help_outline Skip to main content

News / Articles

2024 Tin Town Adventure

Ian Chant | Published on 4/18/2024

The Great “Tin Rush” or just 34 BBTA cyclists descending on Stanthorpe?

The 1870’s saw a great rush to mine alluvial tin in a place called Quart Pot Creek on the Darling Downs. This rural locality, 170km south-west of Brisbane, is now known as Stanthorpe.


But on April 10, 2024 at O’Mara Hotel, 34 intrepid BBTA cyclists and about 4 non-riding partners met for dinner and refreshments and prepare for their own Tin Town Adventure. 


To keep the adventurers on the correct path a “What’s App group” was created to share tales, photos and recommendations.  


But the ride organiser had other ideas.  He would tempt the group to answer questions about the history of Tin Town.  The first question sought to find out who had planted the first grapes in Stanthorpe and why.  A lightning response from Tamara correctly named Father Jerome Davadi and his desire to produce Altar wine.   The gauntlet had been thrown down, we had a competition but needed a prize.

Fortunately, Peter Damm and Suzanne had just ridden into town and were able to furnish a prize for the Tin Town Quiz.

photo 1

Riders spent time fueling up for the ride ahead, getting to know each other, getting updates on the local conditions, finding out about options for breakfast and of course spinning a few yarns. 

Thursday would have riders exploring Stanthorpe, collecting photos for the Tin Town Quiz, riding out towards the Storm King dam, lunching at Ballandean before returning via the Granite Belt Wine trail.

The next morning, riders walked the streets of Stanthorpe gathering photos of murals, mosaics, building and street art and posting them on our group What’s App as shown below.

photo 2

But what was the weather like?  Earlier that morning the ride leader checked out the Bureau of Metorology (BOM) to see the following 4.9 degrees centrigrade screen and a “feels like 3.6….. whoa it is only supposed to be autumn. 


Memories of the ride in July a few years ago came to mind.  It was on the edge of snowing and TV crews had arrived in Stanthorpe to film the unique snowing event.  The intrepid cycling group on that occasion, led by Trevor Bond, huddled in the Tourist Information centre and sang a rendition of Dean Martin’s “Let is Snow”…which by the way was video taped and posted on the BBTA website.  

Oh no, this ride had been planned nearly three months earlier that the 2021 ride, April instead of July, but the temperature was still freezing. 


Does Stanthorpe ever get warm?


The ride, leader sought help from Robert Stuart and Glenn Rashleigh to investigate this phenomena.  They were able to report that the temperature was rising rapidly with the “Big Thermometer” showing 8.3 deg C.  Phew … disaster averted.



Do we need arm and leg warmers or do we need to, as often said,…”be bold and go out cold” ? 

We decided to be bold!


At 9:30am our group assembled for the ride, the temperature had reached a wonderful 18 deg C. what a relief.


Skies were blue with few clouds in sight.  A wonderful day for cycling. 

We had about 15km to go to lunch at Ballandean with the last 5 km downhill.

We rolled into our lunch spot earlier than expected but were able to sit down, have a coffee and chat about the morning ride.


A few quiz questions had been posted and the observant rider could photograph the answers or at least know where to go to get find the answers. 


We were passing places where the questions could be answered.  There was a question about the plaque on the Quart Pot Creek rail bridge and a question seeking to find out which of the tin mines situated on small tributary of Quartz Pot Creek was teeming with so much alluvial tin that it caused the Great Tin Rush of 1872.


Heading out of Stanthorpe we reached the Storm King Dam, regrouped and rested.  Time for a few more photos.  Our photographer, Tamara, was on the edge and close to getting wet.



We had about 15km to go to lunch at Ballandean with the last 5 km downhill.

We rolled into our lunch spot earlier than expected but were able to sit down, have a coffee and chat about the morning ride.


We lunched at the Ballandean Pub, now part of St Jude’s winery.  Some riders ventured about 3km away from Ballandean to find the Pyramid and a Hairy caterpillar snake. 

At the same time Alex Geels was talking about our Christmas Function on Tuesday December 10. 

It is a “first in best dressed” type of event so he recommended early registration to secure your spot.



With lunch over it was time to return to Stanthorpe via the Granite Belt Wine Trail.  So many tempting venues but we had to get back in time for dinner at the Stanthorpe RSL that night.

During the evening Peter Damm announced the winner of the Tin Town quiz.  Geraldine and Stephen Page had been quick to answer the questions and prolific in submitting photos of their experiences. 

I even learnt the background to the saying “freezing the balls off a brass monkey”, which can be found on the plaque next to the brass monkey.   Well done!


The next day we had a much shorter ride, and started our adventure at 09:00hrs. The ride on Friday saw us ride through the countryside through many localities named after places on the western front in WW1. 


Many returned servicemen settled in this area under a soldiers’ resettlement program and towns around Stanthorpe echo the names of French conflicts: Amiens, Pozieres, Bullecourt and Fleurbaix.


We travelled through the Passchendale State forest and then through apple orchards before we arrived at the Jersey Girl café for a coffee, jam, scones and some cream.  It was a so much of a feast that one rider ventured back for a cheese board as post ride lunch.

We were having a great time.  One of the locals donned a helmet but could not ride because she had not registered on the BBTA App.

In the last few kilometres of the ride, riders were invited to undertake a 8% climb to the top of Mt Marley and take in the vista.  The photos below show the intrepid riders and the vista they captured.  Well done!


Other riders got back to the Tourist Information centre, shared stories and provided feedback.  Perhaps the best summary of the ride can be seen from the post on What’s App shown below.


Such a great couple of days.  Thanks everyone for making it a great BBTA event.

For those members wanting to see all of the photos from this ride click on the link below.