Saturday, 11 November 2017


Rudd's Pub - a hidden gem
Just a small jaunt today - about 60kms - up to one of my favourite little happenstance, the little village of Nobby on the Darling Downs.

Nobby was just a sign on the road that caught my eye back in 2010 as I was driving the rig by myself from Townsville to home after Sue was rehabilitated by plane with a bad flare up of her back. I turned in out of curiosity and was delighted with what I found.

Probably named after Nobby Carver, a navvy who came out from England with a few mates and gained a reputation by being able to eat more soup that the ship's pig. They ended up working for Queensland railways as fettlers and gang workers laying line from Toowoomba to Warwick in 1868. The siding that they established by their camp - McDonald's Camp - came to be known as Nobby's siding and then just Nobby, where as the small village that was surveyed across the road from the siding in 1891, had been named Davenport, after a local member of parliament and a local land baron. The confusion went on until 1931, when the workers won out and the place has been Nobby ever since.

The Rudd's Pub, which was called the Davenport pub until the 1980's, is named for Steele Rudd (aka Arthur Hoey Davis), the son of Welsh immigrants who lived, as a boy, near Nobby on a selection his father took up and is reputed to have sat in the pub and written his yarns about the struggles of a newbie family on a tough bit of land, Rudd's stories of Dad and Dave and Mable and Mother and the stuff of Australian legend. As with most legend, the truth behind them is far more interesting and Rudd led a colourful and sometimes sad life in a troubled relationship and struggling with a love of the drink and a boom or bust set of moods.

Sister Elizabeth Kenny's Memorial Room
The other outstanding feature of Nobby is the Sister Kenny Memorial room which was purpose built, mostly by local donation. It contain the story of Kenny, one of the greatest Australians and largely unrecognised in Australia. She grew up in Nobby and found here vocation early in nursing and a had a knack for studying the problems associated with treating patients and thinking up new ways. For instance, a young girl called Sylvia, fell under a working plough and had terrible injuries. The nearest doctor was 40kms away and Kenny realised that every movement would worsen the injuries and hasten death. She improvised a stretcher from a cupboard door, tied the patient to it and arranged transport. Sylvia survived into old age and the stretched Kenny developed called the "Sylvia Stretcher", was marketed and sold world wide to ambulance services. She gave all of the profits to the CWA.

She is of course most famous for developing an alternated treatment for polio affected patients, which was in effect, the beginning of physiotherapy but she was shunned here by the medical establishment which believed strongly in calipers and immobilisation. She left Australia with the support of the Qld Government, who alone supported her and went to the USA in the 1940's where her work blossomed and the Kenny Method quickly became the first response to polio, world wide.

We also crashed the 120th celebrations of Nobby Public School and listened some nicely made music from bloke playing covers like Hallelujah and Fast Car, which were maybe a little odd for a primary school event but this is Queensland and a town with a history of opposing the norm. Friendly staff and really friendly locals. Looked at the kids art on display and did some shopping at the associated market stalls.

All in this little village of Nobby.

Earlier in the day we stopped in for a few hours at the historic Glengallan Homestead, no better storyteller of the boom and bust days of the life on the farm. The site of several entrepreneurs, the homestead had at one time been considered the finest in Australia but as fortunes were won and then lost, dreams became nightmares. It has been uninhabited for more than half of its life. The large two storey building, built in 1867 by John Deuchar, with its sweeping spiral staircase and two large, high ceiling rooms - one for dining, one for sitting - hosted the touring English cricket team during the Bodyline tour, when Oswald Slade became the owner for a second time. The villains of that tour - Jardine & Larwood - danced with the ladies of the district and the place was reputed to have been lit up like a Christmas tree. However, by the late 1950's, the place was in decline and it changed hands several times before being sold at a third of the market value for a third of the market value to the Glengallan Trust in 1993. A major input of bicentenary funding then saw the establishment of the heritage centre and the beginning of repairs.

Because it is not back to its pristine condition, we found it fascinating. The damage of years and vandals provides more of an insight that the areas which have been restored, allowing you to view the skeletal underwear of the building. It was a a fascinating two hours and the coffee in the shop was excellent.

Our evening was spend over dinner at Rudd's Pub. Big steak, lots of vegies. Fine country fair. We retreated afterwards to the van, which is parked across the road. No water supplied but we are plugged into electricity for $5 a night!

PL Travers house at Allora
On our second day, we did a short tour of the historical building of the village and then went up to the cemetery to look at Sister Kenny's grave.

We drove south to Clifton and then on to Allora, made famous recently by the movie "Saving Mr Banks", as the town where the writer PL Travers - the writer who gave the world Mary Poppins - spent some of her formative years. Indeed we saw her house.

We closed the day out with a few sundowners at the Rudd's Pub.

Click to see today's photos