Grey nomads cheered by return of Outback events

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Dunny derby and events
Ready, steady, go! The Dunny Derby will be back in Winton next September.

The widespread cancellation of community events, ranging from small agricultural shows to epic gatherings such as the Birdsville Races, have left a gaping hole in the life of regional Australia this year.

In the more remote parts of the country, these annual happenings have a critical role to play in both bringing people together and in boosting local economies.

Royal Flying Doctor Service psychologist Tim Driscoll told the ABC that the importance of the races, rodeos, festivals and shows should not be under-estimated in places like Outback Queensland.

“Social connection is one of those things that’s just essential to our health and wellbeing,” Dr Driscoll said. “There is an impact of having to cancel all these events throughout rural and remote Queensland … it does have an impact on communities and individuals.”

Grey nomads, of course, love the opportunities presented by events to interact with locals, and to learn more about the communities they are visiting. And the dollars they spend in geographically isolated towns are always welcomed.

In Mount Isa in Queensland, the local rodeo has grown to become the biggest in the southern hemisphere and the richest in Australia. It is estimated that almost $13 million is spent in the town over the course of the rodeo weekend.

And it’s the same with smaller events. The cancellation of the Sedan Dip Races, Rodeo and Campdraft, about three hours from Mount Isa, was certainly a bitter pill to swallow for many. Publican Georgia Knight told the ABC that said local businesses were heavily reliant on the Sedan Dip.

“These campdrafts and stuff that happen out here, they are big moneymakers for the businesses in town and not just the likes of the pub and servo,” Ms Knight said. “For the food shops, for the clothes shop, for everyone really … every business in town depends on those weekends and having a crowd come through.”

Happily, with borders opening and Covid restrictions easing, there are signs that some smaller and more socially distanced events have started to come back.

And that’s great news for rural communities and grey nomads alike.

  • How important are community events to your travels? Which sort are your favourite? Comment below.
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One Response to Grey nomads cheered by return of Outback events

  1. Bush Rodeos, Campdrafts are where you will find the real Australiana…dust, horses, cattle, flies, swags, music, Aussie blokes and shelias all having a great get together and a real good time.

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