Sshhh....Don't repeat what I'm about to tell you! Not many know that the little outback Qld town of Stonhenge is home to the Department of Defense, Jindalee Spy Station.
Far from the culturally significant tourist magnet, and namesake, the western Queensland town of Stonehenge still holds it's head up as being a unique destination in it's own right.
With a population that could comfortably fit into any city bus, here, the proof is in the pudding that it's not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight when it comes to tourism and hospitality..... Outback Style!
Stonehenge is situated about a Slim Dusty C.D south west of Longreach on the Windorah Rd (Thomson Developmental Road) and is known as the gateway to the Lochern National Park, which is just a song or three further.
Lochern features an incredible array of native birds, the Broadwater Waterhole, river flats and scenery that will leave you requiring physio for your tired camera button finger.(Alternatively, with no physio available, placing your fingers around an icy cold beer at the Stonehenge Hotel at the end of the day can have a quite similar effect!)
For those curious of the appellation, many years ago drovers found this point a safe crossing of the Thomson for both bullock teams and drivers. With the point becoming known, somewhat of a stone 'fortress' was built for men to camp. The engineering skills being somewhat short of their English forefathers and the 'fortress' falling into ruins, the area was christened "Stonehenge"
Not alot happens here on the major social circuit anymore, but when the townsfolk do get a chance to kick up their heels, they make sure they show their city cousins how it's really done!
Every August the Stonehenge Rodeo and Bronco Branding rocks around, and boy, you really get the picture of how an Aussie outback event should be run.
There was once, a thriving Horse Race meeting annually, but the powers to be, in their better judgement decided that poor little Stonehenge's funding should go to the 'big smoke' instead.
Unassuming as the Stonehenge people, is the Department of Defense over-the-horizon radar defense system which is snuck in behind the town.
Unless you stop in and talk to the locals, you would probably never know that here is home to one of our countries most important military bases.
The 9 staff which man the base, make up part of the security network, which also includes Alice Springs and Laverton in WA.
The unfortunate part of it for locals is that no money is spent in the town, with absolutely everything being flown in!
With no Visitor Information Centre currently in town, the obvious stopover is the hotel.
Here the publican is always happy to fill you up with plenty of local knowlege, and refill your glass, your belly and your memory of good old fashioned hospitality!
Be sure to check out the man trap hanging above the bar!
Anyone wanting to get off the beaten track will be in for a treat with a number of scenic routes in the area, highlighted by the 7km John Egan Track.
A couple of km from town toward Longreach you will find the letter C hanging in a tree, follow the track down to see the rockpools.
Dry time is really the only time to be here. Being smack-bang in channel country, the Thompson and surrounding, normally dry water courses, swell to at times, cut the town off. Winter is your safest bet!