Along the highways and back roads of the outback, hidden behind the scrub and Casuarina trees, they stand.
Their impression held only in the minds of few that live, and preserved only in newspaper clippings in another town – they still hold on.
The outback sun has stripped their paint, and the wood that has fallen soon returned to the earth. Rusted and weathered they stand, friends only to the Prickly Pear.
They are the towns that time forgot.
On our way to Goondiwindi Willow and I visited one of these towns.
This is Turallin – or what used to be. Today, only a handful of buildings remain. It’s situated just 10km North-West of Millmerran in the Darling downs.
We enter an old cottage to explore.
One of the few articles left inside is a refrigerator. Willow promptly investigates – for if there is any chance it contains cat food or treats it warrants examination.
Disheartened by the lack of snacks and realising that I will be holding out on dinner time until at least 5pm, Willow retreats under the fridge. But, it’s not long before she comes out again, does a hot lap of the structure, then sits herself down on the veranda.
Turallin vs Millmerran
In the 1840s the first white settlers arrived and found it to be excellent sheep country. The sheep stations prospered and in the 1860s the Queensland Government made land available for general settlement.
By the 1880s the town of Turallin had been surveyed and a post office built. The district was thriving with a population of 340 people and talk of a railway in the near future.
By the turn of the century the town boasted a general store, church, hotel, school, a race course, and a telegraph service.
But, Turallin was a town that failed to prosper.
By 1911 when it was decided that the railway would terminate in Millmerran the town’s fate was sealed and experienced no further growth – though it wasn’t until 1973 that the post office finally shut its doors.
Another outback casualty of a train line that didn’t reach.
Wood and Rust
It’s now nearing 12 on a hot spring day – Willow decides its best to go inside. She tentatively avoids the holes in the floorboards as she walks in and finds a suitable place to lie down.
An old bed sits in the corner with its horsehair mattress unfurled on the floor.
We sit for a while in the midday heat as it pierces the iron roof.
Looking outside you could almost make out the streets that once were, and the picket fences that lined them. Or, the mail coach arriving from Pittsworth.
So, for Turallin and towns like it – for all their anticipated glory – only wood and rust remains.. and this little cat right here.
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I hope you enjoyed our visit to the bustling metropolis of Turallin. Don’t worry, I assure you Willow got her treats when we got back to the van!