Things To See and Do
Welcome to the Back O' Bourke!
While at the Back O' Bourke you must check out these great experiences!
Check out the Crossley Engine
The Crossley Engine in Bourke is an oil-fuelled stationary engine manufactured by the Crossley Brothers in 1923. Over the years more than 100,000 Crossley oil and gas engines were built, and it is a testament to their quality that many are still in use today.
It is an example of an early water-cooled four-stroke diesel type engine, which followed on from the steam era. With two cylinders sitting side by side and a 6-ton flywheel between them, the 6,562 cubic inch engine produced 138bhp at 260rpm or 108.6 litre with 103kW of power using modern measures.
This particular engine was originally used from 1923 to 1938 in the Sydney Power House to generate electricity for Sydney. From 1938 it was used in the Allowrie Butter Factory in Coffs Harbour until 1949 when it went to a property in Narromine in 1949 to pump water for irrigation until 1964. (Brian, B. & W. 2018)
An hour spent with eagles in the silence atop Mt Oxley looking across a 100 kilometre expanse, rekindles the experience of explorers Sturt and Hume in 1829. Mt Oxley, rising from the perfectly flat landscape, has without question the best views of the area.
A must see panorama stretches as far as the eye can see.
The sunsets at Mt Oxley are stunning with vibrant pinks and purples painting the sky. Mt Oxley showcases the abundance of wildlife in the region including wedge-tail eagles and wallabies.
This is a dream for photographers; bushwalkers and bird-watchers.
Mount Oxley does require a permit, as it is private property, which can be purchased from the Back O' Bourke Information & Exhibition Centre.
The Darling River Run
The DRR is gaining popularity as one of Australia’s iconic outback journeys. With over 950 kilometres to enjoy follow this mighty river from the upper reaches at Walgett to where the Darling joins the Murray at Wentworth. The run caters to nature lovers, history buffs, adventure enthusiasts and those who enjoy the diversity and contrast of the outback.
Take several days to explore the dynamic Darling River and enjoy the hospitality of the small outback towns and villages along the way.
Please visit The Darling River Run website for further information or contact the Back O’ Bourke Visitor Information Centre for assistance.
Back O' Bourke Gallery
The Back O’ Bourke Gallery is situated on the banks of the Darling River at North Bourke, 5 km north of the legendary Australian town of Bourke in outback NSW.
This beautifully presented gallery houses the studio of one of Australia’s foremost established outback artists, Jenny Greentree. Jen’s art is inspired by the rich Australian outback scenery and together with her husband Steve they have developed a gallery that never ceases to impress the many visitors that pass through its doors.
This working commercial gallery is a must see gallery on the ‘Outback art gallery loop’ from Lightning Ridge to Broken Hill and original works and reproductions have found homes around Australia and overseas.
26 Darling Street, Nth Bourke NSW 2840
Hours: Mon-Sat 10.30am-4.30pm
This 45-minute leisurely walk delves into the rich history of the Aboriginal people; you’ll learn about the land, water use and spiritual connection to the waterways that surround their community.
Before the ‘Cultural Walk’ journey begins, you will join in a ceremony in which you accept ochre – a natural clay earth pigment – that personally acknowledges Earth Mother before you hear about her landscape.
You’ll discover how Aboriginal people respected and used their environment and how a personal connection is formed within the land.
Book your tour now at the Back O’ Bourke Information & Exhibition Centre or call us on 02 6872 1321.
Experience the beautiful Darling River aboard the majestic Jandra Paddle Vessel. Enjoy one of the relaxing daily cruises, or book a private charter for your special event. Once on board, the Captain will inform and entertain you with a delightful commentary on river life, flora, fauna and the history of the riverboat era.
The original Jandra was a steam paddle boat, built in Mannum, South Australia in 1894 for Arthur Senior of Bourke. Our modern paddle vessel was built by Russell Mansell and his family and commissioned in 2000; the first paddle boat to operate on the Darling River in over 60 years.
There are two one hour cruises daily Monday to Saturday, 9am and 2.30pm with a 2 hour cruise on Sunday starting at 2pm. Cruises depart from Kidman’s Camp Caravan Park, during visitors season.
