Aramac is situated an hour north of Barcaldine and was originally named Marathon. It was renamed after Robert Ramsay MacKenzie, the first explorer to the area who carved his name (R R Mac) on a tree. The tree was found by the explorer William Landsborough and the name Aramac was born.
A white bull statue in the main street is an acknowledgement to the ultimate downfall of the infamous Harry Readford. Referred to as Captain Starlight, Harry stole a large mob of cattle and a white bull from Bowen Downs Station near Aramac and drove the mob down into South Australia through some of the toughest country in Australia. Enroute the white bull was recognized and he was subsequently caught and charged but never convicted. Years later he was convicted on other cattle stealing charges and goaled for 18 months. He was a renowned drover and was responsible for the first mob of cattle taken to Brunette Downs on the Barkly Tableland in the Northern Territory. He drowned in 1901 after trying to cross a flooded creek.
The Harry Readford Interpretative Centre was closed when I was there as was the Tramway Museum. One of the local attractions is Lake Dunn which is about 70km from the town. It is a sealed road and a popular camping ground. Along the road and continuing in a 200km loop is the Lake Dunn Sculpture Trail. This was an interesting “spotto” game trying to locate the some 40 metal sculptures that line the roadside. Some are quite clever and must take weeks to build. For my West Australian friends, the trail is similar to the Tin Horse Highway out of Kulin. Just not as colorful. On the way back in there are a couple of interesting stops at Horsetailers Gorge and Gray Rock which was an old Cobb & Co stop.
Aramac has a population of 300 with one hotel that has camping at no charge out the back on actual grass. Its been a while since I camped on grass. The hotel serves good meals but lacked any atmosphere.
I wanted to go to Muttaburra just because I love the sound of the name. It’s sort of stuck out in the middle of nowhere about 85km north west of Aramac. Muttaburra is actually the town closest to the geographical centre of Queensland. I once worked at Tottenham which is the geographical centre of New South Wales.
Muttaburra claims fame to local grazier Doug Langdon uncovering the fossilised skeleton of a dinosaur now named as The Muttaburrasaurus Langdoni. It was a plant eating, land living dinosaur that roamed the earth 100 million years ago. The discovery was the first of it’s kind in Australia. There is a life size replica of it at the Muttaburrasaurus Interpretation Centre.
The Dr Arratta Museum which is housed in the old hospital is a very good collection of all things medical. Dr Arratta was Muttaburra’s resident doctor for over 35 years and was renown for his surgical and diagnostic skills.
The local pub, The Exchange Hotel is a typical authentic outback pub and also provided free camping out the back. When the hotel looked like closing a few years ago 6 local families kicked in to keep it going and 4 of them run it on a rotating basis. The barmaid told me they do week on week off so they both can enjoy being on the other side of the bar. It looked like a good town to live in with a real community vibe.