16th June 2016 Shire Tour
On Thursday the 16th of June, McKinlay Shire Council ran its maiden voyage of Shire tours for visitors.
The full day tour left Julia Creek at 8:30am and took in iconic sites including the Blue Heeler Hotel, Combo Waterhole at Kynuna, the Walkabout Creek Hotel, made famous by Mick Dundee’s Crocodile Dundee and the McKinlay Museum and Queensland’s smallest library.
Led by Mayor Belinda Murphy and Councillor Janene Fegan, the tour highlighted the colourful history of the shire and the tour group also got the chance to meet a few of our Shire’s characters. Mayor Murphy commented, “We have had a strong tourism focus the last couple of years and a shire tour has been on our radar for over 12 months. Tourism is part of my and Councillor Fegan’s portfolio therefore, we were very passionate about delivering this tour.”
The Kynuna experience included a walk into the famous Combo Waterhole where Banjo Paterson was inspired to pen Waltzing Matilda. Here the group was treated to a poem that Mayor Murphy composed, providing her take on this historic story. A billy tea smoko with locals Kenny Jackson and Jacqui Baker offered further insight into Kynuna’s story.
It was then onto the famous Walkabout Creek Hotel to meet owners Frank and Debbie Wust for lunch. Guests were able to have their photos taken with memorabilia from Crocodile Dundee including Mick’s truck and the original bar set that was fastidiously restored by the Wusts. Local artist and grazier, Heather Moore, took the group through Queensland’s smallest library and local museum giving a wonderful insight into the region.
Councillor Fegan entertained the group along the 300 kilometre road trip with historical and current information including information on station sizes, cattle carrying capacity, windmills, bore pulling and a few local tall stories for good measure. “I came out here 22 years ago as a nurse, fell in love with the place and my husband and never left. Having raised our four children here and my husband growing up here on Milgery Station I was able to tell some good stories.” Councillor Fegan said.
McKinlay Shire Council is planning to have another three or four tours during the forthcoming tourist season. Mayor Murphy said, “Our tourism numbers have increased by over 100% in the last four years and over 40% in the past 12 months which is wonderful not only from an economic perspective but a social one as well.”
“We supported the local businesses on the way and our aim is try and do a couple more tours in our season so that we can demonstrate to people that there is a very real business opportunity for someone who would like to have a go next year,” Mayor Murphy added.
For information on the dates around the next tour see the Julia Creek Visitor Information Centre