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Daily priority themes for sensational Outback Festival

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Coming Events

IT ONLY comes around once every two years, so it’s no secret the residents of the small outback town of Winton are gearing up for an influx of 8,000 visitors and 72 performers as it prepares for the 2017 Outback Festival and the Famous for the Quilton Australian Dunny Derby. In a bid to give back, the festival, through the fun and frivolity of the Quilton Australian Dunny Derby, will help increase awareness of bowel cancer and the benefits of screening through a partnership with Queensland Health. The Make No.2 Your No.1 Priority state campaign aims to increase participation in the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program. Queensland’s Chief Health Officer, Dr Jeannette Young, is proud to support an iconic regional event and reminds Queenslanders over the age of 50 to make bowel screening a priority. “Partnerships like this one allow Queensland Health to further engage with Queenslanders on important issues like bowel cancer screening,” she said. “If you’re heading to the festival, keep an eye out for Queensland Health’s Make No.2 Your No.1 Priority bum boxes and chat with my staff who will be at the event. “I strongly encourage all Queenslanders aged 50 and over to look-out for the …

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When morse code and amateur radio were the only ‘communications’

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Coming Events

AMATEUR RADIO (also known as Ham Radio) is a popular hobby all over the world, with members often stepping-up to the mark in times of disaster, such at the recent hurricane and floods in the USA, and to conduct emergency communications until regular systems are restored. It is not just a hobby for the boys — in Australia we have our own Australian Ladies Amateur Radio Association (ALARA). Founded in 1975, ALARA now has over 200 members in Australia, with ‘sponsored’ members all over the world, who operate reciprocal memberships within their own countries. Every three years, ALARA holds a get-together somewhere in Australia, and for this first time ever, it will take place in Cairns, FNQ, on the second week-end in September. Almost 50 members and partners are flying in to Cairns from all over Australia, including Perth and Tasmania, along with some members from New Zealand. The event takes place at Cairns Colonial Club, starting with registration on the Friday, followed by a Welcome Dinner. Saturday sees some fun radio-related activities in the conference centre, with display tables showcasing various aspects of the hobby, ranging from morse code to computer logging. Demonstrations and member participation is encouraged. A …

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Extraordinary Gulf Women open windows to their individual worlds

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Coming Events

FIFTY-FIVE individual women living in the Gulf of Carpentaria have combined to write and produce a book unique to the region that tells the story of their lives living in the remote far north-east of Australia. Half the women live and work on the vast cattle stations of remote north-west Queensland as owners, managers or stock and station workers. The other authors live on country, work in businesses, tourism, education, health and aviation, or live and work on fishing boats out in the Gulf. Long-time correspondent for Blue’s Country Magazine and now the eyes and ears for agalert.com.au in the area, Lyn Battle, tells the story of leaving her home in the most northerly point of Ireland to move to paradise on Sweers Island (near Mornington Island) were she and husband Tex run a fishing resort. The Gulf Writers will launch of their book, Gulf Women in Burketown, Queensland, on Saturday, September 30, 2017, from 11am to 1pm, during the Morning Glory Festival. The Morning Glory is the rare meteorological phenomenon cloud — a low-level atmospheric solitary cloud formation — that rolls-in from the Gulf. The stories of 55 women, unique to the Gulf of Carpentaria region, are recorded in …

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68 years on…tiny MG to start at historic Leyburn Sprints

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Coming Events

LEYBURN (Queensland) A TINY PRE-WAR motor vehicle (pictured above) that once tried to win Australia’s biggest motor race will return as a star of the 22nd Historic Leyburn Sprints on August 19 and 20. Already 10 years old at the time, the MG TB single-seater driven by Jack Nind retired with engine failure during the 1949 Australian Grand Prix at Leyburn, the biggest event in the history of the tiny Darling Downs town and a forerunner of the modern-day Formula 1 race in Melbourne. After contesting three other Australian Grands Prix and many other events over the years, the MG will take another run at a Leyburn win in the annual round-the-houses Sprints alongside more than 200 other historic, classic and performance cars. It is owned by Colin Schiller of Cambooya, near Leyburn, and will be raced by his daughter Belinda. Sprints President Tricia Chant says the MG’s appearance helps maintain the traditional connection between the event and the 1949 grand prix. “It’s extraordinary that this car still even exists, as some grand prix entrants didn’t survive the era. But to have it find a new home here on the Darling Downs, not far from Leyburn, and to have it …

Grant to create grain industry Crop Research Hub in WA

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Coming Events, Current News

AUSTRALIAN grain industries will benefit from a $3 million grant to create a new Crop Research Hub in Western Australia, charged with improving grain crop productivity and disease resistance Australia wide. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, said Murdoch University had received a $3 million Grains Industry Infrastructure Grant to establish the WA Crop Research Hub under a collaboration agreement between Murdoch University, Curtin University and the WA Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD). “The Coalition Government knows how critical research and development (R&D) is to productive and profitable industries, and that’s why this government is investing unprecedented amounts under various programmes in to R&D,” he said. “This innovative project will draw on the specialist research skills from each party to develop new research in crop pathology, plant physiology and genetic improvement. “The outcomes of this research will be applied to improve crop productivity and resistance to disease, strengthening the national grain industry and profitability for Australian grain growers. GRDC Chairman, John Woods, said for the GRDC to deliver on its purpose of investing in RD&E to create enduring profitability for Australian grain growers it was essential for research partners to have …

Grains industry will reflect from within technological heart

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Coming Events, Current News

THE WHO’S WHO of the grains industry will gather at the Goondiwindi Cultural Centre on Friday, September 1, for what AgForce Grains President Wayne Newton describes as the grains industry’s ‘night of nights’ — the Queensland Grains Gala Dinner. “With innovation a focus of this year’s event, it makes sense to go back to where so many new technologies were pioneered,” he said. “From 50 metre booms to early controlled traffic systems, many good ideas came to fruition around Goondiwindi, and we want to ensure the night acknowledges and celebrates that. “While it’s been a pretty dry start to the season for most, we’re hoping that by September, we’ve had decent falls of rain and are looking at good crops with harvest just around the corner.” Mr Newton (pictured) said nominations are now being called for the AgForce Grains Innovation Awards, with winners to be announced at the gala dinner. “We will be recognising up to three individuals or organisations for their commitment to enhancing the long-term sustainability and profitability of the grain supply chain through innovation, technology and development,” he said. “There are countless individuals and organisations that look outside the box and ultimately help industry continuously grow and …

