PRICKLY PEAR [Type of Cacti]
Favorite thing: Well, Captain Arthur Phillip has a lot to answer for, as he was the person who brought the first plants of prickly pear species into Australia on the First Fleet.
He obtained the cochineal infested plants from Brazil on his way to establish the first white settlement at Botany Bay. He was using it as a dye for the soldlier's Red Coat fabric.
PRICKLY PEAR HAS GONE DOWN IN HISTORY AS ONE OF THE MOST INVASIVE WEEDS EVER IMPORTED INTO AUSTRALIA.
Well, little did he know, that after the Farmers had planted it in rows for their stock, that in the following years, it would multiply quickly, take over 60,000,000 acres of land, and make life so difficult for "the man on the land," that they would give up their farms, and leave as broken men.
The Prickly pear was the great destroyer of lands, hopes and a destroyer of families.
In 1924, the 'Bug Farm' at Chinchilla brought in 3000 Cactoblastis eggs from Buenos Aires, they turned into Cactoblastis insects.
These Insects were released at Chinchilla, success was great, with the pear being completely destroyed.
The Cactoblastis cactorum insect was the most powerful of all controls ever placed into effect against the plague of prickly pear.
Located 10 km east of Chinchilla on the Warrego Highway is the Boonargo Cactoblastis Hall  which was built by the local farmers and dedicated to the insect which had managed to eradicate the prickly pear.
As we drove around the area, we didn't see many plants left, the few remaining ones were looking pretty sick. Thankgoodness they found this Insect before the Prickly Pear crippled Australian farms for good!
The fruit of the pear is still highly prized for jam-making.
- Historical Travel
- Road Trip
Favorite thing: Travelling along the Warrego Highway to Chinchilla, expect to see big areas of the flat plains being farmed with Cotton.
Cotton production in this area has been steadily growing, with the majority being grown along the Condamine River and on the Brigalow floodplain. The two types are farming are dryland and irrigated cotton, with the dryland farming increasing. As we drove along the plains, we saw many big square man made dams from which channels ran from to irrigate the cotton.
Raw cotton is transported to the Dalby gins for further processing.
February, and the paddocks were planted with cotton, varying from small to quite large, many with balls of cotton on the bushes.
June, harvesting was completed, so come earlier if you wish to see the harvest in full swing.
In the paddocks was the equipment used to make the bales of Cotton, and there were plenty of them waiting in the paddocks to be taken to the "Gins."
Work for back-packers during cotton season.
"People are required for cotton harvest (positions include tractor drivers and module builders, Tractor driving experience essential and mechanical knowledge."
- Road Trip
Favorite thing: Twice I have been lucky enough to see a sunset at Chinchilla. The first time was the best, the second time, not as good but different colours in the setting sun made it quite appealing.
Perhaps if your from overseas, you may enjoy it even more if you happen to be there when a huge flock of Galah's (rose breasted Parrots) flew in as the sun was setting, and began eating the grass seeds.
Guess what - I scared the lot of them!
WORK FOR BACKPACKERS
Favorite thing: Chinchilla has work for backpackers!
Acres and acres of cotton is grown in the area, so during the busy periods of the season and at harvest time, part-time workers are in demand. Cotton harvesting usually runs from March to May. Another busy time for growers is when the crop is growing fast over summer.
Workers either skilled or unskilled are welcome. Backpackers, students in their “gap” year, and grey nomads all have been employed, all you need to be is hard working, willing to learn, have a good work ethic and be able to work in a group or alone. People who have a trade, like mechanics, welders, truck drivers, forklift drivers, boiler makers and electricians can get jobs too!
A sample of what is available in the cotton industry is...
Start irrigation syphons
Drive tractors or forklifts
Mix and apply chemicals
Drive a cotton picker/harvester (typically air conditioned, with CD players and GPS systems)
Drive a boll buggy (that picks up the cotton from the picker and delivers it to the module builder)
Operate a module builder/building modules
General farm maintenance and repairs
Fruit Picking Work is available
December to April - Watermelons and Rockmelons - Probably a 5am start
Onions in November
A typical job advert
"People are required for busy onion and watermelon farm.
Work includes – shed workers to grade and pack onions, pickers and packers for watermelons and other general farm jobs.
Work available until April.
People must be willing to work flexible hours.
Accommodation is available on farm 40 km from Chinchilla.
Own vehicle is not required.
6 months casual work"
Often accommodation is available on the farm.
We were recently at Chinchilla during the Watermelon Festival, and heard the compere talking to workers from Scandinavia, Asia and European countries. It sounded like they enjoyed being at Chinchilla and having fun at the festival!
- Budget Travel