- News of the day
Friday 20 September 1946, page 1
Blackall Celebrates Centenary Of
Mitchell's Barcoo Discovery
(From Our Special Representative.)
In Blackall yesterday the pages of history were turned back 100 years to the date when the renowned explorer, Sir Thomas Mitchell, was the first white person to leave the imprint of his foot on the soil of what now is the site of the town. That event, which was celebrated yesterday, quickly led to the opening up and general settlement of the rich pastoral lands of the Barcoo.
The day was celebrated by functions of & fitting character.
Visitors were present from many towns in Queensland and the day was a public holiday for residents of the. district. Among those present were Sir Donald Cameron (Sydney), past president of the Royal Geographical Society of Australia, Queensland; Mrs H. Robertson, MBE, president of the society; Mr D. A. O’Brien, general secretary of the Queensland branch of the RGSS; Mrs B. Symes and Miss A. T. Woodard.
The chairman of the celebrations in Blackall was Mr A. C. Towner, Purtora, Blackall, with Mr L Mc-Lean, Harden Park, secretary, and Mr. A. C. Watt, treasurer.
One of the most important functions was the unveiling of a four-faced memorial clock in Shamrock Street. This was presented by the Shire Council and, when the structure is completed, will be mounted on a 12 ft high cairn of rustic sandstone. A cast bronze plaque, procured through the Royal Geographical Society, will be affixed to the cairn.
There also was a procession through the main street, the district's history being portrayed by floats. Re-enacted were the explorer's expedition and events which have marked the progress of the district.
The procession was led by "Sir Thomas Mitchell," Corporal John Douglas," " William Graham" and the aboriginal "Yurinigh. The members of the party were in uniforms loaned for the occasion. Also in the procession were two panels of the first "dog-leg" stock fence erected on Enniskillen, in the late 70's. It was of lance wood and was the original timber used.
Among other displays were a wool dray, with bales of wool stencilled with the names of all the carriers in the district, a decorated car and the modern road making plant of the Blackall Shire Council.
Sir Thomas Mitchell was an ardent explorer and his book, descriptive of an earlier expedition, earned him a knighthood. He discovered the Darling Downs in 1831 and on the 1845-46 expedition explored the vicinity of the Balonne River almost to its source, crossed. He then followed the Maranoa River almost to its source, crossed the Warrego and breached the Barcoo, winch he named the Victoria River.
Here on the Barcoo is Blackall on the site which Sir Thomas reached on September 19, 1849.
A clock commemorates Major Thomas Mitchell who explored the area and commemorates the centenary of the discovery of the site where Blackall now stands. Mitchell named the river the Barcoo and mapped the district enabling the establishment of the sheep industry.
The inscription on the memorial reads:
To commemorate the centenary of the discovery of 19 September 1846 of the site whereon the township of Blackall now stands by Lt. Col. Sir Thomas Mitchell D.C.L. (Oxon), Surveyor General, savant and explorer with Graham, Douglas and Yuranigh an Aborigine
Their work opened up the pastoral lands of Central Queensland for general settlement.
Unveiled 19 September 1946.
Courtesy of Monument Australia