Opinion: outback hospitality and big sky country

Zoe Thomas
By Zoe Thomas
May 1 2022 - 2:00am
Bull riding in action during the Rydweld open bull ride event, which took place last Saturday night in Julia Creek. Photo: Zoe Thomas.

Our weekly opinion pieces are written by North Queensland Register journalists. The thoughts expressed are their own.

I am back on deck after a big few days out west last week.

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Travelling solo, I made my way along the Flinders Highway from Townsville to Julia Creek for the eagerly anticipated return of the Dirt n Dust Festival.

I pulled into Hughenden for a couple of days prior, to meet the locals and visit some families living out on properties in the region.

What a welcome! Dave and Tenielle of the Allen Terry Caravan Park were such lovely hosts with Tenielle very kindly lending me a jumper to take to Julia Creek as I very naively forgot to pack one.

I also hopped in the car with mayor Jane McNamara who took me on a tour around town to show me all the sights.

On my way back from a property, I stopped in at the Porcupine Gorge lookout and met a local grazier who was also visiting with extended family. He noticed my Reggie shirt and mentioned he had read about me in the paper.

After chatting I got back in my ute and just thought, the people you meet in the most unexpected of places. I'm also glad to know that I have one reader of my weekly ramblings. I can't wait to share the stories of the folks I met while I was in town.

I will be honest with you, I love being out west. I lived in Longreach for a period of time and always say I had more of a social life in the outback than I did living in SEQ.

Country communities welcome you with open arms and embrace you so deeply into the fold that you feel as though you have lived there your whole life.

Julia Creek was no different.

It got dirty, and definitely dusty, but I wouldn't have had it any other way. A huge credit to the new committee and organisers for putting together such a stellar weekend.

I am so chuffed to see rural communities come alive again post pandemic with country hospitality, beaut people and an even better party.

I even had a crack at some rodeo photography as seen in the photo on the left; it is not as easy as it looks.

I am very fortunate to call this my work; exploring new places, meeting new people and experiencing events just like this one. I am going to look back on this period of my life very fondly one day.

I already can't wait to hit the road to explore the next patch of north and north west Queensland.

Stay tuned for next week as I have a bone to pick about a classic pub meal and why I can never seem to order it.

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Zoe Thomas

Zoe Thomas

Journalist - North Queensland Register/Queensland Country Life

Northern based journalist at North Queensland Register and Queensland Country Life.

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