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Isisford, Queensland

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There’s something about Isisford and the Outer Barcoo. It’s been the inspiration for many an Australian poet including Banjo Paterson. The magnificent two storey Clancy’s Overflow Hotel was said to have been re-named in honour of Banjo’s iconic poem. If you are interested in stories of how places came to be by default, then plan a visit to Whitman’s Museum. Put quite simply, the Whitman brothers broke an axel while attempting to cross the Barcoo. They decided to settle on the banks of the river and proceeded to establish a hotel, butcher’s shop, store and saddlery to service surrounding stations. Many of the original buildings still stand today. It’s easy to picture life in more gentler times as you stroll Isisford’s heritage streetscape. It’s hard to miss the Outback’s biggest Yellow Belly glistening in the sunlight as you arrive into town. It measures 12 metres long and stands a lofty five metres high. Look closely and you’ll discover windmill parts, corrugated iron and thousands of pop rivets gathered from surrounding properties. This impressive metal art sculpture is a celebration of the Yellow Belly Fishing Competition held annually on the last weekend of July. The event is held at Oma Waterhole and it draws masses of keen anglers from across the country. Oma Waterhole is one of many permanent waterholes fed by the much celebrated Barcoo River. It’s a favourite recreation spot for lovers of camping, fishing and most things water related. There’s even a boat ramp. Overnight campers appreciate access to the hot showers and toilet facilities. Find it on the Isisford Yaraka River Road, just 16 km from Isisford. Back in town, saunter down to the Barcoo Weir, also a popular camping site. It was built back in 1934 to provide greater water security for the community. A pipeline linking Oma Waterhole to the Weir was constructed in 1960. No doubt a much more appealing water source for the locals than in earlier times when water was sourced from rain catchment or by hauling supplies from the local waterholes.

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