Springsure & Rolleston

We came to the small town of Springsure, south of Emerald and set about finding the Fort that we’d heard about.

The Old Rainworth Fort complex is situated on private property at Old Rainworth. We had to open the front gate as cattle were grazing in the front paddock. We arrived at the complex after traveling a couple of kilometres along a dusty track and crossing a couple of floodways. There were already a couple of campers parked. There is a little tin shed manned by a grouchy old lady who explained that she was the sister of the current owner. She was obviously on for a chat but we curtailed that, paid our $20 and went to explore the old buildings.

The main building at Rainworth was built in 1862 by an English stonemason employed but the owner of Rainworth. The building was primarily used as a store house. The stone used is local basalt and the wall plates and bearers are hand hewn cypress pine. The rocks are joined using an adobe mix of sand, lime and crushed rocks. The iron roof was the first one installed west of Rockhampton. Paving stones were used for the floor. There is a ladder staircase leading to a mezzanine and steps lead down to a cellar below. It is a remarkable building.

It was to Rainworth that the survivors of the nearby Wills Massacre fled to for help in 1861. The story goes that the main building was built to withstand attacks by Aborigines and that is how it came by the ‘fort’ name however there is no evidence that this ever happened.

Also in the complex is the original Cairdbeign Homestead and the original Sandy Creek School. Both of these historic buildings were moved to this site so they could be preserved. The homestead is a slab building and the school is clapboard. They are both filled with fabulous historic pieces and memorabilia.

Back in town we visited the Historic Woolshed & Visitors Centre. Outside is a huge Comet Windmill. This windmill was built in 1935 and has a diameter of 2 feet. It had a pumping capacity of 8200 gallons per day.

The historic Woolshed was recreated from the original roof trusses of the Arcturus Woolshed. The original building was brought to Arcturus Downs form England in 1901. It was sent out as a kit. In 2001 it was reassembled to be used as the visitors centre and museum.

It now houses local memorabilia and is manned by a group of dedicated volunteers.

We stocked up on groceries at the Spar and bought some meat at the butcher. As we walked past the public school the children were all outside under the COLA eating their lunch. I love to hear the happy sound of chattering children. Missing out grandchildren again!!

Between Springsure and Rolleston we crossed over a range of hills called the Staircase Range. We stopped for a lunch break at the lookout. What a lovely view across the valley and there was a nice breeze.

We continued on and the road was a very bumpy roller coaster of a ride. There was quite a lot of traffic including road trains and wide loads carrying mining equipment. Nearing Rolleston we passed the entrance roads to two coal mines.

Entering Rolleston we stopped for fuel then looked for the dump point. There was a queue of caravans waiting at the dump point and water point. We would just have to wait our turn. Mr Have-a-chat did his usual thing and got chatting to the caravan ears whilst I checked out the historic Post Office and slab hut that are displayed in the park next to the dump point.

By the time I got back to the dump point he’d found out they were all travelling together and they were from Parkes in NSW. They would also be going out to Carnarvon Gorge. Maybe we’d see them all there. Richard dumped our cassette and we waited for the water point to be ready. It didn’t take very long and they were all full. One of the guys said just move your motorhome up and use our hose before we take it off. That was very kind and appreciated by us. We only had one empty tank so we were full in no time.

The caravaners all set off and we waved them goodbye. Our next task was to find a camp spot for the night.

We left Rolleston heading towards Injune. We took the turnoff to Carnarvon Gorge and not long along that road we came to an historic marker. It was at this spot in 1943 that a C47B Dakota aircraft carrying US Airmen, Australian Airmen and Australian Army men crashed. There were no survivors. The plane was enroute from Darwin to Brisbane and ran into a violent electrical storm. A memorial to those brave men who served their countries has been erected on the spot using some of the wreckage of the downed plane. There were some picnic tables and chairs around the little area and it looked like a good spot to camp. There were no signs saying we couldn’t so we pulled up next to one of the picnic tables that also had a little fire pit and set up camp. Although it was close to the road we didn’t think the road would be busy after dark. We were surrounded by bush land and were not far from a creek that had fast flowing water. Apart from the occasional vehicle all we could hear were birds. It was very peaceful.


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