Discover Thargomindah

>20km

THARGOMINDAH | THARGOMINDAH

Check out the stone Cobb & Co Crossing which was the main access into town across the Bulloo River before bridges were built. Thargomindah became the home for Cobb & Co Coaches to service all the distant settlements and was in use up until late 1929.

Cobb & Co Crossing

Check out the stone Cobb & Co Crossing which was the main access into town across the Bulloo River before bridges were built. Thargomindah became the home for Cobb & Co Coaches to service all the distant settlements and was in use up until late 1929.

During the 1890’s, Thargomindah also became the home for Cobb & Co Coaches servicing the distant settlements of Hungerford, Wompah, Oontoo, Kyabra, and Toompine. The trip by Stage Coach to Cunnamulla, which was a distance of 150 miles, would take about 5–6 days, on a good (dry) road.

If people feel that the road toll now is extreme, it was no bed of roses in the days of Coach Travel. Horses and men were spirited, and bolting and drunkenness were only two of the many hazards that had to be faced on the roads. Coach drivers and passengers had to contend with wild animals and rough, pot-holed tracks. The high speeds of the very lightweight Coaches meant that any one of a hundred mishaps could occur, including rollovers. The worst feature of Coach Travel was the discomfort of travelling long hours in extreme cold or heat seated on top of the Coach. Even an inside seat was no guarantee of comfort.

 


Historic Old Hospital

Enjoy the freedom to experience a self-guided tour of the Thargomindah Old Hospital at your own leisure.

Combined with over 5km of concrete walking paths, this tourist attraction will keep you entertained for hours. Feel the whispers of the past prickle up your spine to the back of your neck as the Old Hospital comes to life with a swipe of a card.

The experience includes short, dynamic, fun and interesting documentary style videos, plus the stories from our matrons, doctors and family members of people who have passed, are told through holographic projection experiences.

Settle in to this historic building which was built from locally hand-made mud bricks in 1888 and served as a hospital until 1975, and bear witness to the history and stories of the old morgue, Matron Freda Tite in the dispensary, Dr Chester Wilson in the doctor’s surgery and Matron Sylvia McGregor in the matron’s quarters. Wander through and check out some of the displays of the past that are in each room and feel the presence of a few friendly ghosts!

The building still stands strong and proud and is a tribute to the tenacity of Thargomindah’s pioneers and has always played an important, often sentimental, role in the community.


Historical Leahy House

Take a walk back in time when you visit Leahy House. The house is named after John and Patrick Leahy and was built out of locally made mud bricks in 1885.

John Leahy was a very energetic and progressive Chairman of the Bulloo Divisional Board and his brother Patrick, who also displayed drive and foresight was the first recorded Clerk. With the Leahy brothers at the helm, the Division embarked on the project of drilling an artesian bore. This venture proved most successful when in 1893 a plentiful supply of a good quality water flow was reticulated through the town of Thargomindah and in fact became the first town to have a reticulated artesian water supply.

John Leahy began his political career in 1893 when he entered the Queensland Legislative Assembly as the independent member for Bulloo. He then became the minister for Railways and Public Works from 1901 to 1903 and became Speaker of the House in 1907. As Speaker of the House, he gained respect for his ‘measured handling’ of Parliamentary Debates. His brother Patrick built and owned the Thargomindah Herald. The paper boasted an impressive readership for its day and is claimed to be distributed throughout SW QLD, NSW, SA and VIC.

 


History & Arts

Art and history are combined in the two sculptures created by national artist William Eicholtz of Melbourne.

Bronze bust sculptures of Dowling and Leahy, two pioneers who were pivotal in the settlement of Thargomindah. The sculptures stand at the corner of Dowling and Gilmour Streets outside the Council Administration Office. Vincent James Dowling was a remarkable bushman who pioneered and settled Thargomindah Station. He was an explorer as well as a pastoralist and found the source of the Paroo and Bulloo Rivers as well as mapping much of the land and recording flora and fauna. John Leahy was responsible for much of the development of Thargomindah. He and his brother Patrick were prominent in establishing Thargomindah as the first Queensland town to have reticulated water.

Leahy was a politician and businessman, and rose to the position of Speaker of the House in Queensland Parliament in 1907. One of the few remaining mud brick buildings in Thargomindah, Leahy House, is named after him.

