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Travel guide Outback NSW

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Explore Corner Country, NSW Outback
  • Wild dog fence
  • The Family Hotel, Tibooburra
  • Near Sturt's Cairn
  • Stunning outback scenery
  • Packsaddle Creek, Corner Country NSW

The Corner Country of outback New South Wales lies to the north and west of Broken Hill. It follows the rugged Barrier Ranges towards Tibooburra, sweeps west across the Mundi Mundi plain and merges with the sand dunes of the Simpson Strzelecki Dunefields, where it is bordered by the Wild Dog Fence.

With vast and often rugged landscapes of desert ranges, gibber plains, mesas and dune fields, the area provides habitat for many native animals and birds. Rain can spectacularly transform the Corner Country and create carpets of spring wildflower colour, and happily, this has happened regularly since the ten-year drought broke at the beginning of 2009.

The Corner Country is famously known for having the most remote communities in the state, Milparinka and Tibooburra, as well as Cameron Corner, where three states meet.
It is also home to two amazing national parks, Sturt, which surrounds Tibooburra, and Mutawintji.
For thousands of years the Corner Country was the traditional area of the Wongkumara, Wadigali and Malyangapa people. Tibooburra itself means ‘heaps of rocks’ in the language of the local Aboriginal people, after the granite outcrops surrounding the town, while Milparinka is said to mean “water is found here”.
First explored by Charles Sturt in 1845, the Corner Country was soon settled by pastoralists, and later by gold miners. Each era has left significant historical places within the region, such as Sturt’s Depot and Poole’s Grave near Milparinka, and each tells a story of hardship and courage in the face of adversity.
Today, station and townspeople have come together to create the Track Mates ‘million star’ accommodation network, an innovative and exciting new way to get to know this amazing region and its people. 
The touring routes have a historical flavour, as they are based on things such as Sturt’s expedition, Cobb and Co journeys or travelling stock routes; giving you a real sense of the things that formed this part of the world. 
Milparinka is the first town of the Corner Country and owes its existence to an ancient Aboriginal waterhole in Evelyn Creek, where thirsty miners of the nearby Albert Goldfields pitched their tents in the 1870s.  

Many of the sandstone homes, hotels, and shops of the early township have long gone, but recent award-winning preservation work has saved the courthouse, police station, police kitchen and gaol.  

Today these buildings form a multi-award-winning heritage precinct, in which each is used to interpret the region’s history... Sturt’s expedition, Burke and Wills, what was at Milparinka, the region’s mining and cameleer heritage, the pastoral industry, our region’s rich natural heritage and more.

Volunteers manage the information centre and souvenir shop that is located in the former police station and provide a cheery welcome to travellers to Milparinka. 

A heritage trail leads to ruins of the bank, post office and school, and the local historic cemetery, and picnic areas in native parks provide shelter. 

Milparinka is the gateway to Sturt’s Depot Glen, the Mount Browne goldfields, and all great touring tracks across the Corner Country.
You’ll get a warm country welcome in this typically outback town, which has the dubious distinction of being the hottest town in New South Wales. 

Originally known as The Granites or Granite Rush, Tibooburra was settled after the discovery of gold at Mount Browne and then Tibooburra in 1881 - a year nearly 1000 miners arrived in the town. Although yields were disappointing, the purity of the gold was outstanding. Lack of water was a chronic problem and the harsh conditions proved too much for many miners. Many succumbed to dehydration and disease, but the town - with its late Victorian streetscape, survived.  

Pastoral enterprises continued as gold fever subsided in the early twentieth century, and Tibooburra carried on providing services to townsfolk and the many property owners and workers of the district.  

The town’s main historic buildings, built of local sandstone, are the courthouse and the two hotels, the Family Hotel (1882), famous for murals and paintings by some of Australia’s most renowned artists, and the Tibooburra Hotel (1882), with its wall of old hats. Some Tibooburra homes are more than a century old.

And yes, some resourceful fossickers still find gold today.
Tibooburra is the access point to Cameron Corner, Sturt National Park, the wild dog ‘dingo’ fence and the South Australian and Queensland borders and provides linkages to South Australia’s Flinders Ranges, Cooper Creek areas, as well as Queensland’s Channel Country.
About the author
Ruth Sandow lives on a station property in the Corner Country.  She is actively involved with the restoration of the Milparinka Heritage Precinct and the promotion of the Corner Country as a unique outback New South Wales holiday destination.
For more information about any aspect of touring to the Corner Country visit www.outbacknsw.com.au or email visitcornercountry@bigpond.com

About the author
Ruth Sandow wrote this article

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