STEP BACK IN TIME: Experience heyday of domestic tourism
INTERSTATE travel could be off the cards until September, but that doesn’t mean Queenslanders need to put their holidays on hold.
The disruption to air travel offers holidaymakers a rare opportunity to take a step back in time, and revisit the “scenic charms” and “salubrious climate” of the Southern Downs.
Before Qantas began to fly Australians across the world in 1935, the Southern Downs was touted as a tourism hotspot, enticing thousands of residents from the coastal districts to visit.
Tourism pamphlets created by the Queensland Government Tourist Bureau between the years 1925 and 1933 offer a vintage view of the wonders of Warwick and surrounds, many of which are still available to visitors today.
The guide from 1925 sings the region’s praises, stating, “to those seeking pleasure and a thoroughly enjoyable holiday, few districts offer greater attractions”.
“Within a few miles of the town there are numerous beauty spots, which can be conveniently reached by motor-car.”
Should you wish to follow in the tyre-tracks of the old Holden Speedster, the guides neatly surmise exactly where to head for a true experience of old-school Australiana.
The “gentle height” and “lighter atmosphere” of the region was famed for its “renewed healing qualities”, a selling point in the anxiety-inducing age of the coronavirus.
Tourists took to the ranges with great enthusiasm, with the guide describing Maryvale in particular as “certain to become one of the most popular summer resorts in Queensland”.
“Magnificent views present themselves on every hand, including Cunningham’s Gap and Spicer’s Gap.
“The grandeur of the mountain scenery cannot fail to impress the visitor.”
The train route along the range and into Killarney was popular, allowing visitors to view “some of the finest agricultural and dairying country in Australia”.
Operation on the branch line has since ceased, but motorists can follow Yangan Killarney Rd for similar spectacle, as it passes both Emu Vale and Tannymorel.
Of the view at Emu Vale, the guides wrote there were few finer sights anywhere, particularly “when the wheat … ripened to a golden brown contrasts with the green of the growing maize and steadier luminance of the lucerne patches.”
The land may be a little drier than it was back then, when visitors marvelled at the “splendid supply of water” in Connolly Dam, but water features such as Queen Mary’s Falls and the Condamine River, dotted with willow trees in Queen’s Park, remain as they were almost a hundred years ago.
And, as ever, “tourists are always assured of having every hospitality extended to them”.
WHERE YOU CAN STEP BACK IN TIME ON THE SOUTHERN DOWNS
“A striking feature of the town is the number of stone buildings it contains. They are built of freestone, of which there is a plentiful supply in the district.
The town hall, post office, courthouse, technical college and several churches are all splendid buildings.”
“Killarney has something of the charm of its famous counterpart – Killarney, Ireland. Killarney, Queensland has no Blarney Stone but has falls and stone and water formations which are most picturesque.
The most picturesque are Queen Mary’s Falls where a delightful day may be spent. The panoramas in the Killarney district will please the eyes of most tourists.”
“Yangan is a prosperous little town. Stretching away back along the Yangan Valley, surrounded by the ranges, numerous comfortable farms stud the country. The picture presented here at harvest time is truly beautiful.”
“The Condamine Gorge is a memorable combination of mountain scenery, and the palms, ferns and abounding life of subtropical forest, where gaily coloured birds win their ways and the Condamine’s first fountains flow.”
“Near Goomburra the native jungle is beautiful in its interlaced network of palms, ferns, vines and flowering creepers that fill any spaces left by the big trees and their curious parasitic growths and adornments of epiphytic ferns and orchids.”