“We’re in the Banana Shire Enzo” the Sparrow said. I didn’t even have to lift my head and look out the window to know there were no bananas here. This was cattle country! When it’s in your bloodlines you can sense it, even before you smell it! When they were no longer looking at me, I took a little peep out of the window. Flat scrubby country, about one head of cattle per acre. This is the land Australian Cattle Dogs were bred for.
We stopped at the town of Banana for diesel. And went for a walk around the main street, or should I say main crossroads? In a little reservation was a statue of a bullock. It turns out Banana was the name of an enormous yellow bullock, who was the leader of a bullock team back in the day. I bet one of my ancestors knew him. After much hard work Banana died near a creek in these parts, so they called it Banana’s Gully. Some years later, a town sprung up around that gully and they called it Banana. Many years later when a shire was proclaimed, there was only one name on the short list. I knew there were no bananas growing here! Great to see a place honouring its working animals!
I thought that was going to be the highlight of my day, but more was yet to come. We drove on a bit and pulled up for the afternoon at the Queensland Heritage Park Rest Area, at Biloela – the locals apparently call it “Billo”. This was one of those country showground style rest areas where travellers can stop for up to 48hrs. Half a dozen nice little demountable individual bathrooms. Large grassy plots, about a dozen vans stopping over, powered site $15 a night, dogs welcome. The big open expanses, to chase ball, were very welcome after three hours in the van.
The best part was, it is also home to the Callide Dawson Machinery Preservation Club Inc. Once we had set up camp, we went off for a walk around their collection of old farm machinery. I even got to jump on the back of a few old farm trucks, it was awesome. There was also a tiny church and a railway station that had been relocated to the site and were packed with really interesting, musty smelling memorabilia.
But wait there’s more! The folks had bought a Woolworths slow cooked lamb shoulder for tea and I overheard the Sparrow saying that they always need the fatty bits trimming off. This day just keeps on giving.