Book your tickets now at the Back O’ Bourke Information and Exhibition Centre (Ph: 02 6872 1321).
Historic Dunlop Tours
The property, “Dunlop”, is the 881-hectare (2177 acres) homestead block of the former eponymous station which, in its heyday a century ago, sprawled over nearly 400,000 hectares (one million acres).
That was when “Dunlop” was one of the Bourke district holdings – along with “Toorale” and “Nocoleche” – of Sir Samuel McCaughey and his brothers.
Today, the Darling River station is owned by the Chandler family, who are working to preserve and restore the property to its original state.
Morning Tea 11am ¬– Tours commence at 11:30 am Tours Run Tues, Thurs, Fri, Sat & Sun
Historic Cemetery & Fred Hollows’ Grave
The Coolibah's of Bourke cemetery guard, a fascinating piece of Australia's frontier history. An hour spent browsing the inscriptions will take you back into a world of bushrangers and drovers, cameleers and river boat men, lost children and local heroes. Bourke's cemetery predates the town.
It has been the scene for two of Australia's most famous funerals. September 1892 saw a young Henry Lawson join in the procession following the coffin of an unknown young stockman, who had drowned in a billabong near Bourke. His union papers identified him as 'James Tyson'. Later it was discovered that his name was John Hallahan.
The melancholy event was captured by Lawson in what became his best story - The Union Buries its Dead - a classic tale from the Western frontier.
In 1993 Professor Fred Hollows, the eye surgeon known worldwide for his passion to restore sight, was buried in Bourke. His motto 'that all the world may see', echoes the mateship ethic Lawson celebrated a century earlier. Many of the epitaphs in the cemetery tell of the tragedy that constantly stalked the Western Plains. Bourke cemetery - a true window to the past.
Once the largest inland port on the Darling River the wharf represents Bourke’s historic link with the river trade. Now a peaceful community place to view the Darling River.
The Bourke Wharf is a replica of the original wharves in Bourke. The area was considered to have little prospects for commercial activity. In the late 1850s, the Darling River was opened up as a key transport route, and river communities like Bourke grew as important transport centres.
While the wharf is a replica, it has been constructed showing how the design of the wharf caters for the varying levels of water that occurs on the Darling River.
Bales of wool were towed down the river by paddle steamers, but eventually, river transport was replaced when other forms of transport became available, and the last commercial riverboat finished in 1931. (Brian, B & W).
Located Cnr Sturt St & Mitchell Lane.
Gundabooka National Park
Visit Gundabooka National Park and State Conservation Area, near Bourke in outback NSW, to see the imposing Mount Gundabooka, go camping in the outback and see the Aboriginal rock art.
Gundabooka National Park and State Conservation Area is a vast area rich in Aboriginal and European heritage that stretches from the banks of the Darling River, across the plains and over Mount Gundabooka.
The park, featuring woodlands, floodplains, sandhills and the rugged Mount Gundabooka that rises 500m above the park, is of great significance to the local Ngemba Aboriginal people. Be sure to take Mulgowan (Yappa) Aboriginal Art Site walking track to see some ancient Aboriginal rock art up close.
You’ll find the striking sight of weathered red soils against bright blue skies makes for excellent landscape photography, and you’re bound to see a range of birdlife along the park’s walking tracks. There are great places for camping, including sites for caravans, motorhomes and tents, or you can stay in the historic Redbank Homestead or Shearers’ Quarters.
Toorale National Park
Explore the vast floodplain and beautiful rivers of outback NSW near Bourke on a car tour of Toorale National Park and State Conservation Area. You’ll enjoy great fishing and birdwatching.
Experience an outback adventure at Toorale National Park and State Conservation Area (SCA). Awe-inspiring skies, dramatic sunsets and starry nights under Australian floodplain landscapes are just a few things you can enjoy while riverside camping at Darling River campground (Yapara Paaka Thuru). Picnic by the river bank to the sight and sound of birds at Many Big Rocks picnic area (Karnu Yalpa).
