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Australian possum fur coat.
Australian possum fur coat.

THE TOWN of Rolleston is named after Christopher Rolleston, a pastoralist who was involved in leasing a number of pastoral runs in the area in the 1860s, and the region itself has strong ties to the Ludwig Leichhardt exploration party and their epic journey to Port Essington in the far north of the Northern Territory.

It is said that time waits for no one, and today and through the years Rolleston has embraced numerous changes.

It's very much the centre of a rich, resourceful and productive region, bordered by the sandstone cliffs that follow the Carnarvon, Expedition and Shotover Ranges, where the vast sandstone ridges open up to hectare upon hectare of pastoral country and fertile agriculture land full of fat cattle and ripening crops.

Changes have brought the mega economies that are the coalmining and natural gas industries.

The connections of Rolleston to its distant past are still evident through the pioneering properties such as Rewan, Meteor Downs and Planet Downs, and the boundary rider's hut from Purbook has been re-sited and restored at Beazley Park as a memorial to the area's pioneers.

The Rolleston hotel doors are open, the beer is cold and service warm and friendly.

Accommodation is available at the pub and also the highly regarded Rolleston Caravan Park, complete with new camp kitchen, a welcoming smile and local information on what to do and see.

Cabins and powered sites are affordable and travellers are able to unhook the caravan and head into Carnarvon Gorge, Lake Nuga Nuga or further afield for the day.

The general store provides a good selection of groceries, food varieties and general everyday-use items, and the small number of businesses that line the main street are well stocked to provide exactly what the locals need.

Living legend and wildman - turned mildman - Den is a local expert on all things Rolleston and surrounding sandstone landscapes.

I am yet to find Den short of the answer to any question that I ask.

Arcadia Valley is a short drive away on good gravel roads. Once home to the indigenous Karinal people, Lake Nuga Nuga is believed to be home of the mythological male and female Rainbow Serpents (Mundagarri) living under the two peaks dominating the lake's northern shoreline.

The region is rich in Aboriginal heritage and tall but true deeds and exploits of the early pioneers.

The notorious Kenniff brothers, Patrick and James - Queensland's last bushrangers - roamed across the region as far south as Mitchell.

In days of old, possum hunting was also a lucrative pastime, with hunters supplying the fashion industry with the highly valued fur.

Rolleston is a great place to relax after a day on the road - and where can you find Den?

Somewhere out there in the wilds of the sandstone wilderness country that surrounds Rolleston would be my guess.

Topics:  discover rolleston peter grigg rolleston


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