AgForce drought forum and board meetings in Charleville

Colin Jackson Coming Events, Current News

CHARLEVILLE will be in the agricultural spotlight later this month when it hosts a free community drought support forum and meetings of AgForce’s Cattle and Sheep and Wool boards. AgForce Drought Project Manager, Tahna Jackson (pictured), said the Managing Risks: Securing the Future forum at the Charleville Racecourse on Thursday, 27 July, aims to provide social support to farming families as well as tips and tools to improve their business and revitalise their health. “The prolonged and severe drought has taken an enormous financial, environmental and emotional toll on farming families right throughout Queensland,” she said. Areas around Charleville are now into their fifth year of rainfall deficits, and this free forum provides an opportunity for people to come together to learn about new industry developments, and receive some advice and support during these challenging times.” Ms Jackson said key topics being discussed included new DEXA meat measuring technology, livestock genetics, workplace health and safety, happiness from the inside out, farm planning and business analysis, and farming in digital times. AgForce South West Regional Director, Guy Newell, said the organisation’s Cattle Board and Sheep and Wool Board would hold their regular board meetings in Charleville on Wednesday, July 26, and …

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Colour your week of Ekka with agricultural naturals

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Coming Events, Cotton, Dairy, Horticulture, Livestock, Sugar

QUEENSLAND-GROWN wool and cotton, highlighted with leather, bamboo and silk, will be the agricultural centrepiece of the Natural Fibre Fashion Parade carrying the theme ‘Back to Nature’ as part of the 140th Royal Brisbane Show from August 11 to 20. Directed by Laura Churchill, the runway will feature 27 established, emerging and regional designers for one fabulous display of style. And in the newly-named Agricultural Education Hall, there will be more educational activities for children than ever before, including the new Field to Fork interactive rural journey where kids will discover how their food gets from the field to their fork. In order of the agricultural cycle — composting, soil analysis, growing and planting, harvesting and processing — they’ll take part in activities such as grinding grains into flour and then using the flour to bake healthy muffins. This year’s annual event — the only major state event to lay claim to such longevity — is celebrating this milestone by introducing for the first time, half-price entry and an expanded fireworks spectacular of two displays each evening. Queensland’s largest annual event has a remarkable history, being staged every year except for just two — in 1919 due to the Spanish …

More BeefUp events for Queensland producers

Colin Jackson Coming Events, Livestock

BEEF PRODUCERS across Queensland have the chance to tap into regionally-relevant research findings and practical tools to improve their business at five additional Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) BeefUp Days scheduled for this year. Hosted by the regional committees of the North Australia Beef Research Council (NABRC), the popular events will also provide producers with the chance to provide feedback on what areas of research, development and adoption (RD&A) are most appropriate to them and directly contribute to how their levies are invested. For Western Queensland beef producers, the next BeefUp Day will be held in Barcaldine Town Hall on Wednesday, July 12. MLA Managing Director, Richard Norton, will attend the event to provide an update on MLA’s activities, while other speakers will address issues including building multi-generational enterprises and the five golden rules to create a high performing agribusiness. MLA BeefUp Day co-ordinator, Barb Bishop, will facilitate a producer consultation session to enable producers to have their say about RD&A priorities relevant to their region. Beef producers throughout other regions of the state will have the opportunity to access similar regionally-relevant information and insights, and have input into setting RD&A priorities with BeefUp Days to be held at: WARWICK: …

Photo: Atmosphere Photography (copyright).

Signature opera event at historic Queensland homestead

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Coming Events

AGAINST A BACKDROP of one of Queensland’s most iconic and historic homesteads, a festival of magnificent music, opera, great food and equally tasty wines will take place in the Jimbour House Amphitheatre on Saturday, July 22. It a free day out for the entire family, where visitors are free to partake of picturesque part of Queensland west of Brisbane. Roving performers will entertain the crowd throughout the day, and event-goers are free to take in the sights of the majestic Jimbour Homestead and surrounding gardens before the main event — Franz Lehar’s operetta The Merry Widow, with lead man David Hobson and Emily Burke in the title role. The point is made: it’s a free event with gates opening at 10am, and patrons will be treated to a huge array of local produce, handcrafted items and artisan wares. Council Spokesperson for Economic Development, Donna Ashurst, says that Opera at Jimbour isn’t just for the Opera fans — it’s the food, wine, market stalls and roving entertainment offering something for everyone. “It’s a great day out and a social calendar favourite for locals and visitors alike,” she said. “The Council is excited to once again be partnering with Queensland Music Festival …

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The Light Horse Charge at Beersheba 1917

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Coming Events

THE ENEMY was Turkey, Imperial German’s eastern ally. They held the line, Gaza-Beersheba. Lieutenant-General Sir Harry Chauvel commanded the Desert Mounted Corps, and his orders were to capture Beersheba by straddling the Beersheba-Hebron Road eight kilometres north of Beersheba, capture Tel El Saba, then storm the town. He had no misgivings about his troops — they had sheer quality, leadership and experience — many had been at Gallipoli. These men of the Light Horse were without peer. He had two Divisions, each of three Brigades. The ANZAC Mounted Division included the 1st and 2nd Australian Light Horse Brigades and New Zealand Mounted Rifle Brigade. The Australian Mounted Division (Chauvel’s reserve) included the 3rd and 4th Australian Light Horse Brigades and the 5th (British) Yeomanry Brigade. In support were the Light Batteries of the Royal Horse Artillery. The Plan: The battle was to be a three-phase operation, supported by the British. The first phase was to be a night ride into position. The second phase was to advance to Sakati, cut-off the Hebron Road to Beersheba and capture Tel El Saba. The third phase was to be the storming of Beersheba. Phase 1 — The Night Ride: The men of the …

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Robyn Stephens presented a $10,000 cheque to Lt Col James Davies (left) of 3rd Brigade (Townsville). Also in photo is L/Cpl Aaron Orr with Unit Mascot, Courage the Eagle.

