Blackall

An outback town famous for being the home town of Jackie Howe, 'the world's greatest ever blade shearer'. It is a major merino breeding and cattle sales centre.

Where is it?: Queensland: Outback. Blackall is 31127 km north west of Brisbane, 101 kilometres north-west of Tambo and 106 kilometres south of Barcaldine on the Landsborough Highway.

Things to see and do

Blackall's Aquatic Centre is an artesian spa and swimming pool. Blackall was the first Outback town to start drilling an artesian bore back in 1885.

Black's Palace, located on Marston Station near Jericho, constitutes the largest complex of Aboriginal drawings known to exist in Central Queensland. The paintings are set on the sandstone cliff faces of a gorge. There are some 9,471 figures in the area ranging from stencils of hands, feet, boomerangs and axes to drawings of spears, clubs, shields, snakes and lizards. Tragically the site is now closed to the public. For access, a permit is required. Access is with approved operators only, contact the Wanpa-rda Matilda Centre for access information on (07) 4651 2530.

The Black Stump

Blackall is home to what is claimed to be the original Black Stump, which marks site of Astro Station, established in 1887. The old tree stump was at the exact centre of a meridian square used by surveyors to align the borders of Queensland back in 1887. Unfortunately the original Black Stump was destroyed in a fire, however a petrified stump now marks the same spot. Places west of this point are said to be 'beyond the black stump', which was no man's land.

Blackall Wool Scour

The Blackall Wool Scour is 4.2 km north of town. The process of wool scouring, which had once been done by hand, involved putting the greasy wool through a special scouring solution, drying the cleaned wool, then pressing it into bales. When the wool scour was built in 1906 it was considered a miracle of modern technology. It is open for inspection seven days a week from 8.00am - 4.00pm and guided tours are on offer.


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Brief history

In 1868, the townsite was surveyed, gazetted and named in honour of Samuel Wensley Blackall, the governor of Queensland. The area around Blackall was explored by Sir Thomas Mitchell in 1846. He named the Barcoo River 'Victoria', believing that it flowed north into the Gulf of Carpentaria. Less than a year later Edmund Kennedy returned to the area and proved Mitchell incorrect by following the Barcoo until it became part of Cooper Creek. The town was established in 1864 and became a centre for the district's vast pastoral leases. It became a centre for transportation of cattle when the railway arrived in 1886.

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