The fifth annual Channel Country Ladies Day event was held over the weekend with 180 women from across northern South Australia, the north west corner of NSW, and Western Queensland, all converging on Betoota, the smallest gazetted town in Australia – population 0.
Commencing with the Gatsby Glitz and Glamour Cocktail Party, which had ladies dressed to the nines in themed attire, the weekend started with a bang thanks to the support of Easternwell.
Women were entertained by comedian Kat Davidson of Brisbane, who brought smiles with her recollections of raising children and the ups and downs married life.
Women were entertained and danced well into the night thanks to the fabulous vocals of Gee’d Up, a band comprised of three Brisbane based men.
For those early risers, on Saturday morning there were five exercise options including yoga, a gentle walk, boxercise, guided mediation, and for those more adventurous, circus fitness with special guests Vulcana Women’s Circus.
Guest speaker and author Bettina Arndt talked through her research on how couples negotiate their sex supply, intriguing the audience with her observations and insight into ninety-eight marriages from both male and female perspectives.
Following on the self-care theme, a local Women’s Health Nurse provided women with an understanding of how to complete a self-breast exam, which was very well received.
Local beauty therapists were also on hand to provide massage, facials and hair appointments and health service providers, such as the Charleville RFDS who flew in for the day, offered advice and referrals.
Not only health and wellbeing were canvassed, with graziers Sharon Oldfield and Leonie Nunn speaking of the pending State of the Basin report and the importance of natural resources in the Channel Country.
Sharon Oldfield, of Cowrie Station on the Birdsville Track, shared her story of resilience and making a life in remote Australia.
Succession planning expert Isobel Knight, of Tamworth, spoke of her experiences with family succession planning, and encouraged others to begin their succession journey, with her words of wisdom.
Tom Wyatt, gardening guru of Rockhampton, skilled up everyone on the best methods to create a flourishing garden.
The Red Ridge Artsbreak Area was buzzing with activity as women participated in millinery workshops with the Madhatters, basketry weaving with Flying Arts artist Therese Flynn-Clarke and ephemeral sculptural installations with Lily Karmatz.
Sandy McLean led exciting paint and sip classes which had women taking their own canvases home, along with new found confidence to pick up a paint brush, as did Lyn Barnes who engaged participants in a community canvas.
The Artsbreak Area was supported by Arts Queensland, the Regional Arts Development Fund through Diamantina Shire Council, and the Community and Philanthropy Partnerships Week.
After a long day of workshops, the evening dinner supported by Neil Mansell Transport featured circus performance, including those participants who had been honing their skills earlier in the day.
Dinner was a creative menu designed by catering team Etiquette 24/7, tantalising the tastebuds with new takes on beef and pork supplied by Oakey Beef Exports and Murray Valley Pork.
Channel Country Ladies Day President Michelle Reay, of Durham Downs Station, was overwhelmed yet again by response from participants over the weekend.
“We’ve had women of all ages come along this weekend and no matter what their reason for coming, everyone has gained something different from the event and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.
“For some women it’s been a relaxing weekend, and for others more of a step outside of their comfort zones. It’s been a chance to gain confidence, try something new, make new friends, and reconnect with old ones.
“Whatever their experience, when women get home and have time to reflect on the weekend we are sure they will be inspired to pick up on the new skills and knowledge they have gained”.
Photos: Louise Gronold Imagery