Windorah
Collage of Windorah.

There's a couple of things about Windorah that you may not know. The first is that the town is home to the Cooper Creek Cup which occurs in the run-up to the Birsdville Races and forms part of the Simpson Desert Racing Carnival. The difference at Windorah is that it's Yabbies and not horses that make up the field. For those who don't know, yabbies are small freshwater crustaceans that taste much like lobster, only better. It's party time in the outback and the Windorah International Yabby Races bring a big laugh and a reasonable amount of money to the small southwest Queensland settlement.

The other little known thing about Windorah is that it is reputed to be the 'Heart of Ghost Country'. That's right - ghosts. Forget about the 'Min-Min' lights of Boulia, this is serious stuff. At nearby Keeroongooloo Station is a runaway Cobb & Co stagecoach pulled by four phantom horses. This apparition was apparently created in the 1890's after the coach plummeted into a creek, drowning the driver and all the passengers.

Over at Tanbar Station an old stockman haunts a local waterhole and the ghost of a murdered worker by the name of Rody Kennedy stalks the station outbuildings.

Hammond Downs Station, to the east of Windorah, hosts two spirits of their own. One is a drowned youth, taken by the Cooper Creek, who appears as a halo of light near his own grave. The other is a headless horseman, yes - headless. He was Ned Hammond, an original owner and he gallops around the plains at night time.

Of course, driving through this little outback town of less than one hundred people, reveals none of these poltergeistic apparitions. For all intents and purposes Windorah is a sleepy little hamlet a long way from anywhere.

The most striking landmarks of the district are the rugged rock outcrops and the rippled patterns of the long red sand dunes. Windorah is approaching central Australia and the landscape is distinctly outback.

The location is also host to the scattered ruins of old pubs and abandoned station buildings making Windorah and the surrounds a bush photographers delight.

Windorah's history is similar to many of the tiny towns in the 'Channel Country'. Established as a supply post around 1880 the settlement provided basic stores and a pub along the well used stock routes of the day. With modern conveniences such as the Cobb & Co coach service, these towns thrived and became vital links between the isolated grazing communities and the markets on the coast. The advent of modern road transport ended the era of mounted stockmen moving mobs of beef or sheep, often hundreds of kilometres, across the country. This modernisation reduced the importance of towns like Windorah, towns that had sprung up to service the droving and pastoral industries.

The Windorah of today is a quiet and remote town that personifies the classic image of an outback parish.


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