Years ago the Marlborough/ Sarina road was the only hwy between Rockhampton and Sarina,it was branded the ” Horror Stretch” because of the many fatalities including murders during a period of time. Another name that was used was “The Crystal Highway” named that because the amount of windscreen’s that would end up smashed.
In 1985 the Bruce Hwy between Sarina and Rockhampton was completed so virtually overnight the old hwy became abandoned by the hoards of traffic that once used it!
As a kid we’ve both traveled on this road,but have never done so since traveling Australia,so instead of taking the normal route along the coastline we saw the turnoff at Marlborough and took it as an opportunity to explore a different area.
We had heard a little about this highway and some of the stories that surfaced weren’t that pleasant ,not just from the goings on that happened a few decades ago but what also went on in the history of the land and the ruthless killings of native Australians.
Just as we were leaving Marlborough on dark, a black cat ran across in front of our path,not being terribly superstitious people we did though start doubting why we were taking this stretch.
This highway takes you through allot of scrubby floodplain plus a few hills and then toward the Sarina end after the range it opens out into cane fields,the road is narrow and bumpy, full of large and small roo’s and of a night a little eerie.
You can tell this once was a busy hwy ,the whole 250 or so klms use to have 4 fuel stops, but now-days only one of them remains open.Not too far into our journey was an old roadhouse,once abandoned but now used as someones residence and further along from that roadhouse is where we pulled up for the night by yet another roadhouse with an adjoining motel.
So being parked up beside an old Roadhouse and Motel of a night,what’s the first thing the kids want to do? go on a night tour!
Every place no matter how old always takes on a eerie feel to it when its abandoned,so it really set the scene for some screams and anticipation of what may have jumped out to give us all a fright.
By day it has a somber feel to it, kind of sad to see what lay in ruins from vandals making a mess of both buildings.
Not sure what the place was called,there was no sign apart from the faded word Motel painted on the front of the building and a few other animal murals painted over the other walls.Each motel room was decorated in brightly coloured carpet and a matching wall paper,really putting the whole place into that 70’s era.
Out the front of the Motel inscribed in the once wet concrete was a couple of names,one person called Richard from south Australia with the date 12/9/70, taking it back to the decade when a few murders and disappearances happened along this lonely highway.
We are not sure what the story is behind this place,all we know is that it once was a busy Motel/fuel stop and like the other two road houses,it also came to its demise once the number of travelers dwindled over the years, if only the walls could talk I’m sure this place would have plenty of stories to tell.
Further on up the road out the front of the gates to a station and sitting in a small park is an over sized torch monument in honor of the 1956 Torch Relay, the locals call it the Ice cream Cone,it does kind of resemble one!
Back in 1956 in that area and under unique conditions the transfer of the Olympic Flame took place while on its journey to the Olympic Stadium in Melbourne.
LOTUS CREEK , The only roadhouse left along this stretch of hwy that’s remained open since the new hwy was completed in “85” It was originally used for the military as a stop off for repairs on their trek from Townsville to Rockhampton but now owned by Sandy who has been there for over 30 years.If you find yourself along this stretch do stop in ,even if its just to say G’day or maybe stay a night or two, he’s a great bloke and knows the area and its history well. Available are powered and unpowered camp sites $20 for power and $15 for unpowered,there’s a pool down the back plus a creek which you may be lucky enough to spot a platypus in.
After passing through mainly cattle country and open dry scrubby landscapes we didn’t expect to see a Koala on the road.
Had to look twice when we noticed what we thought was a small wallaby by the roadside,slowed right down and worked out it was a Koala Bear ready to venture across the road in front of us! We’ve seen Koalas in the wild but never one beside the road ,we waited for him to cross and safely get up a tree.