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 Beer Brewer In History of Australian Beer

Cunnamulla Beer Brewer, Burton’s Brewery Part of Australia’s History of Beer, Rum and Whisky in (QLD)

The history of beer in Australia dates back to the early days of British colonisation when Sir Captain Cook brought beer with him on his voyage to Australia.

With the first fleet landing in the 18th century, the alcohol industry in Australia begun to expand with the first pub opening up in 1796 in Parramatta, the Mason Arms.

John Boston became Australia’s first official brewer after creating a beer from Indian corn.

Cunnamulla Beer Btrewer

Burtons Brewery Cunnamulla

Beer didn’t make its way up to Queensland until a little later in the 19th century when larger was first brewed at the Castlemaine and Quinlan breweries.

Although larger is common in the modern world, early beers were top-fermented and quick-maturing ales. Lager was not brewed in Australia until 1885 and then brewed in Queensland in 1889. These beers were also brewed missing hops due to the fact no one had successfully refined hops. James Squire become the first in 1804.

The Castlemaine brewery has a long and rich history in Australia.

Situated in Brisbane Queensland, it has produced Australia’s most popular beer, XXXX. The brewery begun in 1878, however really came in to its own after recruiting a master brewer from Germany. Alhois William Leitner used his expertise to solve the cloudy beer problem, keeping beer fresher for longer. The recipe is still used today for XXXX Bitter.

The X’s in XXXX represent the quality of beer, back in the day beers were given an X rating. The breweries first brew was given a XXX rating, however in 1924 the recipe was perfected gaining the fourth X. That same year Mr Fourex was introduced to the world quickly becoming one of Queensland’s most recognised symbols. XXXX also kept the troops hydrated throughout the first and second world war after being distributed around the world. XXXX was often called barbed wire by diggers.

Over time breweries have come and gone throughout Queensland’s vast landscape like Cunnamulla Beer Brewer Burton’s that existed in Cunnamulla in 1885.

A local historian confirmed despite strong demand the locally brewed Cunnamulla beer was not successful due to the bore water.

Burtons Brewery was situated on the banks of the Warrego River on the current Cunnamulla State School Site.

All these years on, broken bottles with the breweries logo on it are still being dug up around the site.

Queensland Brewery also referred to as Bulimba Beer supplied wooden kegs to Club Hotel Cunnamulla in the late 1800’s.

It was another major brewery that opened prior to 1883 changing hands and locations from Teneriffe to Fortiutude Valley. Carlton United Breweries took over the brewery in 1961 and in 1993 the brewery was relocated to Yatla.

In 1940 a somewhat un recorded and forgotten beer riot took place on Brisbane’s Queen street.

The riots took over the streets for six hours after the Government decided to enforce strict liquor regulations. They imposed closing venues at 8:00pm and no trading on Sundays, forcing civilians to take matters into their own hands.

Despite beers popularity, rum quickly became the beverage of choice among settlers and convicts as mentioned in the following convict song.

Cut yer name across me backbone
Stretch me skin across yer drum
Iron me up on Pinchgut Island
From now to Kingdom Come.
I’ll eat yer Norfolk Dumpling
Like a juicy Spanish plum,
Even dance the Newgate Hornpipe
If ye’ll only gimme Rum

Rum experienced rapid growth in the late 18th century and became extremely popular in the 19th eventually becoming a semi official currency of the time. Drunkenness became a huge issue during this time period with even kids often being seen stumbling the streets.

In 1808 the Rum Rebellion became the only ever successful armed take over of Government in Australian history.

Its cause is widely misunderstood, however it is common belief that the autocratic William Bligh was removed as he threatened the massive profits that were being made from trading spirits. This perception suggest it was no more then an argument between unsavoury parties. The Rum Rebellion had a much deeper story and was basically a build up of a long running battle for power and a fight over the future of the colony.

In modern Queensland, rum still remains highly popular with Bundaberg Rum now sweeping the world.

Beenleigh Rum is the states oldest rum, however Bundaberg is by far the most iconic and successful. The Bundaberg Rum distillery began in 1888 because local sugar mills didn’t know what to do with the waste molasses after the sugar was extracted. Men that worked in these mills noticed the potential profits and held a meeting at The Royal Hotel on 1 August 1885 to discuss.

Soon after, Bundaberg produced its first rum in 1889 and continued operation until 1907, when it ceased operation for seven years.

The distillery has had its fair share of set backs with two fires in 1936 and 1939, in which rum spilt in to the near by Burnett River. With clever advertising campaigns, Bundaberg Rum has become an international beverage, winning awards on the global stage for its Master Distillers Collective Rum. Bundaberg Rum has become another Queensland icon, however Whisky falls short of that status.

Queensland isn’t big on Whisky with only one distillery.

The Castel Glen distillery is Queensland’s only whisky manufacturer and produces a number of 100% natural Whisky beverages.

For other great stories on Cunnamulla History;

Albion’s Warrego Sawmill Cunnamulla

In Tribute Bub (Steven) Emery

Thargomindah, Noccundra onto Cunnamulla by Joyce Margaret Cowie

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