Beyond the black stump? That’s definitely anywhere west of Blackall.
Beyond the black stump? That’s definitely anywhere west of Blackall.

It’s a common saying, but beyond the black stump is … where?

TO MOST folk, the phrase "beyond the black stump" is just a vague indication of somewhere outback.

But to the residents of central Queensland's Blackall, it is a very definite place - all the country to the west of the town.

In 1887 the original Astro Station, where the town now lies, was chosen by the Surveyor-General for the purpose of survey, based on the principal meridional circuit traverse around the town of Blackall.

The circuit was 27 miles square and contained an area of 729 square miles.

The surveyors used a handy stump to rest their theodolites on - big heavy brass objects that would have trouble balancing on the standard modern legs of surveyors' tripods.

This enabled them to fix the position of prime towns extending from Brisbane to Boulia via Roma, Charleville and Blackall.

This also established the points of important centres with which the survey work of the whole colony could be connected, and enabled more accurate mapping of Queensland.

So beyond the black stump? That's definitely anywhere west of Blackall.

Visitors to the outback town can still find the location of the Black Stump, tucked away behind the state school.

The actual stump is no longer there, having been burnt out, but locals have replaced it with a stump of petrified wood, sure to be fire-proof.


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