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Ann Britton Outback Photography


The official beginning of Boulia is a proclamation signed by Cr. Kennedy on 1st July 1879 and gazetted on the 2nd August setting aside a reserve for township purpose on the Boulia waterhole, in the Burke river, Gregory North district, under the name of “Boulia”. The name is derived from the name of the waterhole, which was so called by the Pitta Pitta tribe, according to the survey office.

The mail service (from Cloncurry) by horse was inaugurated on 1st July 1879. The telegraph line was completed in July and the telegraph station opened in Boulia on 11th August 1884.The Flying Doctor Service started at Cloncurry 1928. Mr Kennedy is quoted saying “when I first passed through the site of Boulia 1877, Paterson with cattle from the Darling, had just arrived to stock Goodwood”.

Ernest Henry arrived about that time with two wagon loads of station supplies, with which he started a store. Vallis, Donaldson and a few others were also there, camped on the Boulia waterhole. Later on Paterson built a hut, on the west side of the river and Ernest Henry erected a canvas store where the town now is. Later on Harry Westerfelt built a pub, and although both pub and store should have done well, both were failures.

However this is the foundation of Boulia, the centre of a fine pastoral area, with the only draw back being a light rainfall. Both Kennedy in this book, and H.G. Lamond in an article on the Warenda Station say, that Vallis was the first white man in Boulia. The Ernest Henry mentioned above was also the founder of Hughenden and the discovery of the Cloncurry mining field. “Kennedy says, Henry was the first man to blaze a track between Cloncurry and Boulia which afterwards came a much used buy diclofenac sodium 50 mg route”.

– Alan O’Donnell.


The phenomena usually appears as a luminous oval like a fluorescent football, sometimes bouncing and rolling but never coming close enough to be identified. Its light is not constant as it floats through the air seemingly inviting one to follow.

On foot, on horseback and in motor vehicles, many have chased it and some have been chased by it, but none have ever got close enough to see exactly what it was. A man of the cloth from Townsville once chased it in a car for miles but never gained on it. When going towards it the light would recede, keeping it at a constant distance. When the chaser turned to go away, the light followed still at the same distance.

There appears to be no specific distance from the viewer that the light would first appear. Sometimes it would appear half a mile away and at other times quite close. At times it would approach a viewer along a road and then suddenly disappear leaving no indication as to its nature or cause.

There are no regular times or seasons when it can be guaranteed that the light will be seen. It has appeared in different months and at different phases of the moon. It is not a frequent occurrence and sometimes years may elapse between sightings. Indeed, many have lived a whole lifetime in the district and have never seen it.

It appears that the only recipe for seeing the light is to be in the locality when and where it shows itself. There are some who would say that the only recipe is one involving barley, malt and sugar. But enough sightings by sane, sober and intelligent persons have occurred to discount that recipe.


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