Memories of a Trip to Cooper Creek and Hungerford


Cunnamulla the town of living history and untold stories

Trip to Cooper Creek and Hungerford

As 2019 is Year of Outback Queensland we decided to share some memories of an amazing family and friends trip we did a number of years ago. We hope it encourages you to gather a few family members and friends together and plan something yourself or simply join in something that is already planned for you.

Cooper Creek to Cunnamulla Bike Ride Club Boutique Hotel Cunnamulla

We did this amazing trip in a 45 seat coach we chartered however another local family have had a similar great family experience by joining in the Cooper Creek to Cunnamulla Bike Ride. If you would like to see the country from a slower pace or if you like to ride you can get more information by clicking Cooper Creek to Cunnamulla Bike Ride 2019.

The following poem will give an insight to the fun, that was had on this trip we will forever hold dear.

Ode to Burke and Mills

They ventured to the Cooper

You couldn’t call them dills

a hardy group of travellers

They called them Burke and Mills.

Trip to Cooper Creek and Hungerford Burke and Mills Expedition 1997

Now Burke was no relation

To the one in history told

But they could vouch that Mills, like Wills

In truth was just as bold.


Family and friends made up

This most intrepid breed

In all they numbered twenty-three

with driver, Roadie Reid.

Trip to Cooper Creek and Hungerford family trip

Unlike the poor originals

They travelled there in style

In air-conditioned comfort

All eighteen hundred miles.

Trip to Cooper Creek and Hungerford

Now the object of their mission

Was to see where Bub had bin

With yella belly fishing

At the Cooper, thrown in.

Trip to Cooper Creek and Hungerford fishing cooper creek

Bub’s spirit was there with them

as they travelled oer the miles

At times they thought they saw his face

Weathered in his sunny smile.

Bub Emery

Mike Smith provided lots of jokes

And funny little ditties

The repartee throughout the bus

Must be classed as witty.

Trip to Cooper Creek and Hungerford Mick funny ditties

To celebrate Gran’s 89th

They stopped at Thargomindah

Michael Smith was 59

Many candles on the cake.

Trip to Cooper Creek and Hungerford Margaret 89 and Mick 69 birthdays

Travelling on they came upon

The pub at old Noccundra

And with XXXX close at hand

They gazed at it in wonder.

Trip to Cooper Creek and Hungerford Noccundra Pub

Trip to Cooper Creek and Hungerford Noccundra Hotel June Evert Brian Burke Neale Evert

Trip to Cooper Creek and Hungerford Noccundra Hotel Lesley June Evert Leanne Burke

Now the Cooper is a legend

For it’s multitudes of fish

But they must have heard them coming

For they hardly filled a dish.

Trip to Cooper Creek and Hungerford Barry Waljo Miller fishing cooper creek

Luke landed a three pounder

You should have seen his grin

Twould have measured twice the size

Of the fish from fin to fin.

Trip to Cooper Creek and Hungerford Luke Cridland Fishing Cooper Creek

Waljo Miller took the cake

For bloody sheer persistence

When late one night he hooked a bite

He’d worn down their resistance.

Trip to Cooper Creek and Hungerford Waljo Miller fishing

Mr Porkey was their cook

He looked like a galah

No reference to his expertise

Just the feathered cap he wore.

Trip to Cooper Creek and Hungerford Mr Porky Camp Cook

Behind the barbecue he slaved

They said “let’s call him Sir

The tucker that this bloke serves up

Would rival Cordon Bleau”.

Trip to Cooper Creek and Hungerford Entertaining Elsie Burke

Trip to Cooper Creek and Hungerford Elsie Burke the dancing queen of Cooper Creek

Roumers spread throughout the camp

Most will go unlisted

But “They said this “and” They said that”

Was often heard being whispered.

Trip to Cooper Creek and Hungerford Elsie they said this and they said that

Maria Cridland topped the lot

Said their June was adopted

“Black Sheep” one brave soul chimed in

“That’s rubbish! “Gran retorted.

Trip to Cooper Creek and Hungerford Maria Cridland said June was adopted

To verify that it’s a lie

Just ask old Earnie Braden

He drove the ambulance to the door

Be quick, he’s ninety-four.

The thunder box the boys set up

Was something to be told

And volunteers who pulled it down

Lacked sense of smell we’re told.

Breaking camp they travelled on

To Hungerford, next morn

Stopped off at Thargo

Where Peg and Elsie were born.

Bub drove along these dusty roads

Round Hungerford and Eulo

Carting wool, delivering mail

Bet his old trucks could tell a tale.

Now Emery Swamp’s named after Bub

Some old time told them

No signpost there to show the way

Perhaps they’ll pass another day.

Bub had mused about the beauty

Of the Currawinya Lakes

They determined that they’d see them

First hand, make no mistakes.

At Hungerford Pub the rafters rang

With the group’s melodious voice

And Neale performed in humorous vein

Presenting fishing prizes.

Elsie tickled those old ivories

She knows that it’s the rule

Maureen appeared with bolt and chain

To tie her to the patio stool.

And Gran recalled fond memories

In most nostalgic mode

Of her parents and her early days

In the pub across the road.

Now back in Cunnamulla

Still all rubbing shoulders

Cynthia did a spirit dance

With a scull found at the Boulders.

 They owe a lot to Ed and Chris

Who did the organising

This pair were offered multi thanks

For effort most outstanding.

Well – memories are made of this

So their trip down memory lane

With dear friends and family

Becomes a memory yet again.

Written by: Peg Campbell Daughter of Margaret Emery (Gran)

April 1997

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Thargomindah, Noccundra onto Cunnamulla by Joyce Margaret Cowie

As bike riders from the Cooper Creek to Cunnamulla Bike ride 2018 post a photo of them in the Noccundra Hotel it reminded me of a little more history and thought I would share from a good old mate of my Grandmothers, my mothers and mine who is no longer with us.

Joyce Cowie Old Noccundra Hotel

Joyce Margaret Cowie (nee Crouch) was born on December 19, 1912 in Thargomindah with the help of a midwife and was one of ten children of William and Lena Crouch. Her brother, Barney and sister, Kelly (who married a Teelow) were born in the hotel in Eulo that William & Lena Crouch owned at the time, before buying the Noccundra Hotel.

Joyce Cowie

William & Lena Crouch Noccundra Hotel

When the family moved to Noccundra Molly was born in the Noccundra Hotel, then Bill, Harry, Alf, Mavis and Ned were all born at Noccundra in the cottage near the hotel. Read More