Winton likes to take credit for the site of the inspiration for Waltzing Matilda. However, the Combo Waterhole, some 132km northwest of Winton is believed to be the original site of the swagman jumping into the billabong to avoid being arrested by the troopers.
In Sept 1894 on Dagworth Station, some striking shearers set fire to the wool shed and the owner and three police officers gave chase to a shearer, Samuel Hoffmeister, who was believed to be involved. Rather than be captured he shot himself and fell into the Combo Waterhole.
The waterhole is actually a series of waterholes connected by flagstone overshots that were built by Chinese labour to help the Cobb & Co coaches cross. They also act as dam walls to retain the water.
The waterhole is located about 5km off the Landsborough Highway (Matilda Way) on a dirt road. One wouldn't do it in the wet.
The parking area has information boards and toilets. The first of the waterholes is a short distance away, with a round trip of 2.6km to visit all of the waterholes.
To see, and walk on the flagstone overshots, and to think they have lasted all these years, is amazing. This was where we first used our fly hats. 😊
We continued onto Julia Creek – our next camp.