The horses snorted not wanting to move. The driver’s timetable meant he called encouragement in earnest, studiously ignoring the passengers asking was it safe over and over again. The coach dropped and lurched, baggage swayed, leather strained, metal screeched and rolled on mossy rock. All the while low chatter from gunyahs drew the wonder of two young wide eyes out the bouncing carriage window.
That’s what I heard as I fished the muddy yet abundantly healthy Bulloo River in south west Queensland. Above me was the timeless olive Australian bush, and below, the old Cobb & Co stone river crossing. You can still see the tracks first formed in the 1880s. I promise if you listen in intent isolation, you can hear a stagecoach crossing.
Thargomindah was the home for Cobb & Co coaches servicing the Queensland Outback. With surly stone river crossings like this, it’s no wonder the 150 miles to Cunnamulla took an interminable five to six days back then.
I was 1,000 kilometres west of Brisbane chasing Yellow Belly, which probably didn’t exist, but it didn’t matter. The air was brisk, sky blue, sun warm, and the River Gums lent me their energising eucalypt. The ambiance was awesome and I was soon dreaming. It isn’t hard in a place like this, fishing in the Channel Country.
This was my rest day. I dozed off and woke with a start. The stagecoach had arrived.
Click here to walk the Cobb & Co crossing over the Bulloo River