Australian entrepreneur and philanthropist Dick Smith was in Longreach on Friday to take part in the official launch of the new feature film shown to the 50,000 people who visit the Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame.
Made by well-known Australian film producer Bill Bennett and narrated by actor Jack Thompson, the 12-minute film was made possible by a $100,000 donation from the Dick Smith Foods Foundation.
It also enabled a refurbishment of the theatrette at the Hall.
Mr Smith said he was a great supporter of Australian farmers and the work of people who toiled on the land.
“I learnt plenty about stockmen today. All the stars in the movie are wonderful,” he said.
The feature is titled I Am a Stockman and features a dozen Longreach and Barcaldine locals working on horseback, on motorbikes, in cars and helicopters, to celebrate the role they have played and continue to play in the development of Australia.
They included Boyd Webb from Weewondilla, north of Longreach, who said there was nothing more real than working with stock.
The contribution of women was recognised a number of times, particularly by Muttaburra’s Jaye Hall, commenting that women weren’t as gung ho in a mustering team but looked at the overall picture.
It contained an excerpt of RM Williams speaking that was from an earlier film shot by Bill Bennett to raise money to built the Stockman’s Hall of Fame, also made possible by Dick Smith’s generosity.
Tim Rayner represented the expert aerial musterers, and the ongoing role of Aboriginal stockmen was given lots of coverage.
Barcaldine’s Jack Moody spoke for the young people in the industry. When asked if there was a future for him, he replied “You’ll always need meat on your plate”.
ASHOF general manager Lloyd Mills told the group gathered at the Hall for the official launch that it painted a picture of what the Stockman’s Hall of Fame was built for.
Speaking on behalf of the stockmen and women gathered for the launch, Ron Beezley thanked Dick Smith for recognising that stockmen have a place in Australia.