Media Release: 7 May 2014
The 2014 Harry Redford Cattle Drive kicked-off at Lake Dunn on Sunday with 21 adventure seeking guest drovers from all over Australia and overseas eager to participate in a fair dinkum outback droving experience.
Drive organiser Gary Peoples said that getting the Drive on the road was a great relief as earlier this year cancelling the event was looking highly likely due to the drought.
“In late March we were feeling the full impact of the drought and as there was very little grass on the stock route we seriously considered cancelling. Thankfully there was a bit of rain in early April, and although it wasn’t drought breaking there was enough to ensure the Drive could go ahead,” he said.
“We have a great team of volunteers who put a lot of hard work into organising the Drive, which is very popular and was fully booked 10 months in advance. It would have been extremely disappointing for our volunteers and guest drovers alike if we’d had to cancel”.
The Drive provides a welcome boost to Aramac’s local economy and is a fantastic opportunity for the locals to celebrate with the visitors.
A number of local events are held during the three weeks of the drive including a street party, horse races, Quickshears competition and farewell party.
“You don’t have to be a guest drover on the drive to join the party!” said Gary.
“These activities are open to anyone and they are a lot of fun so I encourage anyone who’s looking for a good time to come along,” he said.
As with all annual adventure-tourism events, stories, legends and characters develop over time. Chester, the draught horse, is a favourite with participants and on-lookers alike. He is the subject of many photos and features in most of the Drive’s promotions.
Chester has been with the Drive for the past six years and pulls the chuck wagon that Gary and Roger man. Many a tired rider has enjoyed a rest in Chester’s wagon that carries lunch, the riders’ coats that are discarded as the day warms up, and any extras along the way.
Wagon driver Roger said “Chester is a wonderful horse. He’s reliable and quiet, and adds a great sense of nostalgia and realism to the Drive”.
The Harry Redford Cattle Drive runs each year over 19 days, with a herd of more than 600 head of cattle travelling 200 kilometres from Lake Dunn, through Aramac to Barcaldine and back to Myross.
The event relives one of the greatest cattle duffing drives carried out by the infamous Harry Redford, commonly known as Captain Starlight, who stole around 1,000 head of cattle from the Aramac area and drove them over 800 miles to South Australia. The path he took opened up unchartered territory and is now known as the Strzelecki Track.
Deanne Chetty, Regional Events Coordinator,
Barcaldine Regional Council
Mobile: 0418 744 279
Office: 07 4651 5603
Email: [email protected]