Out and about at Westech

Plenty to smile about at western Queensland's field days


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A warm day was on the menu for the opening day of the triennial Westech Field Days at Barcaldine.

The Barcaldine showgrounds were bursting at the seams with displays for western Queensland when the 12th Westech Field Days opened on Tuesday.

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Proudly using an “innovation” catchcry, there was a huge array of goods and ideas for the first-day attendees to get excited about.

First out of the blocks was the ram young judges competition and $500 prizemoney on offer, which attracted 11 entrants from the Longreach Pastoral College, Barcaldine Downs and Egelabra, NSW, as well as individual Barcaldine entrant, Hugh Chandler.

The win went to the south, with Egelabra’s Tom Cameron placed first, while fellow jackaroo, Max Cameron was in third place.

They were split by Jed Morrison from Barcaldine Downs.

It’s Tom’s second year at Egelabra and while he placed in the top six at Dubbo recently, Tuesday’s win was a bit unexpected.

The surprises continued when Jed took the win in the young cattle judging, on 91 points.

He pipped Lachlan Darr from Oakey Beef by one point, with Shaylee Smith from the Longreach Pastoral College in third on 89 points.

They were the ones who most closely followed judge Russell Grey’s advice to judge for commercial operations by concentrating on weight for age characteristics.

Jed said he had never worked with cattle but had also managed to come third in the cattle judging at the Landsborough Flock Ewe show a few months earlier at Muttaburra.

“I listened to the judge there, that’s all,” he said.

The day’s excitement continued when Cam Munro, general manager for HE Kater and Sons, announced that he was donating the five Egelabra stud ewes brought up for display to the Longreach Pastoral College.

College representative, Allycia Bennett, said the generous donation would be a big step forward for their breeding program, thanks to the size and beautiful wool of the ewes.

In the middle of the showground arena, high profile speakers from around Australia were sharing their views on how the bush could make the most of technology.

Undertaken by the Remote Area Planning and Development Board, special project officer Morgan Gronold said society was in the midst of the fourth industrial revolution, where change was happening faster than ever before.

“Geography and communications are no longer mutually exclusive,” he said.

Further over, the proceeds of the popular ladies lunch, attended by 100, were given to the West n Breast and Prostate Cancer Queensland.

Organiser Joss Chandler explained that Westech had lost their vice president, Terri Anne Rosenow to breast cancer two months ago.

Prominent Brisbane foodies, food consultant Alison Alexander and her friend Caroline Jones, the owner of Three Girls Skipping Café, in Graceville, provided the lunch and their labour for no charge.

Joss explained that their generosity was motivated by the need to lift the spirits of people still in the grip of drought.

“Both women have connections with the west – Caroline spent time in Blackall as a small child where her father was an agent, and Alison has had a long association with the area.”

Adding to the fun of the event was a demonstration of how to dress for different body shapes by wardrobe manager Sue Woodland, from Madison Integrity at Teneriffe in Brisbane.

As well as advising women to choose items that could be worn again and again in a variety of combinations, she had lots of good tips on sleeve and skirt lengths.

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