Although Charleville is anticipating a big turnout for the second leg of the Queensland Outback Masters on 22-23 June, local shire councillor Shaun Radnedge says those without a genuine sense of fun should probably stay away.
“I like to tell visitors that if they come here and don’t have good time, it’s their fault,” says the local jack-of-all-trades and master of many.
“This is a great town, with fantastic people. We might live a long way from the big smoke, but that doesn’t mean we don’t know how to have fun.
“And I honestly reckon it’s infectious, because most people who visit us usually come back. The best way to describe our town is friendly, and very, very social.”
With 2019 dedicated as The Year of Outback Tourism in Queensland, the State Government in partnership with Golf Australia has launched an innovative, multi-location golf event aimed at driving tourists into Outback Queensland.
And, as a finale to the six-venue event, the inaugural Outback Queensland Masters will offer a $1 million hole-in-one challenge in Mt Isa.
Queensland’s inaugural Outback Masters will start in Roma on 17-18 June and visit Charleville (22-23 June), Longreach (29-30 June), Winton (13-14 June) and Boulia (22-23 June), before finishing in Mount Isa on 26-28 July. Each event will take the form of two nine-hole rounds, played over consecutive days, including a novelty hole at each location that connects to a local tourism experience.
Charleville, situated on the banks of the Warrego River, is 683 kilometres west of Brisbane and is the largest town and administrative centre of the Shire of Murweh, which covers a massive area of 43,905 square kilometres. Its population at the 2016 Census was 3335.
Shaun Radnedge – local butcher, Charleville Comets and Western Ringers rugby league coach and avid social golfer as well as a shire councillor – reckons most of those 3335 locals would more than likely come in contact with a golfing visitor in some way during their stay in the town.
“We have six motels, two pubs and five caravan parks, so accommodation is aplenty. But if all that is booked, I’m tipping most locals would offer up a bed,” he said.
But the visitors won’t be just playing golf and sleeping and eating during their stay. Shaun says the town and district has a virtual treasure-trove of attractions.
Heading the list is the Charleville Cosmos Centre and Observatory from which – the locals claim – Charleville lights up the sky, day and night, but particularly on a clear winter night in June.
“The viewing of the incredible beauty of the Milky Way Galaxy, through the powerful Meade telescopes and unaffected by the lights and pollution which cover the stars in city areas, is simply spectacular,” reports Mike Dalley, the centre’s co-ordinator.
“Our guides here willingly share their knowledge and visitors will observe binary stars, star clusters, planets and the Moon. To build on people’s knowledge of astronomy and bring them to up-to-date with recent discoveries is quite a unique experience.”
An astronomer and astrophotogapher, self-confessed workaholic Mike says a new planitarium will open at the end of May, just in time for the expected influx of golfing visitors.
Other attractions in Charleville include the Airfield Museum, currently in its infancy but fully operational by June, a World War Two Museum which chronicles the activities of the 3000 US troops stationed in Charleville during the war, and the National Bilby Centre.
And also eye-catching in Charleville is the town’s tallest building – the local water tower. By Easter the tower will have been transformed by Brisbane artist Guido van Helten.
Van Helten travels the world painting murals on silos and other public buildings and the water tower in Parry Street will carry images which are yet to be made public.
– TONY DURKIN