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Signs #17 - Yes ... or NO!!

Possibly the sign of a misspent youth, my ability to guess 'whodunit' has been well-honed over the years by detective and courtroom drama novels, TV shows and films.

But this sign, languishing with other unlabelled exhibits in a shed at Boulia's Stone House Museum, gave my amateur sleuthing skills the chance for a REAL workout!

Who made it? Where was it located?? Why wasn't it there any more???

Of course to someone with my well developed investigative powers, finding the answers was a doddle ...

According to point #10, the sign was once located 48 miles – approximately 80 km – from Boulia. So it pre-dates the metric system – adopted in Australia during the 1970's!

The sign gives answers to probably repetitive questions - or why would the sign have been made in the first place? But while they're about living in a remote location - Boulia itself is deep in western Queensland's Outback - the signwriter clearly had enough visitors to make the sign necessary, which indicates a stopover point on or near a main road.

And given that other exhibits in the shed near the sign included signs for various refreshments, an old bain-marie and bottles, the stopover point could well have been a roadhouse or hotel.

Deducing the rest was elementary easy. Within a radius of 80 km from Boulia, a map of the area indicated hotel ruins 78km to the east – with no other site meeting the parameters above.

Then – a quick look at the excellent Boulia visitors guide booklet confirmed the Hamilton Hotel ruins about 80km from Boulia towards Winton! QED!!  Or should I say 'WooHOO'!

Hamilton Hotel Ruins, via Boulia, Queensland
Today these ruins are what's left of the last stage from Winton to Boulia. Opened in 1897, the hotel closed in the 1990's – with what was left after demolition salvaged by the Stone House Museum. Travellers can still stay at the Hamilton Hotel – it's now a popular rest stop and free camp with a modern amenities block.

And the old windmill still provides an irresistible opportunity for another Outback cliché shot!

Windmill, Hamilton Hotel Ruins, Outback Queensland

If, like me, you just can't get enough of clever signs, you'll be thrilled to find a whole bunch of them over at 'Signs, signs'!!  Head on over to check out the other contributors!!


  1. Hello Red:
    Another Hercule Poirot is born!!!

    Do you tell fortunes, read tea leaves, decipher tarot cards, see into the future.......?!!!!

  2. Hey Red, You and Dr Watson just stepped up to the plate and solved that one. OOps, mixing things again. I wouldn't want my dog to run away in that flat land. It would be another call for the detective.

  3. Nice shot of the windmill Holmes.
    Signs like this are funny in that they're aimed at the not so bright at times, those who make assumptions because they are out of their territory. People such as myself really.

  4. Good deducing skills you have!
    There must have been quite some interesting conversations going on before this sign was made!

    Thanks for joining in... off to see the rest of your blog.

  5. Are the 'wild men' the Aboriginals? and what does SATS means? Also don't understand if n.15 is a double negative therefore a yes.... or not...
    Well it does look like a sign for a hotel/bar like the ones you see in movies like a City called Alice and so on, very funny!


  6. loved the sign and beautiful windmill - great photos. The sign probably took some funny group thinking together and giggles in preparing it, eh. Nice :)

  7. The sign does say it all. Hercule Poirot would be proud of your detecting skills :-).

  8. I've similar signs wherever tourists get a little too irritating.

  9. @ladyfi - yes, you won't be seeing that one anywhere else!!
    @L&J - Of COURSE I can see into the future - yours will be bright(ened) if you keep dropping in AND tell all your friends about me ... Have a lovely weekend!!
    @Manzanita - Hahaha ... but this kind of landscape is Cody's heartland! He wouldn't get lost ... check out Aussie film 'Red Dog'!!
    @RJ - You're right - I suspect the sign was developed in the 50's or 60's when there were FAR more assumptions about life in the outback. Don't know that your assumptions about yourself are correct - I'd say you have a very open mind!

