Memories of a Trip to Cooper Creek and Hungerford


Cunnamulla the town of living history and untold stories

Trip to Cooper Creek and Hungerford

As 2019 is Year of Outback Queensland we decided to share some memories of an amazing family and friends trip we did a number of years ago. We hope it encourages you to gather a few family members and friends together and plan something yourself or simply join in something that is already planned for you.

Cooper Creek to Cunnamulla Bike Ride Club Boutique Hotel Cunnamulla

We did this amazing trip in a 45 seat coach we chartered however another local family have had a similar great family experience by joining in the Cooper Creek to Cunnamulla Bike Ride. If you would like to see the country from a slower pace or if you like to ride you can get more information by clicking Cooper Creek to Cunnamulla Bike Ride 2019.

The following poem will give an insight to the fun, that was had on this trip we will forever hold dear.

Ode to Burke and Mills

They ventured to the Cooper

You couldn’t call them dills

a hardy group of travellers

They called them Burke and Mills.

Trip to Cooper Creek and Hungerford Burke and Mills Expedition 1997

Now Burke was no relation

To the one in history told

But they could vouch that Mills, like Wills

In truth was just as bold.


Family and friends made up

This most intrepid breed

In all they numbered twenty-three

with driver, Roadie Reid.

Trip to Cooper Creek and Hungerford family trip

Unlike the poor originals

They travelled there in style

In air-conditioned comfort

All eighteen hundred miles.

Trip to Cooper Creek and Hungerford

Now the object of their mission

Was to see where Bub had bin

With yella belly fishing

At the Cooper, thrown in.

Trip to Cooper Creek and Hungerford fishing cooper creek

Bub’s spirit was there with them

as they travelled oer the miles

At times they thought they saw his face

Weathered in his sunny smile.

Bub Emery

Mike Smith provided lots of jokes

And funny little ditties

The repartee throughout the bus

Must be classed as witty.

Trip to Cooper Creek and Hungerford Mick funny ditties

To celebrate Gran’s 89th

They stopped at Thargomindah

Michael Smith was 59

Many candles on the cake.

Trip to Cooper Creek and Hungerford Margaret 89 and Mick 69 birthdays

Travelling on they came upon

The pub at old Noccundra

And with XXXX close at hand

They gazed at it in wonder.

Trip to Cooper Creek and Hungerford Noccundra Pub

Trip to Cooper Creek and Hungerford Noccundra Hotel June Evert Brian Burke Neale Evert

Trip to Cooper Creek and Hungerford Noccundra Hotel Lesley June Evert Leanne Burke

Now the Cooper is a legend

For it’s multitudes of fish

But they must have heard them coming

For they hardly filled a dish.

Trip to Cooper Creek and Hungerford Barry Waljo Miller fishing cooper creek

Luke landed a three pounder

You should have seen his grin

Twould have measured twice the size

Of the fish from fin to fin.

Trip to Cooper Creek and Hungerford Luke Cridland Fishing Cooper Creek

Waljo Miller took the cake

For bloody sheer persistence

When late one night he hooked a bite

He’d worn down their resistance.

Trip to Cooper Creek and Hungerford Waljo Miller fishing

Mr Porkey was their cook

He looked like a galah

No reference to his expertise

Just the feathered cap he wore.

Trip to Cooper Creek and Hungerford Mr Porky Camp Cook

Behind the barbecue he slaved

They said “let’s call him Sir

The tucker that this bloke serves up

Would rival Cordon Bleau”.

Trip to Cooper Creek and Hungerford Entertaining Elsie Burke

Trip to Cooper Creek and Hungerford Elsie Burke the dancing queen of Cooper Creek

Roumers spread throughout the camp

Most will go unlisted

But “They said this “and” They said that”

Was often heard being whispered.

Trip to Cooper Creek and Hungerford Elsie they said this and they said that

Maria Cridland topped the lot

Said their June was adopted

“Black Sheep” one brave soul chimed in

“That’s rubbish! “Gran retorted.

Trip to Cooper Creek and Hungerford Maria Cridland said June was adopted

To verify that it’s a lie

Just ask old Earnie Braden

He drove the ambulance to the door

Be quick, he’s ninety-four.

The thunder box the boys set up

Was something to be told

And volunteers who pulled it down

Lacked sense of smell we’re told.

Breaking camp they travelled on

To Hungerford, next morn

Stopped off at Thargo

Where Peg and Elsie were born.

