Thargomindah, QLD

By: Tony and Denyse Allsop, Photography by: Tony and Denyse Allsop

The Allsops cross another western Queensland town off their bucket list: historic Thargomindah.

The town of Thargomindah is small but contains all the essentials. There is a small Foodland supermarket that carries some hardware, a roadhouse that also stocks food and general supplies, a motor dealer, mechanical services, a pub, motel and restaurant, as well as the usual post office, police station, hospital, library and internet service, and council offices. The very wide main street is obviously a remnant of the days of horse and cart.


The town is famous for its old artesian Hydro Power Plant. It is reputedly the oldest working unit in Australia and possibly the world. Thargomindah was the third town in the world, and the first in Australia, to make hydro-electric power for street lighting through the use of artesian water. In 1893, a good supply of water was found underground and the hydro-electric scheme was born.

There are still several historic mud brick buildings to be seen in Thargomindah, including the hospital, built of unfired bricks in 1888. The old hospital only closed in 1976, and is being re-born as a museum. While visiting the hospital, check out the old butchers’ meat room. Rather bizarrely, a table from the old morgue is among the exhibits.

Other interesting mud brick buildings include the Thargomindah Herald Printers, built in 1877, and the Leahy Historical House, which was sold to Sir Sydney Kidman in 1912. This house is open most hours and contains some interesting items of the times.

The old and new cemeteries date back to 1882 and are worth exploring. There is still evidence of the original Cobb & Co river crossing, and the stone crossing was still in use until 1929 when the bridge was built.


The park is council-owned and is managed by Irish couple Ide and Paul Rush. They made us welcome and offered advice on where to go, what to do and also gave me a net to catch yabbies in the Bulloo River, which runs at the back of the park.

There is a walking track beside the van park that follows the river bank to a weir at Pelican Point and on to the Cobb & Co crossing.

Most sites have some shade, and the roads are sealed and sites are gravel. There is also a large camping area and some cabins. The park is relatively new, and the amenities reflect this, with plenty of showers and toilets. The camp kitchen has flyscreen doors and satellite TV.


Getting there

Thargomindah is about 1000km west of Brisbane and 200km west of Cunnamulla.


  • Viewing historical buildings
  • Visiting the hydro power plant
  • Fishing and catching yabbies
  • Bushwalks around national parks and lakes
  • Historic Noccundra Hotel

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The full feature appeared in Caravan World #536, April 2015. Subscribe today for the latest caravan reviews and news every month!