Slowly catching up on posts. After Charleville we started the trek north, stopping briefly in Augathella. The two things Augathella is famous for are meat ants and the Smiley stories. To be honest I was unaware of the Smiley connection although I certainly remember seeing the old movies; Smiley and Smiley gets a gun. The movies were based on the books by Moore Raymond who as a child lived in Augathella and that is where the stories are set, although the movies were actually filmed at Murrumbilla For those unfamiliar with the Smiley stories, Smiley is an kind of Australian Huck Finn, a likable boy who stumbles into misadventure. You can find the movie here if you are curious.
Curiously Chips Rafferty who plays the local police sergeant in the films had also lived and worked as a shearer around Augathella. Australia is a big country and yet connections like that pop up all the time.
We also have a penchant for celebrating our cultural identity by whacking up “big things” so not surprising that Augathella has a big meat ant. There is more to the town’s fondness for the meat ant than just the presence of the feisty little bug and it has more to do with the town’s infamously aggressive football team back in the 1960s, the local team became known as the Augathella meat ants. Today a giant meat ant sculpture graces the park in the centre of town.
Just down the road a bit you will see the delightful Smiley mural, just before you reach the Ellangowan pub, with the Smiley cafe. The pub is a friendly place to stop for a coffee or something a bit harder and the food is pretty good.
Painted silos and water tanks are starting to pop up all over the place and Augathella, not to be left out has a delightful mural of emus and galahs.
Just a brief stop for us but a friendly place, the Ellangowan pub was great and they have a motel and camping attached so if you are looking for a longer stop it wouldn’t be a bad place to stop over. We just stopped to give the dogs a walk and to re-stock on food. Sometimes those small country stops are little gems and we should not be in a hurry to pass through.