Newspaper article Fraser Coast Chronicle (Hervey Bay, Australia)

Pub with World Fame; It's Party Central When an Outback Town Comes Alive Once a Year

Newspaper article Fraser Coast Chronicle (Hervey Bay, Australia)

Pub with World Fame; It's Party Central When an Outback Town Comes Alive Once a Year

Article excerpt

TRAVEL

with Ann Rickard

IF YOU GO:

The Birdsville Hotel was built in 1884. European settlers moved into the area in 1870 and Birdsville was established as a centre for stock routes.

The annual Birdsville Racing Carnival runs over two days on the first weekend in September.

More information: birdsvilleraces.com

IF YOU'VE never been to the Birdsville Pub you might have had a curiosity about this Aussie institution. A pub in the middle of nowhere? Why should it have such iconic status? Just getting to it entails a great deal of planning, a willingness to get into the outback and then an arduous journey into the desert. Who in their right mind would choose it as a destination for fun? Plenty of people, actually.

The Birdsville Pub is famous, enjoying international recognition, mostly for its races in September when the tiny outback town is party central with more than 7000 visitors descending on it .

So when the opportunity came up to visit the Birdsville Pub - and to get to this remote location in the middle of harsh and barren country in the speedy comfort of a small plane - I put my hand up.

It was some years ago. An enthusiastic entrepreneur had the idea of holding a rally of small aeroplanes in Birdsville, like a car rally but in the air.

There were about a dozen small planes joining the excursion and off we went in fine fettle to fly over this vast and challenging country, to put down on a landing strip right opposite the famous pub.

It had rained heavily in the days preceding our visit, something of a rarity in Birdsville I believe, and the Birdsville Pub sat in the middle of a big puddle.

This caused excitement for every one of us in the rally-in-the-air. Perhaps only once or twice in a lifetime would the Birdsville Pub appear to float in the middle of a lake.

The minute we got out of our small planes and stepped into the wet heat, five trillion flies descended upon our individual persons.

All of us, about 30 blokes and me, were fair-dinkum Aussies and used to annoying insects of all varieties, but we were shocked to see each other covered from head to foot in a black mass of sticky, determined flies. …

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