Take Me Home Country Roads*

Someone asked me the other day what was my dream destination.

Easy Peasy. I have a thing about our country towns.

They are full of character and history and each and every one has a story to tell.

I visited a few on a short road trip last weekend. What these small rural townships generally have in common is a memorial to those fallen during the Boer and both World Wars. You don’t see many of the more recent conflicts on these memorials and I assume that as the world changed so did these small communities, some virtually disappearing as industries changed and the population moved closer to the cities.

Maclagan was surveyed in 1889. Twenty years ago it had a population of nearly 400. Ten years ago it had less than 200. It is interesting to note that so many of the early families lost more than one son during the war/s.

Just up the road is Cooyar, bustling with a population of nearly 250. The heritage listed ANZAC memorial was really stunning, surrounded by gardens, and the Cooyar Hotel, opened in 1903 saw a steady trade from travellers.

The parklands opposite the pub were also interesting in that in the early days this marked the spot of the local Memorial Hall, or community meeting place, which was swept away by floodwaters and killing two locals.

Maidenwell is another little village popular as a stop before the beautiful Bunya Mountains.  To be honest it was so unpleasantly hot I just quietly died under a shady tree with a refreshing  bevy. But thats what makes a good Queensland pub……

Lastly, Crows Nest, a thriving metropolis of 2000 only 40 kms out of Toowoomba, Queensland’s largest inland city. I have shared my visit here previously after a decadent stay at  Bunnyconnellan Guest House on a gorgeous olive grove.

I discovered somewhere new from this township’s past which I found fascinating:  Bullocky’s Rest Park which was originally used as a camp for bullock teams hauling timber from Cooyar to Toowoomba due to the availability of a fresh water supply. 

“A place to meet on the journey way

A place to rest at the close of day

Sharing a billy and a tale to tell

Midst the night time clanging of the ole bullock bell.”

I’ve visited an Art Gallery, an Antique Store and even bought raffle tickets to send kids from Boys Brigade to Canberra for a week.

Bali? No thanks.

*Apologies to John Denver

14 thoughts on “Take Me Home Country Roads*

  1. I’m intrigued by the signs on the building – the big red XXXX. In the US that would indicate a strip club or a porn shop! Tell me that’s not the case in Australia! I love the history of small towns…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love a new place or an old place with memories. A car jetting down the road; a slow ambling walk with the pug around the neighborhood; or a trip to the ocean watching the waves. And then it is nice to come home.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hello May!! So much to comment on here – the other weekend I was at Tumby Bay for their Colour (Art) Festival and my sister played a gig with the community ukele group including this song – we were given the lyrics and so now I actually know it proper – loved hearing it sung at the Gabba too during the power outage, and singing along on the radio with the kids

    And now – Cooyar. Long time ago I used to live in Yarraman and frequently went to Cooyar. There’s also a bridge named after a great (great?) grandfather. Is there still a wobbly bridge over the creek?

    My dream is to visit all the libraries of SA – especially all the small country town ones – love them!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Gee Jen, it is so good to hear from you! How have you been?
      There is now a swinging bridge in Cooyar. The previous bridge was washed away by floods in 1988.
      I love the Little Libraries too 🙂 Couldn’t you tell? I’m now part of a small group who on their travels donate preloved books to Little Libraries in rural communities doing it tough. On this trip we donated adult novels to a township with a population of 195. Maclagan Street Library was full of kiddies books but only 3 for oldies. A colleague recently distributed books to Little Libraries impacted by bushfires on the south coast.
      I love how things get their names in country towns, like your bridge. There are many in that area named after military personnel and I wondered about the connected stories. Did think it would make an interesting book, one that should have been started forty years ago.
      Welcome back, my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

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