Winton is over 1450 kilometres northwest of Brisbane. It has three major attractions that draw travellers from all across the country:
- The Waltzing Matilda Centre, the only museum in the world built around a song.
- Dinosaur bones. I cannot tell you how many professional and amateur palaeontologists I came across.( And I thought I was eccentric!)
- Black Opals.
Because I’m skipping the tourist brochure bits here are my personal highlights of Winton :
- O’kay, we can’t completely bypass Banjo Paterson, (Andrew Barton Paterson 1864 – 1941), journalist, author, and the bush poet who wrote Australia’s unofficial national anthem, Waltzing Matilda – whilst visiting Winton. Indeed, the North Gregory Hotel is the venue where it was first performed in 1895.
This was a beaut find (as was the steak sanger) but not what excited me. No, it was the Daphne Mayo glass etchings of the jolly swagman in the dining room named in her honour. Who was Daphne Mayo, you ask ? Mayo was a significant 20th-century artist, most prominently known for her work in sculpture.
I also saw my very first Coolibah Tree. I honestly thought they were like Enid Blyton’s Faraway Tree…….and unicorns.
2. The Royal Theatre, established in 1918, is one of only two remaining open-air picture theatres in Australia still in operation.
Wednesday Night is Nostalgia Night which is a guided presentation that recreates the experience of going to the movies during the 1960s.
Many movies have been filmed in the area including The Proposition and Mystery Road, and the Royal Theatre now hosts the annual Vision Splendid Outback Film Festival in June (following on from the Writer’s Festival).
3. The Age Of Dinosaurs is well worth a visit and not only is the area a veritable garden of fossilised dinosaur bones that keep popping up on cattle stations, but this venue makes the Top Ten Dark Skies in the world. So not only is this place jumping with mega fauna freaks but stargazers as well.
This photo looks down on Channel Country, where water run off after big rains channels into a basin:
And the bush hath friends to meet him, and their kindly voices greet him
In the murmur of the breezes and the river on its bars,
And he sees the vision splendid of the sunlit plains extended,
And at night the wond’rous glory of the everlasting stars.
From Banjo’s Clancy of the Overflow.