Yep, here it is, officially Australia's smallest town - Betoota with a population of exactly…zero. Simon Remienko was the final resident until he passed away in 2004. Up until then he had been the publican in the towns only building - The Betoota Hotel. The abandoned town once boasted three hotels with Simon's being built in the late 1800's of sandstone walls and timber floors.
Betoota was surveyed and declared a town at the same time as another outback icon just down the road - Birdsville. It was 1885 and the towns were established as customs depots where a toll could be extracted for stock travelling interstate. In those early days before federation Australia operated as six individual nations. Some would say that not much has changed.
Betoota also served as a Cobb & Co change station where the coach drivers swapped out their horses for a fresh team.
Raucous workers building the 'Rabbit Proof Fence' caused a police presence to be established but the police station and courthouse closed in 1928 due to a lack of crime, petty or otherwise.
It would seem that Betoota is destined to crumble into the desolate sands it was built upon. An iconic racing event may yet save it. Each year the crowds flock to the region for the Famous Birdsville Races and the three official streets of Betoota burst into life for this towns own annual races. It occurs in the week preceding the Birdsville event and local station folk ensure Betoota is ready to host the scores of travellers who arrive for the Simpson Desert Racing Carnival. You need to bring your own accommodation, a swag in the dust by the racetrack will do and there are stalls and plenty to eat and of course drink.
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