Photographers, birdwatchers and bushwalkers will particular enjoy the experiences and opportunities that Mt Oxley provides.
Rising from a perfectly flat landscape, Mt Oxley has outstanding 360-degree views and showcases the abundance of wildlife, including Wedge-Tailed Eagles and Euros (Macropus Robustus), who inhabit the outcrop of this magnificent outback mountain.
Bill and Denise were married in 1976 and have 3 grown children, Pip Claire and Tom, who like to return home when they can.
As both their families lived in the backcountry, around the Tilpa, Hungerford, Enngonia and Fords Bridge districts for many generations, they have lots of personal family history to tell. Ask about the connection of Bill’s Grandfather and Breaker Morant…. and Denise’s Great, Great, Great Grandparents were some of the first arrivals to Bourke in 1862. They love their life and enjoy sharing it with their visitors.
Bill and Denise are founding members of Outback Beds and are very passionate about giving you an ultimate outback experience.
Join Denise for a selection of Devonshire Tea, Homemade Soups and Scones or Nibbles on Mt Oxley.
The huts feature recently constructed bathrooms but the septic toilets, as early Australian tradition dictated.
Bill and Denise allow camping by the river which runs parallel with the Kamilaroi Highway.
Mobile phones on Telstra network will work out in this area. Optus will work on top of Mt Oxley only. Vodaphone doesn’t work in this area.
Geology of Mount Oxley
Mount Oxley and the Oxley Range (the low hills to the northeast of Mount Oxley) are composed of quartz-rich sandstone and conglomerate – called the Mulga Downs Group. They are Devonian in age – approximately 410 to 370 million years old. They were most likely deposited in a fluvial (i.e. river) environment. The river system must have been broad and quite high energy, as many of the clasts are rounded, suggesting they have been ‘tumbled’ along in a river bed, and there are conglomerates as well as sandstones. (Think of a high energy mountain river, rather than the low energy, meandering river like the current-day Darling River). They consist of thick beds of fine to medium-grained sandstone and some pebbly conglomerate. Although the beds look as if they are flat-lying, the beds are actually dipping very shallowly (<5 degrees). The rounded clasts within the conglomerates include clasts of white quartz, granite (probably about 420 million years old) and metamorphosed sedimentary rocks
(probably around 475 million years old).
The matrix of the sandstone and conglomerate is very fine-grained quartz which is the reason the rocks are so hard, and they make such a ping when you hit them with a hammer! It is also the reason they form prominent hills – they are very resistive to weathering. There would have been more extensive deposition of the Mulga Downs Group than what we see today. But tectonic uplift and weathering have left us with sporadic outcrops. The Mulga Downs Group is found over a wide area in western NSW, locally at Gunderbooka Range, Bedemeer Mountain and at Mount Druid – but also further afield at Mount Grenfell near Cobar and Mutawintji National Park near Broken Hill. Fish and other fossils found elsewhere in the Mulga Downs Group help constrain the age of the rocks – though only one, the non-diagnostic fish scale has been found at Mount Oxley to date.
An interesting feature at the base of Mount Oxley is an angular unconformity. Stop where the gate is – where the road changes from dirt to tar – and look in the gutter next to the road and walk downhill. You will see slate-like rocks that are almost vertically dipping in the base of the gutter (particularly where the gutter curves away from the road). These rocks are most-likely Ordovician to Silurian in age – so they are approximately 475 to 440 million years old. They were deposited on a continental slope in deep marine water, probably in a turbidity current in a submarine fan. (Probably in an environment like the 10 km off the coast of Sydney.) Overlying these slates are some conglomerates and the almost flat-lying Mulga Downs Group. We call this an angular unconformity because you have flat-lying rocks overlying steeply dipping rocks – this represents a dramatic change in geological conditions with a time gap of 30 to 75 million years or so between the two rock packages. In this time the environment changed from a deep marine environment to a high energy river environment.
The flat areas you drive over to get to Mount Oxley are Quaternary and modern alluvial soils and sands related to the Darling and Bogan river floodplains. (Credit: Geological Survey of New South Wales)
Geology of Mt Oxley area is predominantly acid intrusive rocks with the mount itself mainly metamorphic rocks. The climate of the nearby town of Bourke is semi-arid characterised by hot summers and mild winters Birds observed include striated pardalote, inland thornbill, yellow-rumped thornbill, and southern whiteface. Chestnut-breasted quail thrush and pink cockatoo sited and are of concern for their conservation status. Pick up a copy of “The History and Mystery” of Mt Oxley at the Bourke Visitor Information Center.
