Crossing the border into Queensland from NSW
I remember being stopped at the Queensland border when I was a child.
It happened when we went into Queensland, from my grandparent’s home in Murwillumbah, in northern NSW. Just a hop skip and a jump down the road it seemed.
In those days it was a check for fruit to stop the spread of fruit fly, rather than a pandemic, and years before that it was a tick issue as detailed in the article below.
The border today is largely invisible, but there was a time when large barbed-wire fences marked a very clear line. Daily News historian Di Millar explained the fences were erected to quarantine a pest from the north.
“They were there to stop the cattle tick getting from Queensland to NSW,” Mrs Millar said. “They found them in North Queensland and they thought by putting the tick border it would stop them.
“Then they put the no-man’s land section and it had a bridge across it and it was supposed to be a buffer zone.”
She said the highly visible border was not popular with residents and did not even stop the spread of ticks. “It had overhead bridges and gates at various places along it and it was an inconvenience and an eyesore.Source
Enter 2020 and COVID-19!
Apparently the border was closed for several months in early 1919 to attempt to stop the spread of the Spanish Flu from NSW – now that sounds familiar doesn’t it?
But apart from those instances, I don’t think the border between NSW and Queensland has been closed since becoming an official border back in 1865.
Crossing the border
Due to family health issues we were champing at the bit to get into Queensland to be with our daughter, her husband and our baby grandson. The Queensland border was closed on March 26 2020 and reopened on 10 July 2020 (except to those who had been in Victoria in the past 14 days).
Only those who were classed as exempt were able to cross during the closure. We didn’t fit the exempt category so were on tenterhooks waiting to hear when the border would be opened, at one stage it wasn’t going to be until September!
To be allowed entry after July 10, we had to complete an on-line application form, answering questions about not having COVID-19 symptoms, not having been in Victoria in recent weeks and giving our contact details. It was an immediate response via email and we had to display the pass on our vehicle’s windscreen to be allowed entry into Queensland. I think G stands for ‘general’.
Apparently over 400000 applications were downloaded in just a few days! Some people, like the Grey Nomads, and caravaners, were keen to get travelling again to warmer climates during the winter months, but some were like us and had family issues to help out with.
The north of the country is always popular over winter and with school holidays on as well, there were lots of people wanting to get away. Travel has definitely been put on hold for everyone in recent months. Unfortunately it isn’t the best time to plan to travel when a pandemic is raging.
We deliberately chose to drive the 1000kms in virtually one full day, sharing the driving and having supplies with us so we didn’t have to stop too much along the way. This meant we weren’t in contact with anyone or anything and we had our hand sanitiser in a handy location at all times.
Our first stop was my mother in northern NSW, which gave us the opportunity to catch up with her, the first time in months, and wait until the border was open with its initial first wave of people rushing to cross into Queensland.
We left it a few days after the border officially reopened at 12 noon on Friday 10 July, as the traffic had been reported as very heavy. We had no trouble and only slowed down for a few minutes before being waved through the checkpoint. Some vehicles were pulled over for checking and many have been denied entry for various reasons.
It really felt like we were going into another country in some ways, like crossing borders in Europe, instead of being in Australia! But alas, there was no stamp in my passport 😦
With COVID cases spreading in the state of Victoria and starting to multiply in NSW, it is becoming a real worry again. We were up here in Queensland in March and left just before the borders were closed. The feeling is similar to that, a few months on and it’s scary that some people aren’t taking it seriously even now.
There has been lots written about the impact of the border closures to the economy of the various states of Australia. I must say the Premier of Queensland stayed firm in her desire to keep her state safe from the pandemic but they were also missing their usual winter tourists and the economic benefits.
So we are now in Queensland for a few weeks, spending time with our daughter and her family, helping out with babysitting duties, medical appointments and enjoying the warmer weather while riding our bikes along the waterfront in the spare moments and keeping our distance at all times when out and about. We are very low key travellers at the moment.
So yes at the moment border crossings here are a big deal!
To read more about border closures within Australia – you can click here. There are still many borders that you physically have to stop at and be checked to see if you are carrying fruit and vegetables, (against the law in some cases), and now COVID-19 has added another aspect of border crossings.
There are lots of things going on around the world at the moment, but for me at the moment, it’s all about family.
Life is never dull, that’s for sure!
So how are you getting along where you are?
Take care and stay well.
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