Winton to commemorate Australian Light Horse centenary

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Coming Events

Small country towns never give up, just like the Light Horse of World War I. And this year, the Winton Outback Festival goes all-out to remember 500 of its sacred sons. This is an amended reprint of the story written by Col Jackson for Blue’s Country Magazine in April 2016. WHILE 2016 defined the Centenary of Anzac, namely the Gallipoli campaign, World War I began in 1914 and went through till 1918. In each of those years there have been significant events that will also be remembered in their centenary years. Gallipoli was in 1915, the Battle of Fromelles was in 1916, the Charge of Beersheba in 1917 and the Battle of Villers-Bretonneux in 1918 that changed the course of the war. These were just a few of many significant military events in the war. Queensland’s small outback town of Winton is already planning to commemorate the centenary of the Battle of Beersheba in September 2017. It was in October 1917 that Winton resident Trooper Thomas O’Leary led the 4th Light Horse Regiment Machine Gun Section in the famous Charge of Beersheba, a three-phase attack that culminated in a wild, desperate charge to seize the town before dark. It has been …

AgForce free forum focusses on improving business and health

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Coming Events, Current News

SOUTH-EAST QUEENSLAND farming families wanting to improve their business and improve their health are being encouraged to attend a free forum in Warwick later this month. AgForce Drought Project Manager, Tahna Jackson (pictured) said the Warwick event was the first of five events being held across Queensland this year under the State Government’s Community Drought Support Program. “The prolonged and severe drought has taken an enormous financial, environmental and emotional toll on farming families right throughout Queensland,” she said. “The ‘Managing Risks: Securing the Future’ forum is aimed at providing social support to farming families while providing tips and tools to improve their business, and revitalise their health and well-being.” Ms Jackson said rugby league legend and Workplace Health and Safety Queensland Safety Ambassador Shane Webcke was the event’s keynote speaker, while other topics being discussed including comparing sheep breeds and returns, and the impact of drought on property valuations. “Financial planning and insurance will be a key focus with speakers from the Queensland Farmers Federation, Entello, FTI Consulting, WFI and Rural Financial Counselling Services,” she said. “Happiness speaker, coach and trainer Kylie Dean will discuss ‘happiness from the inside out’ while Bruce Austin from SuperFriend will outline how to …

WA set to host annual livestock export industry conference

Colin Jackson Coming Events

AUSTRALIA’s annual livestock export industry conference, LIVEXchange 2017, will be held on November 15 and 16 at the Crown Towers in Perth. To be hosted by the Western Australian Livestock Export Association (WALEA), in conjunction with the Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council and LiveCorp, LIVEXchange 2017 will follow on from the successful LIVEXforum 2016 which was held in Canberra in October last year. WALEA chairman David Jarvie (pictured) said WA-based exporters were proud to be hosting the event. “LIVEXchange provides a unique opportunity for industry stakeholders to discuss key opportunities and challenges confronting the livestock export trade, including continual improvement of supply chain capabilities, market opportunities and animal welfare outcomes,” Dr Jarvie said. LIVEXchange 2017’s agenda will reflect WA’s standing as a gateway to key markets in South East Asia and the Middle East, as will the conference theme of Taking stock: (business) adaptability — (industry) sustainability — (community) accountability. NOTE: Registrations for LIVEXchange 2017 have now opened, with a special ‘early bird’ rate available for a limited time. To register or for further details, visit: https://livexchangeconference.com.au/

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Will Gina be there?

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Coming Events, Current News

LAST YEAR the Queensland Country Women’s Association launched its inaugural Twilight Affair — a well-attended Soiree that was an enormous success for its Public Rural Crisis Fund. This year, the QCWA is extending its “Twilight Affair” from a cocktail party to a fabulous night with superb food and wine, dancing and entertainment by Andrea Szabo: http://www.andreaonline.com.au It will be held under the marquee at Victoria Park Gold Course (near the Royal Brisbane Hospital) — and is being sponsored by Hancock Prospecting Pty Ltd. There are amazing auction and raffle prizes, and it is a wonderful opportunity for the City to support the Country, with proceeds again going to the Public Rural Crisis Fund, that is essential to the QCWA in assisting our farmers and their families. There is an Early Bird price of $1,400 per table of ten — please book before June 15.   CLICK HERE to take you through to the Trybooking website:  

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QRRRWN recognising women who hold communities together

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Coming Events

THE QUEENSLAND Rural Regional and Remote Women’s Network (QRRRWN) has this week opened its annual Strong Women Leadership Awards for 2017. QRRRWN’s Strong Women Leadership Awards program exists to identify, acknowledge and applaud the leadership strengths of Queensland rural, regional and remote women. It recognises the women who are the invisible threads holding their local communities together and connecting them with the wider world. There are also several categories specifically focussed on younger women, those still emerging and developing their leadership interests and capacities. Last year’s winner in the business category, Julie Brown of Coola Cozzies, says: “I started Coola Cozzies because Queensland has the highest rate of melanoma in the world. There was a huge gap in the market for sun-safe swimwear as so many of us are self-conscious when it comes to getting into swimwear. “My aim is for Coola Cozzies to help people feel more confident to get into the water and help them avoid a melanoma. Ms Brown continued: “Quite simply, if my product stops even one person developing melanoma, I will have achieved my aim. “Coola Cozzies provides me the vehicle to contribute to my community financially and in other ways. For me personally it fills …

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Gruelling Challenge: Pomona’s King of the Mountain festival

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Coming Events

MOUNT COOROORA is the scene of one of the most gruelling and challenging athletic events Australia has to offer, and continues to attract competitors from around the world. As part of Pomona’s King of the Mountain festival, Sunday, July 23 marks the 39th anniversary of the notoriously steep 4.2km Bendigo Bank ‘King of the Mountain Challenge’. While the festival has now become a hallmark local event for the Noosa hinterland town of Pomona, (Queensland), its origins are typical of a dare between mates at the local watering hole. In 1958, at the bar of the old Railway Hotel, local footballer and railway porter, Bruce Samuels casually claimed he ran to the top of Mount Cooroora in under an hour. His claim was met with jeers and scepticism, and hotel patrons were quick to raise the challenge of doing it again to an audience. The run was scheduled for March 22, 1958, and eager and confident punters placed their bets on a failed attempt. Astonished locals saw Samuels return in just 40 minutes to collect his hundred pound wager. His feat saw him become the town hero, and he was bestowed with the nicknamed ‘Hilary’ Samuels. Fittingly, his achievement became the …

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Allison Mobbs (left) and Puddy Chandler close the 2016 QRRRWN conference held in Roma.

