Fresh fruit and veggies in Birdsville!

On Friday afternoon, ‘the truck’ arrived. When Birdsville residents talk about ‘the truck’, it usually means one thing – fresh milk, fruit, vegetables and meat. In winter, when the town is buzzing with travellers, this truck usually comes once a fortnight. But, in summer, when long, hot days keep everyone inside in their air-conditioned homes and if rain ever closes roads, it can be weeks between deliveries. Before Friday, it had been five weeks since we saw the Adelaide truck.

Carrying a freezer container, refrigerated container and dry goods container, this road train is able to bring everything we could need for life in the outback. We get gourmet cheeses and dips, prosciutto, ice creams, sauces and marinades, iced-coffee, fruit, veggies and a huge selection of meat. Many a discerning foodie has been pleasantly surprised by the array of stock available in the desert.

When the truck arrives, the town becomes a hive of activity. Forklifts hurtle around the streets delivering boxes to the pub, the bakery and to us. All over town, staff are on call to unpack their pallets of stock. Lines of people snake from storerooms as boxes are passed from person to person, displaying true teamwork.

When the truck arrives, we’re glad to see the new stock. However, we often take it for granted that we get fresh food at all. In her book From the City to the Sandhills of Birdsville, former Birdsville nursing sister Mona Henry recalls the days when the hospital milked a herd of goats for the town’s milk supply and when even flour was sometimes hard to come by.

Sister Henry arrived in Birdsville in 1950 and lived here for two years. Her book is a fascinating account of outback life in the days before technology, regular air transport and four-wheel-drives. Back then, the legendary Tom Kruse, ‘mailman of the Birdsville Track’, delivered mail and supplies from Marree in South Australia.

Her accounts of disastrously learning to bake without key ingredients, reluctantly learning how to milk a goat and her surprise when first told she may not see fruit or vegetables for months are often hilarious. But, when she tells of the need to protect the herd of goats from dingos and the shortage of important medicine, the solemnity of her situation becomes apparent.

More recently, the road train didn’t have a freezer trailer and ice creams were rare in Birdsville. Our 24-year-old boilermaker, Sam Barnes, remembers when ice creams were first sold at the general store. They were transported on the truck in chest-freezers filled with dry ice.

While we now enjoy our truckloads of delicious and varied food, it pays to remember when life was more difficult for outback Queenslanders. Although, I am eating smoked salmon and Camembert cheese while I write.

The Birdsville Roadhouse experiments with blogging!

Welcome to the first post of the Birdsville Roadhouse’s new blog. We’re hoping to regularly update this page with news about Birdsville, the Krakka Koldee Racing Team, our staff, events, new stock, desert and outback road conditions and general titbits of interest. 

This year is shaping up to be quite exciting in Birdsville. We have a number of events already planned including rodeos, bronco branding and a camp draft. Birdsville local and our close friend, Jenna Brook, will be walking across the Simpson Desert in June to raise money for the Royal Flying Doctor Service and we’re following her fundraising and preparations with anticipation. Sam and Kelly will also be crossing the desert but in a 1964 VW Beetle that they named ‘Onslo’, which is fitting as this year marks the 50th anniversary of the first vehicle crossing of the desert. That car was a Nissan Patrol and Nissan is planning a huge celebration here in July. Of course, there will be the annual Birdsville Races, which gets a little bit bigger each year.

We’ve updated our website with more information about the town, surrounding areas, events and travel tips. But, if you’re planning your trip and discover any questions, we’d love you to contact us. If you’ve been here before, we’ll soon be launching a gallery for travellers’ best desert 4×4 and Birdsville photos, and maybe even a competition or two. 

The Birdsville Track is currently open and we’ve had a few travellers throughout the week, including a group of bikers on their way south. This coming Sunday we’ll be hosting a BBQ at the Roadhouse to raise money for people living with Multiple Sclerosis. If you’d like to donate but can’t make it here for a snag, head to Kathy’s MS QLD fundraising page

Wherever you are, we hope you are well and look forward to keeping in touch over the year. Here is last night’s sunset, taken from the centre of town. Are sunsets everywhere this pretty, or is it just the outback?