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 Bulloo river and lots of greenery within the town, I actually thought it was a fairly "green" Outback village.
Take the heritage walk in town, stroll along Bulloo river, explore the rich history of the region.
The 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.
Take the Bulloo River walk from the Cobb & Co crossing to the caravan park. Enjoy the old trees and great scenery. I truly love to stroll along the river, and do it on every visit.
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 used by the coaches.
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)
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.