The misfortune of two early traders led to the development of the Isisford Township, when two travelling hawkers, brothers William and James Whitman broke an axle attempting to cross the Barcoo River, and decided that rather than press on, they would settle on the banks of the river. A village soon developed and the siblings erected a hotel, butcher’s shop, store and saddlery among other businesses.
Toady Isisford is home to the Outer Barcoo Interpretation Centre Museum which showcases world class fossils of the oldest modern crocodile “Isifordia Duncani” and bulldog fish. Many of the original buildings constructed by the Whitmans still stand and house fascinating little museums – the old bakery, Café Arcadia and Whitman’s Memorial Museum are a must-see. The Golden West Hotel also still stands in the main street of Isisford, formerly the ‘Westward Hotel’ it is the only one of the four hotels in existence in 1904 to remain open to this day.
Isisford also rests on the banks of the Barcoo, with camping available at the Barcoo Weir and Oma Waterhole. It’s a perfect spot to relax and wet a line for an afternoon or even a few days while you relax and enjoy the slower outback pace.
Just down the road from Isisford on the way to Yaraka lies the township of Emmet, surveyed in 1910 as a town in preparation for the Great Western Railway from Jericho to Windorah. Situated on the railway line running from Blackall to Yaraka, Emmet was once a bustling depot where people from the local properties came to pick up their stores and mail.
Today, with only two residents, the town has a picnic shelter and an interesting historical display in the revamped railway station. Visit the Emmet Store, where the stories of the area begin. Nearby is ‘Emmet Downs’, the scene of a ghost story; stay for a while and learn more about the area and its history.