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.

DSC_0200Practice makes perfect. Although the result was bad blisters.


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.

DSC_0178New meets old.

One thought on “Middleton

  1. I’ve seen Cobb & Co coaches in Hay, Hughendon, Surat and Bathurst, all under cover. Bathurst became the HQ of the company when Freeman Cobb sold out to James Rutherford. At one time they were harnessing 6000 horses a day. Cheers, Dad