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Saturday, October 3, 2009

Cunnamulla, Queensland

Cunnamulla Fella

Cobb and Co were responsible for creating the little town of Cunnumulla, just over the Queensland border. On the 3rd September 1879 they drove the first coach through from Bourke. They needed another stopover point, no doubt choosing this spot because of the water supply in the Warrego River. The Cobb and Co stockyards used to be where the post office now stands.

The bronze statue of a young stockman is called The Cunnumulla Fella by sculptor Archie St Clair. It's a tribute to all the young stockmen who worked on sheep and cattle stations in the 60's and 70's. A song of the same name was written by Stan Coster and sung by Slim Dusty.

Water was running over the Allan Tannock weir 3 months ago but it's drying up fast

It must be hard living in such a small, isolated place like this, it's been five years since Cunnamurra had a permanent doctor and a generous salary and lifestyle incentives have failed to attract another one. Instead, the town has had a steady stream of locums and contractors ever since.

Warrego River

Dennis O'Rourke made a controversial film about Cunnumulla in 1999. His other films include The Good Women of Bangkok and Cannibal Tours but he considers Cunnamulla his greatest cinemographic achievement. He was awarded damages by the ACT Supreme Court for defamation by an Aboriginal rights activist who accused him of unscrupulous conduct during filming involving two young teenage Aboriginal girls. They accused him of embarrassing the girls by asking them personal questions about their sex lives with boys in the town which resulted in them having to leave Cunnamulla. He also received damages from Nationwide News Pty Ltd. after these comments were published in the Daily Telegraph and The Australian. He maintains that the film was only controversial because it told truths that society wanted to kept hidden away.

Matilda Highway

The Cunnumulla Water Supply Scheme provides irrigation water to landholders along the ponded area of Allan Tannock Weir. The water is used for irrigation for crops such as table grapes, citrus, cotton and a variety of grain crops, it also supplies the town water. Cunnamulla seems to be quiet and trouble free and is kept afloat mainly by people like us coming to have a look.