Located halfway between Cunnamulla and Charleville on the Mitchell Highway, the tiny town of Wyandra in Outback Queensland has earned itself a reputation as a friendly, welcoming and interesting place for travellers to take a break.
The township was established in 1896 with the Great South Western Railway passing through on its way from Brisbane to Cunnamulla.
Wyandra’s proximity to the Warrego River meant it was able to provide water supplies for freight moving up and down the now suspended rail line. During the late 1800s, Paroo Shire says Wyandra had two butcher shops, a baker, a blacksmith, three stores, a bookmaker and two sawmills. There were 25 slab huts on the riverbank which were occupied by sawmill workers, and the market gardens supplied fresh fruit and vegetables.
While Wyandra has slowly seen its population dwindle since its ‘glory days’, evidence of its proud history is still there for all to see. The best ways to learn more is to the follow the Wyandra Heritage Trail. Copies of the guide can be picked up at one of the local Wyandra businesses. As they stroll the trail, visitors will see some great examples of old Outback architecture dating back to the boom period.
The old Powerhouse was established in 1955 with generators that came from Cunnamulla, but it became obsolete in 1970 when Wyandra was connected to the electricity grid. The Powerhouse site is now a museum and is well worth a look. The town’s post office also boasts an interesting collection of old artefacts.
Since buying the post office and adjacent block nearly two decades ago, Glenn Paterson has transformed the place as he sought to attract visitors to stop and stay. As well as locally sourced Australiana relics, the post office now has a small caravan park and old fashioned-style cinema seating where surprised travellers can watch old black-and-white newsreels and classic movies.
The old town jail has also been moved on to the grounds and Mr Paterson has apparently been known to threaten to ‘lock up’ any grey nomad who gets too rowdy.
Other town attractions include the old cemetery, the Anzac Memorial, the Gladstone Hotel and, of course, there’s the Warrego River. As well as a sandy ‘beach’ for locals and travellers to enjoy, there is some excellent fishing to be had with cod and Yellow Belly high on the angler’s wish list.
Besides the river, the real ‘heart’ of Wyandra could be said to be the Gladstone Hotel.
There is free camping out the back of the pub, and other camping options behind the State School, along the Warrego River, or at the Bush Camp Shearing Shed.
What more could you ask for?