Home DESTINATIONSAUSTRALIA Out the back o’ Bourke in Outback NSW

Out the back o’ Bourke in Outback NSW

by Fiona Harper

It’s late in the afternoon. The wide main street is bereft of people. Shopfronts are boarded up offering no indication of wares concealed behind roller security shutters. I half expect to see tumbleweeds roll into town from a desert that’s barely contained at the town boundary. Instead, empty aluminum cans and potato chip packets are driven by a wind that feels like an oven door has been left open. It’s mid November and it must be 40 degrees in the shade. Heat radiates from the bitumen.

With three days and nights to look forward to in Bourke, surely one of Outback New South Wales, most remote towns, I settle in to the Mona Lisa Suite at  the Riverside Motel, a former village outpost on the river bank.

The great Australian poet Henry Lawson wrote in the 1890’s ‘if you know Bourke, you know Australia’. What he failed to mention is that Bourke is a heck of a long way from anywhere. The phrase ‘back o’ Bourke’, meaning the middle of nowhere or the back of beyond, is classic Aussie slang.

So where exactly is Bourke? And why the heck would you go there? Actually, it turns out that there’s some very good reasons!

Read the full article which appears at Foxtel’s Travel Channel


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We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land and waters on which we live, work and travel. As people who seek meaning and knowledge through storytelling, we recognise that the First Peoples of this land have been doing so for over 60,000 years. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging.