Show brings together Dirranbandi community during tough times

Dirranbandi Miss Showgirl title awarded to teacher April McLaren


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Dirranbandi Miss Showgirl winner April McLaren, Dirranbandi, runner up Shannon Koch, Hebel, and Tia Francisco, Dirranbandi.

Dirranbandi Miss Showgirl winner April McLaren, Dirranbandi, runner up Shannon Koch, Hebel, and Tia Francisco, Dirranbandi.

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Dirranband Show Society secretary Lorraine Crothers said more so now than ever, a local show is an important event.

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The small south-west Queensland town may be a long way from where she was born and raised in Western Australia, but 2019 Dirranbandi Miss Showgirl April McLaren said she couldn't feel more at home.

The 23-year-old science and HPE teacher is now in her second year at Dirranbandi State School, and said the community had given her so many valuable experiences.

"It's just so different to anything else I've experienced," she said.

"I've learnt and had that many opportunities out here that I never would have had had I stayed in Perth, or had I moved to Brisbane or the Sunshine Coast."

Miss McLaren said when she was approached to enter the competition, she figured she had nothing to lose.

"I've put my hand up so far for as many opportunities as I can, so I thought why not give this a go," she said.

"I'd seen a lot of the opportunities of a lot of the people that Georgia Hoolihan got to meet and the experiences she got from it, so I thought if I can take away some of that and some of what I've learnt and put that back into my teaching or back into my life out here in Dirran, surely it would be a win-win and a positive experience.

"It was nice to be able to set an example for my kids and show them that when you give your best effort and put your hand up for an opportunity, it can only go onward and upward from there."

Miss McLaren said her favourite part of the small community was how close everyone is.

"Although everyone is going through this really tough time with the drought and the weather and what's been going on out here, people just stick together like glue," she said.

"There's no question about it and there's no way you'd get that in a city or in a town that's bigger than this, so I quite enjoy being so close to everyone.

"Everyone is quick to put their hand up to help you."

Despite the ongoing drought in the Dirranbandi region, the community was determined to hold their 95th annual show.

Dirranband Show Society secretary Lorraine Crothers said now more so than ever, a local show is an important event that gets all of the community together.

"We did have a lot of people say why on earth are you having a show and our response was that we need to have this event more than anything just to get the people off the farms, off the place for a day even if it is just to go and have a beer, have a chat, mix with other people who are in the same boat," she said.

"We're all a resilient bunch of course but this year more so than any other year, it doesn't matter whether it's drought, flood, or whatever, you just need to have a community get together so that we can see that we're all on the same page, so that in itself was probably what we tried to do for this year's show even though we were questioned about having it.

"We still had our campdraft which we did have cancelled, but a couple of community members came in and said we were able to have cattle out of the feedlot, so we were able to have a campdraft which was amazing considering so many other campdrafts are being cancelled."

High profile radio and television personality Alan Jones AO was responsible for the opening of the show, joined by Peta Credlin and her Sky News team, providing a spot of difference for the town.

Dirranbandi Show secretary Lorraine Crothers, Alan Jones O.A., and Jacque Hemming, Bonathorne, Dirranbandi.

Dirranbandi Show secretary Lorraine Crothers, Alan Jones O.A., and Jacque Hemming, Bonathorne, Dirranbandi.

Mrs Crothers said through some amazing sponsorship they were also able to bring fireworks back to the show.

"We haven't had fireworks in this district, well we can trace it back to about 40 years, which is ridiculous," she said.

"The fireworks were absolutely amazing; I looked around and they were just all glued to the sky, even all the men at the bar and just absolutely amazed.

"I know it's only fireworks and people say fireworks are always at shows, but not at Dirranbandi, mainly because it was always too expensive.

"There was just a wonderful buzz around the showgrounds that people were relaxed and that's exactly what we wanted."

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