We pulled off the Bruce Highway at Gin Gin, approximately 51 kilometres (32 mi) west of Bundaberg and halfway between Brisbane and Rockhampton.
Our stop was fairly short and uneventful, except for our chance meeting with some intriguing fellow road-trippers. This was their mode of travel.
With a a population of approximately 1,190 people, the town name has sometimes been said to derive from a local Aboriginal word indicating “red soil thick scrub”. It is also possible the name comes from the Western Australian locality of Gingin.
British occupation of the region began in 1848 when Gregory Blaxland Jnr (son of the explorer Gregory Blaxland) together with William Forster brought their flocks of sheep up from their squatting leases on the Clarence River. The area they selected extended all the way to the coast and they called it Tirroan. Strong resistance from the local Aboriginal people was encountered resulting in the death of several shepherds and the killing of Blaxland in August 1850. Two large massacres of Aboriginals were conducted by local squatters and their stockmen as punitive measures to these deaths.
The Gin Gin district is nicknamed Wild Scotsman Country due to the capture of one of Queensland’s few bushrangers, James Alpin McPherson, in the area on 30 March 1866. McPherson, who went by the same nickname, was captured at Monduran Station, 13 kilometres (8.1 mi) north of town.
We left the Bundaberg Region behind and entered the Gladstone Region, and the population plummeted as we entered Miriam Vale, a rural town of approximately 512 people.
Miriam Vale is renowned as a traditional cattle growing area, and also supports timber, beef and dairy cattle. Tourism is an emerging industry within the shire and the town is a gateway to the tourist resorts of Agnes Water and Town of 1770. Miram Vale is on the North Coast railway line and is serviced by the Miriam Vale railway station.
In the 1970s signs at the entry to town proudly proclaimed “Welcome to Miriam Vale – Cattle, Tobacco, Timber and Dairy”. The tobacco industry faded in the late 1970s followed by the dairy industry in the 1990s.
A car rally passed through Miriam Vale in 1924; the stretch of road between Miriam Vale and Gin Gin was said to the roughest of the rally.
Across House Creek there is also evidence of an old speed way ground (circa 1970s) and if you look around the district you can find history in old horse race tracks.
Miriam Vale has a nine-hole golf course with small greens and mature gum trees. At times in its history the course was stretched to twelve holes but the members and district could not sustain the extra work needed to keep these holes open.
We’re nearly there! Next stop- YEPPOON!