Bub drove along these dusty roads

Round Hungerford and Eulo

Carting wool, delivering mail

Bet his old trucks could tell a tale.

Now Emery Swamp’s named after Bub

Some old time told them

No signpost there to show the way

Perhaps they’ll pass another day.

Bub had mused about the beauty

Of the Currawinya Lakes

They determined that they’d see them

First hand, make no mistakes.

At Hungerford Pub the rafters rang

With the group’s melodious voice

And Neale performed in humorous vein

Presenting fishing prizes.

Elsie tickled those old ivories

She knows that it’s the rule

Maureen appeared with bolt and chain

To tie her to the patio stool.

And Gran recalled fond memories

In most nostalgic mode

Of her parents and her early days

In the pub across the road.

Now back in Cunnamulla

Still all rubbing shoulders

Cynthia did a spirit dance

With a scull found at the Boulders.

 They owe a lot to Ed and Chris

Who did the organising

This pair were offered multi thanks

For effort most outstanding.

Well – memories are made of this

So their trip down memory lane

With dear friends and family

Becomes a memory yet again.

Written by: Peg Campbell Daughter of Margaret Emery (Gran)

April 1997

Albion’s Warrego Sawmill Cunnamulla

Cunnamulla Beer Brewer In History of Australian Beer

In Tribute Bub (Steven) Emery

Cooper Creek to Cunnamulla Bike Ride 2018

Cunnamulla Accommodation Live Australia’s Story with Tristan Evert

Top Cunnamulla Accommodation for Cunnamulla Fella Festival

American Twitchers do Cunnamulla in search of Raptors

Cunnamulla Road Trip Down Memory Lane With John Hill


Cunnamulla Ready for 2019 Year of Outback Queensland Tourism

2019 Year of Outback Queensland

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk declared 2019 Year of Outback Queensland Tourism and Club Boutique Hotel, Cunnamulla is eager to welcome you.

The heritage town that celebrated Cunnamulla 150 in November 2018 is renowned for rolling out the welcome mat, the quality of its events, flashing the pearly whites and saying g’day! It could possibly be the most friendly laid back place on the planet.

Club Hotel Cunnamulla Cunnamulla 150

Hotelier Peieta Mills of Club Boutique Hotel says tourist are most welcome in Cunnamulla and to show them just how much we treat them to a down to earth genuine real life experience. No pretence just a big smile, a firm handshake and a real-life Outback Queensland adventure.

Ms Mills who has also run local Cunnamulla tours for more than twelve years says don’t just stay overnight or pass through.

Les Capewell riding horse into Club Boutique Hotel Cunnamulla

Pull up, kick back and relax, uncover the hidden secrets and history on the Cunnamulla Town & Industry Tour that operates daily June to September and at other times for group bookings.

There is something for every dynamic in Cunnamulla with great tours, caravan parks and facilities, restaurants, craft beer tastings, tipples and tales, campfire dinners, counter meals, and local Cunnamulla events for those that are travelling by caravan or motorhome.

Club Boutique Hotel Cunnamulla Campfire Dinner

There is plenty on offer for those travelling by coach, car or plane.

Up market Cunnamulla accommodation at Club Boutique Hotel in the centre of the CBD just 5 minutes walk from pretty well everywhere.

Phillip Walker Litejets Australia Club Boutique Hotel Cunnamulla regular guest

In April 2019 Club Boutique Hotel will also open up its Safari Glamping experience, which will give you all the five star luxuries, under five million stars.

While Outback Queensland region has been devastated with drought for fourteen of the past sixteen years they’re so many reasons for tourists to see beyond that and to visit Cunnamulla and immerse themselves into the local community.

Three good reasons to visit Cunnamulla in 2019;

  1. Meet the locals

  2. Try the local food and

  3. Lap up the great hospitality as you depart your home you’re welcomed into ours!

Cosy up to a Cunnamulla Fella or Cunnamulla Shiela, say g’day and learn a little about their life and their lifestyle in Cunnamulla. Did you know some of the locals are 6th – 8th generation locals!

At Club Boutique Hotel there is plenty of Cunnamulla history and there are plenty of tales dying to be shared from John Wilson harbouring Ben Hall the famous Bushranger to locals immortalised with Cunnamulla Characters Brewed the best craft beer on tap in Outback Queensland.

Cunnamulla Anzac Day

Two police boys with C.W. Cocky Bill Easton during war. One of the Cunnamulla Characters Brewed is in honour of our old mate Cocky!