  10. @Lesley - welcome, and thanx! I'll be back to check out the rest of the signs - thought I'd give time for all the contributions!
    @Alessandra - NO! There's another clue to the wild men - and that's the 'SATS' aka 'Saturday nights'! I believe the sign refers to stockmen & station hands looking for some weekend downtime ... only in the outback, huh?!
    @Lilly - I'm sure each contributor had her/his own pet hate for tourist questions ...
    @Windsmoke - Haha! Thanx - but detecting is an art in which I've a lot left to learn ...
    @Beach Bum - Well, bring them on! Put your money where your mouth is, and send me one for a guest post!!
    @Tame Lion - Welcome and thanx!

  11. Great sign, love the windmill nice capture.

  12. VERY interesting sign and what a gorgeous windmill.

    Thanks for visiting my sign entry and leaving your comment. =)

  13. Genius! I have only a couple of questions:
    1. What is a paddle pop?
    2. Who is Mr. Whippy?
    Am I betraying my ignorance?
    Oops, that's three.

  14. Woot, thanks for solving that mystery, what a great sign :)
    Lovely cliched shot ;)

  15. Great sign and very clever deducing! Thanks for your comment on my 'button' signs. I do think you are onto something, and given your ability to decipher signs I will go with your interpretation. :D

  16. Well done Detective Red. The sign makes me feel a bit sad. Should you go professional, I could think of a business name. Something like the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency? Cheap sale to a friend.

  17. Hi Red, this is a great find! Good detective work!

  18. Reminds me of the days when I drove public transit. Most of the questions become very repetitious and some are silly. I have question for you. Do the local police ever ask you for assistance? :-X

  19. From the exasperated tone of the sign, the hotel landlords might have thought it wasn't lonely enough out there.
    Love the yarns you spin out of these great photos.

  20. Haha, too funny! They were tired of answering all those cliche questions I guess. I could see one of those for people from Texas. Yes, we are crazy about football. No, I don't ride a horse to school, etc.

  21. You have such a talent for story telling. And I read every note on that sign ... such fun.

  22. Today, this would be a FAQ. It's a great sing, especially the last one.

  23. Nice sleuth work! The sign was a hoot; while reading it I couldn't help but think of all the persistent questions that lead to each entry.

  24. @Saun - Thanx! Love it when I find something that is pretty certain to be one of a kind!!
    @Lindy - Weird that the windmill shot is getting as many comments as the sign! Go figure ...
    @Diane - Ignorance and lack of knowledge are two different things! 1) Paddle pop = Aussie brand of ice cream on a stick (do you call that an icy pole??) and 2) Mr Whippy = Suburban Ice cream van that sets up & sells ice cream to whoever turns up!
    @Jayne - Now if only I could parlay my detection skills into something that'll make me a lot of dough ... although I'd probably have more luck with the cliche shots!!

  25. @Nita Davis - Welcome, and thanx! But don't quote me - I'm just guessing, really!!
    @Christopher Allen - Welcome and thanx to you too! Come back anytime - who knows what talent I'll unearth next??!!
    @Andrew - HHHMMMmmm... that sounds like a good name for a book!! Or TV series!!!
    @Ebie - I think the find is more impressive than the detective work!!!
    @Andy - Haha! I tend to steer clear of the local police ... but I'm sure they'll know where to come if they come across a sign they can't decipher!!

  26. What a splendid thing!

    I think you may have me on the "no more Grampians Shots"! The picture was from another trip - but as I said a picture of a slate grey sky may not have been as interesting. Although it occurs to me now I should have taken a picture of a puddle and raindrops!

    Cheers SM

  27. @Fruitcake - Haha, there's a lot to be said for solitude ... and thanx for those kind words!!
    @TGN - The more generic Aussie one would have questions like Yes, kangaroos hop down the main street. Yes, koalas drop from the tree to attack you. No, you can't see Uluru from the Sydney Harbour Bridge!!
    @Joan Elizabeth - Those of us lucky enough to have visited the outback know exactly what they mean ...
    @Woody - Yeah, but think how dull FAQs are in comparison!!
    @Technosyncratic - Yes, I'm sure there's a story or two behind each entry!

