It’s your outback adventure.
There is plenty to see and do at Gilberton if your heart so desires. Enjoy abundant wildlife on a leisurely walk, take a guided tour, or even just sit back and watch the wildlife from your room. Each guest package is designed around what that person likes and is interested in.
4WD or 4WD Buggy Safari
Our farm tour consists of touring around the cattle station helping put supplementary feed out for the cattle, or, if we are in mustering season, being involved in training the young cattle ready for the big wide world of living without Mum. On the tours, our guests are given a detailed talk about why we do what we do, and how it helps the animals and their environmental health.
Morning tea and/or lunch is taken with us depending on the length of the tour. Options are for a whole day or a half day.
Highlights: diverse landscapes, wildlife, cattle, flora and fauna
*Tour is by 4-wheel drive with a limited amount of walking.
Gold Mining and Fossicking
The history of the Gilberton Goldfield will leave you intrigued. Why would people walk, pushing a wheelbarrow, for 6 weeks just to reach a new town to find the yellow cake (gold)?
Gold was discovered at Gilberton in 1868 and within 12 months the population grew to over 3,000. Relics of the original goldfield town can be seen and explored. The goldfield had another life in 1875 and was then mined intermittently right through until the early 1940’s. Gold fossicking is still productive so you might even get to take home your own piece of Gilberton gold!
Let us take you on a tour of the original goldfields, more recent gold mining or have a go yourself at fossicking. On the tour, your family guide will share with you the history of Gilberton including the family’s connection with Chinese, European and Aboriginal peoples.
Thank you Lyn and Rob for a wonderful stay. You welcomed us as part of the family. The retreat is luxury with a view. Do not think we will ever shower watching roos, wild pigs and cows with calves again. We just have to come back!
Gilberton Nature Refuge
With a landscape of rugged hills and plateaus that support a range of eucalyptus woodlands, Gilberton is home to an amazing diversity of animals, plants and ecosystems. In 2018, Gilberton Station was endorsed as a Nature Refuge, recognised by the Queensland Government as being an area of high conservation significance.
Botanical treasure hunt
Walk through untouched bush beauty to find hidden botanical gems. Discover species and rare albino wallabies while you climb through rock fortresses. Indulge in edible bush tucker, and gain a little knowledge through touch, taste and smell with your guide. Bird watchers and animal conservationists will have plenty of photo opportunities in the Nature Refuge on Gilberton.
Our family’s focus has always been on environmental sustainability with looking after the land an absolute priority. We have been proactive in creating a drought-proof property and in so doing, creating additional wildlife sanctuaries. We live and breathe this country and love to share our knowledge with our guests.
Live the land, listen to the people who run the land, and learn the way of the outback.
Connection to country relates to all aspects of the human relationship to land and our existence – this includes culture, spirituality, language, law, family and identity. The French family ancestors are white settlers who made their way to Gilberton, very early on in 1869. We are proud to uphold their connection to this country, and also acknowledge that this family has an important connection to the local Aboriginal Indigenous people of the region. The Jana language group, (was also spelt as Yanga) lived on the southern side of the Gilbert River.
This deep relationship between both white and black people on Gilberton is celebrated by us as ‘Connection to Country’ by looking after country.
The Ancestors of the Jana tribe, taught our family the ways of living on country. Their relationship with the land remains fundamental to the identity and way of life of many Indigenous people, whom we welcome onto the place at every opportunity. Our shared connection runs deep in our blood, we have listened to the Old People and live with their insights, understanding that land is much more than soil, water, rocks or minerals as well there totem being the turtle that is still respected today on Gilberton. It’s a living environment that sustains, and is sustained by, the people and a culture of protection and preservation.
Grandma Lydia Martell could speak Jana language and learnt from the Jana people who had story for these places. They shared their history, and culture with our forefathers. Some stayed on and became part of the family, skin colour didn’t enter into the discussion and acceptance into our Gilberton tribe came through trust and respect. Grandma Dora (Jana Elder) gave our family a stone to jointly connect both families and is a prized procession of the French Martell families today.
*Extract from interview with Florence Hoolihan in 1992 who was Lydia’s daughter and remembered Grandma Dore well*
Lydia Martell always known as Mrs Boss . Mrs Boss she will do it she bin know look after our land it bin her’s now but we will watch over our spirit will watch dar family and look after dem ha, our spirit will watch over our family Mrs Boss is our family, dis rock him connect us for ever and ever, we one family now me and Mrs Boss Lydia we one looking after our land now , our rock connect us keep us safe, yah him bin keep us all safe.2018 that special rock came back to Gilberton from a family member in its little case and now sits safely back on country where that connection is. Dora and Lydia would be proud that family connection still resides but sad we cannot find any descendants of Jana people.
The relationship between both families, Martell and Grandma Dora from the local Indigenous people, and the land is one of reciprocal respect, as Grandma Dora’s belief was that the land sustains and provides for the people, all people. Grandma Dora always stated the land welcomes all people and offers us it’s provision, but we must respect the land in return. The French family are Honouring this reciprocal relationship with the land and belive Grandma’s Spirit is watching over us, guiding us so that Indigenous cultural story of Gilberton stays alive. We are keepers of the rock, and stories from our shared histories, supporting of both western and Indigenous connection to country, and by doing so are abiding by all cultural heritage laws and rules.
Let time simply pass by……
…….while all your needs are taken care of.
- Visit the granite cathedral and natural springs and find out about the local wildlife.
- See the remains of the old gold mining township of Gilberton, and find out the history and stories of the old gold rush days.
- Pan for gold in the Gilberton creeks and have a chat with real gold prospectors.
- Visit a heritage listed gold mine site and see how gold was extracted and mined in the 1800s.
- Watch the station at work, including mustering.
- Visit Lake Fred for lunch, swimming, fishing, and kayaking. Hopefully you’ll see our locally famous pelican being fed by cormorants.
- Or just relax and enjoy the tranquility!
What a great time we have had. Gold prospecting, rock formations, sunsets and bush walks, meeting your family, good food, good company. The Hut bloody perfect pure luxury. The views over the Gilbert River and surrounding outback "stunning". Not forgetting you two, Rob and Lyn. Thank you for giving up your valuable time and looking after us. Just the best hosts (Look out we will be back). ps. "Loved the trucking"
How long are the tours?
Approximately 3-4 hours. Generally these are morning tours so that guests have the afternoons to themselves.
Can we do all 3 tours in 1 day?
No. Two tours are the maximum, which allows you time to relax and enjoy the tranquility.