Around 160 women from three states kicked up their heels at the Eromanga racetrack on the weekend for the fourth annual Channel Country Ladies Day, pampering themselves and recharging their batteries.
When the dust settled on Sunday, event coordinator Michelle Reay said the weekend had confirmed the need for it to continue.
“We had a message through social media from a station owner on her way home yesterday who wrote that she felt jaded by life’s struggles when she arrived but was captivated and ignited by enthusiasm by the workshops and keynotes.
“We’ve done our job if ladies leave our week-end having laughed, connected and been inspired or uplifted.
“Without that joy and skill enhancement and the chance to connect, many women would battle along alone.
“Feedback so far from this year’s event indicates that participants have left renewed and ready to return to the challenge and reward of their life on stations and in small towns.”
The weekend kicked off with the Easternwell Diamonds in the Rough cocktail party. More used to cowboy hats and livestock, the grounds at Eromanga were bathed in pink, silver, glitter and blooms.
Women donned their pink and bling finery and got to know one another before the evening proper kicked off with Byron Bay comedienne Mandy Nolan. Her honest reflections of womanhood and life with her husband and children brought the house down.
Popular entertainer Cathy Drummond again provided the soundtrack for dancing into the wee hours.
Each morning, ladies “embraced the sunshine” with a choice of Birdsville’s Jenna Brooks’ yoga class, hula hoops with Taryn Soderman , naturopath Kim Balson’s guided meditation, a gentle walk with photographer Dean Golja, or for those who preferred to start their day in a less gentle way, an Off The Track Training boot camp session with Longreach’s Joy McClymont.
Melbourne sex therapist Lynda Carlysle provided information on intimacy and offered private consultations in addition to providing a pleasure stall where people could access merchandise.
FRRR funding ensured Goondiwindi’s Jill Rigney’s keynote speech, Performance is Personal, struck a chord for many, reminding everyone why personal wellbeing is key, and asking them to consider why business is reliant on self-management, how to separate people from issues, why it’s important to have confronting conversations, and many other take-home messages in the communication and resilience sphere.
Each year, a number of local identities are invited to shine a light on the Channel Country’s ladies and their lives. This year Eromanga police officer Miranda Broughton and Quilpie’s Sophie Turner talked about starting Outback Consulting, an event mangement business.
Many beauty services also attended to ensure ladies could be pampered with facials, massage and hair services.
Workshops ranged from personal development, performing in business and bush fitness to singing, comedy, photography and colour in fashion workshops.
Attendees could workshop on intimacy, pleasurable touch, nutritious meal planning, Improvisation, theatre, handling their hormones, or memoir writing.
Red Ridge and Regional Arts Fund again provided the Artsbreak space, where Quilpie’s Lyn Barnes guided everyone to leave their mark on a collaborative oil painting.
The finished product sold for over $4000 to a syndicate from Yaraka and will be displayed in their town.
Aramac’s Jill Dyer offered silversmithing workshops while Red Thread theatre undertook workshops and a performance in the natural amphitheatre of the creek bed, prior to the Neil Mansell Masquerade night, featuring a gourmet sit-down feast provided by event caterer Etiquette 24/7.
Photos: Louise Gronold.