When proclaimed the town had three hotels, two stores, a customs house for interstate trade, a police station and a large collection of commercial buildings but in 2007 there was just one hotel serving canned or bottled beer, library, visitor information centre, museum and a hospital.
Today Birdsville is a popular tourist destination with many people using it as a stopping point across the Simpson Desert. In recent years a number of companies have started operating scenic flights round Lake Eyre departing from Birdsville, such as Birdsville Air Charters and Central Eagle Aviation. It is also known for the annual Birdsville Races, which are held in September each year in aid of the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia.
The tiny town population is augmented by many thousands for the two day event, and hundreds of aircraft fill the town’s 1,700 metres (1,859 yd) airstrip. In 2010 the races were cancelled for the first time in the event’s history due to rain.
Birdsville also has an 80 kW geothermal power station, the only one of its type in Australia. Water is extracted from an 80-year-old bore on the Great Artesian Basin at 98 °C and is used to heat the operating fluid isopentane in a Rankine Cycle engine. The geothermal plant produces around one third of the town’s electricity. The water (once cooled) is also the source of the town’s drinking water.
Birdsville is a small town located in the Channel Country of Central West Queensland, Australia. It is 1590 kilometres west of the state capital, Brisbane, and 720 kilometres south of the city of Mount Isa. Birdsville is on the edge of the Simpson Desert, and the climate is very arid. At the 2011 census, Birdsville had a population of 283.
The Story of Tom Kruse the Birdsville Mailman
The story of the Thermal Power Station at Birdsville