Skytrans Blog

Archive for the ‘Windorah’ Category

Ladies Day…Fifty Shades of Durham Downs Station

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

The truckies radios were abuzz…

’Where are all these ladies going on the roads?’

Blokes have Ag Shows and Rodeos to go to but this weekend was about giving the ladies some of the things that were, well, just for ladies.

This was a day for meeting like-minded rural and remote women, sharing stories, being inspired by guest speakers from around the country and being empowered to take control of their own health and well-being.

Cocktails and coffee, massages and manicures were all crammed into one day, Saturday 10th November – approximately 1400km west of Brisbane at remote Durham Downs Station, located on the Cooper Creek. The only town further west is Innamincka, near the famous Burke & Wills Dig Tree, then next stop Lake Eyre and the Simpson Desert.

The brainchild of Durham Down’s governess, Kristy McGregor, this 20 year old dynamo (with the support of Managers Michelle Reay & Jon Cobb and the Station team), co-ordinated the event – drawing 100 women from Quilpie, Longreach, Charleville, Birdsville areas as well as Northern NSW and SA, with ages ranging from 90 to 14.

 Ladies arrived from up to 10 hours drive away, craving some female company and conversation. With the chance to ‘frock-up’ being rare in the bush, Friday night started with a massive storm, turning the red soil into a mud pie. High heels were very practically traded for boots and thongs, but undeterred, everyone dressed in pink for the Jane McGrath Foundation fundraising cocktail party. Gay Tully from Windorah gave an empassioned speech about being a cancer survivor.

The Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) flew in with their team, offering counselling, pap smears, breast exams and the latest in medical information.

The guest speakers were Robyn Hills, an award winning photographer, helicopter pilot and fashion designer from Caloundra, Qld, who spoke about being creative and passionate about life, while sharing her photographs for visual inspiration.

Acclaimed author Meme McDonald shared her journey of being raised in the bush and becoming a writer. She encouraged the women to document their resilience and life in the outback.

Ana Snyman flew in from Byron Bay and got a packed house to her presentation on understanding how your body works, demystifying the female anatomy and giving excellent practical advice on improving your sex life. The women attending commented that they never realized how much they didn’t know and were grateful for the opportunity to have an open discussion about what works and how to improve, which is sure to please their partners after staying home to look after the children.

Travelling from Perth, Stephanie Coombes, a ringer in WA, shared her passion of social media. Women learned about Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, and using a blog to network and communicate rural activites.

Lyn Barnes is a well-known Australian artist with a gallery in Quilpie.

Women were given the opportunity to dabble in some art by contributing to a group painting under her guidance. She created a scene depicting a stockwoman wearing a pink workshirt, which was then auctioned for the RFDS and Jane McGrath Foundation.

The weekend would not be possible without the support of Bulloo Shire Council, Desert Channels Queensland, Regional Arts Development Fund, Drill Search, Mighty Leaf Tea and Skytrans.

Some of the comments of the feedback forms were:

  • My cheeks are sore from laughing so much
  • Have made fabulous new friends
  • Feel totally rejuventated and ready to go back to the station
  • Finally got to talk to another woman
  • I drive 600km for my husband, I drive 600km for my children, but I never drive 600km for myself – so decided to come
  • Are we having another one next year?


Article coutesy of Kristy McGregor & Michelle Reay of Durham Downs Station

Photo’s courtesy of Robyn Hills



Monday, November 5th, 2012

Don’t wait for a disaster to happen before you think about how you and your family are going to survive.


In a major disaster, high winds, rising floodwaters, debris or damaged roads can prevent emergency services from reaching you.

Your community could be isolated and essential services disrupted for up to three days or more.

During a large scale event emergency services will focus on assisting the most vulnerable in the community.

You may not have immediate access to support and will need to rely on the supplies and equipment you have on hand at home.

If you were isolated right now, would you be prepared?


 For more information contact;

Emergency Management Queensland

Community Engagement Officer Christopher Wegger or 40328682






Skytrans Provides Lift for Frontier Services

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

The Managing Director of Skytrans, Simon Wild announced today details of a community partnership with Frontier Services that will strengthen the provider’s network of services and care delivered to remote families across Queensland.

Under the partnership, Skytrans will provide Frontier Services’ staff with flights to remote locations across Queensland to enable the provision of vital services; particularly children’s services for young families and health care in remote communities.

“Skytrans operates to some of Queensland’s most isolated and remote communities and understands

the challenges that people in these communities face on a daily basis, in terms of quality of life. Through our partnership with Frontier Services we feel that we are making a contribution that offers people access to a service that provides social and emotional support to those in need,” he said.

