"Once a jolly swagman camped by a billabong, under the shade of a coolibah tree..." As Australia's adopted national anthem, this tail of the unfortunate but reckless swagman will be impossible not to hum as you traverse the guided 2.6 kilometre walk into the Combo Waterholes. This place is, after all, the supposed billabong that inspired Banjo Patterson's timeless tale, and the swagman's "ghost may be heard as you pass by that billabong" today.
Local legend has it that Banjo, who was once engaged to a local squatter's daughter, Sarah Riley, spent time in the area and was inspired by the suicide of shearer Samuel Hoffmeister at Combo Waterhole in 1894.
The Combo Waterholes are nestled within the Combo Waterhole conservation park, which is part of the Diamantina Catchment area. The waterholes are a refuge for wildlife and were once used as shady picnic spots for stagecoach passengers and residents from neighbouring stations in the 1890s. Chinese labourers built historic stone causeways in 1883.
Get directions to the park from Kynuna or the Waltzing Matilda Centre in Winton. After rain, this track is often inaccessible, so make sure you check with the locals before embarking.
The Combo Waterhole Track is managed by the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service. Please note that this map only shows an indicative access point for the park - the nearby township. The track route, start and end point are not shown and this map cannot be used for navigation purposes. Please see the Queensland National Parks, Recreation, Sport and Racing web site for detailed maps and the latest park information, including opening hours and safety messages. When you are in the park, make sure you refer to signs at the start of the track for more information.
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