  28. I am guessing this was some kind of "stop" between the towns where most people came to use the toilet. I guess the sign kept the people who worked there from answering the same questions over and over. :)
    It definitely gave me a smile. Funny find!

  29. Well done you sleuth, you!
    I was guessing it might have been a roadhouse until you revealed it was an old hotel.
    Nice windmill.

  30. I'm intrigued by NO. 18 on the notice, wonder if this could have been a contender for your 'outback toilet' series!! Excellent post Red.

  31. You know me always focused on potty breaks.

  32. Hahahaha love this one too. I think the one who wrote this decided to make a sign because this 18 questions could be the most asked questions in that time. ^_^ Happy weekend!

  33. Haha a lovely post... cheered me up no end.

  34. love that sign. i think i need something like that on my about page! :)

  35. Simply beautifully captured shots...lovely!

  36. Beautiful Captured pictures.
    Simple but yet so elloquent :)

    Thank you for sharing.


  37. @Stewart M - Haha! Great shots of the Grampians no matter when they were taken! Thanx for dropping by!!
    @Halcyon - Welcome & thanx! You're right on all counts, and I'm betting this is the only sign exactly like this in the world!
    @River - I think we're BOTH right! It looked like a bit of everything ie pub/roadhouse/servo/pit stop!!
    @PDP - Sadly, nothing left of the originals. Current loos are only a couple of years old!
    @Mrs Tuna - Yeah, the pic of this one would have been pretty dull - loos are nearly new!!
    @Praveen - Thanx! This is my favourite kind of find!!

  38. @Kim - Welcome! Yep, you're right!! Probably took too much time answering those questions for everyone - this way you can just point them towards the board!!
    @Andrew - Imagine how the real thing made me feel then!! I could immediately sense a blog post brewing!!
    @Jen - Haha! Great idea! But I saw it first!!! If you do it, let me know so I can check it out!!
    @Kalyan - Thats the great thing about the outback - so easy to photograph!!
    @The PostMan - Welcome and thanx!

  39. yes, that sign would have got my curiosity going too.
    Funny how such a makeshift bit of signage could last this long. You Aussies are fond of your heritage and ancient history, methinks?

  40. oh, the sign made me chuckle!
    i love it!

    beautiful shots as well!

    have a great Monday!
    betty xx

  41. I love a good mystery and have to admire your sleuthing!

  42. Hah! I can see why it closed considering that the previous owners' clearly believed that their lives would be a lot more pleasant if 'customers' weren't there to bother them :)

  43. @Friko - Yes ... and no to your final question!! The sign has survived - but only because the local not-for-profit museum curator salvaged it when the hotel was demolished!
    @Betty - It's one of my faves too! Same to you!
    @Judy - My sleuthing may look impressive - but I bet anyone else with the same evidence could have drawn the same conclusion!! Thanx anyway!!
    @Alessandra - I think, given the chance, ANYONE would become 'wild' at an outback pub on Saturday night ... maybe we can try that one day??!!
    @Kath - ah, but there's a fine line between 'customers' and 'dropkicks'!!!

  44. I can appreciate the sign and the frustration with repetitive questions the hotel keeper probably had. Having been a Motel Manager in both California and Washington State when we were in the USA, it can get monotonous answering some of the sillier questions.
    The windmill is definitely iconic, whenever they appear in films, they often look dilapidated and creek loudly!
    Nice pics.

  45. @Jackie - apparently the Outback is THE spot for 'dumb' questions!! This is what a NEW windmill looks like!!
    @Rob & Mandy - Welcome, and thanx!

  46. As long as the goats are not wild, I'm in. ~Mary


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