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Leichhardt's stay ~ and the starting-point for one of the searches for him.
M 1 Wandoan Dried-Beef-Camp Courier-Mail THUMB

 

 


  

 

    

 

 

THEN

In early November 1844, an assessment of food supplies led to Leichhardt reducing his party. Before two of the members returned to the southeast, a small bullock was killed, its meat cut into thin strips and hung to dry in the sun, providing 7kg of tallow (fats) and 30kg of dried meat.

They spent almost a week camped at the string of waterholes, which Leichhardt named ‘Dried-beef Creek’, in the district east of Juandah (Wandoan).

Juandah was established in 1849 by squatter Percival Stephen; he and Henry Salway bid for three large tracts of land totalling almost 54,000 acres (25,600 ha), but the aggregation of these three runs came to total a staggering 449 square miles (1,160 sq.km) and thus Juandah Station was created in  1853.  

Explorer August Gregory departed from Juandah on another great expedition on 24 March 1858, after being commissioned by the NSW government to search for traces of the missing Leichhardt. He found one L-marked tree to the west before following the Barcoo and Thomson Rivers and ultimately turned south to reach Adelaide, empty-handed, four months later.

Juandah  became the centre of a flourishing township but, because of the similarity of name with that  of the town of Jundah, in western Queensland, in 1926 Juandah changed its name to Wandoan.

NOW

Wandoan today serves outlying wheat and cattle industries. Dominated by grain silos, the town also has saleyards, a hotel-motel, local shops and tradespeople, bowling, golf and swimming venues, a hospital, a community centre, two churches and a combined primary-high school.

Today the town is still a great resting place halfway between Miles and Taroom. Stop off on your way north or south and follow the local Heritage Trail. 

Juandah Historical Site is a truly unique slice of history: the original site of the Juandah Head Station. At full running capacity, Juandah Station employed up to 80 stockmen to run up to 50,000 head of cattle. Some of the original buildings from its time as a flourishing enterprise are still standing, including the old Juandah Store, built in the 1850s, which contains a room that later became the first school room for the area.

Various rooms and remnants of the original homestead and other structures are carefully sign-posted at their original sites. The Juandah Historical Site also hosts a Folk Museum of local heritage items and social history.

Above: Expedition member Hodgson’s drawing of Dried Beef Camp. He was one of the two who returned to the southeast, to ease the burden on the party’s food supplies.   (The Courier-Mail)

M 2 Wandoan region-general aerial-outback-enormity  Shutterstock THUMB

Above: First hinted at to the west of Toowoomba, the enormity of the fertile lands of the northern Darling Downs around Wandoan can truly be appreciated from the air – a 21st century luxury not available to Leichhardt.   (Shutterstock)

M 3 Wandoan gum tree--shed Shutterstock THUMB
Above: On the ground, drivers and visitors may frequently encounter scenes such as this: abandoned slab huts and farm sheds, haunted with tales untold of lives gone by.   (Shutterstock)
 
 
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