Head straight down the road for 200 kilometres, take the turn to the right just after you hit the gravel, follow the gravel road for about 300 kilometres and when you pass through the randomly placed tents and caravans, you’re at Birdsville.
It sounds like something out of a bush ballad, but they were the directions given to Youth and Children’s Ministry Unit (YACMU) Regional Worker Andrew Bell to guide him to Birdsville for race weekend.
The Birdsville Races attract over 5000 visitors from all over the world and have sometimes had a reputation for being a wild weekend.
Mr Bell said the local shire Council wants to change that and promote a more family friendly image so they specifically approached Frontier Services minister Rev John Case and asked him to help put something together for the children.
So Mr Case and Mr Bell assembled a team that included Frontier Services Remote Area Families Service workers from Charleville, a former Religious Education Officer from Murgon and a truck driver from Gympie.
“With basically no idea of how many children would attend and what ages they might be, it was very much a journey into the unknown,” Mr Bell said.
“Prepare for anything and be flexible were the keys as children from four States shared in hours of fun craft, games, singing and even a local whip-cracking contest.”
One mother from a local grazing property said it was great to have a program for her children where she knew they would have fun and be safe.
Mr Bell says if any Uniting Church people were looking for something a little different they could consider getting involved in next year’s program.
Andrew Bell, YACMU Regional Worker can be contacted on 07 4634 7174 or click here to email.
Photo : YACMU Regional Worker Andrew Bell finds a quiet spot with children at the Birdsville Races. Photo by Fay Barton