According to Frontier Services Regional Manager, Karen Harvey, the partnership will assist child care workers with the Frontier Services Remote Family Care Service to reach isolated families and provide relief child care for up to three weeks a year.

The Remote Family Care Service works alongside the Frontier Services Remote Area Families Service (RAFS). FiveRAFS teams of trained early childhood specialists travel out to remote properties and communities in four-wheel-drive vehicles, jam-packed with educational toys and activities for the children. They also provide resources, advice and support to the parents.

Frontier Services also has two health care services in Queensland; the Savannah Regional Health Service and the Bollon Bush Nursing Centre. The Savannah Regional Health Service, based out of Georgetown, played an active role in helping the community recover from Cyclone Yasi.

Ms Harvey said that in effect, “The families, who are a long way from mainstream child care services, can access the service when they need it most, for example during shearing, mustering or hardship.

“Being able to access the flights to get our child care workers around the state will make a huge difference. It will give us more flexibility to respond to a family’s request, particularly if there is an urgent need. It will also greatly reduce travel time for the child care workers, many of whom are on the road for weeks at a time.

“We are delighted to begin this partnership with Skytrans that will strengthen the whole region as we work together to support remote Queensland,” she said.


John Dickinson, Frontier Services National Development Manager with Skytrans Managing Director Simon Wild.

Karen Harvey, Frontier Service QLD Regional Manager; Anna Burley, Frontier Services Primary Health Care Nurse & Team Leader of the Savannah Regional Health Service; Steve Jones, Skytrans Commercial Manager of RPT Services; Billy Gordon, Skytrans Community Development Manager.


Windorah Sports Camp in it’s 22nd year!

Friday, August 24th, 2012

The annual Windorah Sports Camp was held from 18 to 22 June. This camp proves an opportunity for outback primary school children to receive specialised instruction from professional sports coaches. Skytrans has been involved for the last three years in providing travel, free of charge, for these coaches to Windorah.

This is the 22nd year for the camp which had its inception in 1992.  The camp enables hundreds of students in Western Queensland the chance to develop their physical, social and personal skills.  Rural and remote schools often experience difficulty in gaining regular access to specialist physical education teachers as well as the hardships experienced when teaching team sports to a school with low enrolment numbers and children spanning every primary school year level! 

Professional, accredited coaches were sourced to provide the best possible coaching and included baseball, athletics, touch football, cricket, gymnastics and tennis for the 2012 camp.  The coaches came on the Skytrans flight from Brisbane to Windorah for the week long camp. 

Ninety-two students were in attendance ranging in age from 5 to 13 years, with participants travelling up to 500 km to attend the camp.  Students came from Windorah, Jundah, Stonehenge, Bedourie, Birdsville, Isisford, Muttaburra, Jericho, Mount Isa, Longreach and Charleville Schools of Distant Education.

The camp continues to provide students with valuable educational and social experiences, irrespective of the tyrannyof distance and geographic isolation.




Skytrans launches its inaugural ‘Social Investments Report’

Monday, July 30th, 2012


On Tuesday 17th July Skytrans officially launched the company’s first ever Social Investment Report. The Social Investment Report will be produced annually and showcases the richness and depth of the company’s giving back to the communities that give to us.

The Skytrans Community Development team has been working on the inaugural report for some time, and are proud to finally launch the document which gives a comprehensive view of the valuable corporate social responsibility work that the company is involved in throughout the state. By making social investments into the delivery of programs, activities and initiatives that support youth development, leadership, sports, health care, education and the arts, we aim to contribute to improving the quality of life that people live throughout remote Queensland. 

From our support of the Taipans and the Northern Pride here in Cairns, to the Mount Isa Rodeo, the Birdsville Races or RFDS primary health care clinics in Coen, we are giving back to communities –and with a combined financial / in-kind contribution of $846,404 in 2011 alone we are certainly punching above our weight!

If you are interested in reading more about the great work we are doing as a company, you can view the 2011 Social Investments Report on the website at or get the latest updates here on the blog.

For further information regarding Skytrans’ social investment work please feel free to contact Skytran’s Community Development team:

Chelly Hewson or Billy Gordon on 07 40406700 /


Pictured are: Dwayne Vale (Taipans), with Billy Gordon (Skytrans) & Peter Harm (Commonwealth Bank, Indigenous Banking Unit).  Steve Jones (Skytrans Commercial Manager), Chelly Hewson (Skytrans) & Robbie Bastion (Parker Travel Collection)


2012 Betoota Horse & Motorbike Gymkhana

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

The Annual Betoota Horse and Motorbike Gymkhana were held during the weekend of 14-15 April. With a population of ‘zero’ this town stands alone in the middle of a vast bigger plain approximately 700 kms from Charleville, 170 kms from Birdsville and 230 kms west of Windorah.

