Dancing for drought and the doctor

Eulo Ladies Day gets season of balls for good causes underway


Life & Style
Stella Batt, with Robert, Bill and Kate Paterson, are all keen for this year's Flyer's Ball in Longreach. Picture - Sally Cripps.

Stella Batt, with Robert, Bill and Kate Paterson, are all keen for this year's Flyer's Ball in Longreach. Picture - Sally Cripps.

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There's no doubt about bush people - when times are tough, they organise a party. Not one, but three special events are lined up in coming weeks that will leave people with a good feeling and in one case, money in the pocket of the Royal Flying Doctor Service and Longreach Hospital Auxiliary.

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There's no doubt about bush people - when times are tough, they organise a party.

Not one, but three special events are lined up in coming weeks that will leave people with a good feeling and in one case, money in the pocket of the Royal Flying Doctor Service and Longreach Hospital Auxiliary.

The first of these is happening this weekend when the Cunnamulla ICPA's Ladies Day gets underway at Eulo on September 14.

Started three years ago as a fun way for the sisterhood to support each other in tough times, it has the added emphasis this year of raising money to send delegates to the 2020 state conference in Roma.

As the foundation ICPA branch in Queensland, Cunnamulla will be hosting the 50th state conference the following year and spokeswoman Julie Hawker said they'll be keen to soak up as much knowledge as they can at Roma.

Top of the agenda this Saturday will be guest speaker, agricultural scientist Mary O'Brien from Dalby, well known as the founder of Are You Bogged Mate, which uses the analogy of being bogged to begin conversations about men's mental health struggles in rural areas.

Also on the speaking card is Brisbane stylist Anna Mabin who focuses on helping people feel well-dressed, especially those who are time-poor or who have undergone body changes.

That should fire up the frock market on the day, where women will be able to exchange dresses, which will be accompanied by a fashion parade.

Other parts of the pampering are a resin workshop for 10, hairdressing, massage and beauty therapy, and plants, jewelry and art work for sale.

Flying towards Flyers Ball

In Longreach on October 12 there's a change of venue for the popular Flyers Ball.

This year the glitzy night out will be staged at the wool pavilion at the Longreach Showgrounds, and will be a cocktail-style stand-up event rather than a seated dinner.

Spokeswoman Margot Leeson-Smith said they would have Saddlebags Catering for the night plus Jenny Allpass's Two Afloat service starting the evening off with cocktails for sale from her adapted horse float.

She said the small committee was still on the hunt for community groups willing to assist on the night with jobs such as selling tickets and manning the bar.

Related: Annabel's Dress for Drought tears

"Any donations that can be made to help us offset costs will be welcome," Ms Leeson-Smith said. "Last year we raised $15,000 so we were able to split that between the RFDS and the Longreach Hospital Auxiliary."

She said tickets were selling faster than last year, which was a great sign that they would be able to make meaningful donations again.

Ticket sales are capped, thanks to the smaller venue. The Longreach Flyers Ball Facebook page has all the ticketing information.

Best dressed belle and beau of the ball prizes will be awarded again.

Unstoppable at Noorama

At Noorama, east of Cunnamulla, planning is underway for a ball on November 2 that organisers say is aimed at providing drought relief.

"The idea behind it is not to fundraise for any particular charity because the locals are the charity at the moment," organiser Andrea Mackenzie said.

"We're calling it the Noorama Unstoppa-ball because we think the people out here are unstoppable and it's amazing what everyone does.

"No-one would stick their hand up and say they needed it - they're all very tough independent people - but it's been eight failed summers so the ongoing drought's really tough on both producers and people in town trying to run businesses when the spending's not happening as well.

"It's a drain on everyone, especially when it goes on this long, and particularly trying to keep positive.

"You've had years of low income - trying to find the good things to laugh about can get a bit hard. We get a lot of mental health stuff and we don't always want to be told it's tough, so it's kind of a feel-good ball.

"We don't want to be talking too much about bad things in life, we want to focus on all the positives."

Ms Mackenzie has been in the district for eight years and said she hadn't seen a good season yet.

She's also the secretary of the Noorama Picnic Race Club and said they were happy to be finding more ways to use the upgraded facilities.

"We only have the one race meet a year, in April, so we really want to use those facilities and get maximum benefit for all the money that's been invested there," she said.

As well as boosting the size of the shed fivefold, the canteen, meeting room and toilet block have had a facelift.

Because the November 2 date will be the start of summer, Ms Mackenzie and her fellow planner Hannah McKillop have worked out a cool dress code.

"For blokes the dress code will be business on top, the formal suit and tie but party on the bottom to keep it nice and cool," Ms Mackenzie said. "The girls get to wear their ballgown."

She said a lot of young people had moved to the district recently so they were expecting good things.

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