Freshwater fishing in the outback can be a soul regenerating experience - and you might catch your dinner - so cast a line into the Thomson River and see if you can reel in a fish or two at Jundah. Depending on your luck, you might catch a yellowbelly, jew or bream.
Feeling more energetic? A nine-hole golf course and clubhouse is located near the hospital. or you can ask at the Jundah Information Centre to acquire equipment for a game of tennis and basketball. While you’re there, pick up local information and see an exhibition of local photography. The centre is also the place to stock up on souvenirs and keep in touch with family and friends via the public internet service.
If you’re caravanning, the Jundah Caravan Park has recently been relocated next to the Jundah Hotel. It’s so convenient for meals and to get to know the locals over a drink. And if a coldie isn’t your thing, they make great coffee too. Air-conditioned hotel rooms are available.
Visit the memorial park and pool for a barbecue and a swim in the 25m pool. Pause at the memorial cenotaph which bears the names of soldiers from the shire who volunteered their services and fought in the two World Wars and the Boer War. Under shelter on one side of the park are two wagons used for general freight and wool carting during the pioneer days.
A mural of the outback, painted by the school principal and children in November 1997, adorns the front of a building that was once a general store dating back to the late 1880s. These days the former store is used as a meeting place for locals to have a cuppa and do a little craftwork.
The town has a general store, which is owned by the council. It’s a small shop but it’s packed. You can buy hot drinks, meals, fruit and vegetables, meat, jewellery and souvenirs.
The Barcoo Shire Museum on the corner of Macrossan and Miles Streets, is open from Monday to Friday all year round from 8.30am to 5.00pm. You’ll find it a fascinating spot to browse around, with everything from antique mortuary tools to an old RFDS medicine kit. Entry is by donation. The communication display is of particular interest, as it chronicles a history from the party line era and the old telephone exchanges to different uses of VHP radios.
Jundah itself is at the centre of sheep and cattle grazing land and is the administrative centre for the shire.
The sheep industry has been the inspiration for a popular day on the Jundah calendar, the Sheep Shenanigans and Woolly Cup in June. The event features sheep races, the Rousie’s Roundup, art competition, billy cart races and entertainment. The locals reckon it’s ewe-nique!
Travelling to Jundah is easy nowadays, as the road is sealed from Windorah as well as the entire distance to Longreach.
There are four entrances to Jundah, and each one is signposted. A pathway links the signs and you can walk a circuit around the entranceways and view the welcome signs and information about the area including town, river system, services and local government.
In fact, the whole shire has a diversity of scenery including red sandhills, mulga and red soil country, sheep and cattle grazing land, famous river systems and reminders of the pioneering past..
Welford National Park, 45km southeast of Jundah, fronts onto a stretch of the Barcoo River and is the perfect place to soak up natural history. Nature lovers can camp beside permanent waterholes along the river system. A Heritage-listed pise homestead is the private dwelling for the park ranger. The earthen homestead dates back to the 1900s and is one of only two pise constructions still occupied in Queensland. Check with the information centre at Jundah or Windorah for more information before heading out or ring the ranger on (07) 4658 5994.
About 90km to the east of Jundah is the site of Magee’s Shanty, put on the map in the heyday of ballad writing when A. B. ‘Banjo’ Paterson penned the well known poem, A Bush Christening.
Visit the site of the Native Well, about 32km north of Jundah and consisting of several native wells carved into the rock.
The Barcoo Shire is famed for being where two rivers meet to form a creek. The Thomson River runs close to both Stonehenge and Jundah. Where it meets the Barcoo River north of Windorah, it forms Cooper Creek.
See the variety of vegetation that can be found in certain areas of outback Queensland along the Jundah Settlers’ Nature Drive. The drive takes you along the Thomson River then extends behind the township and comes back in on the Quilpie Road. Amazingly, although the drive is only 6km long, you go through many different landscapes. You’ll see desert spinifex, swampland varieties, gidgee stands, mulga, leopardwood and bloodwood trees.
An information pamphlet is available from the information centre and lists 37 kinds of plants. Along the way, plaques have been placed to identify the plants with both their botanical and common names. The drive is roughly circular, ending back in town.
Barcoo Shire Council
Phone (within Australia) 07 4658 6900