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 www.ROBYNgraphs.com.au