It’s only about sixty kays north to Hebel and the Queensland border, and then maybe another hour to the site of this day’s food safari: Dirranbandi. I’d been told that Dirran, as the locals know it, is home to some points of interest: it’s the birthplace of Les Norton, the big-boned bloodnut who scarpered town after a pub fight and became a famous Kings Cross bouncer; there is a statue of the Cunnamulla Fella made out of horseshoes; and it has the best Russian bakery in south-west Queensland. Oh, and the best pizzas in the west too!
I’d also been led to believe that the name Dirranbandi was something to do with processionary caterpillars, but apparently not.
The main street is very chipper and well maintained, if not very long. They’ve made the most of their connections to the outside world. I’m guessing that Dirranbandi was once quite the place.
There’s a statue of Tom Dancey, the Aboriginal stockman who won the first Stawell Gift (and was, apparently, diddled out of the £1,000 prize and came home with nothing but the trophy).
The connection to Stan Coster and the Cunnamulla Fella is a bit more opaque, to me at least. Stan was born in Casino, and the Cunnamulla Fella was, well, from Cunnamulla. So what’s the Dirranbandi connection? Beats me.
Then there’s the Beersheeba monument, which is pretty bloody spectactular.
The story goes that the charge was led by Brigadier-General William Grant, who bought a property in town after the war, and settled here until his death. There’s more information on the Dirranbandi Sight and Sound multi-media experience, except that, oh dear . . .
We strolled up and down the short main street. Wikipedia says that the pub has a bit of a Les Norton deal going on but we didn’t go in there. There were too many other surprises, small town surprises. The empty shop called, ironically, Luv Clutter.
A victim, apparently, of the first COVID lockdown, when little towns like Dirran had the tourism tap turned off hard.
Then there was the Marticia dolls in the window of the next shop along. What are Marticia dolls? I’m at a bit of a loss to explain them, other than that they seem to be highly stylised, big-eyed Japanese doll girls. You can look them up online, it’s a bit of a thing apparently. If I struggled to find the connection to the Cunnaumulla Fella then I can tell you I was totally at a loss to explain exactly what Danny Choo’s connection to the town is.
I have to be careful here. In a past life I blogged about walking around the drains of Newcastle and I’d comment on what I saw there. There was a lot – a LOT – of graffiti; oftentimes this graffiti would be painted over by other artists, and sometimes it’d be a deliberate thing by rival gangs or teams. I think it’s called “capping”. Anyway, I wrote about this and, within a few days, was getting lots of comments along the lines of “You have no fucking idea what you’re talking about dickhead. Next time we see you . . .” So, as I say, I have to be careful
Having said that . . .
I don’t know if it was the dead eyes or the huge cleavage or what, but . . . euch. I remember when my daughter was little these things called Bratz Dolls came out and I thought they were hyper-sexualised weirdos. Turns out I had no idea.
Creepy. Just creepy.
The connection to pizzas was easier to make. We ordered a supreme from the lovely folk at the Tucka Shack then headed off to get something sweet for afters.
The bakery is something else. Samovars and desserts from Mittel Europa. Baclava, ginger breads, cakes of every shape and size. It looked like a bakery that catered for about 8,000 visitors a day. Where was everyone?
There were flowers, provided by the locals. They sure ❤ their bakery.
We took our goodies down to the boat ramp on Balonne River. It was wide and brown and slow moving.
Mmmm. This pizza was two meals. We only managed half!
Then it was ginger biscuity thing for pud.
I still can’t figure out the connection to the Cunnamulla fella, and those dolls give me the creeps. But I can highly recommend Dirranbandi for a day out. Five stars!