‘Drought is so bad, I’m hand-feeding my bees’

Thargomindah pray for rain by recreating old grass church


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Bulloo Shire Mayor John’ Tractor’ Ferguson showing the Prime Minister how he hand feeds his bees.

Bulloo Shire Mayor John’ Tractor’ Ferguson showing the Prime Minister how he hand feeds his bees.

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It's so dry the Mayor is hand feeding his bees.

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FORGET a rain dance, Thargomindah producers made their pleas for rain known in a rather unusual way when they let goats eat their grass church.

Crowds gathered in the small south west town on Sunday (June 3) to pray for rain as part of Queensland Day celebrations in the Bulloo shire.

The Thargomindah community recreated their original grass church (left), which was eaten by hungry goats during the drought, in a bid to open the heavens. Picture: Facebook.

The Thargomindah community recreated their original grass church (left), which was eaten by hungry goats during the drought, in a bid to open the heavens. Picture: Facebook.

It comes after the shire’s mayor, John’ Tractor’ Ferguson, became a fan-favourite of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull recently when he told him the drought was so bad, he was hand feeding his bees.

While their church service may seem humorous, the handmade religious fixture paid homage to the town’s former Cane Grass Church, built in the late 1800s. 

Due to severe drought conditions at the time, the town’s goats began eating the structure, turning it into a ‘holey’ church. 

The church service even included musical performances. Pictures: Visit Bulloo

The church service even included musical performances. Pictures: Visit Bulloo

In a bid to open the heavens, Cunnamulla’s Anglican priest Father Steffan held a service in front of a replica grass church, which was later offered up to some crowd-shy goats. 

The event was described as a celebration of the community’s ability to find humour in a down-to-earth ‘that’s life’ approach to misfortune.

The original grass church, which was eaten by hungry goats during the drought. Picture: Facebook.

The original grass church, which was eaten by hungry goats during the drought. Picture: Facebook.

Bulloo Shire Mayor John ‘Tractor’ Ferguson said their prayers may yet be answered with a change now predicted in the west.

Cr Ferguson told Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull during his visit to Charleville on Tuesday and Wednesday that drought had forced him to hand feed his bees.

While Mr Turnbull initially thought he was joking, it was far from a laughing matter.

He said the area hadn’t received rain in seven to eight years. 

“I’ve got about 500 hives and I also run cattle out there,” he said.

The goats were later given access to the church.

The goats were later given access to the church.

“I’ve got a little place there at Thargomindah and cattle on agistment we are feeding lick and mulga to.

“Everybody is feeding their stock...we’ve had no relief rain. 

“So we turned to the heavens, hoping God is going to look after us.” 

All funds raised from the special church event were donated to the Anglican Church Renovation. 

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