Head into the foyer of the Bulloo Shire Council Admin Centre to view Peta Warner’s tribute to the ANZAC painting. The painting was commissioned by Council to commemorate the 2015 ANZAC Centenary. Last, but not least, check out the conduit between above and below display which is called ‘Drawing Water’ by Fredrick White. There are 52 poles in the work, inspired by artesian water and representing the need for water all year. It also represents the 4,700 bores that provide the only reliable source of water throughout inland Australia.


Hydro Power Plant

Why not enjoy a self-guided tour of Thargomindah’s hydro power plant and experience Australia’s very first hydroelectric power plant.

Did you know that Thargomindah was third in the world after London and Paris to produce hydroelectricity for electric street lighting! Come and see for yourself and listen to Mr Joe Hood, who was the local blacksmith, come to life as a hologram to tell you the story of how he built the very first water wheel.

Thargomindah, like many western towns is situated over the Great Artesian Basin. In 1891, drilling commenced on a bore to supply the town with water, and in 1893 a good supply was struck at a depth of 808 m. The water was forced out under pressure with a daily output of 670,000 gallons which produced a 70-foot high plume of boiling water!

Harnessing the energy from the pressurised water, Mr Holmes the engineer, designed the first water wheel that Mr Joe Hood, built. It was installed in a casing made from a water tank, and was coupled to two 110 Volt Generators by a belt. The tanks originally came to Thargomindah from Bourke by Bullock Wagon with water for the town, prior to the old bore being drilled. The original wheel, which had been made locally, is now in the Queensland Powerhouse Museum, was replaced by a Pelton Wheel and later updated with a Triumph Pelton Wheel, which is on display now.


Historic Old Jail

Aptly placed near the Police Station, the Thargomindah Old Jail is just a short walk from all accommodation providers. The old cypress pine jail has a colourful history of lock ups for the very common crime of cattle and sheep rustling.

Step into one of the tiny jail cells and listen to the banter between the mannequins of Sergeant George Schnitzerling and local criminal Sidney Barney, about stealing some sheep from Norley Station and using obscene language in a public place. Imagine the number of people going to jail these days if the police decided to charge people for that!

Venture over to the Thargo Jail Kitchen to hear all about the Bulloo Downs murder when in 1965, four years after George and his wife Trixie left Thargomindah, the district was rocked by a murder case. Three human skulls were discovered at Bulloo Downs Station near Thargomindah. To finish off the jail experience, Trixie Schnitzerling will talk to you about life as a policeman’s wife in Thargomindah and her love of cooking.


Bulloo River Walking Trails

Combined with our other tourist attractions, this path is all part of the journey and story of Thargomindah. The 5.9km concrete walking path winds along the Bulloo River to Pelican Point, which is a popular picnic spot for locals and visitor.

There are park tables, benches and wood BBQs for all to enjoy. Continue on past the Cobb & Co Crossing, over to the Old Hospital, past the cooling ponds, to the Old Hydro, back to the Old Jail and into the Explorer’s Caravan Park.

Hire a Segway or a bike, jog or walk to enjoy a scenic and historic trail that can be enjoyed time and time again. Solar lighting has been installed along the path so that it can be enjoyed during the hotter months when it can be utilised after dark in the cooler hours.


Pelican Point Picnic Area & Old Weir

The Bulloo River is the life of our town and we invite you to make the most of all the facilities at Pelican Point picnic area.

There are plenty of wood fired bbqs, chairs, tables and solar lighting. Relax and enjoy a glass of wine and a cold beer on sunset, lay back on the lounge chairs, watch the sun go down and the stars come up over the river.

Throw a line in to catch a yellow belly or two and some yabbies at the old weir. Bear witness to our amazing birdlife and if you’re lucky, you might even catch a dance of the brolgas.

Take a swim or grab a kayak from Channel Country Kayaks and paddle down the river. The Bulloo River is within walking distance of Explorers and Napunyah Caravan Parks, Oasis Motel and Bulloo River Hotel Motel.


Thargomindah Visitor Information Centre

Come into our lovely air conditioned centre and relax on our comfy lounges, catch up emails using our free wifi, watch some of our regional videos, browse through brochures, purchase some gifts and souvenirs to take home to the family. Or you can use the library which is located in the building, or even pop next door to the café and grab something to snack on or a real cappuccino!

Our friendly dedicated staff can help you with lots of information on the attractions listed on this page, help with maps and itineraries and provide info on the self guided tours.


DISCOVER THARGOMINDAH