Rural Women’s Network seeks ‘triple treat’ of speakers

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Coming Events

EMERALD, hidden gems and sparkling nuggets are already on the agenda for the 2017 Queensland Rural, Regional and Remote Women’s Network annual conference — and the search has begun to again unearth the unique quality of keynote speakers and workshop presenters that have been the star attractions of the past 23 conferences. QRRRWN seeks three kinds of presenters. They are especially keen to hear from potential keynote speakers — those who can deliver to plenary sessions and breakfast or dinner functions for up to 40 minutes. Often, keynote speakers also offer workshops. The workshop presenters enable the conference to offer a number of workshops across business, personal development and youth streams. Previous conferences have included practical activities offering contrasts between belly dancing and cheese making, drawing and public speaking, or topics as diverse as business planning, digital marketing, grant writing, agriculture or politics. The workshop scope provides for a mix of the serious through to the more light-hearted — and herein lays enormous opportunity and potential for emerging presenters to deliver to small groups. With the intent of introducing local inspirational women or projects, conference spotlight speakers give 10 to15 minute main stage presentations. President of the QRRRWN, Alison Mobbs, …

Maree Azzopardi. Royal Theatre At Sundown

Vision Splendid short film: sit back and celebrate women

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Coming Events

THE VISION SPLENDID Short Film Competition is now open and accepting entries for 2017. Geared towards student and independent filmmakers, this year’s competition is accepting films of up to seven mins on the topic ‘Celebrating Women’. The films can be fiction or documentary, funny or sad, but it has to be memorable and authentic. Entry in to the competition is free. The mission of the Vision Splendid Outback Film Festival is to celebrate outback life and community in Winton and its surrounds and to connect with aspiring student, independent and experienced filmmakers. The Festival public screening programs are designed to highlight the dynamic connections between community of filmmakers and audiences. Films will be reviewed by a jury of film professionals in the first week of the Festival to shortlist the submissions to the top ten film entries. Finalist films will be screened on Saturday night, July 1, at the Royal Open Air Theatre, at a special awards ceremony with celebrity judges selecting the Best Film. The Royal Theatre is a historic 1918 open air movie palace that allows audiences the opportunity to enjoy movies the old-fashioned way – sitting comfortably together under the stars on deckchairs. All awards are presented at …

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Snow much fun to grip Stanthorpe winter celebration

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Coming Events

SNOWFLAKES will again rain down on Stanthorpe during this year’s popular winter festival in the beautiful Granite Belt region. ‘Snowflakes in Stanthorpe’ organisers have announced that the winter celebrations will this year take place from June 30 to July 2. Situated in the famed Southern Queensland Country and regarded as Queensland’s coldest town, Stanthorpe boasts its wine industry and winter popularity as some of its greatest attributes. Inspired by an extremely successful event last year, organisers have added extra attractions and activities for children and adults of all ages. Snowflakes in Stanthorpe president, Brett Boatfield, is encouraging visitors to brave the cold for what is sure to be the biggest winter event in south-east Queensland. “Snowflakes was a great success last year, and we are keen and excited to go again this year,” he said. “As well as all the activities from last year, 2017 promises to be bigger and better. On the Saturday, we will have extra snow globes, jumping castles, a climbing wall, snowflakes merchandise and a bigger ice skating rink. The snowfield will have an area set aside for the little snow bunnies so they can play in the snow without the snowball bombardment.” Organisers have added …

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Double whammy drawcard for Clarence Valley Country Muster

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Coming Events

COUNTRY AND WESTERN fans are always guaranteed high level entertainment from some of the best legends, larrikins, poets, pickers, pluckers, singers and strummers at the annual Clarence Valley Country Muster — and this year, there will be a double whammy attraction when Jett Williams and Tania Kernaghan, one of Australian country music’s favourite daughters, will share the billing. It wasn’t until she was in her 20s that Jett Williams, the only daughter of Hank Williams Sr, proved her parentage — that the “Prince of Pain” was indeed her old man. Since proving her father’s commitment and connection to the daughter he’d never meet, Jett has gone on to perform with members of his original band and form strong ties with them. It’s the first time the singer-songwriter, born Antha Belle Jett on January 6, 1953 — the daughter of Bobbie Jett and Hank Williams Sr — has ventured to the Land Down Under. She’s being brought to Australia by Terry Gordon OAM, and will do a select number of concerts across the country, with dates soon to be announced. The star power just keeps on coming with a delicious, all-girl double-whammy: Muster organiser Wendy Gordon is thrilled to announce Tania …

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Camel Races in the land of the ‘Min Min Light’

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Coming Events

VISITORS heading towards Boulia for the annual camel races — to be held from July 14 to 16, 2017 — should not only expect mystery, adventure and some unexpected thrills, because while traversing the vast Outback of Queensland, they can expect the exotic. From the isolated stretches of roads towards Boulia, travellers continue to report thrilling sightings of the legendary and somewhat chilling ‘Min Min Light’ — perhaps they see this unique spectre as a right of passage. The adventure that is a journey to Boulia’s Camel Races no doubt reaches its peak for travellers when they first see the camels hurtling down the racetrack, followed by plumes of red dust. It’s this vast racetrack, all 1,500 metres of it, that has earned these races the title ‘the Melbourne Cup of Camel Races’, being the longest camel race in Australia. The most adventurous travellers may gain a mouthful of Boulia’s red dust, if they fearlessly enter in the hilarious trackside fun of the ‘camel tagging’ competition. Camel tagging sees competitors entering an arena with some of the younger and livelier camels, and the object is to get close enough to stick a piece of duct tape onto one of them. …

QCWA transforms a city soiree into a country affair

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Coming Events

LAST YEAR, the Queensland Country Women’s Association held its inaugural Twilight Soiree at a venue on Racecourse Road in Ascot, Brisbane. It was an extremely popular evening — to the extent that the QCWA will this year hold its Twilight Affair with a touch of country in The Marquee on Victoria Park Golf Course, Herston (near Royal Women’s Hospital). Mark your diaries now: Saturday, July 15, 2017, 7pm to Midnight, and the dress will be Country Glamour. It will be an elegant night of dinner and dancing to help raise funds for the QCWA and its Public Rural Crisis Fund. It will include an auction on the night. Formal invitations go out in April, with early bird prices being offered.

