|Travelling Australia - Journal 2006
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14 September 2006 - Roma to St George
The road from Roma to St George ran through scattered timber with some woodland and quite a lot of cleared and semi-cleared bush. Cattle and sheep, mostly sheep, were grazing; we were now entering a region where sheep have historically been preferred to cattle. Vegetation changed as we drove; areas of grassland were separated by eucalyptus woodland and a substantial area of cypress closer to Surat.
Surat has a long association with Cobb & Co which provided essential stagecoach transport services in the eastern states during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Horse-drawn stage coaches were replaced by motor transport in the 20th century and the last commercial stage-coach trip left Surat in 1924. We stopped to look at the local museum based on the Cobb and Co presence in Surat. The museum also presented fish found in the Balonne River (a tributary of the Darling), described as a good fishing river. A large (5 metre square) fresh water aquarium was stocked with some of the local fish to show them off.
|Pear tree beside the road is a reminderof the prickly pear which once infested this region.|
|Coach in the Cobb & Co museum, Surat.|
|Model of a Cobb & Co coach with horse team.|
Shortly after leaving Surat heading towards St George we saw five emus dithering around some bushes a short distance from the road, fortunately they didn't take it into their heads to run in front of us (as emus have been known to do). Earlier in the day we had seen a wallaby quietly munching grass at the side of the road. We saw more emus and wallabies in southern Queensland than in the rest of Australia.
St George turned out to be bigger than expected; it was larger than the official population of 3,500 led us to expect. Judging by the variety of shops and the size of the shopping centre, St George serves as the centre for a number of surrounding pastoral properties. While checking into the caravan park for one night I was given a pack of literature prepared by the Council Information Centre which outlined all St George had to offer; we decided to stay longer than one night.