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165 - 225m ASL


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AFTER awaking at first light I decided to explore the town centre before breakfast. I headed across the road to pass under the town's tallest structure, the concrete water tower. Continuing another forty metres I reached a sign indicating the Tropic of Capricorn, the latitude where the sun is directly overhead on the summer solstice. Anything north of this line is the tropics (although the tropic does move about 15 metres northward each year and it is currently about two hundred metres north of this point.

From the Tropic of Capricorn sign I headed around the Council building into Eagle Street, the main street through the centre of town, stretching exactly one kilometre from here on the main highway next to the railway line, to the other side of the town from where the farmland begins. I explored the town centre as quite a few locals walked their enormous dogs and cleaners tidied the street ready for the day.

Following breakfast we climbed into the bus and headed through the town and continued though the farmland out the other side. The sky was perfectly clear without a cloud in the sky as we headed out into the vast farm wilderness for about eight kilometres before reaching Rosebank Station. Here we followed a rough dirt road about a kilometre off the main road to the homestead, and passing by continuing a big loop over about five kilometres around the farm through the open forest and grasslands, seeing a lot of wildlife. After crossing the mostly dry Wellshot Creek and passing a large dam, we returned to the homestead.

The homestead was built around a hundred years ago and is very nicely restored to its original conditions. It has quite a history with having been visited by Princess Alexandria in the 1950s. We stopped here for morning tea hosted by owners Alan and Sue Smith, who told all sorts of stories of the history of this place. The farm is about 11,000 acres, as small as farms get around here.

After exploring the historic house, we headed back into Longreach and through to the airport to the Qantas Founders Museum near the terminal. The Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Service was established here (after being conceived in Cloncurry and founded in Winton). The museum has magnificent displays of the history of aviation in Australia and many artefacts. From the main museum building we explored what had been the aircraft maintenace building which several old small passenger planes stood. From the maintenance building we entered another building for lunch before heading to the museum's main attraction, a collection of passenger planes donated to the museum. This included a large Boeing-747 which they had amazingly landed here along the short runway about 20 years ago when they put it into retirement.

We explored the different planes, each with quite a lot of history behind it. Three of the planes (including the 747) we were able to walk through and explore. The older planes had been very well restored with one of them having all the furnishings remaining when it became a private jet after its service. The 747 was stripped down a bit so I was able to see quite a lot of the mechanisms normally hidden by panels. A highlight was being able to have a look into the pilot cabins in each plane.

After exploring the museum, we had a couple of hours of rest in the town, so I explored the town centre again under the heat of the afternoon sun before returning to the hotel in the late afternoon for our group to be taken out through the other side of the town heading north eastward for a couple of kilometres before reaching the Thomson River. Here we climbed on board a boat and started cruising along the 10-15 metre deep channel along the river. Longreach is named after this channel, a permanent pool even when the rest of the river dries up. When the river is flowing during rainy seasons (which it did this year following 11 years of drought), the area floods extensively. Fortunately Longreach is up on a slight hill, advised by the local Aboriginal people when it was first settled so it never floods. The area down here floods though, flowing along numerous channels giving this area the name "channel country". The river starts a few hundred kilometres to the north east, and flows south westward for nearly 10000 kilometres to its mouth at Lake Eyre.

The sun was sinking low as we cruised a generally eastward direction. The banks of the river were held together by large gnarly coolabah trees. Eventually upon reaching near the end of the channel, we turned around and started heading downstream towards the setting sun.

There were few clouds in the sky as the sun sunk below the horizon ahead of us. The few clouds glowed a bright orange purple colour then the entire sky lit up brilliant yellows and purples with the spectacular sunset. The colours remained for a good half an hour before the sky suddenly darkened as we pulled up back at the jetty.

Upon leaving the boat we headed up onto the riverbank for dinner with country music entertainment by a local artist before returning to Longreach.


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