Cunnamulla, a town in Outback Queensland, approximately seven hundred and fifty kilometres west of Brisbane has become known from the song "Cunnamulla Fella
", which was written by Stan Coster
and sung by Slim Dusty
. Coster penned the song from his early days working as a sheep-shearing ringer around Cunnamulla.
Cunnamulla Fella Statue, Cunnamulla (Author's Photo)
Applauding the significance and reference to this amazing town, the Paroo Shire commissioned Archie Sinclair to sculpture a bronze double life-size statue, which sits in front of the Paroo Shire Hall in Cunnamulla.This statue is a positive drawcard to the town as tourists flock towards it for photographs to take home.
The Time Tunnel, Cunnamulla Fella Centre (Author's Photo)
Your next stop should be the Cunnamulla Fella Centre located behind the statue and which houses not only tourist information and merchandise, but also the Artesian Time Tunnel, Museum and Art Gallery. The Artesian Time Tunnel is a representation of what an old mine lift would have been like years previous – dark, dingy and rocking back and forth, which is not something we would like to travel in today.
Interesting Displays inside Cunnamulla Fella Centre Museum (Author's Photo)
Once inside the museum, take the opportunity to listen to a thirty-minute theatre presentation about the area, home to the largest Australian dinosaurs, opal fields and Artesian water lakes underground. The museum's artefacts are an informative showcase of equipment and knowledge from years ago. There is a small fee for entry into these buildings.
Great Camel Meat Burgers (Author's Photo)
Through conversation, I heard that the Cunnamulla Café sold Camel Burgers, which were said to be delicious. As my site seeing of the town covered the lunch timeframe, I decided to try one of these burgers as they were also available in a gluten-free option They were moreish - camel beef is a mild-tasting meat and I could have easily lined up for another. The café covered two shop areas: one for dining and one for the café and waiting area and I found the locals were friendly when I asked questions about the town.
Cunnamulla (Author's Photo)
The town is clean and plenty of parking for tourists and caravans and has everything a traveller could need. The IGA has an ATM and is stacked with grocery, meat, fruit and vegetable requirements as well as a good range of gluten-free options. My only disappointment is that ANZ does not cover the area and if requiring extra cash, the ATM is the only option in the town.
War Memorial Monument & Cannon (Author's Photo)
From lunch, I took a walk around the town stopping at buildings and monuments relating to the town's history. The Cunnamulla & District War Memorial is situated on the corner of five streets and was erected by the citizens of the Paroo Shire in memory of those who died in World War I. A cannon was placed beside the monument on Anzac Day 2002. The monument depicts a wide pool with four tiers rising, each supported by detailed masonry. The base is of four griffins each embossed with an emu, kangaroo and coat of arms. A lion supports the next tier and at the top stands a cherub. Obviously, there is pride in this monument as it was very white and clean from any dirt or debris.
Welcome to the Club Boutique Hotel Cunnamulla (Author's Photo)
Like any small town, there are several hotels; whether operating today or not, they are still a distinct reminder of a time when men came in from a hard day's work looking for a large cold beer. My accommodation was at the Club Boutique Hotel Cunnamulla, which has recently been tastefully renovated by the fifth-generation local born owner with a vision for further expansion of a luxury outback Glamping experience.
Dining in Garden Area by Bonfire, Club Boutique Hotel Cunnamulla (Author's Photo)
Inside the hotel, you can choose from one or two-bedroom hotel suites, complete with a bathroom, toilet, lounge, toaster, kettle and small refrigerator. The rooms were spacious, clean and favourably furnished, high ceilings and wooden walls renowned for country living of that era. Each night guests were welcomed to the garden area out the back where a warm bonfire, country singers and blankets were provided around tables and chairs for the enjoyment of all. Dinner could be served in this area where a bar was also situated, or you could choose the dining area in the front of the hotel. Dinner time was always very friendly talking to other visitors.
The Trappers Inn (Author's Photo)
On my walk around the town, I came across the old Trappers Inn, built around 1881 but now sadly in need of restoration. For safety, a large fence around the Inn stops vandalism and squatters. The hotel was originally named the "Railway Hotel" as it was believed the railway line would terminate in this area of the town. The name was changed to the Trappers Inn in the 1970s.
Other accommodation in Cunnamulla includes the Cunnamulla Tourist Park, hotels, motels, free camping and property stays.
The Robber's Tree, Cunnamulla (Aurthor's Photo)
In 1881 the Cunnamulla branch of the Queensland National Bank was robbed by Joseph Wells. Trying to escape he lost control of his horse and ran into the bush and surrounding sandhills climbing to the top of a tree. Searchers used a dog to locate him and he was trialled with robbery under arms and wounding to be sentenced to death. Although the bank manager and wounded storekeeper petitioned against the severity of the sentence, Joseph Wells was the last man in Queensland to receive the death penalty and was executed in March 1880. The tree where Joseph was located still stands today with a plaque relating the history and a fence around the area.
Sandhills Cunnamulla (Author's Photo)
If I wanted to be adventurous on my holiday, I was told I could take a ride down the sandhills on a piece of cardboard as this is a local pastime by the kids from Cunnamulla. The sandhills did look inviting but I rather like complete control of my vehicle these days. The Cunnamulla Tourist Park is located not far from the sandhills.
Allan Tannock Weir, Cunnamulla (Author's Photo)
A town cannot survive without water and so the Allan Tannock Weir on the Warrego River was completed in 1991. The weir supplies irrigation to landowners for growing of crops and also water to Cunnamulla. Although at times you can cross it by a dirt road to the side, the day I visited was just after substantial rain and the road was closed.
Cunnamulla Railway History @ Cunnamulla Railway Station (Author's Photo)
In days gone by the only way to get supplies out to remote areas was by railway. Cunnamulla was officially recognised as a township in 1868 and in 1898 the Brisbane to Cunnamulla railway line was opened. The Cunnamulla wool could then be sent directly to Brisbane and overseas without paying any tariffs to New South Wales and private sidings were negotiated to assist farmers getting their wool to the capital city. Because of the distance to the outback, it was decided by the Queensland Government that the route would be a narrow gauge of 1.067mm or 3ft 5 inches. The Queensland Government was the first railway operator in the World to adopt this gauge.
Cunnamullal Water Tower (Author's Photo)
Another notable tourist site is the Cunnamulla Water Tower painted in 2019 by artist Guido van Helten. The mural standing significantly high on the face of the tower represents a rivalry game between Charleville and Cunnamulla. The two towns meet twice a year, then compete in the grand final trying to win the game for that year.
Australia's Native Wildlife On Side of Highway (Author's Photo)
Cunnamulla is a great place to visit, not only for grey-nomads but also educational for children of all ages as most City kids can only read about experiences of the bush; in Cunnamulla you can experience it. With wide-open red desert land as far as you can see, one-lane bridges, multiple carriage road trains and Australian native wildlife free to roam, outback Queensland is the place to be.