Aussie Icons #6 – Min Min light, Boulia, Queensland
The benign, blue sky stretches away to infinity around western Queensland’s Boulia, mostly unrelieved by clouds, birds or planes. Unremarkable – at least by Outback standards – Boulia’s boundless blue backdrop is the ultimate Big Sky luring travellers to the Outback.
But it’s not the splendidly panoramic sky of daylight hours that attracts visitors to this remote capital of the Channel Country.
It’s the mysterious Min Min Light which only appears at night!
The famous lights didn’t appear as we descended south from Julia Creek and Mt Isa into Boulia after 600km on indifferent outback roads. Hardly surprising, given it was still daylight.
So with a mixture of anticipation and scepticism, we read signs around the town proclaiming we’d entered Min Min Light country. Would we get to see the famous lights on our first foray into the paranormal world of this phenomenon for which there is no rational explanation?
The Min Min light has been well known in Aborginal lore for generations. But the first police report of the legendary light was lodged shortly after the Min Min hotel, 100km east of Boulia, burned down, leaving only a bottle heap and cemetery.
Panicking after seeing a glow hovering over the graveyard, a passing stockman spurred his horse for Boulia. To his horror, the light turned and followed him most of the way back to town.
While his report was met with derision, a short time later a couple new to the area arrived in Boulia. They requested an explanation for a mysterious light which moved away from them when they moved towards it, but followed them once they returned to the road.
Then, a few nights later, another stockman reported an eerie light originating from the Min Min graveyard, this time bounding through the air like a football.
Despite theories – phosphorescence, burning gas, ghostly apparition, alcoholic influence, even fungus!! – there’s no scientific explanation to completely explain the spooky light. Now the Min Min light – often mistaken for a bright car headlight – has been seen by thousands of people since that first sighting nearly 100 years ago. But despite attempts to chase it down, it’s never been caught, outpacing runners, horses and cars.
Even if the lights HAD appeared at the excellent Boulia caravan park on the Burke river (named for the explorer) overnight, it would’ve been impossible to see them in the deep sleep we’d sunk into after a long day on the road. So the next day, our paranormal adventure continued at the local Boulia Museum ‘Min Min Encounter’, the only place where a Min Min Lights sighting is guaranteed!
Tragically, it’s not possible to photograph any part of the 45 minute journey we followed through this professionally designed hi-tech production.
But it successfully debunks possible explanations through actual eyewitness accounts of genuine Min Min light experiences.
Then the journey ends with a simulated night bus ride through the moonlit outback terrain, where the Min Min lights appear just before dawn!
Back outside, the real world of outback dust, rocks and big blue sky seems an unlikely spot for otherworldly manifestations. An Encounter staff member (who hasn’t seen the light herself) tells us the light hasn’t actually harmed anyone yet.
Unless you count being scared half to death!
So was I still sceptical?
But under Boulia’s spell, and keen to immortalise the uncanny occurrence we’d witnessed at the Min Min Encounter, I searched the gift shop for a suitably weird and wondrous souvenir to commemorate our visit. A fascinating booklet by local Charles Robinson to mark Boulia’s 1976 centenary (providing much information used in this post) was a good start – but I wanted MORE.
Then I spotted it.
The perfect way to keep the magic alive – AND to share it with you!
We didn’t see the Min Min light for real, on this trip anyway. But thanks to the formidable forces of modern science, technology and kitsch souvenir production I can re-live the Min Min light experience every time I have a coffee!
And so can you …