Across the far north-west of New South Wales is the area known as Corner Country. It’s a ruggedly beautiful and remote area where the straight lines of the wild dog border fences are at odds with the contours of ranges, sand dunes and creeks.
It is a place to which one can escape. The larger towns and cities are far away, there is little or no noise, there is light and colour during the day, far horizons upon which the sun rises or sets, and at night a billion-star sky. Yet it also offers the comfort and camaraderie found around a bar, a dinner table or a campfire.
The Corner Country is the traditional homeland of the Malyangaapa and Wadikali people whose lives were interrupted with the arrival Charles Sturt’s expedition in 1845, Burke and Wills in 1860 and the squatters who followed with their flocks of sheep.
The discovery of gold in the late 1870s brought miners and their families who traversed inhospitable country to establish roads and townships. The squatters’ station properties were surveyed, fenced, shearing sheds constructed and the Corner Country populated with almost 3000 people.
Fortunes ebbed and flowed with the seasons. By the 1900s many mining families had left to find fortunes elsewhere, World War One saw young men enlist, often never to return, and the pastoral industry settled into a rhythm of life similar to that exists today.
Of four towns (Milparinka, Mount Browne, Albert and Tibooburra) Milparinka remains, a ghost of its former self but with a hotel, campsites and a beautifully restored Heritage Precinct that incorporates public buildings with an interpretive and visitor centre.
Tibooburra holds pride of place as the “Capital of the Corner Country”, with two hotels, a roadhouse, caravan-park, motel, store and several camping places, as well as the office for the nearby expansive Sturt National Park.
Cameron Corner, where the three adjoining states meet, is a relatively short drive through the Sturt National Park from Tibooburra, where one can cross state borders and visit three times zones in very quick succession.
Best of all, the Corner Country is very accessible. A sealed road links Broken Hill with Tibooburra and is being extended to the Queensland border. A network of unsealed roads makes it an enjoyable destination for those who prefer the “off-road” travel experience, and a circular touring route based on Sturt’s Expedition is under construction.
Corner Country is a must-visit destination. Those who do so very often return. There is always something that just keeps drawing them back, that little bit extra that says that Corner Country is very special place.