After lunch and some whip cracking practice we headed out along the Donohue Hwy towards Boulia. The drive was interesting with vast empty plains interspersed with low rocky hills. A few hours down the road Jules spotted a particularly photogenic shack just 8 kms out of Middleton – so we just had to stop whilst camera and tripod were set up.
A few minutes later we pulled into the “Hotel Hilton” which advertised on a hand painted sign – ‘No room service, No Pool, No WiFi, No Air Conditioning, No Grass, Vacancy’. Basically a patch of dust over the road from the Middleton pub, population three, which had its origins as Cobb & Co stop No. 4 on the regular service to Boulia. After an obligatory XXXX and a Somersby pear cider (who’dve guessed?) for only $11 (cheaper than at the Junction Hotel at home!) and a $5 donation to the RFDS the toilets and shower were ours to use for the duration. Perfect.
J – the pub’s proprietor, Lester, said the Cobb & Co coach out the front is the genuine article, dated at 1898 from the axle stamp.
J – I asked Lester about the shack, he asked me how old I thought it was ‘Oh, about 80 years’ I said, knowing straight away I was wrong. ‘Nuh, 3 months’ corrected Lester – it was built as a set for the film Goldstone.
The boys took off to photograph the shack at sunset while I got dinner going. I found the view from the kitchen otherworldly.
It was a very, very quiet night with no passing traffic, no insect sounds, no generators and no animals or birds. Just the moon and stars and a strange ringing in my ears from the silence.