Blackall is a place where the weird and wonderful can and does happen.
Did you know these nine weird and wonderful Blackall facts? Bet you didn’t!
- The Blackall region was discovered in 1846 by explorer Major Thomas Mitchell who named the river flowing through the area the ‘Victoria’. The river’s name was later changed to the ‘Barcoo’ which is believed to be an aboriginal name meaning ’ice on water’. It must have been a pretty cold winter when they came to the area!
- The building that became the Blackall Cinema in 1956 was first erected as an aircraft hangar in Townsville during World War II and was used by the US Air Force. After the war it was dismantled and re-erected at Peak Downs as a workshop, then relocated to Blackall by truck and rail. The Cinema housed rural Queensland’s first internet cafe in the late 1990s.
- Blackall’s first graveyard was located near the corner of Shamrock & Clematis St. Today they would nearly be in the centre of the town. The graves were relocated in 1844-1886 during street improvements.
- The family of W G Perry started their circus from Northampton Downs in outback Queensland in 1885, later assuming the promotional name of Eroni Brothers. Elephants even raced in the streets of Blackall in the 1960s.
- Like most outback communities, Blackall’s residents have always had a keen thirst. In 1875 Blackall had a population of only 45, which apparently justified the establishment of two hotels – O’Malley’s & Desmond’s. Today the population of around 900 isn’t quite as thirsty, but we still manage to support the town’s two hotels, the Barcoo and the Union.
- Jumping horses? no – goats in Blackall – in 1905 Roy Dunn set a world record for jumping 3’6” on his goat Nugget. An image of Roy and Nugget is proudly displayed on his head stone at the Blackall Cemetery.
You can meet a goat or two out at the Blackall Woolscour – we aren’t 100% sure they are Nugget’s descendants – but they could be!
- The first ever car to roll into town was a Napier driven by the local medico, Dr Hewer way back in 1907.
- Barcaldine and the Tree of Knowledge are synonymous with the Labor Party, however, the first meeting that led to the first shearers’ union was actually held in Blackall in December 1886. This group later became the Australian Labor Party. Bill Kewley, a Blackall resident, was appointed as secretary of the Queensland Shearers Union in 1887.
- Politician, Pauline Hanson married Walter Zagorski in the Presbyterian Church in Blackall on January 2, 1971. Bet you didn’t know that one!
Have you been to Blackall? What did you learn while you were there?