Day 8 – Laid Back in Larrimah

Once an important southern part of the Northern Territory’s rail network, Larrimah is a quiet shadow of its former self, but the Larrimah Pub is full of bird life, some tropical snakes, and a few emus around the back.

The pub dates back to World War II, and when Albert Borella came riding by a hundred years ago he was only dreaming of rail as a solution to his northern quest. Some few hundred kilometres on he was to catch a ride on the Katherine mail coach, and then Pine Creek, where he indeed was able to catch a train and finish his journey in style.

But today the horses are going well, and we turn in to almost form a circle with the support vehicles. The horses are penned with portable electric fences and take to their feed and water, the latter carefully monitored to see they don’t drink too fast.

The camp cooks are planning Aussie burgers and chips, and soon have a fire going; urns set up for those who insist on tea and coffee, and cool drinks for those otherwise inclined.

Those of use who have to “file” – modern terminology for sending email and pictures out to the world – head for the pub to beg the Internet connection. Host Barry Sharpe has had the pub for 11 years; previously he was a works supervisor for the Mataranka Council for 14 more.

The Pub has nine motel units, and a quirky motif of watertanks, which have been used to make a spa and camp kitchen, amongst other things. The offbeat theme has been continued with a large pink panther out the front.

There’s also some memories of World War II in a small museum set-up, which some of the team visit.

The Ride is interesting, often fun, and but still very hard work. And we wonder – how tough were people such as Borella who trekked 1000 kilometres on a possibility?

The Borella Ride continues up the Stuart Highway.


Written by Dr Tom Lewis, Lead Historian for The Borella Ride