Once, The Globe was one of an inordinate number of pubs in town. Now, the old lady of Barcaldine’s main street has been granted an exciting new lease of life with a $3 million makeover and a new commission - that of the town’s visitor information centre and cultural precinct.
The Globe dates back to 1910 and until its closure in 2011 was known as ‘the workers’ pub’. With a great deal of work and contemporary architectural flair, it has been brought from its gently decaying state to landmark status. Restumped, reroofed and reverandahed, it’s now the perfect setting for tourism and the arts. Visitors will enjoy browsing around History on Oak, which showcases the history of The Globe and Barcaldine itself. The ongoing project will also house the Galilee Gallery, an exhibition space for displays, art functions and events.
First stop after the visitor information centre will be the Tree of Knowledge site. It’s not often you see a memorial to a tree, but Barcaldine’s Tree of Knowledge was no ordinary tree. It was part of the history of the town right from the very beginning of settlement. The memorial, a gigantic cube made from recycled timber and placed on the site of the tree, recreates the size of the canopy of the tree when it was in its prime during the 1891 Great Shearers’ Strike, the event which led to the birth of the Australian Labor Party. The tree itself has undergone a preservation process and forms part of the memorial. Barcaldine also has a festival in the tree’s honour. And while you’re in the main street, snap a photo of the windmill there. An icon of the bush, it stands as a reminder of the importance of windmills to a land that is often parched and relies on artesian water. This windmill is a 1917 C pattern model manufactured by Sidney Williams and was originally erected at Back Creek on the site of the first flowing bore in Queensland.
Visit the Australian Workers Heritage Centre to get an insight into the nation’s working history. The centre, in Ash Street (just one street back from the main street), is a gorgeous place to connect with the spirit of all kinds of workers who have helped to build the nation. Exhibitions feature the workplaces of yesteryear of working women, power workers, teachers, railway workers and others. The most recent addition is the shearers’ hall. There are 14 buildings in all, housing 22 displays. Also enjoy the lovely landscape - a bore-fed billabong is the central feature of the entire complex. Check opening times with the Barcaldine Visitor Information Centre.
More history can be found at the Barcaldine Historical Museum, which operated as a bank for nearly 70 years before being relocated to the corner of Beech and Gidyea Streets and given a new job as the keeper of the town’s history. The museum is open seven days from 7.00am (closed Good Friday and Christmas Day). Family days are held on the last Sunday of each month from March to November and feature a mini-steam train in operation.
You may time your visit just right to enjoy one of the monthly markets at the Barcaldine Bakery.
Barcaldine has caravan parks that are known for their hospitality, including billy tea and damper cooked the bushman’s way.
Follow Barcaldine’s award-winning heritage trail. Pick up the booklet, Between the Bougainvilleas, and you’ll be set to go. The old radio theatre was built in 1926 during the era of silent movies. The Railway Goods Shed was once the staging post for meetings during the Great Shearers’ Strike but since then it has been moved to the Barcaldine Showgrounds. The Masonic Lodge is a great photo opportunity. It dates back to 1876 and originally hailed from Dingo Creek. The chamferboard face is painted with three shades of paint to appear like stonework.
Next on the trail is the old National Bank, built in 1906 and now the town’s museum. St Peter’s Anglican Church is topped with a Gothic-style spire. Finish your tour with a visit to Barcaldine’s historic hotels.
When you’re ready to go a little further afield, travel the 15km from town to the Lloyd Jones Weir where you can have a picnic, drop in a line or do some birdwatching.
Birdwatchers will also be keen to visit Lagoon Creek, on the outskirts of town, to walk among native vegetation along 2km of walking paths. More than 200 varieties of birds have been identified in the area.
Barcaldine Tourist Information Centre
Phone (within Australia) 4651 1724