It is a great time for all the properties around the area to get together and show off their horsemanship and motorbike skills against each other and socialise with their neighbours from far afield.

Another gymkhana has been and gone, with the horses nearly extinct and motorbikes’ growing at a steady pace, the weekend was a lot of fun. For those who were there made the weekend fantastic, whether a spectator or competitor.

Thank you to our sponsors who continue to support our weekend. Our major sponsor for the weekend is Skytrans and the committee is truly grateful for their special support for without this the Gymkhana would cease to exist.

It was a day of fun for all. The kids had a fantastic time competing against the adults and at times the kids came out on top.

Saturday evening kicked on until midnight with music and a fantastic auction. Many thanks to all of those who were bidding and made our auction the success it was. Highest paid auction item on the night was for the Skytrans return flight for two from Charleville to Brisbane and was purchased by Nadine & Jacinta Fatnowna.

Skytrans Auction Winners Nadine & Jacinta Fatnowna.

Congratulations to our Leading Horse Riders -

10yrs & under……………………Eboni Lorenz, Durrie Station

15 yrs & under……………………Aaron Maunsell, Jundah

Encouragement Award………Jesse Lorenz, Durrie Station

Congratulations to our Leading Motorbike Riders -

8 – 11 yrs…………………………..Dylan Brunner, Windorah

12- 15yrs……………………………Aaron Maunsell, Jundah

Encouragement Award……….Jacob Kath, Mt Leonard

Open Rider…………………………Nick Dillon, Birdsville


Windorah Stockmans Challenge 2012

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

Windorah, which is situated in the heart of the Channel Country in Western Queensland, and is nestled amongst some of the largest cattle grazing enterprises in the country, tests the skills of local and visiting stockmen and women with their annual Stockman’s Challenge. This event is held each year in conjunction with the Gymkhana and Bronco Branding competitions during the last weekend of the Queensland June/July school holidays, when the small town comes alive with competitors and spectators all keen to be part of the action.

Riders must complete three phases of the challenge. These include, a led section, which is judged on the horses conformation, type and general suitability for the task. This is followed by a dry pattern. In the dry pattern horses and riders must complete a set course, similar to that which may be encountered in general stock work. Elements include working at all paces, walk, trot, canter and gallop, changing leads, performing haunch turns (or roll backs) which imitates the movement needed to “cut out” a beast or return the beast to the mob. Riders may also be required to back up, and crack a whip.

The final phase for the juniors, juveniles and beginners is an obstacle course. This course contains elements which may be encountered “out in the paddock”. The course consisted of crossing a bridge, backing through drums, jumping over a jump, walking over a tarp, carrying a bag from one place to the next, side passing over a rail, bending through some pegs, opening and closing a gate, all while trying to keep the movements fluent and calm. Each obstacle is marked out of ten.

For the Open competitors the final phase consists of a “wet pattern”. Here competitors get scored on their cut out, which is cutting a beast out in the yard. They then call for the gate and guide the beast around a course in the arena with their horse. Points are gained for horse work and the riders ability to complete the course around the pegs.

Horses and riders travel from all parts of western Queensland for the opportunity to compete in the challenge. One competitor travelled all the way from the Hunter Valley in New South Wales to compete. There is no age restriction for the challenge with competitors as young as six and seven years old competing in the junior challenge.

Skytrans are proud supporters of the Windorah Stockman’s Challenge and would like to  extend a huge congratulations to all the 2012 winners!


Skytrans Open Challenge:  Mr Craig Clifford riding Vegemite

Champion Contractors Beginner Challenge:  Ms Clare McNeven riding Lethal Act

South West Ford/Prydes Feeds Juvenile Challenge:  Mr Paxton Pulford riding Boree Torvill

Ergon Energy/Paulsen Bros Junior Challenge:  Miss Olivia McCamley riding Warrenbri Bobby

Gidgee Smith Bags Best Presented Horse and Rider:  Miss Courtney Scott riding Slims Buttons n Bows






Craig Clifford, with Judges Di Hayden & Narelle Toole

Jan Taylor follows her beast in the wet pattern

Nick Handley competing in the obstacle course phase

Junior winners Dusty Lasker (1st), Ty Lasker (2nd) & Maree Fields (3rd), with Judge Narelle Toole



Would you like to visit the 2012 Bedourie Races?

Monday, June 25th, 2012

1300 794 257