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Richlands-Forest Lake Scouts

Tania McLaughlin    May 6, 2024    5 min read   

Prior to the April school holidays our Scouts were busy making gardens (including fairy gardens), cooking and practising scout skills, and some were busy packing in anticipation of our 2024 Scout Longreach Trip. After months of cooking sausages to raise funds, a small group of our older Scouts and adult supporters set out in the early hours of Easter Monday ready for a week of fun and discovery. On the way we stopped at Miles Historical Village to get a glimpse into the past lives of early Australians. What followed was 4 packed days of experiences, starting on Tuesday with Outback Pioneers NoGo Station experience, where Jeremy Kinnon guided us through the history of the station, educated us on the trials of sheep farming and supplied us with a stockman’s lunch, including a fresh sandwich with corned meat and fresh homemade pickles.  

Wanting to give the Scouts a true representation of the Outback, we drove to Stonehenge – a little town with 6 houses, a couple of community buildings and a rather nice pub. The Scouts were happy to run around gathering rocks with which to spell out their names, thus adding themselves to the Stonehenge Address Book, before stopping in at the pub where Tom sold them a cold soft drink and a quick chat for free. 

After dinner the Scouts amused themselves with a card game. Wednesday morning was spent exploring the history of the Stockman at the infamous Stockman’s Hall of Fame, including a self-guided tour of the museum, a short film about the Stockman’s strike and an entertaining outdoor show – after which all of the scouts decided they needed to take home a stock whip. All of our afternoons found us at the Longreach Aquatic Centre for a relaxing swim and a warm shower, followed by dinner around a campfire and a relaxing evening activity.  

Our next experience was with Outback Pioneers at their Thomson River Sunset cruise and campfire dinner, once again enjoying the Kinnon family’s country hospitality. Thursday morning was another early start as we joined Outback Pioneers for the Cobb & Co Experience – and what an experience it was! Boarding a horse-drawn carriage and being transported back in time as Laine Kinnon and his team trotted and galloped across the common and along an old stock route, entertaining us with stories of old, before returning for morning tea of fresh scones and billy tea, relaxing in the old movie theatre watching an old Australian movie and laughing at the bad dad jokes in the Old Time Tent Show.  

We had lunch at the Merino Bakery before making our way to the Powerhouse Museum, where we explored the history of electrical supply in Longreach and the original NoGo Station house. We then explored the rest of Longreach on a walking and driving tour, taking in the historical buildings of the railway station, post office, City Hall (including the point of the Tropic of Capricorn), the Masonic Hall, the old Grazier’s building which now houses a radio station and has the dubious honour of the Longreach Bra Fence. We stopped by the old Agricultural College – now transferred into a short stay accommodation, the Longreach School of Distance Education to see their newly completed quarters, and checked out some of the shops in town.

On Friday morning we headed to Winton, with our first stop being the Winton Age of Dinosaurs Museum. Here the Scouts were given a guided tour of the lab – investigating the fossils and history of dinosaur discovery in Winton, before heading to the Collection Room to learn about the local dinosaur discoveries. Finally it was off to Dinosaur Stampede, where the group got to walk alongside the footsteps of real dinosaurs, preserved in a special climate controlled building. We then headed into the Winton township to check out the musical fence – a creative collection of recycled steel items crafted into percussion instruments – and Arno’s Wall. Arno’s Wall is a collection of general and household items – including bicycles, tools, washing machines, sinks and much more – concreted together to make a wall. The scouts spent some time searching for interesting objects within the wall. We later enjoyed dinner at the local RSL in Longreach. 

As we set off for home on Saturday the group was educated along the way about highlights of the smaller towns such as the Ilfracombe machinery museum stretching the length of the town.  We made a quick stop at Barcaldine to look at the Tree of Knowledge and some of the information about the Shearers Strike. Our next stop was at Blackall, where the local council had arranged for the Ram Park to be opened for us. We were also treated to a guided tour by the caretaker – a retired driver named Stewey – who had also arranged for his mates to demonstrate cattle drafting, whip cracking and how all of the machinery worked, and provided a fresh damper for morning tea.  

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Tania McLaughlin