Vision Splendid 2016. Image by Nick McGrath
Photographer Nick McGrath captures the scene of opening night at the open-air Royal Theatre, next door to the iconic North Gregory Hotel.

Winton, Hollywood of the West, featuring Women in Film

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Coming Events

FOLLOWING a record number of Aussie nominations at the Oscars, Winton, Australia’s very own ‘Outback Hollywood’ is getting ready to roll-out its own outback red carpet in celebration of outback-inspired Australian films at the fourth annual Vision Splendid Outback Film Festival. “Winton has been coined Outback Hollywood due to the number of feature films, documentaries and music videos made in the region,” said Winton Mayor, Butch Lenton. “Our vast open landscapes, although harsh and rugged, are surprisingly colourful and dramatic and have inspired many a film maker.” “The festival’s 2017 theme is Celebrating Women In Film,” explains Festival Creative Director, Dr Greg Dolgopolov. “Our aim is to champion not only the achievements of women in the film industry, but particularly women of the outback.” A senior lecturer in film at the University of New South Wales and NIDA graduate, known affectionately by the locals as Dr Greg, further revealed: “We’ll also be exploring the latest in Virtual Reality and Special Effects and bringing the latest Australian films to be screened in this very special location. The open-air Royal Theatre is one of only two remaining in Australia. “We’re really looking forward to welcoming visitors and Australian film dignitaries to Winton …

Outback Festival organiser Robyn Stephens gives instructions to a team competing in the Dunny Derby.
Outback Festival organiser Robyn Stephens gives instructions to a team competing in the Dunny Derby.

Winton’s sleeping giant, one of Australia’s most quirkiest festivals 

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Coming Events

IT’S BEEN COINED quirky, strange and even weird by some, but the locals just call it, the “Outback Festival.” It has been luring visitors from all over Australia and overseas since 1972 with its unique blend of outback themed events and authentic Aussie experiences, and in 2017 is planned to literally deliver a giant. The biennial Outback Festival is staged in the tiny town of Winton, north-west of Longreach in the heart of Outback Queensland. Home to just over 900 residents, its population swells to over 8,000 during the festival — which is being held this year from September 19 to 23, 2017. Famous for its hilarious signature event, the Quilton Australian Dunny Derby, this entertaining event involves teams of five pulling and pushing the thunderbox (dunny) over a 200 metre course, with a $5,000 prize pool at the final finish line. “Our theme for the 2017 festival is Giants of the Outback”, explains event director, Robyn Stephens OAM. “We’re highlighting our home grown giants, whether they’re giant in size or giant in spirit. It could be anything from the big red kangaroo, our prehistoric dinosaurs to our giant courageous outback spirit, that gave birth to Qantas and Waltzing Matilda. “To deliver on …

Killarney’s agriculture and community on show this week-end

Colin Jackson Coming Events

KILLARNEY’S 105th annual agricultural show begins tomorrow, and with it comes a new pavilion and the supper room moved to a new location. The vantage point is the ‘big old hall’ with the sprung dance floor that has new steel stumps and is now the Killarney Pony Club HQ Situated on the Queensland/New South Wales border, the Killarney showgrounds has been a hive of activity, with some residents asking if all the works be finished in time. And the answer is ‘yes’ — the pavilion will be finished to a stage where it will definitely be in working order for the show — with more improvements to follow. The old Supper Room, though not quite finished, is in its new location and will be a great place to pick up some food and refreshments while patrons are at the marquee. The big old hall with the sprung dance floor is now the Killarney Pony Club HQ, and sits rather grandly to the east on new steel stumps and will oversee the show from its new location. Friday begins with working dog trials closely followed by the popular prime cattle of 12 sections; all cattle will be auctioned at 11am. The …

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Full head of steam to celebrate Cloncurry’s 150th year

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Coming Events

QUEENSLAND RAIL is celebrating Cloncurry’s 150th year and rich rail history with an historic steam train journey across north-west Queensland to the annual Cloncurry and District Show in June. Tickets are now on sale for the steam train service departing Townsville on Monday, June 12, and arriving in Cloncurry for the show on Friday, June 16, before the return journey to Brisbane. Deputy Premier and Minister for Transport, Jackie Trad, said the Cloncurry and District Show was one of the biggest on outback north-west Queensland’s events calendar for Cloncurry’s 150th anniversary celebrations. Cloncurry’s sesquicentennial means there are 150 good reasons to visit north-west Queensland in June and immerse yourself in an authentic, all stops to Cloncurry outback steam train experience,” Ms Trad said. “The district show is an important economic and social event for Cloncurry’s celebrations, just as the arrival of the first steam train was 110 years ago this year. “It’s a year of important milestones for Cloncurry. “Queensland Rail’s steam train experience recognises the crucial role rail played in the development of mining at Cloncurry and the region’s ability to move its mineral wealth to market quickly and efficiently.” The return leg of Queensland Rail’s outback steam train …

Camel Races_photo credit Stephen Mowbray_NRA24603

Dromedaries take tourists headlong into Tara’s multicultural festivity

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Coming Events

EVERY TWO YEARS the population of Tara swells from 1,000 residents to a multicultural mix of 12,000 to witness a classic rural event that combines culture with camel racing. Yet it’s so close to Brisbane. The Tara Festival of Culture and Camel Races takes place just 3.5 hours west of the state capital, is in close proximity to Dalby, Chinchilla, Miles and Moonie, and accessible via the New England and Newell Highways from the more distant communities beyond Moree and Goondiwindi. While travellers come to experience the excitement of the camel races, it’s the eclectic mix of cultural entertainment on the tracksides that continues to amaze and surprise them. Festivalgoers encounter street performers, cuisine, art workshops and entertainment from across the globe — altogether a most unlikely and extraordinary experience to find in a small, inland country town. While colourful and exotic multi-cultures feature prominently, the program also delivers on the classic Aussie larrikin fun people have come to love and expect from country events. The three-day non- stop festival program includes bush poetry, the hilarious yabbie races, nightly campfires and, of course, the unpredictability of the camels in the races themselves. “Even we don’t know what to expect from …

Pete Lewis is pictured right with some South American farming friends.

