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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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.