Training in the Australian Outback – Photo essay

Over the last week, and I have been travelling around Central Western Queensland with representatives from the State Library of Queensland delivering some Wikipedia training to the local librarian, history and tourism communities. This is part of a partnership between the library and Wikimedia Australia to bring Wikimedia to the bush – to help the outback communities share their stories with the world.

While the training we provided was not substantively different from Wikipedia academies anywhere else in the world, this week was a rare opportunity to visit a special part of my own country that very few ever get the chance to see. So, rather than describe our lesson plan, I thought I would publish this little photo essay of the week instead.

Coming in to land at Charleville, our base for the week (google map link for context). To give you a bit of context of the scale we’re talking here, this region is in the Australian federal parliament seat of “Maranoa” which covers an area of 731,00 square kilometres. That’s larger than any of the countries in Western Europe. There’s even a government rebate on satellite phones…

After the flight to Charleville we drove North for the first training sessions in the town of Tambo – population <400 but with two great pubs 🙂 We used the WP article about the town as our training starting point, so hopefully it will continue to develop.

Our gregarious guides from the State Library – Troy and Ruth – with the boab tree outside Tambo town hall. All credit to them for managing the logistics of this trip (and being great companions).

When they say “road train” they’re not kidding (and they get bigger still). The key industry of the area is cattle grazing – the animals are transported in these. We heard a fair bit from the locals at the bar about how worried they were about the threat of Coal Seam Gas mining disrupting the water-table and thereby the grazing land.

The classic Tambo post office (1904). That vehicle is called a ute, short for utility, not a “pick up” – despite what the Americans (and Wikipedia) might tell you.

Yes, it’s a token Kangaroo photo 🙂 They were very curious about us, but bounded off when we got any closer.

The Barcoo River at Tambo – straight from a Banjo Patterson poem. This season has been one of devastating floods in Queensland, but the landscape is now abnormally green and lush.

Back on the road, heat-haze and endless horizon included.  Driving out to Quilpie, famous for its boulder opal deposits and for being the end of the railway line out west. We used these WP articles in our training session for editing practice – tapping in to the trainees’ extensive local knowledge!

And in the least expected place, on the Western fringe of Quilpie, we found Lyn Barnes’ beautiful gallery.

Outside Lyn’s Gallery the local primary school kids came to eat lunch in the shade. The horses came up the paddock to have a chat too.

Some of our trainees after the editing session at the town public library. You’ll note the serious gender-gap of the participants – in the opposite direction to the usual Wikimedia statistics!

A double-rainbow (all the way!) as an evening storm rolls in to Quilpie to cool things down. Whereas most of the world would be unhappy with this, the locals greeted us with “enjoy the rain”.

celebrex patient assistance

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7 Responses to Training in the Australian Outback – Photo essay

  1. Craig says:

    Wonderful pictures Liam, and thanks so much to you and for taking a week out to head west to bring the Wikimedia message to new frontiers!

  2. Steven says:

    This is awesome. 🙂

  3. Theo says:

    Looks like a sweet trip, dude!

    Great pictures. Load some of them on Commons, they look like featured pictures already. 😉

  4. Sage Ross says:

    Fantastic photo essay, Liam!

  5. Sarah Stierch says:

    Nice work Liam! Miss you!

  6. Carol Moore says:

    What fun! Must get my act together to visit the continent before I get too old. Such a fascinating place. Always watch Aussie movies on tv. Want to run through the grasses chased by baby roos.

  7. David says:

    Fantastic adventure and amazing photos to provide us with a glimpse into another world rarely visited. This was a great initiative to link up with remote communities and share skills as a way of encouraging greater inclusion into the virtual worlds provided by libraries and of course Wikipedia.

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