Green with envy, red with anger if you don’t go

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Coming Events

IF YOU’RE on the land and into Rugger, you’re about to experience some type of depression when the Queensland Reds flog the Argentinian Jaguares in Buenos Aires in March — and you’re not there to experience the event at the right price. Since Pete Lewis left the ABC he has discovered there is life after death — and in the short time he has been ‘free’ has found that life is about doing what you love and helping people of rural Australia improve their lot. Both he and Col Jackson have realised that it’s no good working if it isn’t fun too. And they’re not even politicians with a great nest egg backing them up. Back in December agalert.com.au gave Pete a plug for just one of his new ventures — an educational farming trip to Argentina and Uruguay — and already he has a viable inaugural trip. http://agalert.com.au/food-thought-combined-sport-ticks-boxes/ Col Jackson is already green that he can’t do the trip. He says he was in Frankfurt some years ago and met some Argentinian journalists — and has a standing invitation to attend one of their ‘barbecues’. Now, their type of barbecue puts our steak, sausages and salad into the rubbish …

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2017 Global Markets Forum — the red meat outlook

Colin Jackson Coming Events, Livestock

BEEF AND SHEEPMEAT producers will have an opportunity to hear first-hand about the outlook for Australian red meat in key international markets, including the opportunities and challenges ahead for the next 12 months and beyond, at the upcoming 2017 Global Markets Forum. The forum, hosted by Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA), will include events in Melbourne and Brisbane in March 2017 and feature presentations from MLA’s International Business Managers on international market programs. Domestic market programs will also be covered on the day. The Melbourne event will have a specific focus on the sheepmeat industry, while the Brisbane forum will focus on the beef sector. Both events will be open forums with producers and industry stakeholders in attendance. Participants are encouraged to ask questions and engage in discussion about the opportunities for red meat across global markets. MLA conducts market access and business development activities as well as a range of customised marketing programs and activities across the globe, tailored to each key export market and distribution channel. MLA has offices and staff based in-market in key export markets to promote and grow demand for Australian red meat and to reinforce our position as a source of high quality product. …

Towering puppets prelude Woodford Folk Festival

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Coming Events

THE FIRST SIX of 14 giant puppets emerged today at Woodfordia, the site of the Woodford Folk Festival, for their first outing. Master puppet maker, Daniele Poidomani, introduced the giant puppet stars ahead of their appearance at this year’s Woodford Folk Festival. Soaring more than seven metres high, Poidomani’s creations, The Elders, crept, walked, waved and demonstrated their life-like attributes as students from the Queensland University of Technology, undertaking training with Poidomani, practiced their puppetry performance skills. Program Manager, Kylie Southwell, said: “We are so privileged to host such a masterful giant puppet-maker who’s creations bring enormous joy and lend a magical air to the festival streets on a grand scale.” A total of 14 puppets will be created by Poidomani to perform at the opening ceremony, the flagship closing Fire Event, and each evening throughout the festival. The puppets have been produced as part of a partnership between Woodford and QUT Creative Industries students, which is now in its fourth year. Among those under construction were the hero characters of this year’s program, Astrid and Naut, who will encourage Woodford’s patrons to take a creative journey throughout the course of the festival. Festival Director Bill Hauritiz added: “The Woodford …

Young Beef Producers meet in Roma in November

Colin Jackson Coming Events, Current News

THE YOUNG Beef Producers Forum — described as the ultimate educational, networking and capacity-building event for the youth of today and the future cattlemen and women of tomorrow — will meet in Roma on Thursday and Friday, November 17 and 18. Now in its twelfth year, the YBPF is regarded as being of the highest quality, and considered inspiring, engaging and life changing — offering young beef producers the ability to make a difference in all aspects of their lives, including on-farm, off-farm, family, personal and business related areas. This year’s theme, “Profit Focused Production,” has been developed for young producers, by young producers. With the guidance of a steering committee sharing their perspectives and ideas, this event has been co-ordinated by the Future Farmers Network. The program includes a property tour and some outstanding speakers. Attendees will gain exposure to numerous tips and tools that can help drive profitability within the beef business. It is open to beef producers, those involved in a family business or have a connection with the industry — essentially it is not to be missed. Go to www.ybpf.com.au for more information and to gain exposure to numerous tips and tools that can help drive …

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Make this year’s festive season a Bush Christmas

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Coming Events, Current News

TODAY is October 25 — two months to Christmas Day — and those who seek the best gifts for staff, clients, friends or family will already be doing some research for that something extra special. For those who know of Bush Christmas — the annual event held over 10 days each year in Toowoomba — there is a unique range of mouth-watering, unique and easy-to-organise gifts that are simply not available in the bigger stores where commercialisation takes precedence. For those who have never visited a Bush Christmas event, this is their chance to find a pandora’s box of gifts that are out-of-the-ordinary, yet are guaranteed to please both the person and the palate. The range and selection is comprehensive. This year marks the 20th anniversary of Bush Christmas, which originated when a group of women in western Queensland saw talent lying unnoticed in rural and remote areas. They were members of the Outback Creations Craft Co-op in Cunnamulla, where local artisans sold their works, and the idea was born to establish Bush Christmas in Toowoomba to take a step further to market the works of these talented artisans outside the local area. Bush Christmas was born and has achieved …

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Interactive forum to explore potential for Burdekin region as next fruit hub

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Coming Events, Current News

COULD THE BURDEKIN dry tropics region be the next food hub? Is there potential for indigenous food tourism? How can we cultivate a thriving and supportive sustainable horticultural industry? All these questions and more will be addressed at the region’s first sustainable producers network later this month in Giru. Hosted by not-for-profit natural resource management champions, NQ Dry Tropics, this interactive forum will bring together expert producers, food marketers, industry members and even a celebrity chef to give attendees a taste of the potential co-operatives and networks, learn from others about the business of horticulture, get inspired and informed through case studies, and receive the latest research and development insights. Australia’s only hatted Indigenous chef and star of ABC’s Wild Kitchen, Clayton Donovan, will be one of the workshop speakers, offering lunch and a cooking demonstration of kangaroo san choy bow with bush tomato. NQ Dry Tropics Regional Landcare Facilitator, Peter Arthofer, says exploring the options to promote more Australian native foods in mainstream markets and supporting indigenous food tourism would be one of the key focuses of the day’s agenda. “Gudjuda Elder Eddie Smallwood will tell us about what local indigenous communities are already doing in the horticulture space, …

