CQ town’s ‘disheartening’ removal from map
PHARMACIST Ian Kinsey admits he has watched the town he grew up in continue to slowly decrease but seeing Blackall taken off the map was still a shock to the businessman.
A data error caused Blackall to be taken off the Bureau of Meteorology map last fortnight, which was published in The Morning Bulletin.
Mr Kinsey found the funny side of the mistake - he said he knew it was hard to make money in the town but he didn't think the challenges were that bad.
"It was disheartening. The town is just existing but needs stimulus," Mr Kinsey said.
"It's really hard because the problem is structural- there are no wholesalers because we fall into this funny area."
Mr Kinsey has not only watched the town's economy change but he has changed his life with it.
In the past 38 years, the keen businessman has owned a pharmacy, video shop, travel agent, clothing emporium, Retravision shop, hardware store, toy shop, convenience store and cinema.
As shopping trends change in the town he has bought and sold businesses to stay viable.
He said the size of the town made it difficult for businesses to exist because it was too small to attract major franchises, which caused residents to spend their money elsewhere.
"People don't expect to pay much," he said.
"Clothing shops close down because you just can't sell clothes."
Cheap wholesale prices for items sold at major franchises weren't available to small country stores, according to Mr Kinsey.
"Small towns fall into a strange area where it's very hard even if someone wants to open the shop, there is no one who caters for this size town," he said.
Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows the Barcaldine-Blackall region had a population of 4715 people in 2018.
Mr Kinsey said people often travelled to Emerald or Longreach to do their shopping because there was more on offer.
While the town was "thriving in the psyche of the people", he said there needed to be more in the way of entertainment and events to attract people from out of town.
"The one good positive thing is we've got a saleyards here," he said.
"With the trees it's a nice complex compared to other saleyards.
"And considering the ageing population it's surprising we've got such a good football team."
Like communities across the country, Blackall was also suffering in the drought.
While rain fell in the town about a month ago, Mr Kinsey said it would be good to get some more.