Best visited between April and November, few places offer the rare opportunity to see the floodplain landscape come to life after rain like Toorale National Park and SCA. Located at the junction of Warrego and Darling Rivers, the seasonal wetlands offer an abundance of birdlife, with ibis, pelicans, as well as iconic brolgas.
This park lies within the traditional lands of Kurnu-Baakandji people. You can learn about their culture as well as the historic significance of this region on a Discovery tour.
NSW National Parks - Bourke Office
51 Oxley St, Bourke NSW 2840
02 6830 0200
North Bourke Bridge
Opened on 4 May 1883, this lift bridge was designed by J H Daniels and modified in 1895 and 1903 by E M de Burgh, both Public Works bridge engineers.
Built at the zenith of the River Trade, its construction was begun by David Baillie and completed by McCulloch & Co.
The 1895 modifications led to improved designs for subsequent lift-span bridges.
The bridge is the oldest moveable-span bridge in Australia and is the sole survivor of its type in New South Wales.
It served as a Gateway structure for 114 years before being bypassed in 1997.
Located 3km North of Bourke on the Kidman Way.
Bourke showcases many historically significant buildings well over 100 years old. Of particular interest is the Court House built in 1900 at the cost of 9,500 pounds. It is the farthest inland Maritime Court in Australia.
Other noteworthy buildings include the Post Office and the Fitzgerald Post Office Hotel, the Western Lands Department, the Roman Catholic Church and Towers Drug Company and many more.
Pick up the Bourke Mud Maps located at the Back O' Bourke Information and Exhibition Centre, and take the adventure with 20 plus historical establishments around the town and visualise the towns in those glory days of the late 1800s.
Lock & Weir
The Lock at the Bourke Weir was the first to be built on a river anywhere along the Murray/Darling river systems. Built in 1897, the lock measures 59.5 metres between gates and is 11 metres wide.
Pick up the Mud Maps brochure from the Back O’ Bourke Information & Exhibition Centre.
Located 7km West of Bourke on Anson St.
Fort Bourke Stockade
Built as a depot and defensive fort by Major Thomas Mitchell during his exploration to the region in 1835. The Fort was named after His Excellency Governor Richard Bourke. A replica of the original fort was built in 1938.
Pick up the Mud Maps brochure from the Back O’ Bourke Information & Exhibition Centre.
Located 16km South West of Bourke on Louth Rd. An access key is available from the Back O’ Bourke Information and Exhibition Centre.
Bourke Scenic Flights
2 hour guided gallery and scenic flight tour hosted by renowned outback artist, Jenny Greentree. Includes 1 hr flight time into the landscape, history and sites that have inspired Jenny's art.
Soar above majestic Mount Gundabooka, the mighty Darling River and the historic North Bourke Bridge. Literally fly into Jenny's paintings.
For bookings and more information visit www.backobourkegallery.com.au
Bourke Aboriginal Art Gallery
We are all local Bourke Aboriginal Artists, who paint and carve using traditional and modern techniques.
Visit our gallery in the main street of Bourke between the Chemist and the CBA bank.
Be amazed at the wide range of Aboriginal art created in the local Bourke area.
We are open Monday - Friday : 9am - 5pm.
All are welcome to come in and browse, buy or just have a yarn!
Bourke Men's Shed, Community Garden and Gallery
Bourke Men's Shed was started in 2008 and now has around 30 members. They are located in the old ambulance station in Mitchell Street Bourke. This is an ideal venue as it gives them plenty of floor space for their various machines. Their main activity is making pens from local timber, which are then sold to tourists and locals. They attend local shows and field days to sell pens and help recruit new members.
This is a place for men to meet, socialise and join in activities. It provides an opportunity to make new friends, develop new skills and improve old ones, and to participate in projects for personal and community benefit. It focuses on the mental, physical and social well being of men.
Tuesdays is their card morning playing games such as euchre, cribbage and five hundred.
On Thursdays they have a barbecue lunch and is more of a social day.
They have computers available for use by members and the general public, and operate the Broadband For Seniors program in Bourke.
They work on various community projects, and recently made a dais for the local swimming club. Visitors are welcome at any time.