Things to do
Only 40 minutes from Bourke on Kamilaroi Highway and after some dirt you will arrive at Mt Oxley.
Come along with family and friends to relax and spend quality time together. Enjoy a picnic or BBQ and then go exploring with the children. Have a bush hunt looking for rocks and plants, different logs of wood that resemble animals. So much to see if you look.
Watch the sunset and magnificent sky, whilst enjoying the bush noises, smells, and bird watching, in silence.
Devonshire tea is available when visiting or staying at Mt Oxley, at the huts or on the mountain. Must book ahead with Denise.
Check out the craters, across the way from the facilities. They form part of the mystery, and remain a mystery as to the formation, to this day. Charles Sturt’s Diary’s mention the craters, when he visited in the summer of 1828-29.
All outback regions are steeped in history and legend.
I am excited to find an account in “The Cobb & Co Heritage Trail booklet Bathurst to Bourke‘’.
“Mount Oxley (site only) Changing station on the way to Bourke. The now private property is still owned by the family that ran the change station. Mt Oxley is mentioned in many personal memoirs of Cobb & Co journeys. It was a welcome relief from the flat landscape around it”. Mention at the Bourke Exhibition Centre your wish to camp, it is stunning. Access via Denise 0427815385.
My 3x Great Grandparents James and Francis Reed in 1869 had Lot 1 of Sec 33 at the village of Gongolgon. He was granted Conditional purchases of Portions 8 & 9 for “Mountain House” Hotel at point of Oxley Tableland.
Still held in1889, hotel license for 2 sitting rooms and 3 bedrooms was granted 14/01/1873.
Information from “Bourke Historical Society Volume 1X Page 36 Reed” Books contains much history of the family.
Bourke is a unique and historical town to spend a few days. First stop is one of a kind, Bourke Exhibition Centre for help from the friendly staff, for all attractions and services. You can even steer the paddleboat down the Darling River.
So much to do and see: Jandra Paddle vessel, Outback Show and take a trip back in time, by taking a slow ride on the horse-drawn wagon around town.
Learn lots about Bourke on town tour with Stuart. Take an interesting Aboriginal Cultural tour with the Dixon twins Jason and Joseph along the river bank, plus more. Jens Back O Bourke Gallery is not to be missed. Bourkes Wartime history is on view at the Diggers on the Darling.
Bourke’s historic cemetery has many epitaphs which tell of the tragedy that constantly stalked the western plains and backcountry. An hour browsing will take you back to the world of bushrangers, drovers, cameleers, riverboat men, lost children. James and Francis Reed are buried there with double headstone and a low ornate metal fence surrounding.
At the Back O Bourke Information Centre pick up a Premium Package which combines tickets for:
- Back O Bourke Exhibition Centre
- PV Jandra –paddling down the Darling River
- Outback Show April to October 11 am Tuesday to Sunday –Bullock Teams, Working Clydesdales, sheepdogs and wild horses, a very funny show.
- Back O Bourke Tours – departing the Little Birdy Cafe, Wharf Precinct 9.30 am daily. The two and a half hour tours will take in Bourke’s historic buildings, Fred Hollows grave at the cemetery, the Lock and Weir and a walk onto the span of the North Bourke Bridge, the Back O Bourke Gallery and possibly the School of Distance Education – before concluding at midday in time to see the Crossley Engine in action at the wharf.
Access to Huts by Mt Oxley and Mt Oxley includes travel off the highway on dirt roads. It is approximately 8 km to the huts and the road can be slippery and boggy depending on the amount of rain. The huts are situated on the road to Mt Oxley, another 6kms and approximately 40 minutes from Bourke.
Travel 28kms from Bourke on Kamillaroi HWY which is the road to Brewarrina, turn right at T turnoff marked Tarcoon / Mt Oxley, travel thru 2 ramps to another right turnoff marked Mt Oxley, travel out to the locked gate. Through these two ramps are the huts and shearing shed.
The Gate has many locks and you’ll be provided with the code on booking.
The Bourke Shire closes the road after enough rain to do damage to the roads We don’t encourage travel if roads are wet, but if you are at the huts and the rains come, we will tow you out if necessary.
There are many different routes that can be taken when driving from any of the capital cities to Bourke. The following is an overview of the routes from Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide that may help you in planning your Outback Beds experience.
|Brisbane||Warrego Highway > Mitchell Highway||970km|
|Sydney||The Great Western Highway >Mitchell Highway > Castlereagh Highway||690km|
|Melbourne||The Kidman Way||1,020km|
|Adelaide||Barrier Highway >Darling River Run (Unsealed)||1,050km|
Towns & Touring Routes
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Phone: 0427 815 385