OZ Top Spot #6 – Starlight’s Lookout, Longreach, Queensland

Last Updated on March 3, 2017 by Red Nomad OZ

Puffing and panting, we haul ourselves up the rocky path, our feet sliding on the dusty gravel. Another few metres and we reach the base of the rocky outcrop at the summit. We peer through the gap.

We’ve climbed Starlight’s lookout – a mound rising high above the surrounding plain – and the view stretches for miles and miles and miles in every direction. As we watch, a clutch of quad bikes emerges from the paddocks to the west, circles the lookout and disappears to the east.

Yes, I’ve mixed my metric and imperial measurements, but ‘kilometres and kilometres’ doesn’t quite have the same ring to it, does it?!?! Nor does it evoke that SO appropriate song*, the chorus from which you’re probably humming … And ‘Cassidy’s Knob’, the real name of this rocky outcrop just north of Queensland’s Longreach doesn’t really work either.
Not when it’s also known as ‘Starlight’s Lookout’, after the famous character from Rolf Boldrewood’s classic novel of colonial Australia, ‘Robbery Under Arms’!  And ‘Rolf Boldrewood’, a pseudonym, sounds a LOT more exotic than the author’s real name, Thomas Alexander Browne … but I digress!

Boldrewood drew his composite character, ‘Captain Starlight’, from several regional bushrangers – AND local identity Harry Readford. But Harry wasn’t a bushranger – he was a cattle duffer, albeit notorious in his field! So why were aspects of Harry’s persona considered essential to Captain Starlight, essentially a highwayman?

Well, way back in 1870, Harry’s bold and outrageous – but ultimately successful – scheme to drove 1000 stolen cattle via Cooper’s Creek and the Strezlecki track down to South Australia, is now legendary.

Despite a distinctive white bull he’d sold en route being returned as evidence at his subsequent trial for cattle theft, Harry was acquitted! The fate of his accomplices remains a mystery.

And the lookout connection? Legend has it that Harry and his companions kept watch from here while ‘gathering’ (yes, that’s a euphemism!) the herd from nearby Bowen Downs station prior to setting out on their daring journey!!

And as a vantage point, it’s got everything – 360° views, hiding places, escape routes. As we drive away, a local farmer stops his ute to ask us if we’ve seen the quad bikes.

‘I’d climb up to look for them myself, but I’m over 70,’ he states. ‘I’d rather save my energy!’ We tell him which way the bikes went, and he heads out across the plain after them.

Not quite the real Captain Starlight, but we can pretend …

*’I can see for miles …’ – The Who

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  1. @ReneeK – Welcome! Yes, both of those – but ‘fun’ and ‘beautiful’ describes almost ANYTHING in OZ!
    @Renegades – Welcome to you too! Plenty more where that came from … come back anytime to check it out!!

  2. @Manzanita – well I’ve had it in my head for days … even the verse lyrics fit! Cattle rustling was hard work, but it paid off for Harry!
    @Mary – It’s amazing to think I stood where a notorious historic figure (albeit criminal!) once stood!
    @LV – Queensland is one of the most diverse places – rainforest, highlands, beaches, islands, outback, gorges … need I go on?
    @Rochelle – hold that love – they’ll need it to recover from Yasi! Welcome and thanx for following!!

  3. The one and only trip to your grand country, Queenlands was one of my favorite places. I really enjoy seeing what you will share with us next.

  4. I can imagine the views from that perch. I also love the small dose of history you shared with us today. I hope you have a wonderful day. Blessings…Mary

  5. “I know you’ve deceived me, now here’s a surprise.” Da Da da
    Now I’ve got that in my head. Thanks.

    I love perches where you can see just about forever. I always thought cattle rustling was a lot of hot sweaty hard work. And then you have to climb high places like Starlight’s Lookout to watch your back all the time.

    I like the craggy rocks. Some neat pictures. Another great post.
    Love and peace

  6. @Mags118 – no problem, just thought it was nice you were fitting right in with the pseudonym thing in my post!!!

  7. Hi Red Nomad OZ,
    No I didn’t change my name, I just wasn’t signed in at the time I was going through my RSS feeds. 🙂 Magsx2 is who I am at WordPress blogs. Sorry about the confusion.

  8. @River – sorry, can’t help myself! But you could consider it payback …
    @Kath – what, despite the strangely sloping horizon?? I think parents should consider the likelihood of fame and fortune for their offspring and name them accordingly!!
    @magsx2 – your name change fits right in with my post!! But you’re welcome – whatever you call yourself!
    @Mrs Tuna – yeah, but first you have to find one!!!

  9. Hi Red Nomad OZ,
    Love the second photo, I love exploring and climbing through things, and this looks like a wonderful place to do both. I always wonder what’s on the other side, or at the end of a passage.
    (Mags 118)

  10. LOVE the last photo.

    All the name changing reminds me that John Wayne might not have been quite the strong-n-silent movie star if he’d stuck to what was on his birth certificate – Marion Morrison!

  11. @Andrew – Beaten?? I’ll give you ‘equalled’!! It’s actually a bit unprotected for rock art – the angle is deceptive!
    @Michelle – yes, the history is fascinating! I’d like to say the hike was arduous, but that would be wrong …!!!
    @Alessandra – pretty dry & dusty on our July 09 visit! Whoops! Forgot to put in the travel date!!
    @Jim – upon reflection, your song is probably more appropriate than mine! Although I’m not sure the outback is still praying for rain …

  12. How weird is that today- been listening to Aussie John Williamson and 1 song has stuck in my mind today- ‘Longreach is praying for rain’ off his ‘Warragul’ album.

  13. that looks like quite the hike! what a great story! i love ones that involve Australian explorers 🙂

  14. I can beat your mixing of linear measurements. I am not unknown to say something like, ‘it is five feet and a couple of mil wide’, or it is one metre, two and half inches’. I grew up with both, but it is mainly length that I still use both. I like the photo with the green tree through the gap. Looks like a great place for rock art.

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