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Dancing Achacha — revitalising the tropical fruit industry

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Coming Events, Current News

   A taste sensation that dances on the tongue, this virtually unknown fruit native to Bolivia is being grown in North Queensland. Col Jackson visited the world’s first commercial plantation and the family that is realising its potential. AN ACHACHA TART last year took the prize in a popular national cooking program, and on a farm near Giru in North Queensland, a husband and wife of 49 years were witnessing another step forward in their venture to commercially produce a virtually unknown fruit native to Bolivia. The Achacha tree is similar in appearance to the mango, and from a distance, they meld into the local environment where mango plantations compete with fields of sugarcane. It can grow to 10 metres, but for ease of picking, the tops are trimmed to 3.5 metres and bases are ‘skirted’ to access the sprinkler system. Its origins are in the tropical lowlands of the Amazon Basin of Bolivia, in the Santa Cruz region. It is closely related to the Mangostein, which is acknowledged across the globe as the queen of tropical fruit. The king is the Durian; it tastes like heaven and stinks like hell, and cannot be carried on any type of mass …

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Resilience in grazing field tour with NQ Dry Tropics.

NQ Dry Tropics expands its base to better support Bowen region

Colin Jackson Coming Events, Current News

THE BOWEN REGION has improved access to priority projects and expertise to better manage the diverse region’s water, land, animals and vegetation, with natural resource champions NQ Dry Tropics now having a permanent presence in town. The leading natural resource management body for the 146,000km² Burdekin Dry Tropics region — dominated by agriculture, with extensive horticulture, grains, sugarcane and beef production systems — has expanded from its Townsville base to better support the Bowen community. “NQ Dry Tropics is running a number of projects in the Bowen-Broken-Bogie and Don catchments that focus on supporting farmers and graziers to improve land management practices for improved environmental and economic outcomes,” NQ Dry Tropics CEO Scott Crawford said. “It made sense to have a dedicated office here so we could best support the agricultural community to keep making crucial gains in the sustainable management of land and water.” With assistance offered in various formats from expert advice and training, to workshops, forums, field events and financial support through community grants; the scope of NQ Dry Tropics’ work includes everything from dune stabilisation and targeting pest species to helping landholders improve soil health on-property and linking community members with valuable networks and contacts. “We …

Northern Inland awards reward innovation and creativity

Colin Jackson Coming Events, Current News

BUSINESSES, the public and not-for-profit organisations, together with the 12 local councils of the Northern Inland New South Wales region are being urged to submit entries for the ninth annual Regional Development Australia Northern Inland Innovation Awards. The RDANI Awards are an annual awards program aimed at recognising and encouraging businesses, individuals and organisations based in the Northern Inland region of NSW, who are responsible for developing some of this nation’s leading innovative products and approaches across a broad range of industry sectors. Objectives of the awards are to recognise the contribution made by business to economic prosperity and well-being of the region’s communities and residents; to showcase and promote initiatives, products and services; to establish formal and informal linkages between key stakeholders who are capable of assisting in developing business innovation and creativity; and to represent the region as a dynamic, forward thinking, global participant. Within the award criteria, “innovation” is described as “the application of creative thinking to initiate or introduce improvements in a skill, product, methodology or process.” The innovation must be: Unique to or developed in the Northern Region; better than the status quo; sustainable in all applications; and have a viable outcome. The NIIA Categories …

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Isolated children converge on Longreach to do “Porridge”

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Coming Events, Current News, Uncategorised

  Many an actor has confirmed the W C Fields maxim of “never work with animals or children” to be eminently true: both have the absolute ability to steal the scene and are completely unpredictable.   IMAGINE A CLASSROOM more than twice the size of Victoria — where the playground is as vast as the outback and the partnership between home and school is legendary. That encompasses the ethos of the Longreach School of Distance Education (LSODE) — to provide excellence in education for children in isolated areas of the Queensland who cannot regularly attend a nearby school, and undertake all schoolroom activities via the airwaves. There are some 200 students of LSODE spread throughout the central-west of Queensland, covering an area of 402,712 square kilometres. It’s a totally different way of schooling. The school motto says it all — effort conquers distance — yet that terminology is stretched to the extremities when 96 students who have been selected to perform in the end-of-year play in the Longreach Civic Centre are required to travel vast distances for four days of intensive practice. Three children travelled from Birdsville, yet they weren’t the furthest — one student lives on Durham Downs, a …

Nursery industry gets serious about energy efficiencies

Colin Jackson Coming Events, Current News, Horticulture

THE QUEENSLAND Farmers’ Federation’s (QFF) Energy Savers Program is partnering with industry member Nursery & Garden Industry Queensland (NGIQ) to hold an Energy Field Day in Brisbane. The Aspley Nursery Field Day will be held on Thursday, September 15, and will include presentations from local growers and experts in irrigation efficiency and renewable energy. The field day will provide a comprehensive insight to growers about ways in which they can monitor and improve their energy efficiency, with particular emphasis on irrigation, water heating for propagation and lighting. QFF President Stuart Armitage said the Energy Savers program is run in conjunction with Ergon Energy, and is designed to assist growers reduce energy costs. “Given the highly intensive production systems used within the nursery and garden industry, there are significant efficiencies that can be applied to often large consumptions of electricity and water,” he said. “This workshop will give nursery owners and managers practical advice on how to reduce energy consumption through efficient irrigation, lighting and heating, as well as generating their own solar power.” NGIQ President Paul Lancaster encouraged fellow growers and industry operators to attend the Aspley Nursery Field Day:
 
“People attending will hear from the Aspley Nursery owners about some great …

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The earth will again move under the heavy horsepower of Clydesdales

