Our plan – that keeps changing – was to stay at Mungallala Rest Area free camp overnight. About 170km from Wallumbilla, it is a large area with toilets and picnic tables. It is an interesting rest area with painted toilets and a time capsule to be opened in 2029. The town is small and is approximately halfway between Mitchell and Morven on the Warrego Highway. Then name means food and water and is located on the Mungallala Creek. The railway came in 1885 and the town developed soon after. There was a cypress mill that was the towns only attraction, but the mill burnt down in 2007, so now it is a great place to stop for lunch or overnight. The rest area west of town is approximately where the Cobb and Co. coaches would stop for the changeover of horses.
We had lunch and decided to go a further 44km to Morven Recreation Ground. It was just after 2pm and there were already many vans there. The grounds have power and water for $10 a night or non-powered sites for $5 per night. It rained overnight and was drizzling the next day, so we decided to stay another night.
The town is not very big and is also on the mail route from Brisbane to Charleville. It was originally known as Sadlier's Waterhole by travellers and Cobb and Co, who would stop there. Named after Captain TJ Sadlier and his wife who camped there. In 1876, a post office was opened and it was called Morven. The town was officially surveyed in 1889 and the name became official. Morven does have a library and a museum. We didn't go into the museum as the two days we were there it was raining slightly. The museum looked good so maybe next time. There is a little grocery store, where we did try to buy some groceries, but the lady was not very welcoming - bordering on rude – and all the bread on display was reserved, and all the milk expired the next day or two. We didn't bother buying anything, and waited until Augathella to stock up on a few groceries.
Leaving Morven the next day we travelled 93km along Landsborough Highway to Augathella. We have been here a few times, always from Charleville, so it was good to try this part of the highway. There are 3 free camps at Augathella, situated on the Warrego River: one behind the pub, one across the road from the pub and one over the river from the pub.
The Australian story Smiley originated in Augathella, and tells a lot about the history of the town. The main street has many wrought iron sculptures and murals depicting the towns history.
The area started with pastoral runs in the 1860's and and the tracks from Charleville and Tambo lead to Burenda Station and joined at a camp spot on the Warrego River. This is where the town was established and was originally named Ellangowan. The name was changed to Augathella from the Aboriginal word 'thella' meaning water hole, when the town was surveyed in 1883. Once the railway came the town grew.
As one drives down from the highway to the main street one is greeted by a large sculpture of a meat-ant, the name of the local footie team. It is 5 metres long and made of steel and copper. Across the road is the Friendly Grocer where we picked up some groceries and then back to the highway headed to Tambo.