MIGHTY MOURA, THE HEART OF DAWSON COUNTRY
Summer has definitely come early this year. And this is the time when the swimming spots never looked so good. I was on my little mission of searching for somewhere to cool down. Thankfully, just out of a little town called Moura, I found my haven from out of the heat.
Down by the riverside on the banks of the mighty Dawson.
Here you’ll find a sweet little rest area, set up many moons ago by the Apex club and the good people of Moura. A simple donation is all that they ask to help maintain the upkeep on this gem of a campsite. I was told that during the winter months this place can reach capacity with well over a few hundred people staying on the grounds. I guess right about now it was getting just too hot for most of them to bother!
Of the 15-20 vans, RV’s and caravans that were my fellow neighbours it became the daily ritual among us all of heading down to the water to cool ourselves down. Wading out from the shore the water becomes considerably fresher, a welcome relief on days when it’s 30+c before 9am.
There’s treasures in the water too. Fresh river mussels, good to eat and great for a bit of bait. It was more the fun of collecting them that kept us all amused for hours. Diving down into the shallows or trying to hoist them up in your toes. A great way to pass the time while relaxing in the river.
Good for the locals,
Great for me!!
One thing I loved most about this special spot was that it wasn’t just the travellers who were there but also many a local would come down each day for a swim, a drink in the cool breeze, a bit of fishing out on the boats or some crazy fun around on their jet ski’s.
This was when I got to meet some of them and to hear the stories about their sweet little town. For Moura is a town of Coal and Cattle. You can’t miss the open cut mine sites with their monster trucks hauling the goods out of the ground and off to be processed. Three major disasters around the region saw the end to the underground mining here. But with coal seams in abundance it’s all above ground now that they gather this natural resource.
As for the cattle, they’ve been here for a good while too, as the name of the shire will show. You see, the BANANA shire wasn’t named after its ability to grow the yellow fruit, but after one Drover’s head bullock. A BIG, YELLOW bull named “Banana”. There’s pride in the cattle here. It’s bred into the kids too from the time they manage to put their first pair of boots on.
One decent local I had the pleasure to meet, by the name of Leigh, was kind enough to take me out in his little dinghy down towards the weir for a bit of fishing on the river. With the mussels for bait my first catch was a Turtle. A Turtle of all things!! No time for photos as I wanted the sweet little creature put safely back into the water.
We cruised along the river watching the local fauna do its thing. Water dragons hunting, kangaroos coming down for a drink, the bird’s drying their wings out or flying high in the sky making the most of the thermals.
Leigh even took me on a tour the outskirts of Moura the next day. Out to the mines to see the mammoth draglines in operation, recounting the crazy stories of working on these machines that are easily as big as a 6 story building.
Cruising down the back roads we found emu’s and bullock’s, heard of camels on another road, passed the cattle roaming freely. It was great to get out with a local for a guided tour of the area. On my own I would have easily been lost and I would have missed out on the opportunity to learn more of this lovely part of Australia.
Lest we Forget the Blessed RSL!!!
I was recommended to try the RSL on a Thursday night. Cheap food and drinks in a great little atmosphere. I headed into town in the courtesy bus provided by the RSL with a few of my fellow campers that had decided to get out of the park for the night. It was lovely to see this quant weatherboard fill up with the local families and groups out for a cheap social night and a bit of a catch up. All enjoying the good vibe that collectively we had brought to this humble place of gathering.
My last night in Moura was Halloween and what better way to spend it then with the locals. Hanging out with Leigh and his super hospitable family, out the front of the neighbour’s house, having a few quiet drinks while ensuring the hordes of children that came were well fed with candy to see them through the night. All dressed up to enjoy a night of frolicking in the streets under their disguises. Princesses, pirates, zombies and the rest.
Moura was just what I needed. A welcome break from the heat in its cool river waters. A lovely opportunity to bond with a community that when you gave them the chance will happily open their arms and doors to a curious little traveller. And to see another shining example of a little town off the beaten track, keeping strong and growing further with its big heart pumping through the veins of the country.