Blade shearer Jack Howe put Blackall on the map in 1892 at nearby Alice Downs Station, when he set a world record by shearing 321 sheep in seven hours and 40 minutes. It took another 58 years before anyone matched this feat and this was by machine shears. Jack Howe is memorialised in a bronze sculpture that can be viewed when wandering along the Shamrock Stroll, a historical walk around the town.
Blackall has the reputation as the Arts Capital of the West, boasting an outdoor gallery of public artworks created by local and well renowned artists, which range from scrap metal sculptures, wool carvings and hand-painted murals to large bronze depictions of the town’s most famous.
The first artesian bore in the outback was drilled in Blackall in 1885 and today visitors can rest, relax and revive in the natural artesian waters at the Blackall Aquatic Centre’s thermal spa and swimming pool.
Blackall is the home of the Black Stump which was used for surveying purposes and permanently marks the original Astro Station established in 1887. Anything west of this point is said to be ‘beyond the black stump’.