The opening night of B150 saw the annual art exhibition and a Blackall rugby league reunion attract huge crowds, made up of an excited mixture of locals, expats and tourists enjoying the hospitality.
At the latter, memories of the good old days of six local teams, three Colts and three White Horse, plus under 20s teams, were all the go, as rugby league showed why it’s part of the heart of towns in the Queensland bush.
This year’s central west premiership and grand final win was still firmly in the memory of many at the reunion, along with the title of the central division “Grassroots Club of the Year”, the first step in the NRL Community Awards, presented to a club that’s fostered participation and enjoyment, has become an integral part of their community, and has shown innovation in administration.
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The art show was bulging at the seams with more exhibits than seen in many years.
It was opened by Fairholme College’s Head of Art, Karen Hayward, who instigated the Headland to Heartland art show for her then-Blackall State School students 24 years ago.
Karen told the audience that people made connections with each other thanks to art, while this year’s judge, McKinlay’s Heather Moore, congratulated entrants on the amazing 202 works on display.
“You have some fantastic artists in your community,” she said.
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Two Victorians, Kathy Ellem and Craig Penny, won the overall and oil/acrylic awards, while Lismore’s Christine Porter won the watercolour section.
Des Harry was the standout local artist, both with his rendition of the Koondoo shearing shed and whales swimming across an aluminium surface, winning best local artist and 3D awards.
De Gillett Cox won the any other medium category, while Blackall’s Samantha Bly won the student category.
In the well-contested photography section, Yaraka’s Wendy Sheehan won the landscape section while Wendy Just of Blackall won the portrait section.