Colin Jackson Coming Events, Current News, Farm Equipment

MICK BRADFORD’s heavy horses will again contribute to his annual recognition of how real horsepower contributed to the development of agriculture, not only in Australia but across the globe, and this year will be joined by a bullock team of eight. For many years Mick Bradford has demonstrated to an enthusiastic audience the might of the heavy horse at a yearly event that has become a tradition at Swanfells Road, Yangan, 15 minutes outside of Warwick. The sixteenth annual charity day will again be held on Sunday, October 23, 2016, from 9am. In an era when agriculture is losing its heritage to modern air-conditioned tractors and labour-saving implements — and now in the early days of robotic machines — Mick Bradford will again showcase farming equipment from the 1800s and early 1900s, depicting an era when horsepower was literally the power of the horse. Organised by the Killarney Lions Club, all funds raised are donated to the RACQ CareFlight. Mick Bradford was just six years of age when he began driving Clydesdales on his parent’s farm. Today he continues to promote the magnificent and graceful horses that have been the mainstay of his life. After school he would use them singularly …

Young Australian ag innovators set to inspire at GrowAg

Colin Jackson Coming Events, Current News

AUSTRALIAN AGRICULTURE’S next generation of leaders will be in Albury, NSW, between September 21 and 23 to ground their skills at the GrowAg Summit — a top-line event for young ag innovators. Recognised as the best and brightest in their field, they will have a truly unique opportunity to collaborate, inspire and learn on their path to the future. John Harvey, Managing Director of the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC), said the three-day ‘think tank’ is an initiative of the Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources and RIRDC, and has received strong support from industry. “One hundred delegates from around the country, and from a cross-section of industries, have been selected through a highly-competitive application process. They represent a diverse group of thinkers who will come together to explore how technology and innovation are pushing the boundaries of what is possible for Australia’s farming future.” Mr Harvey said the program is shaping to be one of a kind, and will certainly challenge traditional views on agriculture. The event will be a meeting-place for the new generation of decision-makers to discuss new technologies and grapple with new ideas, including smart business, leadership and innovation. Leading industry organisations …

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Jack and Christine Houwing with the Principal of Corinda State high School, Helen Jamieson, and Head of the Agriculture Department, Stuart Halsey.

Gardening guru to discuss agricultural issues at Corinda High this Saturday

Colin Jackson Coming Events, Current News

IT WAS in August last year that I attended a Soils Science Australia symposium, where I discovered an untapped and unexplored avenue to encourage young people into agriculture — and it has its genesis in the science and agriculture curriculum at Corinda State High School in Brisbane’s west. The seminar was run in conjunction with Soil Science Australia, the peak body for soil scientists and those with an interest in soils. Guest of honour was former soldier, Governor-General of Australia and chairman of Soils for Life, Major General the Honourable Michael Jeffery, AC, AO(Mil), CVO, MC, who told the symposium the reasons why he became the National Soils Advocate: “I took it on because I didn’t want my grandkids saying at some future time that I knew what was going on and didn’t do something about it.” Here was a valid reason, a moot point, for young people to want to be part of agriculture into the future. He said the risks of not doing something about soil quality are too great — and the solution is to have good soils covered by ‘green stuff’. Major General Jeffery was interviewed by internationally-acclaimed soil scientist and researcher, Dr Terry McCosker, in …

Torturing the taste buds to find a tantalising cheese (October)

Colin Jackson Coming Events

It’s tantamount to a cheese speed dating exercise, and hardly seems worth it. Entries open tomorrow for the planet’s biggest ‘cheese only’ competition, part of the inaugural International Cheese Festival running from November 16 to 18 in San Sebastián, during the city’s tenure as European Capital of Culture, supported by Artzai Gazta and the Basque Country Government The Basque Country is an autonomous community of northern Spain. It includes the Basque provinces of Álava, Biscay and Gipuzkoa. The awards provide a golden opportunity for small artisan producers to spotlight their cheese on a world stage. Some 3,000 different cheeses from more than 30 countries are expected to be nominated for the World Cheese Awards, now in its 29th year. The awards are regarded as a global celebration of, and dedicated only to cheese — no other dairy products are allowed to enter. Judging will take place in one day — Wednesday, November 16 — using the resources of 250 judges from around the world — including international buyers, retailers, writers and cheese-makers — who will award bronze, silver or gold. With all tasting, nosing and conferring taking place within a single day, thousands of entries will be judged in order …

Bush hospitality at its best at Clarence Valley Country Muster (October)

Colin Jackson Coming Events

“There’s more bush hospitality than you can poke a stick at,” says Wendy Gordon, when she starts spruiking the fourth annual Clarence Valley Country Muster that happens again this year on her ‘Ulmarra’ property, a few kilometres north of Grafton. Garden parties soaked in style and sophistication —mixed with foot-thumpin’ continuous country music — would appear to most people to be strange bedfellows, but not when Wendy’s in charge. On October 15 and 16, garden lovers from far and wide will stroll around the grounds in a prelude to the main event. “We’ve already got seven busloads of garden club members booked in for the two garden party days,” she says. “If they want to enjoy a high tea as well, they can have an excellent brew and the food that goes with it for just $10.” The six days of Muster gets down to the serious business of fine music and great local food when Wendy swings open the farm gates on October 24. Talented singer/songwriter Adam Harvey will make his first appearance at the Clarence Valley Country Muster, performing songs from his Harvey’s Bar album. The collapsible bar is to be raffled over the course of the Muster, …

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The Roma QRRRWN organising committee: Back row (left to right): Trudy Azzopardi, Nikki Thompson; Middle row: Sally McGilvray, Emma Taylor, Melissa Kimlin, Kate Scott; Bottom row: Jenny Coggan, Jane Maudsley, Brigid Price, Gail O’Sullivan, Susan Sands.

Rural women networking their way to a common goal (October)

Colin Jackson Coming Events

Maranoa members of the QRRRWN are being inspired by the chance to promote town and shire to some 450 women who will gather in Roma for their annual networking event. For some 23 years, the annual conference of the Queensland Rural, Regional and Remote Women’s Network has been about raising the profile of women and providing inspirational opportunities for self development. More significantly, as was demonstrated at last year’s conference held in Biloela, the attendance and input by young women gave a noteworthy and much celebrated element to the event. So, when the opportunity to host three days of inspiration, fun and networking within the 2016 QRRRWN State Conference, and to promote and showcase the Roma region, it was something that a tight-knit group of Maranoa women could not ignore. And within the above theme, there are plans this year to build on and further increase the engagement of young people. The conference theme, ‘Cultivating Confident Women’, came from a group discussion at the first organising meeting. In keeping with the proud farming traditions of the region, the words ‘Nourish, Empower and Grow’ seemed to express the journey the conference was to take. The expected throng of excited women delegates …