The Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame & Outback Heritage Centre, Longreach

Luckily we had purchased tickets online before we left home for our Stockman’s Experience Tour at the Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame & Outback Heritage Centre. When we arrived at 10.45am for our 11.00am tour people were leaving the building saying to us ‘hope you already have tickets, they are booked out’. Obviously they’d chanced rocking up and being able to get in. The car park was nearly full when we arrived however we were able to find a spot to park next to some other motorhomes. We were quite excited to be visiting one of Australia’s best known attractions.

The iconic building is one that most Australians and many overseas visitors will recognise. It was established in 1988 to celebrate and recognise the contribution that people in the bush have made to Australia. The world class museum attracts over 1,000,000 visitors every year to learn, see and listen to stories of the many tales of outback history.

The whole centre was refurbished in 2020 and the centre today is an outstanding interactive museum.

Our Stockman’s Experience Tour began with a movie in the Cinema. The movie was called The Stockman’s Tale and told the story of the development of a livestock industry in Australia and the importance of the stockman in that story.

Following the movie we moved back into the foyer area where we each received an iPod on a lanyard and a set of headphones. These were needed for the next part of the tour. We entered the main exhibit area of the museum and as you walk along and stand close to an exhibit your iPod immediately begins to tell the story of that exhibit. You can immerse yourself listening to further tales by pressing on the different icons on the iPod. As you move from exhibit to exhibit the iPod recognises where you are and begins to play the appropriate story.

I listened to many tales from Mary Durack, RM Williams, some Aboriginal drovers and stockmen, even an Aboriginal woman that became a Head Stockman. The tales are short and relate to the area of the museum you are in. I loved the tales of the ‘Afghan’ tinkers who used to ply their wares all across the outback pulling their large cart with camels. There is a fine example of a tinkers cart inside the museum.

There are exhibits on the rise and fall of the wool industry and a large wool wagon that would have been pulled by a large team of horses or bullocks or camels is on display. There are tales from shearers and of course, there is the tale of Jackie Howe, the gun shearer who is claimed to have invented the singlet.

There is a large display devoted to the Royal Flying Doctor Service and a original Beechcraft Queen Air plane hangs from the ceiling above.

A display on the second floor is all about the traveling showmen and famous boxing tents. Many of Australia’s most famous boxers talents were uncovered in those traveling tents. Lionel Rose is one I remember.

Another display upstairs is dedicated to bush poets and here you can spend time listening to some of the most famous ones.

At the exit you hand in your iPod and headphones and are given an ear tag to be used as your ticket to the live show before making your way out into the cafe. We stopped in here for a ham & cheese toastie and a coffee before making our way outside to the Billabong. The Billabong is a recreation of a billabong and is the meeting place for those waiting to attend the live stockman show in the covered arena.

Our entry ticket to the live show was the ear tag given to us earlier. The large crowd entered the covered arena and filed in an orderly fashion to sit on the grandstand. The show was a fabulous display of horsemanship and stockman’s skills by Lachie Cossor ably assisted by his lovely wife and a variety of horses, dogs, sheep, a mule and even a Brahman bull. Lachie and his animals really put on a fabulous show including some of Lachie’s original songs that he sings accompanied by his guitar.

When Lachie is not doing this show at Longreach, he and his family take it all over Australia so if you get a chance to see it I would recommend you go. It was a great show. At one point his horse was being ‘naughty’ and kept lying down on the job. There was a small child sitting not far from us and each time the horse did something ‘naughty’ this child would get the giggles. It made everyone around him get the giggles too.

The show went for an hour and a half and we were captivated throughout. It was an enthusiastic crowd that gave applause at the end of the show. Lachie and his wife lined up near the fence, he riding the Brahman bull and she on her Australian Stockhorse, so that people could give them a pat on the way out. We just had to buy one of Lachie’s CD’s to listen to later.

By the time we got back to the motorhome it was 3.30pm and time to find a camp for the night seeing as the caravan parks are booked out. We drove out to the Thomson River to see if the Apex Riverside Park had dried out enough for us but we thought it looked too muddy still and was not worth the risk of getting bogged. Maybe another sunny day would help. So back to town and we got a park in one of the dedicated caravan parking spots next to the Rotary Park and set up there. While I blogged Rich went for a walk up the town and came back all excited that he’d made a reservation at a ‘fancy’ restaurant for dinner. ‘Oh no….not Chinese’ I thought. He wouldn’t tell me anymore so I, and you, will have to wait and see.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s