Nestled in the middle of the outback, there’s one town that’s known for its colour and culture.
Stretch those legs and explore Blackall, starting off with this list of fun facts.
1. Blackall is home to record breaking shearer Jack Howe
If you want to get to know one of the most famous locals in Blackall, just head to the Universal Garden Centre on Shamrock Street to say ‘g-day’ to Jack Howe.
The local legend earned his own statue in 1892 after shearing a record breaking 321 sheep by hand in 7.5 hours.
2. Everything west of Blackall is beyond the black stump
If you’ve never heard the saying ‘beyond the black stump’, get yourself to Blackall and see it for yourself.
When pioneers were passing through the area, they declared that everything west of where they were (now the township of Blackall), was ‘beyond the black stump’.
You can check out the replica stump in town where an information board tells the tale.
3. Blackall is home to Australia’s last standing steam-operated woolscour
Playing tribute to the town’s rich sheep shearing heritage, Blackall Woolscour is Australia’s last standing steam-operated woolscour, which operated from 1908 – 1978.
Daily guided tours run through the woolscour by volunteers, but it’s also known as a photographer’s paradise – popular with brides and grooms chasing rustic wedding photos.
4. Blackall is known as the art and cultural hub of Central Outback Queensland
Get your creative juices flowing at Blackall, a town which wears its connection to the arts and culture of the outback on its sleeve.
In fact, you can follow the sculpture trail across the town, including the Big Ram.
If you’re visiting in spring, stop by the Blackall Heartland Festival for a celebration of country culture, with markets, exhibitions, poet’s breakfast and BBQ cook-off.
5. Blackall has an idyllic national park in its backyard
Only 4.5 hours (113km) south-west of Blackall (sitting directly west of Tambo) is Idalia National Park.
Contrasting with the flat plains of Blackall, the camping and bushwalking area is filled with dense mulga woodland that make way for rocky escarpments where lookouts are perched.
6. You can rest, relax and revive in the mineral spa water at Blackall
The tepid waters at the Blackall Aquatic Centre are just perfect for a dip during the cooler winter months, the watering hole is surrounded by grass areas and there’s even a hot massage spa to take the relaxation levels up a notch.
7. You can stop for coffee and a bite of history along the Matilda Way
If you like your coffee with a side of exploring, grab your morning beans at the Lodge on Hawthorn in Blackall.
The historic 110-year-old lodge has an antique shop, coffee shop, and lush gardens that welcome visitors to wander around the water features and flowers.
Formerly the Blackall Masonic Temple, you can discover the secrets of freemasonry and enjoy the historical tour along complete with scones and jam from 3pm to 4pm Tuesday to Friday, April-October.
8. Blackall is also home to another record
Jack Howe isn’t the only one to break a record in Blackall.
Local man by the name of Roy Dunn was chuffed about his livestock, especially one goat called Nugget.
Nugget broke the record for the highest jumping goat – leaping over a 3.5 foot hurtle.
9. There’s a well known Blackall yarn involving elephants
Have a chat with the locals and you might just hear about the tale of a great elephant race in the 60’s.
The yarn follows the story where a circus came to Blackall and the locals decided to race the elephants down the main street of town.
Long-time residents even have pictures from the day – and say there was a bookie!
10. Join the locals at the Saleyards
If you’re in town on a Thursday, spend the morning at the Blackall Saleyards and have a bird’s eye view of a regional cattle sale in action from the viewing deck nestled amongst the magnificently shady fig trees.
Have you been to Blackall? What did you learn while you were there?