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Originally the junction of four indigenous language groups, the Wadjalang, Ngandangara, Puthamara and Maranganji. Today bore water is the only source of water, two town bores supplying the life source with a ruthless sulphur smell at 75°c out of the ground. No restrictions means use is at your leisure. One must use cooling tanks, notable in the roof scape or raise sprinklers on milk crates high off the grass and hope the hot water doesn’t kill the plants. Due to the semi-arid climate and lacking nutrients in the clay soil, genuses of acacia are more prevalent than any other tree. Mulga and Gidgee’s leaves have evolved to minimise evaporation. The answer to building is to move already existing buildings, bring in demountables, dongas or old buildings from afar. Approximately 90% of houses are raised for transport, transit is cheaper than a new build.
During our stay the town was celebrating its 100th year.
To document 100 bits of a place’s habitation is to understand the entirety of how people live and why. What would you document?
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Exploring the elements of Quilpie that have literally been built up to make the town.CLICK THE IMAGE for the full Zine.
• Mulga Lands biogeographic region
• Mean annual temps; H - 28.2 L - 13.6
• Mean annual rainfall; 488mm
• Population; 595
• Elevation 200 m
• On ANZAC day the council provides the traditional rum and milk (self serve) and breakfast
• Whilst we were there the Council had a deal on land for a new housing estate -'two for one'
• The grey range to the W of quilpie is the division of the bulloo and lake eyre basins
• Quilpie hospital built in 1922 was split into pieces, since being turned into five houses and a Golf Club!
The change from brown soil to red was quick. In one day’s ride we saw the landscape change. It really puts into perspective how little of Australia we really know and experience.
The low humidity and high heat left this road kill incredibly well preserved. It took a fair amount of yanking with pliers to get this bit of jerky off.
After putting our clothes on the line to dry, a wind picked up and all of our clothes ended up getting covered in these burrs. Bastards!
Preserved through the low humidity the skin of paddy melon’s (a weed) become tough, you could almost build out of it!
Not everything was red dirt and baked beans. We managed to borrow some fancy clothes from some generous locals for a ball celebrating 100 years of Quilpie. We thought we better scrub up after being told twice that it was “formal dress” by the lady selling ball tickets.
A painting by wonderful Local Artist Lyn Barnes whose painting is a tribute to the ball that was held the week we were there celebrating Quilpie being gazetted for 100 years. Note the familiar figures in the foreground.
Click on the image to see more of Lyn’s beautiful work
A case study in how to build arched buildings with small straight structural members. Timber doesn’t grow big out this way so this solution got around the issue. Brilliant!
We were lucky enough to see this shed thanks to Brian and Kylie who own the property and let us stay at their incredible homestead. You can stay there too. Click on the image to see more. It is absolutely beautiful.
The ground was so hard here We had to use rocks to hold down our tent
Quilpie’s main streets are very wide. This was because they were built big enough for camel trains to be able to turn around.
The Bough Shade is a simple structure clad with braches, leaves and the like so to provide shade. This shade is better than a solid roof as breezes can still move through it. You can even wet down the roof so it acts like an evaporative air-conditioner.
An excellent fire escape from a school in Quilpie. We were told that you would get into a lot of trouble if you used it when there wasn’t a fire.
Just NE of the town is this wonderful lake, where birds and animals flock to in abundance. Picnics and weddings are also plentiful here.
We commandeered a shop in Quiplie’s main street for our exhibition displaying the “archi-bits” of the town. One of the great aspects about country towns is the availability of public and private space. Since everyone knows who owns what it is simple to be able to use a shop front for a day. People are amazing! Thanks Quiplie
Enroute to our next stop we saw these dingo’s hanging in this tree as a statement on pest management to other farmers. The big question, bait and kill wild dogs or let them manage themselves…?
What an amazing place. There have been several discoveries of dinosaur bones near Eromanga and they are on display in a custom built centre in the one pub town. It is nothing like a “museum” we have ever been to. More like a workshop it was utterly engaging, immersive and inspirational.
Click on the image to check out their website.
This is the group of Grey Nomads who adopted us for a week! They fed us, watered us and even came to pick us up because they were worried about us riding in the dark. Great fires, great stories and wonderful hospitality. Thank you. Remember those burrs? Well Owen’s silk sleeping sheet was one of the victims and you can see in the right hand side of this photo Owen and Geoff trying to get the burrs out of it before it falling in the dirt again and then throwing it in the fire!