From drovers to poets, priests to Aboriginal artists and historians to town carriers, the outback locals have one thing in common and that is they are proudly Queensland and want to sit down and share their real life experience with travellers from around Australia or across the globe. Every place has local characters but in the outback we’re blessed to have the best. Get more information on our characters!
Doug came to Cunnamulla in 1929 when he was only three weeks old. His father was building fences and that is what brought his family right here. Later his father owned the Town Delivery Service which Doug and his brother took over when he was 11 years old, because his father joined the Army in World War II. When Dougs father came back from war he took over the Town Delivery Service again. In 1942 Doug left school, at the age of 13 to drive a truck and help with the Service. Education obviously was not that important as a pair of strong hands.
At that time you could get your drivers license at age of 16. Doug was only 13 years old when he went to the drivers license department to get his license. The guy from the drivers license department saw the truck Doug came with and noticed that there were no breaks and no doors. So he figured Doug could get his license right away.
Doug took the Town Delivery Service over in 1951 and build it up to a bigger business in which he worked for about 25 years. In 1968 he sold the truck and the trailor and got a job in the railway department and worked there for 24 years before he retired on 30.09.1992.
One Christmas night during his time working for the railway department Doug met Hilda. They got married in September 1953.
Doug is the historian of his family because of his great memory and the way he tells his stories. People come from everywhere to see Doug to find out about their families and history.
Doug lived through all the progress Cunnamulla experienced through the years. Without him Cunnamulla would not be the same today. Doug McGreggor helped to build Cunnamulla.
John Roberts was born in Miles and spend his teenage years in Quilpie. He came to Cunnamulla in 1971 and worked in the district for a couple of years and got married. He did general station work, built cattle and sheep yards. John spent many years managing properties in the district and has been an active member of the SES (State Emergency Service) for more than 30 years.
These days John is the School officer at that the Cunnamulla State School and everybody knows him.
John is passionate about the Australian bush and the bush way of life and combines this passion with his other love which is bush poetry.
John has won awards for his written poetry which is inspired by real life experiences and he is currently writing and publishing his first book that will feature some of his favorite poems.
On a nightly basis John performs at Out the Back Australia Campfire Dinner where tourists experience firsthand not just his poetry, but real life stories, politics, and jokes and of course Cunnamulla.
Sandra Grimshaw is a local and the granddaughter of “King Willie Widgell” of Badjiri Tribe the last known Aboriginal King in the area.
Sandra was raised on the South Camp Reserve Cunnamulla and has learnt some of the traditional ways and culture of her aboriginal heritage, kinship and family values, over the years.
Sandra learnt to make and smoke Jonny Cakes as they are a tradition when someone passes away and now Sandra uses that particular skill to make them for tourists around the campfire on Out the Back Australia Tours.
Jonny Cakes are a favourite among Aboriginal people and when making them they joke between each other asking if they are punching the dough.
Traditionally when Aboriginal people lived on the land they made Jonny Cakes from seeds of some native grasses that they ground to flour.
Today availability of flour and off the shelf foods makes the task of cooking the Jonny cakes much easier and less labour intensive.
A qualified teacher, mother of seven children and after a number of careers and jobs Sandra is focussed on her Christian faith and teaching interested children and members of the community about her beliefs and the value of getting a good education and respecting the people and things we have been blessed with and is thankful to be born in Cunnamulla.
A great identity and popular local character Roderick Taylor is passionate about Cunnamulla’s past, present and future. Having lived in Cunnamulla for more than 60 years on “Adgingbong” his family property Roderick has seen his fair share of changes being the third generation of his family to manage the property over the past one hundred and eighteen years.
Rods Grandfather Walter Alexander Ivory came to the area in 1892 to manage Charlotte Plains, which was 340,000 acres and carried 100,000 sheep at that time. In 1927 after thirty five years managing the property Walter retired and was given 16,000 acres as a bonus for his years of service to the owners.
That property was named “Adgingbong” and became part of the Taylor legacy in the region. Roderick took over from his father in 1973 and today “Adgingbong” is 75,000 acres running 12,000 sheep and 1,000 head of cattle.
General operations of the property have changed significantly since Roderick’s grandfather ran the place where they did most of the work on horseback. Today the same work is completed in a fraction of the time with the use of a plane for mustering with motorbikes and radio’s on the ground. With three children Roderick hopes there will be a fourth generation of Taylor’s on the property at some time in the future. He can then look forward to his retirement which he plans to unfold on the banks of the magnificent Warrego River in Cunnamulla where he has a beautiful home on acreage waiting for him.