Carcory Bore and Homestead

Previously: Quilpie to Birdsville.

  Have you ever been somewhere so fantastical that it almost didn’t seem real? This is Carcoory in outback Queensland, an old cattle property that was developed in the 1870s. There’s not much left of the old homestead that sits on the hill overlooking the creek, but it wasn’t the ruins that brought us there. Carcoory is located about 100km North of Birdsville in outback Queensland. It’s funny the things you find in the middle of nowhere. Not long after we had left Birdsville we found that someone had dumped an old outdoor setting on the side of the road. I thought it was a great photo opportunity.
Where is it?
Other places we have visited

Carcoory Bore

We arrived at Carcoory in the late afternoon, drove straight past the homestead, and found a camp near the bore. The bore was drilled in 1954 to a depth of over 800 metres tapping into the Great Artesian Basin. The water exits from the pipe at a toasty 85c and forms various channels before flowing into the creek. If there is one thing I miss most in of our nomadic lifestyle it’s running hot water. When hot showers are a rare treat finding a hot spring or bore is as exciting as visiting a water park. I followed a channel, dipping my toe in every 10 metres or so. I had one mission. Find the perfect spot for a swim and to make this my very own personal outback health spa. Now, the water at even 100 metres from the bore-head was ridiculously hot. You certainly would want to watch out for your kids/pets around this place. At 300 metres I found the spot. I gauged the water to be about 40c. The scene was perfect. A Paradise. Idyllic. And muddy. Yes, muddy – but don’t most health spas charge extra for the mud treatment, I thought. As I floated in the bath like water with the flies buzzing around my head I considered that while patrons of more reputable health establishments would likely endure a bargain-bin nature sounds CDs, I got to experience the real thing. The birds finished their chorus as the sun set, the flies went to bed, and I then knew that a certain little black adventure cat was awaiting her dinner.

Room with a view… of the stars

That evening I took some night exposures. The old homestead has stood in ruin since the early 1900s when a severe drought saw the station become no longer viable. The rough limestone walls had once been rendered and the lintels and window frames were still in place – though the roof was long gone! It’s hard to imagine what life would have been like out here in the late 1800s. The area is remote by today’s standards but back then it would have been a different story. A Cobb & Co coach service operated between Birdsville and Bedourie did a weekly mail service. But with those towns 100kms away, station life would have been isolating to say the least. I wonder if they had a station cat? The night was quiet except for the rhythmic clanging of the bore-head and the sound of trickling water. Willow followed me around as I got my shots. We stayed for 4 more days and I made the most of the artesian waters as Willow sat on the bank. Every day travellers would drop in to take a quick look at the bore-head before driving on. Why weren’t they staying, surely this is paradise, I pondered as I floated in the water. Though I also wondered if I was willing to share it. My illusions of being a sophisticated, health spa attending, worldly traveller gave way as I realised I was just a pig in the mud. But a happy one. Paradise MUST be in the eye of the beholder. It just might be that they didn’t see what I saw. An old clackety pipe, a muddy creek, and way too many flies… hardly Trip Advisor material. Regardless I would surely give it 4 out 5 stars.
  • Mud: 5 out of 5
  • Idyllic artesian waters: 5 out of 5
  • Flies: 5 out of 5
  • Restaurant and bar facilities: 1 out of 5
I looked at my finger tips, they were wrinkly. It was time to leave, and so we said goodbye to one paradise and headed North to Bedourie, the oasis in the desert. Did you watch the video at the beginning of the page? Next: Rodeo in the Oasis
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