8 Year old going on 40.
The Queensland show run gets underway on the first of May at Goondiwindi, this is the most enjoyable time of the year as it takes me out in to western Qld and eventually up into the NT and just into WA After Goondiwindi I attend shows at Roma, Mitchell, Charleville and then further west to Isisford. This small town is situated on the banks of the Barcoo River which continues on south west and eventually joins Coopers Creek, then down through the channel country and finally the waters find their way into Lake Eyre. To give you some idea of this area the shire covers 10,500 square kilometres through which the Barcoo runs for 200 kilometres and the head count from stations and the town barely reaches the 300 mark. Out here it's a matter of quality, not quantity which becomes very obvious as I watch a handfull of locals prepare for their annual sheep show.
Bustard or Bush TurkeyThomas Mitchell discovered this area and soon after land was taken up by those who pushed further out seeking sound grazing country. The area rode on the sheeps back for many years as stations such as Isis Downs, Emmett Downs, Portland Downs,Ruthven and Albilbah continued holding females and increasing the size of their breeding flocks. Cattle now play a major role for the stations income stream and sheep numbers throughout Australia continue to decline.
Today the Outer Barcoo is a peaceful place however,many savage droughts, floods followed by fires, shearers strikes, two world wars and established railways and tard roads along with the failing wool market have put the residents and their country to the test many times. Once a thriving town with resident shearers, teamsters, dam sinkers, local businesses and station staff of around 500 is now reduced to about 80 towns people. Tourists play a big role in keeping the little town alive as with many others throughout Australia. Fishing comps, gem and music festivals and shows continue to attract the nomads from the coast and cities to these far flung isolated areas. Few have any idea of the history of these places or what the local town and station people endure in their every day lives. The gap between city folk and the country has never been wider.
The reason I am able to take you on a story picture trip to various parts of the country is that the semi-retirement venture for the cove with no fixed address needs to be funded in some way. So, I have a full range of the leather luggage and accessories we manufacture at Byron Bay and also a range of handbags and wallets my partnerRay Kovac manufactures in Sydney. The "Australian made" situation is held strongly in the minds of country people, they too are producers of Australian made products and prefere to purchase goods made here. Originally I designed our products with country people and O/S visitors in mind, the O/S thing went okay for a while but we have really hit the mark in the bush. They like products that are well made, durable and useful.
The business was started during 1988, it had a few rocky moments as most start-ups do but eventually with the help my sons Ben and Jock it started to fly. We moved the factory from Forbes to Byron which was positive for the business and the boys but I must say after twenty years I'm glad to get out of the factory and away from Byron back into the bush dealing directly with the clientele who support us so well. Who better to judge us than those from the country and we thank them for there continuing support. Until next time. Steve and Sass