Thank god for Kerry Packer*! When his Consolidated Pastoral Company purchased nearby Nockatunga station in 1990, the Noccundra Hotel, part of the lease, was almost certainly saved from the oblivion often suffered by historic (aka ‘old’) buildings in areas without a critical voting mass.
Outdistancing its surrounding very remote localities (Thargomindah to the east, Tibooburra to the south, Innamincka to the west and Eromanga* to the north), Noccundra is a welcome oasis for outback travellers.
But while the area is hostile – Andrew Hume perished of thirst nearby while looking for Leichhardt expedition survivors – the locals aren’t. The refurbished hotel (thank you, Kerry!!) with its own airstrip out the front is open for business so modern travellers need not fear suffering Humes fate!
So what’s a nice outback hotel doing in a place like this?
The only original building left from the small town that once serviced the area, there’s still a small population to manage the hotel and facilities. How many? ‘Approximately four’, according to tourist information – is it THAT hard to make a definitive count?! But who cares, when the outback hospitality – and meals! – is so good…
One of the approximate four is the designated pyromaniac – setting alight the contents of the 44 gallon drum bins at the free campground down by the river every afternoon, of course! And despite a 500m walk to the amenities, where a gold coin donation to the Royal Flying Doctor Service will buy you a hot shower, the waterholes – what was left of the river in June 2009 before the drought broke – were a haven for birds, and birdwatching travellers!
|Oil fields Oil ‘Donkey’|
**Eromanga claims to be the furthest outback town from the ocean in Australia!
***Any place neither of us has been to before