Julia Creek is one of those places that always seemed so far away – and now I’m here. My first stop was the information centre. It was the best I have been to with several separate rooms which were once fettlers cottages. They all had digital displays and loads of information about the area and its attractions.
This little creature is called a dunnart, and until 1992 they were believed to be extinct. They are still on the endangered species list and locals are creating safe habitats for them to survive and hopefully thrive. A predator fence has been built around the Julia Creek aerodrome to increase the chances of survival and give the dunnarts a safe environment to live and breed.
They are tiny little things, a bit like a mouse. Their natural habitat is the Mitchell Grass country, and during the hot days they live in the cracks in the dry black soil coming out at night to feed on insects. There is a very spoilt one at the information centre that gets mince steak for dinner!
The other fascinating thing about Julia Creek is the water supply. It comes from the Great Artesian Basin and there are signs on the taps to warn you that the water in the cold tap could be 50 degrees Centigrade. Houses have cooling tanks to cool the water down so they can have cold water.
The Great Artesian Basin is one of the largest underground water reservoirs in the world. It underlies approximately 22 per cent of Australia — occupying an area of over 1.7 million square kilometres beneath the arid and semi-arid parts of Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and the Northern Territory. For many years bores were sunk and water flowed freely, whether it was needed or not but recently many of the bores have been capped to reduce the wastage and increase the pressure.
It is estimated that the Great Artesian Basin holds enough water to fill Sydney Harbour 130,000 times.
Although only a small town, with a population of about 500 people (and a few dunnarts!) I really loved being here. The free camp on the banks of Julia Creek was just perfect and once again I met some wonderful people sharing the picnic table nearby. Happy Hour is definitely well named!
I would have been happy to spend more time at Julia Creek but at about 7am the next day some council workers came around and asked us to move our vans to a different area as they were going to seal the road. I decided that if I had to pack everything up to move a few metres I might as well move a few kilometres, so I headed to my next destination – Cloncurry.