Travelling Australia - Journal 2009
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14-15 August 2009 - Thargomindah
Thargomindah is small with only a few shops. Roads are wide and houses single story, mostly elevated about a metre above the ground and clearly designed and built for hot weather. Three walks around the town have been devised and made available for visitors; one walk is along the Bulloo River adjacent to the town, the others are a Nature Walk and a Heritage walk around the town. The latter includes a building made of mud bricks fashioned from Bulloo River floodplain mud. The nature walk goes to a small Arid Land Botanic Garden where naturally growing trees have been fitted with identification signs.

The town relies on bore water; the original bore no longer supplies the town but remains as a tourist attraction with steaming hot water pouring out of the bore pipe into a pool then flowing along an open drain (a "bore drain") to maintain nearby bird wetlands. The original bore powered a hydro-electric turbine providing electrical power to the town; turbine and associated switchgear are displayed for tourists.

The Bulloo River (which also passes Quilpie) flows close to Thargomindah; there was still water in the river but no longer flowing with declining water level in waterholes. The Bulloo channels are not bridged for the road but are crossed by a series of causeways less than a metre above the channel. River floods would quickly cover the causeway and road access to the town would be difficult. However, I was told that the Paroo River at Eulo along the road towards Cunnamulla floods far more easily disrupting road transport.
Alice Springs from Anzac Hill Historical House in Thargomindah built of mud bricks.

Macdonnell Ranges Residential houses in Thargomindah.

Floodplains along the Bulloo River around Thargomindah are covered by a single distinctive eucalyptus species (Eucalyptus ochrophloia) which has a band of black bark for two to three metres on the lower part of the trunk. Any undergrowth possibly growing under the gum trees has been eaten by cattle leaving thousands of gum trees in a uniform single species layer stretching into the distance. On the eastern side of the floodplain there is a very sharp boundary to the eucalyptus at the edge of the floodplain soil with mulga on the adjacent red soil.

Thargomindah has one unusual attraction in the rocky fords used by Cobb and Co coaches (and every other traveller) to cross the channels of the Bulloo River before the bridge was built. Almost anywhere else subsequent development would have removed these fords but here they remain intact as an interesting illustration of the difficulty of transport before motor vehicles, bridges and sealed roads.

Lake Bindegolly National Park is about 40 kilometres from Thargomindah towards Cunnamulla immediately adjacent to the road so access is easy. Information signposts claim the semi-permanent lakes in this park are home to numerous water birds and dry only about once every ten years. This was one of those years and the lakes were dry so there were no water birds. I walked for a couple of kilometres along the walking track and looked at some of the trees including a species of acacia found only around this lake. The region is barren and the National Park' warning not to walk at all in summer and to be prepared with adequate water at other times appears well justified.
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