Muckadilla & Amby

21 04 2009

Muckadilla

Muckadilla is located on the Warrego Highway, approximately 40km west of Roma. The town was settled, and in 1889, the first bore was sunk. The water from the bore was rich in sulphur and at the time, sulphurous materials were thought to be radioactive and have healing properties for a wide range of ailments, like rheumatism, arthritis and other debilitating conditions. As a result, people flocked to the Muckadilla area to receive ‘treatment’ from the town’s bore water.

A bathhouse was built in Muckadilla to allow those seeking treatment to easily access the water from the bore – in the day, the Muckadilla Bore Bathhouse was a well-known and prominent Queensland icon. The Bathhouse featured a swimming pool, hot showers and baths and a plunge pool, as well as a mud bath. Staff including nursing staff to help those seeking treatment for their various ailments.

The Muckadilla Hotel opened in 1912 and was located in front of the Bathhouse – today, a mound of dirt at the rear of the hotel marks the site where the Bathhouse once stood.

In its day, Muckadilla was a thriving local community that serviced the surrounding stations and part of the stock route through the area. Today, Muckadilla is still an important grain producing area and despite having its own grain depot, the improvement in machinery, transport and infrastructure has seen the population of Muckadilla decline. However, Muckadilla still has plenty to offer to visitors travelling through the Western Downs or into outback Queensland.

The Muckadilla Hotel is a typical country pub – in addition to cool refreshments, the hotel also provides meals, motel accommodation, a swimming pool and free camp sites (powered sites are provided at a small fee).

The Muckadilla Whistlestop Railway Siding has been moved to the side of the Warrego Highway and is now surrounded by a native garden. The garden contains a playground, tourist information about the local area and features local art exhibits. Walking paths around the garden give travelers the opportunity to stop and stretch their legs and the playground makes it a great place for a break if you’re travelling with children!

*References:

1.  Queensland Holidays Website:   www.queenslandholidays.com.au

2.  Muckadilla Hotel Website:  www.muckadillahotel.com.au

Amby

Amby is located approximately 24 kms east of Mitchell (or 63 kms west of Roma) along the Warrego Highway. Amby is considered to mark where the grain and grazing belts of agricultural Queensland meet, and along with Mitchell, forms the eastern border to the Queensland Outback.

Originally named Amby Creek, the term ‘Amby’ refers to the Aboriginal word for ‘little waterhole’ or ‘female aboriginal’. Amby was settled in 1883 purely as a support town for railway workers and their families as the railway line extended further west. Shortly afterwards, Amby had 2 pubs, butcher shop, baker, post office, store, police station, school, racecourse and a local sporting area.

The Amby Downs Waterhole (locally referred to as the Netting Hole) is located about 5 kms north of Amby along the Warrego Highway. Visitors to the waterhole may make out the remains of the Stage Changeover Shanty that was built near the waterhole – the building was erected in circa 1875 and predated the town.

Improvements in transport and infrastructure have seen many local businesses relocate to Roma or Mitchell. Today, Amby supports a population of approximately 90 people and the declining population has seen a demise of one pub, police station, butcher, baker, school and post office. The railway line responsible for the settlement of Amby still travels through the town, but the railway station has also been closed.

The Amby Hotel is the town’s surviving hotel and is ranked as one of the Great Outback Queensland Pubs. The Hotel offers cool refreshments, meals, accommodation and free camping, and also doubles as the ‘19th Hole’ for the Amby Golf Course. The golf course is a 9-hole course and is nicknamed the ‘No Horse Golf Course’.

In a cruel twist of fate, Amby is partly responsible for the construction and maintenance of infrastructure that has led to its demise. A basalt seam, measuring 10 metres deep, 5 kms wide and 64 kms long has been discovered east of Amby and the local basalt quarry now transports basalt, via road and rail, for use in roads, bridges, dams, and concrete constructions throughout Queensland. It also provides all the basalt required for the base material of all railway lines east of Dalby.

*References:

  1. Booringa Shire Council Tourism Guide – “Michell: Gateway to the Outback. Visitors Guide to Mitchell, Amby and Mungallala”
  2. Queensland Holidays Website:  www.queenslandholidays.com.au
  3. Booringa Shire Council:  http://www.booringa.qld.gov.au/about_council/about_shire/amby.shtml
  4. Queensland Hotels Great Outback Pubs Guide:        http://www.queenslandhotels.com.au/content/files/Search%20Hotel_Supplier_Sponsor/Outback%20Pubs_2008low%20res.pdf

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