Have a drink to them at the bar, purchase a takeaway growler or help Club Boutique Hotel celebrates these great Cunnamulla characters of the past with their daily Whisky, Wine, Beer & Rum o’clock.

There will be great entertainment if you are looking for things to do, meal options at lunch and dinner and a great opportunity to meet some locals past and present. If you feel a little tipsy they’ll even give you a FFEE ride home!

entertainment Club Boutique Hotel Cunnamulla Mark Porter

On Sunday’s the Sunday Roast gets taken to a new level with a three-course dinner around the campfire in the gardens of Club Boutique Hotel however booking is essential by no later than 2pm on the day. Free pick up and drop off is available from anywhere in Cunnamulla town area and caravan parks.

roast lamb Club Boutique Hotel Sunday Campfire Dinner

Entrée is hearty home made soup, the main is classic old time roast like ya grandma used to make, with a choice of two meats, roasted potatoes, pumpkin, peas and gravy. Desert is a homemade old time favourite with ice-cream and cream. All for the budget price of $30 per person and you help yourself!

Cunnamulla area also boasts many great natural or nature based attractions like the natural sand dunes, the Warrego River and an abundance of local wildlife. The Cunnamulla area has the largest population of kangaroos and wallabies in Australia.

Brolgas Cunnamulla

Cunnamulla is also a bird watching or twitcher hotspot boasting more than 215 documented species of Australian Native Birds. That’s more than 1/3 of all birds in Australia. The birds alone attract people from all over the world to come to Cunnamulla.

travellers Club Boutique Hotel Cunnamulla Bar

So no matter what style of travel, if you are a single, a retiree, a couple of a family Club Boutique Hotel Cunnamulla has you covered, plan ahead and get outback in 2019! Cunnamulla is ready and waiting for you!

Cunnamulla Accommodation Live Australia’s Story with Tristan Evert

Cunnamulla Accommodation Story G’day everyone, my name’s Tristan Evert and I’m the newest addition to the Out the Back Australia team which includes the heritage Club Boutique Hotel top quality Cunnamulla Accommodation. I am a qualified journalist after completing a degree in journalism at Griffith University on the sunny, Gold Coast.  I was born and raised on the Gold Coast, however have enjoyed numerous travels west to Queensland’s Outback, with family in both Cunnamulla and Winton.  This fun outback travel has inspired me to share the many unbelievable, authentic outback adventures I have had.

I am passionate about sport and travel and I will use my skill and love of writing to take you on a journey to Outback Queensland to live Australia’s Story by unearthing the history.  On the way I will share the secret locations, the best adventures and the biggest characters Outback Queensland and Cunnamulla has to offer starting with members of my own family.

Full of knowledge that births from a rich history in the far reaches of the Australian outback.

It is quite amazing when you discover that two locations in Queensland’s Outback that are close to the heart of my family being Winton and Cunnamulla have strong links going back to the late 1800’s and here is a little about this Australian Story.

My great great grandparents, Catherine O’Rioden and William Robert Clayton were both drovers that toured the rugged landscape of Australia with regular routes from Wellington in New South Wales to Boulia in Queensland. Originally from Ireland, Ms O’Rioden boarded a ship in sight of Australia out of desperation, however was shipwrecked in the red sea. She was rescued and given a job in the North Gregory Hotel Winton when she met another Irish lady named Norah Howard who was the owner of the Boulia Hotel.  Later Mrs Howard wrote to Catherine inviting her to move to Boulia and work for her at the Boulia Hotel.  Catherine quickly accepted and made the journey to Boulia and this is where she met William Robert Clayton and married.

The pair called Bourke, Hungerford, Thargomindah and Cunnamulla home as they travelled constantly around, running hotels and droving cattle for themselves and others. At one stage they were droving 500 head of cattle towards Bourke when they ran into the legendary Sir Sidney Kidman,’ who offered them a fortune for their cattle.  Over the years they had many encounters with Sir Sidney Kidman as they drove cattle for him and sold him a property they owned including Currawinya which is now a national park and great tourist attraction.  My great Grandmother often recalled conversations between her father and Sir Sidney with one being a tongue lashing to her father as her brother Bill was riding in a saddle with a broken tree.  When you hear stories of the legendary Sir Sidney Kidman you instantly get an image of a big strong man however Gran often recalled that Sir Sydney had a really squeaky voice and was small.

