The Brisbane Courier, 7 July 1879
The following reserves are proclaimed: ... for township purposes
on the Windorah Billabong, Gregory South district, resumed from
the Hammond Downs and Hammond Downs West runs, area 4
The Capricornian, 26 May 1883
Picturesquely situated near one of the main channels of Cooper's
Creek — Stony Point, now famous as Windorah — has long been a
favourite camping ground for carriers, drovers, and travellers en
route for the Diamantina and great "Never Never" country.
The township is built on a slight elevation composed of fine red
sand, and is in the heart of a district abounding in all the grasses
and edible herbs which have made the Barcoo country so famous -
such as Mitchell, blue grass, wild cabbage and spinach, salt and
cotton bush, with a thousand other varieties well known to the
squatter and stockman. There is no trace of that bugbear of the
"monkey man" (grass seed), and marsupials are so scarce that Mr.
Ashby, the Board's clerk, is literally enjoying a sinecure. There is
no dearth of water, as the hundred and one channels of Cooper's
Creek testify; and as this famous creek receives the waters of the
Diamantina, Mayne, Farrer's Creek, Thompson, Whitula Cceek, and
Barcoo, the supply is perennial. The distance from Bogantungan is
about 420 miles, and from the north-eastern border of South
Australia 200 miles. The stations in the vicinity are — Hammond
Downs (15 miles), Tenham (40 miles), Palpara (135 miles), Morney
(90 miles), Kerroongooloo (40 miles), Retreat (— miles), Galway
Downs (10 miles), Inchella (13 miles), Whitula (30 miles),
Mallendry (16 miles), Ianbar (70 miles), and Curraivilla (105
miles). These stations, though at present used chiefly as fattening
runs for cattle for the Adelaide and Melbourne markets, will at no
distant date be converted into sheep runs, and have already
attracted the attention of several southern capitalists, whose
emissaries have repeatedly expressed in most unqualified terms
their delighted surprise on inspecting the country. Sheep have
already been introduced at Daroo, some 140 miles west of the
township, and are doing well, but as the owners are patrons of
kanaka labour the prosperity oi the district is not materially
affected. The famous Cooper's Creek opals are found near
Kerroongooloo, some 70 miles off, and salt of the finest quality is
brought by bollock and horse teams from the Diamantina lakes.
No less than five mails per week reach the township, which is also
the terminus of Forster's coach line from Thargomindah.
Windorah boasts a resident population of twenty-two adult
Europeans, four Chinamen, and about twenty aboriginals, whose
camp is about half a mile away. The latter are chiefly employed by
the whites as shepherds and stock men. There are two general
stores and a like number of hotels, one the Western Star, being
kept by Mr. E. Mannars (an old resident of Will's Creek) the
other— the Cosmopolitan— by Mr. Thomas Costello.
The stores are owned by Messrs. W. and J. Whitman, the Barcoo
pioneers, and Mr. T. Costello, the hotelkeeper. Everything from a
needle to an anchor can be procured in the township, and Messrs.
Whitman are erecting large receiving stores to meet the increased
demands of the district. Messrs. Whitman's forge and wheelwright
shop are situated at the entrance of the township, and four
mechanics are continually employed. The timber is procured from
the banks of the Cooper's Creek billabongs, and the carriers speak
in high terms of its durability for waggon work. The buildings are
principally composed of pise with iron roofs, and both in
appearance and durability are little inferior to brick erections.
There is a police barracks at the further end of the town, at which
three constables and one trooper are stationed. The harrowing
details of the late case tried in Rockhampton, Regina v. Parker,
may tend to give the public an outrageous idea of the state of the
morality of the district, but in fact Windorah, like all outside
settlements, presents bad as well as good features, and we are
indebted to the colony of New South Wales for the 'dramatis
personae' of the late tragedy.
Although so far from that centre of civilisation— Rockhampton,
the inhabitants of Windorah live much like the rest of the world,
namely— on what they can get. It is not just customary to dine on
pork fattened with half caste piccannies, as might be supposed by
the evidence of the black gin "Jenny", in the case referred to. On
the contrary, most of the usual table luxuries are to be had here in
profusion— beef, mutton, fish, game, and poultry being the
ordinary articles of diet, whilst the ubiquitous Chinaman provides
us with vegetables and fruit of the finest quality, the rich red loam
of the district being specially adapted for their production.
Grass and water are to be found in great abundance for miles on
the road, and several of the carriers delivering loading here are
taking contract work for a few months, with a view of giving their
cattle a spell on country renowned for its fattening properties, and
which is now looking its best. The township will shortly be the
great emporium for wool and station supplies from and to
south-western Queensland and South Australia, and as the
position of the Post and Telegraph Office has already been marked
out, when the telegraph line is completed Windorah will be,
further important as the terminus of the great western telegraph
The camel teams from Farina, S.A., have not re-appeared, and the
difficulty of traversing the roads from South Australia does not
compensate the speculative hawker, who has to contend with such
veterans as Whitman Bros.
The Windorah Racing Club has arranged a capital programme for
their first meeting, which takes place early in September. The chief
events are— Maiden Plate £30, Hurdle Race £40, and Windorah
Handicap £100. Total amount of added money being about £320.
Windorah, May 8, 1883.
Windorah (Stony Point)