Even before you arrive in Ilfracombe you get the feeling that they are really passionate about history - in particular, the development of the pastoral and transport industries in central western Queensland.
Driving into Ilfracombe, you can’t miss ‘the Great Machinery Mile’, an amazing line-up of historic machinery stretching for more than 1km along the highway. The display is a graphic timeline of motorisation in the west and for those mechanically minded, it’s even more fun to look at some of the changes that have been made to machinery over the years. Follow the trail of machines to the Folk Museum, a replica of an early station residence and chock-a-block with memorabilia. Also situated within the museum complex is Oakhampton Cottage which has its own historical significance and offers tangible glimpses into early outback households and Romani Hall, a memorial to the young men of the region who answered the call to arms. The memorial is dedicated to the Australian Light Horse and houses thought-provoking memorabilia and information on the Light Horsemen and their battles.
Langenbaker House—steeped in history
A very special attraction is Langenbaker House, a teamster’s cottage that was one of the first homes in Ilfracombe. What makes it totally fascinating is that the home was owned by one family for a century and inside hardly a stick of furniture has been moved since 1920. It was one of the first homes in Ilfracombe and was the residence of Harry and Mary-Ann Langenbaker and their 11 (yes, 11!) children.
The Jackson Collections
Discover Hilton’s Corner, overflowing with treasures collected by Hilton Jackson. There are thousands of bottles and buttons, scissors and stones, drill bits and door latches, rabbit traps and rarities. More than 30,000 of Hilton’s bottles form one collection and another is the pride and joy of his late brother Ike, who collected firearms and memorabilia. Ike’s collection comprises more than 120 weapons, flags, knives, uniforms and helmets.
Artesian spa and barbie
A swimming pool, artesian spa, children’s playground and barbecue facilities are all set in the welcoming surroundings of Memorial Park, where the whole family can cool off and enjoy a relaxing outdoor meal. The facilities are shaded against the summer sun and are available for use at any time of day.
Post office building
The 100-year-old post office/ library offers daily Australia Post services. EFTPOS is available and there is a comprehensive gift shop with items for any occasion.
In its early years, the Wellshot Hotel was a well travelled little pub. Originally the Withersfield Hotel near Anakie, it made a number of moves back in the 19th century as it followed the railway west. The hotel came to Ilfracombe in 1890 and was renamed the Wellshot. Since then, the tin and timber construction has been through droughts and flooding rains, booms and busts. When you enter the bar area, you’ll realise that country people have been taking their hats off to this iconic little pub for many years - and leaving them there! All sorts of hats, some in good condition and some tattered beyond belief, form a border around the ceiling of the bar. See the woolpress table filled with fine merino wool, the unique bar made from an opened-out wool press in the lounge and browse around absorbing bits of history on the walls.
The Twelve Mile
Discover a magnificent example of 19th century bush craftsmanship when you visit the Twelve Mile. Thousands of naturally formed flagstones were meticulously placed to form a leak-proof reservoir. The overshot was constructed by hand in the 1890s. Once a watering stop for Cobb and Co, it is now close to picnic tables and camping grounds.
The Wellshot Centre, which is the town’s visitor information centre, tells the story of one of Australia’s greatest sheep stations, Wellshot Station. The centre traces the history and development of the station from its early settlement, how it was formed and how people lived and worked there. Wellshot Station gained a world record in 1892 for shearing the largest number of sheep off the same property in one season - 425,000 sheep!
In the grounds, look through an authentic shepherd’s hut, and also the town’s original jail cell which was built in 1901 and used for 70-plus years.
Phone (within Australia) 07 4658 2233
Longreach Visitor Information Centre
Phone (within Australia) 07 4658 4150