Born in Bourke, my great grandmother Margaret Clayton (nee Emery) grew up on the droving trails, sleeping under the stars every night, a real kid of the outback. There were not many if any luxuries and they made a new camp every night which was deemed upmarket if there was a kitchen made from Gidyea posts and old kerosene tins.  In school we were taught history that often included bushrangers however my great Grandmother Margaret and her mother actually lived much of Australia’s Story and would often reminisce about having tea with the Mrs Hall, the wife (or ex wife) of famous bushranger Ben Hall.

A regular route was from Bourke to Thargomindah via Hungerford and back in those days Hungerford the town located on the boarder gate between New South Wales and Queensland had two hotels.  Margaret was 15 and had just completed her schooling at the Catholic School in Bourke when her mother Catherine purchased the Commercial Hotel in Hungerford.  At the time it was busy with high numbers of drovers, shearers, bullockies, Cobb & Co Coaches and swagies making their way for work.  Today the hotel is long gone and only the Royal Mail Hotel stands in what has become an isolated and quiet place on the boarder gate.  This may well be where her granddaughter Peieta Mills drew her inspiration to re-open and renovate the historic Cunnamulla accommodation at Club Boutique Hotel that often hosted royalty.

At age 17 Margaret drew a Thargomindah property in a ballot and the family settled and worked it.  At the age of 26 Margaret Clayton married Steven Emery, from Thargomindah whom was known to everyone as Bub. The Emery family were know as mail contractors running mail trucks all around the district which was often referred to as ball bearing droving.  Together Gran & Grandad Bub had five children, Peg Campbell (nee Emery), Tom Emery, Elsie Burke (nee Emery), June Evert (nee Emery) who is my Grandmother and Chris Mills (nee Emery) who is Peieta’s mother.  In 1943 the family moved to Cunnamulla, where Bub began operating his own mail runs and developed a wool carting business. Margret became well known to all in Cunnamulla and was fondly called Gran by many. A true outback icon that spent her 96 years of life in the outback.

This diverse and extensive outback family history provides me with an extremely unique insight into outback culture, characters and life that I will enjoy sharing with my audience via my Tristan Evert Journalist articles. Full of amazing tales and adventurous stories, you will be left wanting more.

I come from a long line of country icons that have done some extraordinary things. I am an Evert and the Evert family were explorers, trail blazers and innovators with a passion for Australia, Outback Queensland and the Queensland town of Winton.   My great uncle Vince Evert was a visionary, originally the owner and picture show man, running one of the last open air theatres in Australia before furthering his enormous passion for open cut opal mining. He took the opal and travelled around the world, realising the enormous potential in over seas markets. He visited places like Japan and America showcasing opal and slowly creating the company now known as Evert Fine Jewellery. In the early days he would often bring people from all around the world to his fields and give them the outback Queensland experience, an early example of outback tours.

Vince, as well as his two brothers Neale and Peter are famous for promoting outback Queensland and they saw opal as an opportunity to bring people out. The trio journeyed all over the outback promoting tourism in their home town of Winton as the future that would keep the bush alive. No one believed Vince but he had tremendous vision and faith and because he was so highly regarded people followed his lead. Vince has since passed on but has a prestigious tourism award named after him, the Outback Tourism Queensland Association’s Vince Evert Award. Not only the Evert side of the family are prominent in outback Queensland, my other side of the family also hosts some quite spectacular outback figures and characters.

You can expect scandals, love, loss, war, peace, struggles, achievement, adventures, history characters and progress. Everything that makes the outback great, that unbreakable spirit, amazing country mateship and a never give up fight for survival.

Something that everyone should experience at least once in his or her lifetime. If you’re searching for an unbelievable, authentic outback adventure then come on this written journey with me until you are inspired to make your own booking into the Club Boutique Hotel the best Cunnamulla accommodation along the way. Meet the locals, experience nature and discover the wonderful secrets of Cunnamulla and Outback Queensland.

For other great stories on Cunnamulla History;

Albion’s Warrego Sawmill Cunnamulla

Cunnamulla Beer Brewer In History of Australian Beer

In Tribute Bub (Steven) Emery

Thargomindah, Noccundra onto Cunnamulla by Joyce Margaret Cowie

Cooper Creek to Cunnamulla Bike Ride 2018

Top Cunnamulla Accommodation for Cunnamulla Fella Festival

American Twitchers do Cunnamulla in search of Raptors

Cunnamulla Road Trip Down Memory Lane With John Hill